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Liberal Education Fall 2010 Cover

Fall 2010, Vol. 96, No. 4

Integrative Learning
at Home and Abroad

An in-depth look at integrative learning, including its relation to interdisciplinary studies, its implications for faculty development, and its role in the sweeping changes to higher education in Hong Kong. Additional topics include Project Kaleidoscope’s role in fostering innovation in STEM pedagogy and faculty development, often-overlooked classroom variables that affect the quality of teaching and learning, the relationship between computer science and liberal education outcomes, students’ understanding of liberal education, and three-year degree proposals.

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President’s Message
General Education 1.0: An Efficiency Overhaul for the Cold War Curriculum
By Carol Geary Schneider
Critiqued by students, decried by thoughtful faculty and other academic leaders, and being redesigned by AAC&U member institutions across the country, the tattered old distribution system is currently receiving not a decent burial, but an efficiency overhaul led simultaneously by the federal government, state legislators, and some parts of the philanthropic community.

From the Editor

News and Information


Educating for a Complex World: Integrative Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies
By William H. Newell
A mixture of integrative learning and interdisciplinary studies, appropriately conceived and well grounded in academic disciplines, constitutes the most effective education for a complex world. But how exactly should interdisciplinary studies and integrative learning be conceived?

Creating a Culture of Integrative Faculty Development
By Adrienne Bloss, Paul Hanstedt, and Susan Kirby
In a professional setting where promotion requirements insist on the maintenance of the laser-like focus developed by graduate school training, how can we prepare faculty to teach courses that incorporate broad skills and make connections across disciplinary boundaries?

Hong Kong’s Experiment in Integrative Teaching and Learning
By Paul Hanstedt
Higher education in Hong Kong is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation, as it moves from a three-year British model to a four-year American model. To assist with the effort, five Fulbright Scholars in General Education are sent each year to Hong Kong universities, where they are discovering striking similarities with developments in US higher education.


Project Kaleidoscope 2.0: Leadership for Twenty-First Century STEM Education
By Susan Elrod
Since its founding in 1989, Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) has been pushing the frontiers of innovation in STEM pedagogy and faculty development, leadership capacity building, and network creation among its cross-disciplinary membership. As PKAL formulates its next-generation agenda, it does so within the context of a new formal partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

How Teachers Need to Deal with the Seen, the Unseen, the Improbable, and the Nearly Imponderable
By Marshall Gregory
In addition to dealing with the more or less obvious variables that affect classroom dynamics, teachers need to learn how to deal with the far more difficult issues related to learning, identity, selfhood, and autonomy.

Computer Science and the Liberal Arts
By Christine Shannon
Computer science and the liberal arts have much to offer each other. Yet liberal arts colleges, in particular, have been slow to recognize the opportunity that the study of computer science provides for achieving the goals of a liberal education.

What Students Say about Liberal Education at Grand Valley State University
By Diana Pace, Catherine Frerichs, Tamara Rosier, and Kurt Ellenberger
In 2004, Grand Valley State University embarked on an ambitious initiative designed to help students understand the meaning and value of a liberal education. The results of a 2009 study of the initiative’s effectiveness are presented here.


The Three-Year Degree: An Idea Whose Time Will Pass
By Mary B. Marcy
If we are to take three-year degree proposals at face value and consider this model as the new standard for obtaining bachelor’s degrees in the United States, then we must answer questions besides those of efficiency and cost. We must act as academic leaders and answer questions of educational merit.