Post-Meeting Workshops

SATURDAY, January 24, 12:00-3:00 pm
(All workshops include a boxed lunch.)

Teaching for the 21st Century

America’s global future depends in no small part on whether colleges and universities produce graduates who can use their knowledge and skills, who can synthesize and evaluate, and who can problem solve and create. When many of us began our careers, little was known about how to help students develop these abilities. There is robust empirical evidence today, however, indicating that learning environments can be structured in ways that promote deep learning. Cognitive and personal development that supports the application of knowledge and skills to new situations can be fostered through new forms of pedagogy. This is true for all students, not just those that are high achievers already. To accomplish such a transformation of college learning requires that those responsible for delivering undergraduate education must themselves become learners.

This workshop will provide an up-to-date review of approaches known to foster deep learning and demonstrate, through the design of the presentation itself, how such approaches can be embedded in teaching. Workshop participants will acquire new knowledge, use that new knowledge in a specific context, and receive feedback on their performance.  Whether teaching faculty, education specialists, or administrators, participants will leave with a clear vision not only of how to prepare students for the future, but of how they as individuals can promote change within their institutions.

Amy B. Mulnix, Director of the Faculty Center, Franklin and Marshall College; Eleanor V.H. Vandegrift, Associate Director, Science Literacy Program, University of Oregon; S. Raj Chaudhury, Associate Director, Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Auburn University; Jennifer R. Yates, Director, Neuroscience Program, Ohio Wesleyan University


Designing Integrative Project-Based Learning Experiences

Project-based learning is a high-impact strategy that promotes student engagement and learning through authentic problem-solving experiences. It is inherently interdisciplinary and integrative, and can be effective from the first year through the senior level, both in general education and in the major. In a recent study, more than 2,500 graduates of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (spanning 38 years) attributed significant long-term personal benefits and professional success to their project work as undergraduates. Alumni who had completed projects in partnership with off-campus organizations reported particularly strong gains, especially in leadership, self-efficacy, communication, and problem-solving abilities.

This workshop will lead participants through a four-step process to design powerful project-based learning experiences that integrate previous knowledge through focus on real-world problems situated in specific contexts. First, we will identify the skills and abilities we want our students to gain through integrative, project-based learning—what do we want them to be able to do? Second, we will consider evidence—how will we know if we’ve succeeded?  Third, we will envision learning experiences designed to develop those skills and abilities and produce the evidence—what assignments and activities and feedback will move students in the desired directions? Finally, we will discuss barriers and levers—what institutional or resource challenges must be overcome? What types of support mechanisms and partnerships can facilitate positive changes in the curriculum?

Art Heinricher, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Rick Vaz, Dean of Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, and Kris Wobbe, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies—all of Worcester Polytechnic Institute

WPI and AAC&U will offer a Summer Institute on Problem-Based Learning in 2015.  More information about the Institute is available here.


ACAD Workshop

Contemporary Stressors, Shared Governance, and the Academic Dean

Colleges and universities face an intensifying regulatory environment, growing public skepticism about value and accountability, and the challenges of escalating institutional costs. Under such circumstances, deans face the stresses of moving quickly from deliberation to action while aligning interests to effect change. Participants will examine how shared governance both impacts and is affected by such stressors, while considering ways to maintain inclusivity and respond effectively.

This workshop is intended to focus on two aspects of shared governance: the non-formal, cultural dimensions that express how stakeholders expect governance to work, and the “who, what, and how” of implementing decisions. Because deans and provosts often find themselves in the position of explaining shared governance, we will begin by discussing effective ways to explain shared governance, both in principle and in practice. 

Participants will develop two types of plans. The first is a master plan for campus discussion around a crucial issue. This plan will include methods for acknowledging institutional culture and other tacit expectations that inform decisions and action. The second type of plan is for implementing a project to respond to a stressor (i.e., one that necessitates change in policy, budget, or operation) through the system of shared governance.

Frank Boyd, Associate Provost, Illinois Wesleyan University; Emily Chamlee-Wright, Provost and Dean of the College, Washington College; Thomas Meyer, Dean, Academic Affairs, Broward College; and Carl Moses, Former Provost, Susquehanna University


ACAD Workshop

Succeeding in the Search Process

This half-day workshop is intended for anyone at any stage of the process of searching for a dean’s position—from those who are just beginning to consider it seriously to those who have been candidates. The workshop begins with the preliminary but important questions of whether you are a good fit for a dean’s position, whether you have the necessary experience to be competitive, and how you would recognize positions for which you would be a good fit. It then moves to working with search consultants and dealing with those on your home campus who may come to know of your application or may serve as references. You will then be offered guidance for preparing strong application materials and doing well in the interview phase of the search. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of handling relationships with the institution you have applied to and finally negotiating and sealing the deal.   Participants will be expected to prepare a confidential self-assessment in advance of the workshop which will also be useful in the application process.   

Robert Holyer, Senior Consultant, AGB Search; and Andrea Warren Hamos, Vice President for Consulting Operations and Senior Consultant, Academic Search, Inc.