General Education and Assessment 2016: Pre-Conference Workshops

Separate registration and fee required ($100 members; $150 non-members); seating will be limited, so register early.

Wk 1:  Using an Organizational Change Model to Guide Implementation of a General Education Program
A significant challenge of general education reform is the changing nature of faculty roles, both among those who teach in the general education curriculum and those who do not.  Facilitators will discuss a model of change that focuses on organizational characteristics that influence the persistence of general education reform efforts. They will also examine how organizational characteristics can influence faculty participation (past, current and future) in the implementation of general education designs.   Using Ithaca College as an example,   participants will have an opportunity to consider and discuss strategies to address the organizational characteristics in their own institutions that facilitate or hamper efforts to institutionalize change.  
Danette Ifert Johnson, Vice Provost for Academic Programs, and Michael Buck, Clinical Associate Professor of Physical Therapy—both of Ithaca College

Wk 2:  Managing Multiple Assessment, Accreditation, and Strategic Planning Responsibilities:  Strategies, Techniques, and Tips
At small colleges it is common to find an Effectiveness and Assessment Office of One – a single individual charged with managing multiple assessment, accreditation, strategic planning and institutional research responsibilities. These challenges can be particularly acute at institutions lacking skilled graduate student support. This workshop—designed for those responsible for accreditation, assessment, institutional research and/or strategic planning who are dealing with limited budgets and personnel—will provide case studies of practices at small liberal arts colleges.  Participants will 1) Identify creative practices for conducting effective, meaningful assessment on a campus with limited resources; 2) compare challenges faced at various institutions in performing useful assessment in an efficient manner; and 3) understand principles for creating solutions to complete assessment activities that improve academic and administrative programs.
Tim W. Merrill, Director of Institutional Research—Randolph-Macon College

Wk 3: Designing Assessment to Influence Educational Practices
This workshop will address how faculty and administrators can design general education assessment practices to improve student learning. Facilitators will describe the methods, findings, and insights acquired through a collaborative research project, supported by the Spencer Foundation, that aimed to identify personal factors and institutional processes that contribute to the actual use of assessment findings to improve general education. A major finding was that the prevailing notion of use was too narrow. Two models will be discussed.  Each model expands the paradigm for assessment of learning outcomes from use to influence.  Methods for engaging faculty and stakeholders in sense-making processes around assessment findings will be covered. Participants will apply the models to their own campuses.
Robert J. Thompson, Jr., Professor of Psychology—Duke University; Jessica L. Jonson, Research Associate Professor—University of Nebraska – Lincoln; and Andrea Follmer Greenhoot, Professor of Psychology and Director, Center for Teaching Excellence—University of Kansas

Wk 4 : Garnering Support through Meaningful Revision of Your Curricular Proposal
Campus leaders and committees who attempt general education reform face myriad pressures from campus constituents. In this workshop, presenters will discuss redesigning general education at small, private colleges where faculty plays a central role in curricular development and governance. Using lessons learned during a comprehensive revision, facilitators and participants will discuss three crucial factors in general education reform: 1) developing a timeline that provides room for feedback and adjustments; 2) building and sustaining momentum;  and 3) maintaining an open dialogue that addresses campus-wide concerns and incorporates critical feedback into what may have been conceived of as a final proposal.
Holly M. Sypniewski, Associate Professor of Classics, Director of the Core Curriculum, S. Keith Dunn, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, and Jamie Harris, Professor of Geology, Core Review Committee Chair—all of Millsaps College

Wk 5:  Assessment for Free: Fully Integrating Learning and Assessment Practices
Often we teach and then we assess, as if the two conditions were separate and distinct. As we begin to think about designing courses where learning and assessment are fully embedded, learning and assessment can become one. How do we create such fully embedded courses?  In this workshop, we will design (for immediate use!) instructional experiences -- both in-class strategies as well as assignments -- created to foster student learning, but that also yield assessable artifacts. In addition, we will extend this "assessment for free" approach to link course-embedded learning and assessment to program review and evaluation, ending with how this approach can be used across disciplines and campus domains to provide synergies to better understand and support students' academic achievements.
Peter Doolittle, Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Executive Director of the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research—Virginia Tech

Wk 6:   Turning the Consumer Student into the Engaged Student
Acknowledging the growing tendency of students (and their parents/employers/government) to see themselves as consumers of a commodity called education, this workshop will open with a brief overview of ways in which to turn what many see as a lamentable trend to genuine advantage.  Through small-group discussion, participants will consider two dimensions of student engagement:  subject matter (math, English, Philosophy, etc.) and student major (health sciences, business, etc.).  Both of these levels of engagement present opportunities to highlight development of knowledge and skills so that students can see the intention behind the educational experiences that are presented to them.  Participants will actively engage in contributing to the discussion and collect new techniques.
Christopher Campbell, Dean of Academic Affairs and Operations—South  University-Richmond Campus; and Mark Braun, Provost and Dean of the College—Gustavus  Adolphus College

Sponsored by the American Conference of Academic Deans