General Education and Assessment
Engaging Critical Questions, Fostering Critical Learning
2007 Conference Description, Program, and Resources
AAC&U's 2007 General Education and Assessment conference was held March 1-3, 2007 in Miami, Florida. 650 educators addressed issues central to creating and assessing a coherent general education curriculum that fosters increasingly sophisticated learning outcomes and integrates learning across the disciplines and majors.
Session topics included recent research on student learning outcomes and promising practices in general education, including practices related to the educational change process, pedagogy, curriculum design, assessment, and transfer and articulation. The conference program and links to many resources are available below.
Multi-Health Systems, Blackboard, Academic Management Systems CourseEval™ ,
The Association of College & Research Libraries,
WEAVEonline® Assessment Management System, and
Inside Higher Education contributed to the conference as sponsors.
Council for Administration of General and Liberal Studies and
Washington Internship Institute were Academic Partners for the conference.
Program and Resources
Thursday, March 1, 2007
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Workshop 1: Aligning Mission, Student Learning, and GenEd Outcomes on Your Campus
This workshop is intended for faculty, staff, and academic administrators involved with developing curricula and programming related to undergraduate learning. Participants will analyze their current general education structures in the context of their institutions’ mission and expectations for student learning. They will consider the outcomes that all students should achieve through general education, as well as changes in their own approaches to the curriculum, structures, and processes that could help advance those outcomes. Workshop participants will leave with an analysis of the alignment of mission, student learning, and general education on their respective campuses, as well as ideas for more intentional alignment of curricular and co-curricular programming for general education and undergraduate learning.
Scott Evenbeck, Dean, University College, and Sharon Hamilton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Workshop 2: Institutional Change as a Framework for General Education Reform
General education reform can be a positive experience when all stakeholders are engaged in an inclusive and open process. This workshop will help participants examine the ways in which institutional culture and assumptions about learners and general education influence the change process. Through exercises and dialogue, participants will consider the cultural, political, and organizational aspects of institutional change and strategies for curricular reform.
Mary Boyce, Associate Vice President, Academic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, California State University Monterey Bay
Workshop 3: Assessing Student Learning Outcomes
How can we develop effective assessment formats to measure general education outcomes such as critical thinking and problem solving? What are the characteristics of exemplary assessment tasks? How can we provide students with feedback that promotes and evaluates learning? Participants in this workshop will address these important questions and begin working on or revising an assessment protocol for one of their own courses. Participants are encouraged to bring a syllabus to provide the context for their work in this session.
Mary Huba, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Iowa State University
Workshop 4: Assessing General Education Programs
The assessment of general education is challenging, but many campuses have made substantial progress from which we can learn. Participants in this workshop will consider each stage of the general education assessment process. They will review learning outcomes and assessment policies from a variety of campuses, contrast three major general education assessment approaches, examine alternative strategies for collecting assessment data, learn how to develop and apply rubrics, and consider a range of strategies for closing the loop.
Mary Allen, Independent Consultant and former Director, California State University Institute for Teaching and Learning
Workshop 5: A Mixed Method Approach to Measuring Learning Outcomes
How can campuses ensure that graduates are prepared to be committed public citizens and leaders who take an active role in building a more equitable world? Participants will learn about a longitudinal study that assessed the impact of civic engagement on student learning. The study used a mixed-method (quantitative and qualitative) approach to examine both activities and attitudes related to civic engagement. Discussion will center on the research protocol and preliminary findings, and we will explore the possibility of participants using this method in their work.
Nancy Wilson, Director and Associate Dean, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service; Ande Diaz, Evaluation Consultant, Lisa O’Leary, Senior Research Analyst, and Evaluation Specialist, Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation, and Dawn Geronimo Terkla, Executive Director, Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation, Tufts University
Workshop 6: Leadership for Change and Curriculum Development
Individuals in higher education leadership positions walk a fine line when it comes to changing the curriculum. Although they may hold positions as deans or provosts and are expected on some level to help guide curriculum development, the curriculum has long been the purview of the faculty. What, then, is the administrator’s role in curriculum development? Participants will work in small groups to explore strategies and scenarios that may be effective for administrators as they initiate conversations about change and support collaborative and inclusive processes.
Geoffrey Chase, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, San Diego State University; and Karen Pugliesi, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, Northern Arizona University
Workshop 7: Integrating Global Learning into General Education: New Pathways to Curricular Coherence
Global issues are interdisciplinary by their very nature, yet courses are often taught in isolation. This workshop will examine a variety of approaches for increasing and deepening students’ global learning with specific emphasis on curricular and co-curricular strategies and planning for sustainability of innovative programs and activities. In the context of their institutional cultures, participants will explore promising practices for integrating global learning into general education.
Shereen Lerner, Chair, Cultural Science Department, Anthropology Faculty, Mesa Community College; and Chris Schnick, Faculty Development Coordinator, English Faculty, Chandler–Gilbert Community College
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Terrel L. Rhodes, Vice President, Office of Quality, Curriculum and Assessment, AAC&U
General Education: Preparing All Students for Success in a Global Society
General education is uniquely positioned to provide learning experiences that can answer students’ initial and evolving questions about what they need to know and be able to do to thrive in a world of complexity and change. Johnnella Butler will address what general education can do—must do—to effectively welcome an unevenly prepared student population and nurture in them the intellectual and practical skills they will need to succeed in the workplace and contribute to the well-being of our global society.
Johnnella Butler, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Spelman College
8:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Poster Sessions and Reception
Poster 1: New Opportunities for Learning: A Partnerships Model
This poster will present key features of a two-year, thematic, interdisciplinary course series implemented as an alternative to the standard core curriculum. It will also provide a longitudinal assessment conducted to evaluate the series. Based on Baxter-Magolda’s learning partnerships model and Bruner’s spiraling curriculum, this alternative to traditional general education encourages students to become part of a community of learners who solve problems using relevant information and methods from different disciplinary areas. This approach launches students’ undergraduate career with the active integration of diverse fields of information. A two-year, mixed-methods assessment has now been completed, and key features of the new course series will be presented in light of evidence about which aspects of students’ thinking and learning skills have been most affected by the new instructional model. Participants will receive information on assessment methods, including formative and summative measures.
Kathryne M. Drezek; Graduate Research Assistant, contributors, not presenting: Deborah Olsen, Associate Professor of Education, Barbara Bekken, Assistant Professor of Geosciences, and Racheal Stimpson, Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Poster 2: Developing a Culture of Learning Outcomes Assessment in the Community College
This poster will demonstrate how the Faculty Teaching & Learning Center at Salt Lake Community College is playing a key role in developing a culture of learning outcomes assessment. Through a mix of mutually reinforcing elements—including podcasts, panel discussions, teaching circles, and departmental Web pages—center staff are working with faculty and administrative leaders to integrate discipline and general education outcomes into a comprehensive assessment program. Participants will learn more about how to create and use podcasts in this work and will take away a concrete model of an assessment loop, where data is used for educational improvement.
David A. Hubert, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, Salt Lake Community College
Poster 3: Mission-Driven Assessment in Signature General Education Courses
How can colleges and universities assess general education goals common to most institutions while simultaneously assessing unique, mission-specific educational goals? Seattle University, a Jesuit university, is developing an assessment program that seeks to combine assessment of critical reading and writing with assessment of students’ abilities to engage in critical philosophical reflection, an outcome central to the Jesuit educational tradition. This poster will describe the development of this program, its fit with the university’s educational goals and character, and approaches to faculty support. It will include suggestions for faculty at other institutions seeking to develop similar programs combining assessment of general- and mission-specific goals.
Jeffrey S. Philpott, Core Curriculum Director, and Stephen Finn, Core Lecturer, Seattle University
Poster 4: Engagement and Retention: Assessing a Living–Learning Community
This poster will describe a first seminar/learning community initiative, the cornerstone of Millersville’s revamped general education program. Now in its second year, the program has expanded to include fifteen new three-credit, content-based thematic seminars linked to a fundamentals course as part of a living–learning community. Program leaders are using quantitative (e.g., second-year retention, survey results) and qualitative (e.g., focus groups, interviews) data and a randomized experimental approach to evaluate how well the initiative is increasing intellectual, social, and civic engagement among first-year students. Data on students in the traditional, one-credit, first-year seminar and those with no special programming provide the basis for comparisons. Presenters will address practical issues, successful strategies, and potential pitfalls in implementing and assessing new models for general education.
Frederick S. Foster-Clark, Coordinator of General Education, Daniel F. O'Neill, Associate Professor of Counseling and Human Development; contributors, not presenting: Laurie Hanich, Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations, and Carol Y. Phillips, Former Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services, Millersville University
Poster 5: Living–Learning Programs and Institutional Transformation
Ever-increasing scarcity of resources requires decisions about funding educational programs to be data driven. Toward that end, College Park Scholars, a federation of twelve interdisciplinary living–learning programs for academically talented first- and second-year students, instituted a multi-year assessment of its programs. This poster will present ten promising practices within College Park Scholars; information about the learning outcomes assessment that is being put into practice; and details about how Scholars is transforming the university.
Greig Stewart, Executive Director, College Park Scholars, University of Maryland College Park
Poster 6: Integrating Standardized Objectives into a Creative Learning Environment
The implementation of new, system-wide State University of New York general education requirements (SUNY-GER) challenged faculty and students at Empire State College to achieve standardized objectives within a college framework that emphasizes individualized, student-centered studies. Students can view coursework in unfamiliar disciplines with fear and resentment, thus challenging faculty to develop courses that are relevant to students’ individualized educational goals and backgrounds. This poster will demonstrate how an interdisciplinary framework eases students’ resistance to learning outside the boundaries of familiar disciplines. The poster and handouts will display student works directly related to SUNY-GER standards, and a slide show will demonstrate students’ authentic learning through their own works and words.
Deborah R. Holler, Mentor, and Nikki H. Shrimpton, Mentor/Coordinator, SUNY Empire State College
Poster 7: Back Mapping: Tracking General Education Outcomes across the Curriculum
Education leaders will find “back mapping” to be a useful method for evaluating the degree to which general education learning outcomes are integrated into different disciplines and majors. This poster will demonstrate how back mapping helps those responsible for general education outcomes (1) track the progression of these outcomes through course and programs, (2) identify gaps in coverage of general education goals in particular disciplines, and (3) target change efforts to areas with the largest gaps.
Paul F. Cunningham, Director of College Assessment Program, Rivier College
Poster 8: Assessing Competencies for Graduating Seniors
This poster will focus on a set of fourteen competencies for graduating seniors and examine the ways in which general education and the majors share responsibility for their achievement. Participants will learn how to use National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data and assessment results from degree programs to assess university-wide competencies at the point of graduation.
Marlene R. Sims, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and Ralph J. Rascati, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of University College, Kennesaw State University
Poster 9: Increasing Student Interaction through Effective Uses of Peer Instruction and Classroom Response Systems
Research demonstrating the value of student-to-student interaction in increasing learning (e.g., Mercer 2000) motivated a study investigating the use of a collaborative learning method in two large-enrollment introductory courses. The faculty involved in the study adopted a peer instruction teaching methodology (cf. Mazur 1997) in which students answered a set of questions following a brief interaction with peers. Students then used an electronic classroom response system (CRS) to “click in” answers to the questions. The CRS tracked data for each student and allowed comparisons between student responses and their course grades. This poster will show the analysis indicating that the amount of points awarded for answering CRS questions correctly had an impact on the quality of student interaction.
Gary Fitt, Graduate Student in Physics; contributors, not presenting: Federica Barbieri, PhD Student in Applied Linguistics, Mark James, Assistant Professor of Physics, and Paula Garcia, Assessment Specialist, Northern Arizona University
Poster 10: Using Core Competencies to Assess Student Learning in Workforce Programs
This poster will feature Florida Community College’s ”core competencies“ model, which enables program faculty to define outcomes and assess student learning in a discipline-specific manner. Participants will learn about assessment methods that typically involve a combination of curriculum-embedded performance assessment and summative assessment, such as licensure/certification exams, capstones, or internships. Institutions with career/technical programs will be able to use similar approaches. Handouts with examples, assessment tools, and planning templates will be available.
Deborah Morris, Director of Program Development, Margaret Fisher, Professor, Office Administration, Wayne Singletary, Professor, Legal Studies, Ron Wolf, Professor, Culinary and Hospitality Management, and Cheryl Schmidt, Professor, Network Engineering Technology, Florida Community College at Jacksonville
Poster 11: Collaborative Learning for Critical Thinking: Pedagogy, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment
A faculty panel at SUNY created a campus-wide rubric for the assessment of critical thinking. Faculty evaluated students in a course on the psychology of adulthood and aging using the rubric and developed a collaborative learning pedagogy to improve the critical thinking outcomes of the course. This scenario demonstrates how assessment can spur innovation and provides a model for adapting a standardized assessment tool to a particular course. The poster will display materials related to the critical thinking rubric and the collaborative learning pedagogy.
Hedva Lewittes, Director of Academic Assessment, SUNY Old Westbury
Poster 12: The Cognitive Level and Quality Writing Assessment System
The Cognitive Level and Quality Writing Assessment (CLAQWA) system at the University of South Florida has evolved into an online assessment and feedback system for use by students to provide peer feedback and by faculty, program directors, and institutional leaders to assess students’ writing and thinking for summative and formative purposes. Its flexibility makes it appealing for a variety of assignments and most disciplines; its instructional component helps campus constituents address weaknesses uncovered through the assessment. The presenter will provide an overview of the CLAQWA system, including an online demonstration.
Teresa Flateby, Director of University Assessment, Evaluation, and Testing, University of South Florida
Poster 13: Direct and Indirect Assessment Measures of General Education
This poster will present the structural and curricular revision process of Zayed University’s general education program, the Colloquy on Integrated Learning. The poster will showcase how direct and indirect assessment methods can be used in combination to foster curriculum change in the five sequences of the program: introduction to the university and career education; English; Arabic; global awareness; and science, math and technology. Results from the past few semesters and preliminary data analysis of these results will also be showcased.
Patricia Burlaud, Assistant Dean, General Education/Colloquy on Integrated Learning, Zayed University
Friday, March 2, 2007
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Liberal Education and America’s Promise
Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is AAC&U’s new campus-action and advocacy initiative to engage the public with what really matters in college. This session will introduce participants to the initiative’s goals and activities. It will provide participants with an overview of initiative resources as well as the principles and practices guiding the campus action component of the campaign. Participants will discuss how their institutions can be involved and use the campaign and the emerging national consensus around important liberal education outcomes to guide educational planning and practice on campus.
Carol Geary Schneider, President, AAC&U
Table 1: Practical Tools for Reforming General Education
Participants in this roundtable will discuss strategies for involving various college constituencies in a general education reform process that includes ongoing dialogue, collaboration, and experimentation and promotes intentionality and accountability. Virtually all institutions of higher education face internal and external pressures to demonstrate that they are promoting relevant student learning in an efficient manner. However, many initiatives to create and implement new core and general education programs face significant cultural, philosophical, and administrative barriers. Facilitators will briefly present tools, visual aids, and practices that have effectively advanced a new core curriculum. Attendees will talk about their own general education efforts to stimulate discussion and potential strategies for change.
David Pate, Dean of the School of Arts of Sciences, Theresa D. Westbay, Associate Professor and Chair of Biology, Stephen Brauer, Associate Dean of First Year Programs, Associate Professor of English, and Deborah Vanderbilt, Associate Professor of English, St. John Fisher College
Table 2: Moving General Education to the Core of the Academy
This discussion will provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of practices that support general education renewal at their institutions and draw on models from one institution in order to improve these efforts. Participants will address policies and practices related to faculty hiring, review, and promotion; curriculum development, assessment, and revision; and building campus-wide support for general education. While concrete examples for this session are from a small, liberal arts college, they can be adapted to other types of institutions that wish to move general education to the center of their academic enterprise.
Peggy Cowan, Chair of the Core Curriculum, and Mardi Craig, Associate Academic Dean, Maryville College
Table 3: Working Together: Integrating Curricular and Co-Curricular General Education Learning Goals
Facilitators will encourage participants from curricular and co-curricular areas to consider ways in which they can better work together to develop general education goals and assessment plans. The Art and Science of Assessing General Education Outcomes (AAC&U 2005) calls for developmental thinking that incorporates both the curriculum and co-curriculum when conceptualizing general education. Co-curricular program areas, often overlooked and underutilized when it comes to general education outcomes, can help achieve course, major/minor, and general education goals. Similarly, coordinated assessment designs/devices can help the institution to streamline existing efforts and to assess “bigger picture” goals encapsulated in the entire university experience. Participants will identify ways in which different service/program areas can contribute to general education goals and assessment of student learning and discuss ways to integrate existing services/programs into these efforts.
Lesa A. Stern, Director of Undergraduate Assessment and Program Review, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Table 4: The Middle Phase: Sustaining Energy for Competency Requirement Initiatives
After adopting new general education requirements, how can an institution sustain an effective, competency-based curriculum? Participants will discuss challenges to sustainability and ways to use a center for teaching and learning to support general education innovation. Facilitators will discuss how to develop new programs for faculty and students and maintain a library of general education resources, as well as how to foster stronger collaboration between faculty and teaching and learning center staff. Participants will also have the opportunity to address qualitative and quantitative assessment, individualizing faculty support, and challenges to sustainability. They will receive materials related to developing workshops, creating competency-based courses across the curriculum, and training peer tutors.
Beth A. Haines, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Martha K. Hemwall, Dean of Student Academic Services and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Lawrence University
Table 5: Bridging the Academic–Administrative Divide
Differences between faculty and administrator expectations of general education can present an opportunity for fruitful dialogue—or hamper positive change. While articulating opposing views may be a prerequisite to reaching consensus, administrators and faculty often become resistant to any real conversation across the divide. This discussion will examine how a divided culture struggled with general education reform at Temple University. In point–counterpoint fashion, facilitators will present the opposing perspectives that emerged at various stages of the process, including program genesis, development, implementation, and assessment. Participants will analyze methods for seeking a middle ground, negotiating gridlock, and making room for incremental and steady transformation. Although Temple's unionized faculty has had a particularly tense time with administrative leadership over recent years, elements of the story will be familiar to most participants.
Terry Halbert, Director of General Education, and Peter Jones, Vice Provost, Temple University
Table 6: Enhancing General Education through Global Learning for Engaged Citizenship
This discussion will focus on the process of developing a campus-wide global learning program at a large public university. Facilitators will begin with the challenges of creating global learning goals and objectives that are useful as students integrate their experiences in general education with their experiences in their majors. The facilitators will then talk about the challenges of linking a campus-wide global learning program (KSU Institute for Global Initiatives) to re-accreditation efforts, and the opportunities for dialogue provided to students, faculty, staff, and administrators through the implementation of such a program. Participants will learn about strategies for developing the initial stages of a campus-wide global learning program and reflect on the contributions that different constituent groups can make to this development process.
Jan R. Phillips, Instructor of Communication and General Education Coordinator, Amy D. Howton, Professor of Health, Physical Education and Sport Science, and Marlene R. Sims, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Kennesaw State University
Table 7: Value-Added Assessment of General Education Outcomes
This discussion will highlight a process for creating a college-wide assessment system to measure general education outcomes over time, from students’ first to final year. While different types of institutions may focus on different core learning outcomes, any institution can apply this process to measure the “valued added” to student learning of its programs and practices. This session will be useful for faculty and administrators from all types of institutions who want to (1) analyze their college’s current assessment practices, (2) identify areas for improvement, and (3) share experiences in revising assessment practices and/or instruments.
Rachel G. Ragland, Assistant Professor of Education, Lake Forest College
Table 8: An Organic, Multi-method Model of Assessment
Participants will learn about a multi-method, multi-measure approach to general education assessment that develops naturally out of existing practices. They will consider how educators can develop a comprehensive view of campus activities and use this information to improve their work on a continuous basis. Facilitators will suggest appropriate general education outcomes for the twenty-first century, offer approaches for achieving these outcomes, and highlight pertinent resources.
Linda Holt, Assistant Professor of English, Marcia McDonald, Associate Provost, and Jeffrey Coker, Director of General Education, Belmont University
Table 9: Using Core Objectives to Examine the Effectiveness of General Education
At the University of Rhode Island, the assessment of general education learning outcomes uses multiple methods, emphasizing objectives for each core domain of knowledge (e.g., social sciences, natural sciences, humanities) rather than generic skills. Students’ abilities to identify concepts, recognize problems, ask questions, collect relevant information, and analyze information to solve problems in each core domain provide the framework for defining outcome objectives. Facilitators will lead a structured conversation about this method (and others in which participants have engaged) to examine the effectiveness of a general education program and its potential use in a variety of contexts.
John F. Stevenson, Professor and Chair of Psychology, and Deborah Grossman-Garber, Director, Office of Student Learning, Outcomes Assessment, and Accreditation, University of Rhode Island
Table 10: Assessing Oral Language Competency at an HBCU
This discussion will highlight the procedures used to address a state board of higher education mandate to assess all state university students for their oral language competency. The facilitators will share results from a pilot assessment conducted by a collaborative group of university administrators charged with implementing the mandate and faculty from respective speech and communication disorders programs. Participants will learn about the constructs of an assessment rubric, the Oral Language Competency Examination (OLCE) protocol, the results of the pilot investigation, and subsequent outcome data. Participants will be able to identify the critical features of standard oral language performance for college-level students and apply the standards to the development of similar competency examinations at their respective institutions.
Ronald C. Jones, Coordinator Communications Sciences and Disorders Program, and Alexei Matveev, Associate Director, Norfolk State University
Table 11: Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessmen
This roundtable will highlight Otterbein’s formation of a professional learning community focused on the assessment of general education. Four years of success with teaching and learning communities prompted Otterbein’s assessment committee to adapt this model to focus on college-wide outcomes assessment. These professional learning communities consist of administrators, staff, and students, and they help individuals transcend disciplinary and/or status boundaries, reflect on their own practices, and collect evidence to inform decisions. Participants will examine initial findings from the assessment learning community and explore the potential of professional learning communities as a vehicle for change at their own institutions.
Harriet R. Fayne, Assessment Fellow, Professor of Education, and Mary D. Gahbauer, Chair Assessment Committee, Professor of Life Science, Otterbein College
Table 12: Living–Learning Programs as Transformation
Ever-increasing scarcity of resources requires decisions about funding educational programs to be data driven. Toward that end, College Park Scholars, a federation of twelve interdisciplinary living–learning programs for academically talented first- and second-year students, instituted a multi-year assessment of its programs. This discussion will examine ten promising practices within College Park Scholars; information about the learning outcomes assessment that is being put into practice; and details about how Scholars is transforming the university.
Greig Stewart, Executive Director, College Park Scholars, University of Maryland
Table 13: Assessing Civic Engagement and Community-Based Learning
This discussion will center on designing and implementing an assessment system for a newly instituted core curriculum that includes civic engagement and community-based learning. The facilitators will provide information on the process of developing quantitative and qualitative measures, faculty support for the assessment process, and pre- and post-survey instruments. Discussion will include all aspects of the assessment process—locating resources to conduct assessment, building an infrastructure for the continued development and refinement of assessment tools, and dealing with the outcomes of assessment (especially the unexpected outcomes).
Mary Ann Murphy, Associate Professor, Director of the Center for Community Outreach, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and Director, Project Pericles, Pace University, Linda Anstendig, Professor, and Adelia Williams, Associate Dean, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Pace University
Table 14: General Education Assessment: Does it Work? How?
This discussion will examine a five-year general education assessment model for assessing student performance. Participants will learn about the model, including the timeline, process, and resources required. They will also learn about major issues that arose during the implementation phase as well as preliminary findings. Knowing about significant obstacles and strategies for overcoming them will help participants to anticipate and minimize them in their own situations.
Claire S. Bronson, Coordinator of Assessment and Professor of Finance, Jerry A. Hirsch, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Lorraine S. Sartori, Chair, Department of Physical and Biological Sciences, Western New England College
Table 15: Faculty Conversations and Successful General Education Assessment
Roundtable facilitators will share the lessons learned from engaging faculty in designing a successful general education assessment system. They will begin the conversation by highlighting the experience of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, where conversations about general education outcomes began at the annual faculty planning conference. At this event, members of the faculty received state statutes, rules, and requirements pertaining to general education and considered them in the context of the unique mission of the university. Within these broad parameters, the faculty drafted a set of general education outcomes, then participated in a follow-up forum to continue their conversation and to develop assessment mechanisms. Participants will discuss this approach and how it might be adapted to their institutions.
Uche O. Ohia, Director of University Assessment, Valencia Matthews, Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and Gita W. Pitter, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Table 16: The Impact of Liberal Education on the Development of Reflective/Critical Thinking
A medium-sized, Midwestern, liberal arts institution recently used King & Kitchener’s (1994) reflective judgment model to collect objective data related to the college’s core mission of providing comprehensive education in a context of enlightened liberal education. Among the numerous expectations for higher education is to provide “education that empowers individuals, liberates the mind from ignorance, and cultivates social responsibility” (AAC&U 2005). This action research demonstrates how institutions might use an inexpensive online tool that is theory- and evidence-based to assess the integrated learning outcomes of a liberal education curriculum. Participants will learn about the theoretical work behind the reflective judgment model, as well as how it can provide data to promote dialogue on improving the development and delivery of a liberal education curriculum.
Robert A. Stanley, Director of Institutional Evaluation; contributor, not presenting: Yun K. Kim, Associate Vice President for Research and Evaluation, Columbia College Chicago
9:15 – 10:30 a.m.
Toward Greater Transparency and Accountability in Higher Education: Strengthening the Quality of Student Learning
Although the report of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education has far-reaching implications for colleges and universities, it was all but silent about what institutions should do to enhance learning and success, especially for underserved students. Panelists will explore the Commission’s recommendations in the context of AAC&U’s call for high standards without standardization. They will review how the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) can address the Commission’s recommendations and discuss ways that campuses can achieve greater transparency and accountability by using these and other assessment tools to foster student achievement of essential learning outcomes.
Panelists: Richard Hersh, Senior Fellow, Council for Aid to Education, former President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Trinity College; George D. Kuh, Chancellor’s Professor of Higher Education, Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research, and Director of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Indiana University Bloomington; and Carol Geary Schneider, President, AAC&U
Moderator: Steve Weisler, Dean of Academic Development, Hampshire College
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
CS1: The University Conversation on General Education: A New Approach to Engaging a Campus in Issues of Assessment
There is a tendency for students to see general education as a pass-through from high school to the major and a job: the sooner they can get it over with, the better. University faculty often support this vision with a belief that general education only matters when it fails. With student complaints mounting and accreditation looming, a faculty committee, including representatives from administration and student government, embarked on a rigorous assessment plan with an unusual core event: the University Conversation on General Education. Designed to capture the thoughts of all members of the university community and those it serves, the conversation (1) inspired additional teams to work on general education, (2) generated useful qualitative data, (3) demonstrated that successful general education consists of more than the curriculum and, therefore, requires the cooperation of academic affairs and student affairs, and (4) increased visibility for and support of general education. This panel will share strategies for creating this type of event on other campuses. Handouts will include assumptions and principles related to implementing a general education conversation, analysis of the data derived from the conversation, Florida Gulf Coast University general education competencies, and a summary of the university’s strategic plan for general education.
Rebecca Totaro, Associate Professor of English and Chair, General Education Council, Pam Schreiber, Director of University Housing, and Scott Karakas, Director of General Education, Florida Gulf Coast University
CS2: Web-Based Academic Roadmaps: Illustrating Educational Pathways
The general public, prospective students, and elected officials are often unclear about the connections that exist between institutional mission, educational outcomes, and the development of competent, reflective graduates who are prepared for the complexities of contemporary society. Session facilitators will demonstrate a simple, efficient, Web-based Academic Roadmaps tool that illustrates educational pathways along the academic and early-career continuum. The tool is a vehicle for students to visualize expected learning outcomes for general education, the major, and co-curricular involvements, as well as to connect these outcomes to educational and career aspirations. Participants will examine how the tool serves as an introduction to the major, promotes curricular and co-curricular coherence, fosters high expectations and outcomes, and renders the educational enterprise transparent to students and the public. The tool is easily transferable to other institutions and programs, and participants will have a chance to discuss using such a tool in their own contexts.
Deborah Grossman-Garber, Director, Office of Student Learning, Outcomes Assessment, and Accreditation, Cathy English, Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Thomas Husband, Professor of Natural Resources Science, and Daniel Murray, Professor of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island
CS3: Assessment Challenges: Examining Student Learning Around a Diversity Goal
Some general education goals demand specific and obvious assessment methods, such as scoring samples of student writing with a rubric to determine achievement of effective written communication. But colleges and universities also face the challenge of developing direct assessments of less concrete goals, such as developing a familiarity with cultures other than one’s own. How can these less tangible goals be productively assessed? Session facilitators will describe the process of developing and implementing a method for assessment of cultural familiarity. Participants will consider and discuss assessment challenges and potentially productive assessment methods for assessing cultural familiarity within their own contexts.
Joan I. Hawthorne, Assistant Provost, and Anne V. Kelsch, Assistant Professor of History, University of North Dakota
CS4: Proven Strategies for Engaging Faculty in General Education
With faculty at the center of creating, supporting, and assessing a coherent general education curriculum, what concrete steps can be taken to help faculty enhance their skills in course and curriculum design, pedagogy, and assessment? Session facilitators will share a set of faculty development activities that have helped faculty successfully reconceptualize general education plans and introduce new learning outcomes into already existing general education curricula. Participants will learn more about the role of a faculty development center/program in general education reform and will develop an initial plan for adapting some of the activities to their institutions.
Michael Reder, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Connecticut College; Kim Mooney, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning and Special Assistant to the President for Assessment, St. Lawrence University; and Paul Kuerbis, Director, Crown Teaching and Learning Center, Colorado College
CS5: Valuing Math and Science in General Education
Do students value math and science? Do they find these subjects interesting, or useful? Session facilitators will describe an inventory that measures the value students place on math and science in general education. They will introduce a project that is assessing the relationship between valuing and achievement in these subject areas, tracking longitudinal changes in students’ valuing of math and science, and examining the impact of gender and ethnicity on valuing math and science. Participants will examine current inventory results indicating that valuing is affected by instruction, and they will discuss the role that valuing can play in improving student learning.
Bruce Callen, Chair and Professor of Physics, Mark Wood, Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry, and Vickie Luttrell, Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of Behavioral Sciences, Drury University
CS6: How Do We Know If We're Reaching Our Global Education Goals?
Engaging the broadest array of students and faculty with global perspectives requires that we go beyond study abroad programs (feasible for relatively few students) to a strategy embedded in the general education curriculum. Session facilitators will present a holistic approach to global education and its evaluation through a model for integrating global education into the general education curriculum. They will identify key global learning goals and consider ways to evaluate success in meeting these goals. Participants will discuss these issues as they face administrators and faculty from a wide range of institutions. Cross-institutional discussion of the challenges we face and the pressing need for deeper global understanding at this moment in history will support and energize participants to continue their efforts to implement and evaluate global education.
Kersti Yllo, Associate Provost and Professor of Sociology, and Harvey Charles, Mildred Bray Dean for Global Education, Wheaton College
CS7: Teaching to a Test Worth Teaching to: Using the Collegiate Learning Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning
In an information-rich global society, it is important to ensure that students develop the critical thinking and communication skills necessary for individual, civic, social, and economic viability. These skills must be developed over time and at increasingly sophisticated levels, and therefore must be the collective responsibility of the entire faculty. The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) project has successfully developed and administered measures of critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving, and writing to two-hundred colleges and universities. The CLA is an essay-based assessment that captures the value that college adds over time to the development of these outcomes. Results gathered thus far have allowed project staff to compare similar institutions and to understand what causes some institutions to be more successful than others in terms of student learning. Significantly, results show that it does matter where a student attends college. This session will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about how the CLA works and address issues raised in the morning plenary.
Richard Hersh, Senior Fellow, Council for Aid to Education, former president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Trinity College (CT)
CS8: Using Data on Engagement to Foster Educational Improvement and Accountability
This session will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the ways that institutions are using student engagement data for educational improvement and accountability. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss issues raised in the morning plenary.
George D. Kuh, Chancellor’s Professor of Higher Education, Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research, and Director of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Indiana University Bloomington
2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Experiences, Conditions, and Practices that Promote Liberal Learning
The Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education focuses on the impact of liberal arts education, exploring how students develop during their college years and how critical educational experiences promote this development. Two nationally recognized researchers will share findings from the first year of this nineteen-institution study, including key experiences, conditions, and practices that promote student learning and development.
Marcia Baxter Magolda, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, Miami University (Ohio) and Charles Blaich, Director of Inquiries, Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Wabash College
CS9: Advancing Liberal Education through Collaboration and Assessment
Representatives of an assessment collaborative will describe the qualitative and quantitative tools they are using to assess specific student learning outcomes at the course, program, and institutional levels. A brief project overview will describe the benefits of inter-institutional collaboration and ways to include more faculty and students in assessment by approaching it as a relationship-focused endeavor. Participants will then learn about a variety of assessment tools, including (1) the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), (2) the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), (3) the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), (4) the Learning Environment Preferences (LEP) scale, (5) the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), (6) a rubric for writing assessment, and (7) interviews of students by other students conducted through a qualitative methods course. Participants will critique these tools and explore ways to use them at their institutions.
Paul Sotherland, Professor of Biology, Kalamazoo College, Paul Kuerbis, Professor of Education and Director of Crown Faculty Center, Colorado College; and Robert Southard, Professor of History and Associate Dean of Academics, Earlham College
CS10: Assessing General Education Learning Outcomes in Co-Curricular Activities
Assessment of co-curricular activities has lagged behind curricular assessment, despite research on student learning indicating that significant learning occurs as a result of a variety of co-curricular activities. Session facilitators will present a model for assessing key learning outcomes in co-curricular activities that includes (1) a process for identifying possible learning outcomes, (2) a process for assessing student achievement of those outcomes, and (3) a means for documenting achievement. Participants will also examine evaluation forms developed for the assessment process. The session will provide those interested in developing or refining co-curricular assessment programs with a workable model adaptable to two- and four-year institutions.
Robert W. Wauhkonen, Coordinator of General Education Assessment, and Alice Diamond, Associate Dean for Career and Community Service, Lesley University
CS11: Strategies for Assessing Student Learning in General Education
How can embedded assessment of general education courses provide feedback about student learning and enhance course development? Session facilitators will describe an assessment model that uses a matrix of four domains to provide feedback about the effectiveness of general education in advancing key learning outcomes. Participants who are developing assessment plans for general education or who are considering approaches for assessing interdisciplinary programs will find this model useful for conceptualizing and assessing curricula.
Thomas B. Westcott, Assistant Dean, University Advising, Jane S. Halonen, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Claudia J. Stanny, Interim Director, Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, University of West Florida
CS12: Ensuring Student Success Through Innovative, Interdisciplinary Faculty Development
The national call for a new way of thinking about general education prompts us to reconceptualize the role of faculty in teaching and learning. At the same time, students are coming to college with expectations and needs that differ significantly from those of their teachers and mentors. How can we adapt college teaching to respond to new curricular demands and to new expectations and needs on the part of students? In this session, participants will examine and discuss interdisciplinary faculty development activities designed to help faculty members successfully navigate this changing environment.
Beverly Dolinsky, Professor of Psychology, Endicott College; and Donna Qualters, Associate Professor of Education and Director for the Center for Effective University Teaching, Northeastern University
CS13: Engaging a Multicultural, Multicampus Community in General Education Reform
This session will examine the ongoing general education reform process at Miami Dade College. With its eight campuses and multicultural environment, Miami Dade provides an excellent example of how general education reform can be successful in the most complex situations. At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to describe strategies to promote discussion about general education reform in a large, multicultural setting. Participants will also be able to describe how to engage faculty, students, staff, employers, and transfer institutions in the reform process.
Lenore P. Rodicio, Associate Professor, Chemistry, Dwight Smith, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, and Lois Willoughby, Professor, Social Sciences, Miami Dade College
CS14: Implementing Continuous Quality Improvement
A new publication from the Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS), Improving Learning in General Education: An AGLS Guide to Assessment and Program Review, provides those interested in implementing "continuous quality improvement" in general education with a powerful and sustainable process for doing so. The guide grew out of three professional sources: (1) the North Central accreditation process, (2) best practices in general education from recent national publications, and (3) the experiences of the directors of general education who constitute the AGLS membership. Participants will learn about the key recommendations in the guide and join in small group discussions to consider ways to apply this process to their own institutional contexts.
John P. Nichols, NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, Saint Joseph's College; Susan F. Feiner, Director of Women’s Studies and Professor of Economics, University of Southern Maine; and Michael Gress, Coordinator of General Education, Vincennes University
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Special Seminar on Assessment
The Bigger Picture: The Next Level of Assessment Practice
When institutions embark upon assessment of student learning, the strategy is usually to begin with assessment of individual students or courses. But how do you get from student- or course-level assessment to the broader question of what a whole educational experience adds up to? How do you make assessment a more collective enterprise that also addresses program-level and institution-wide goals? This special extended seminar will focus on ways to strengthen first-stage assessment while shifting the focus from narrower, more discrete outcomes to the bigger picture. Participants will engage in a variety of interactive exercises, examine a case study, and draft plans for the next stage of their assessment efforts.
Barbara Wright, Associate Director, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
3:45 – 5:00 p.m.
CS15: Placing General Education at the Forefront of University Life
This session will focus on the institutional level policies and practices that can aid in revising and sustaining general education. Participants will discuss building partnerships for reform; establishing goals that all parties can agree upon; transitioning to major fields; and developing assessment protocols for general education. They will consider how building a collaborative environment contributes to a reflective culture and helps place general education at the forefront of university life.
Lori Allen, Director of General Education; Associate Professor of Chemistry, James Robinson, Coordinator Teaching and Learning Center, Gerald Greenfield, Associate Provost, and Frances Kavenik, Chair of the General Education Committee and Professor of English, University of Wisconsin–Parkside
CS16: Transforming the Familiar: An Ethnographic Approach to General Education Reform
Based on work at the University of Southern Maine, this interactive session will allow participants to practice applying an ethnographer's perspective to general education reform and assessment in their own institutional contexts. Participants will identify indigenous structures and processes that might be transformed to successfully navigate what Gaff (1980) called the "potholes" of general education reform. They will discuss how policies, practices, and inclusive and open change processes influence general education outcomes. Judy J. Tizón, Associate Provost, Undergraduate Education and Associate Professor of Anthropology, and Susan McWilliams, Assistant Provost, Undergraduate Education, University of Southern Maine
CS17: Advancing Seamless Transfer and Articulation K–20: Florida’s Policies and Practices
State policy makers are in a position to influence the public agenda and to support academic excellence throughout all levels of education. Participants are invited to discuss the promising practices, policies, and resources that help cultivate productive relationships in Florida’s successful K-20 educational pipeline. Examples will be provided of successful articulation and transfer between and among Florida’s K–12 system, community colleges, career and technical centers, and state universities . Questions and discussion will be encouraged.
Pamela A. Kerouac, Policy Analyst, Office of Articulation, Florida Department of Education
CS18: Assessment of Moral Reasoning in a General Education Course
This session will describe how faculty can involve students in building a rubric for self- assessment of moral reasoning in a required general education course. The facilitators will discuss how self-assessment results can be used in combination with the results of a standardized test in moral reasoning (the Defining Issues Test) to assess students' moral reasoning skills and to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching strategies in furthering these skills. Participants will have an opportunity to develop strategies for assessing moral reasoning in their own general education courses and for involving students in building self-assessment rubrics in areas other than moral reasoning.
Brenita Nicholas, Associate Professor of Social Work, Mount Vernon Nazarene University; and Joel Frederickson, Professor of Psychology, Bethel University
CS19: A Multi-Disciplinary Assessment Initiative
Session facilitators will share their experience in developing and implementing a low-cost process for assessing critical thinking and technical writing skills that cuts across departmental and divisional borders. They will describe how team members (faculty from various disciplines, administrators, and staff) shifted from viewing assessment as a dogmatic, punitive chore to appreciating the intrinsic value of assessment as they collaboratively moved through the design, implementation, and data interpretation process. Participants will learn how a diverse group of educators can work as peers to contribute to pedagogical revitalization and to develop a culture where assessment is valued. They will see how this program can be implemented not only for assessing the core curriculum, but also for assessing the majors and multidisciplinary programs.
Mark S. Rotondo, Data Analyst,and Elisabeth Hollister Sandberg, Associate Professor of Psychology, Suffolk University
CS20: Building a Bridge While Closing the Loop
Developing assessment methods that provide useful information for enhancing student learning is a thoughtful, sometimes challenging, but rewarding process for teacher and student. In this session, participants will learn about a system developed to assess and improve two vital learning outcomes that span general education and the disciplines. The system helps students, faculty, program directors, and institutional leaders to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in writing and thinking and to plan for improvement where needed. Participants will learn how to use this assessment system and will receive classroom, program assessment and peer review tools.
Teresa Flateby, Director of University Assessment, Evaluation, and Testing, University of South Florida
CS21: Promoting Personal Development and Mental Health in Students Through Emotional Intelligence
The number of college students experiencing mental health problems continues to grow. The rise in stress, anxiety, depression and hopelessness reported by students can cripple personal and academic goals. Promoting social and emotional competencies such as emotional self awareness, empathy and emotional regulation can assist students in adjusting to environmental demands and pressures. This session will introduce participants to strategies for assessing and developing emotional intelligence as a means of fostering personal development and well being.
Carol Day, Director, Health Education Services, and Patrick Kilcarr, Director, Center for Personal Development, Georgetown University; and Jon Duffy, Postsecondary Partner Relations Consultant, Multi-Health Systems
Saturday, March 3, 2007
9:15 - 10:30 a.m.
What You and Your Institution Can Do to Promote Student Success
Panelists will provide research findings about what matters most in enhancing student success. They will offer concrete guidance and campus models to help faculty members, student affairs educators, and campus leaders advance educational excellence. This excellence will come from crafting policies and practices that integrate our best understandings about how people learn with robust educational outcomes for students.
Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute and Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University Bloomington; John H. Schuh, Distinguished Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Iowa State University; and Elizabeth Whitt, Professor, Graduate Programs in Student Affairs, and Faculty Fellow, Office of the Provost, University of Iowa
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Innovative Learning Through Collaboration: Academic/Student Affairs Partnerships
Placing learning outcomes at the center of faculty and student affairs work has the potential to spur partnerships among campus educators and innovative learning experiences for students, broadly and within general education. The facilitators will examine ways in which successful academic affairs and student affairs collaborations at the programmatic and institutional levels have created dynamic learning environments to advance student achievement.
Susan E. Borrego, Vice President for Student Affairs, California State University, Monterey Bay; and Pamela T. Motoike, Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Introduction to Service Learning Instruction, Service Learning Institute
CS 22: Administrative Problem-Solving for New General Education Administrators
This is a Council for Administration of General and Liberal Studies (CAGLS) interactive session designed for new administrators in general and liberal studies. This session will provide strategies, discussion, and promising practices for new administrators. Session facilitators will assist participating administrators in the development of techniques and strategies needed to engage effectively in an academic environment. Following an introduction, participants will form teams and solve specific administrative problems that concern those attending the session. The teams will then analyze, with all session participants, their ideas for resolving their particular challenges.
Emily Johnson, Past President of CAGLS, Director of General Education, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse; Susan Feiner, President of CAGLS, Director of Women's Studies, University of Southern Maine; and William Badley, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Director of General Education Middle Tennessee State University
CS23: Using Direct Evidence and Student Self-Reports to Assess Teaching and Learning
Institutions of all types are under increasing pressure to provide direct evidence of student learning and achievement that goes beyond reporting student satisfaction. In this session, participants will learn about UCLA’s implementation of a student learning outcomes (SLOs) assessment model for its freshmen cluster courses. Data and results shared in this session will be drawn from the biotechnology and society cluster, the initial cluster to use a direct assessment model. The session will include discussion of the development of course-specific SLOs, ways to measure achievement of SLOs using classroom-embedded assignments, the role of student self-reports of learning, and how to use assessment results to improve teaching and learning for faculty and students. Participants will work in small groups to discuss and reflect upon assessment practices at their institutions and to refine their assessment practices.
Linda DeAngelo, Research Analyst and Marc Levis-Fitzgerald, Director of Undergraduate Research and Evaluation, University of California, Los Angeles
CS24: Authentic Assessment of Social Responsibility
There is increasing consensus within American higher education that social responsibility should be an essential outcome of the undergraduate experience. Placing education for social responsibility among general education learning outcomes necessitates the development of new assessment procedures, a process often fraught with challenges because civic engagement does not fit naturally into pre-existing academic categories. This session will share one institution’s experiences with developing a new college learning outcome focused on social responsibility and the subsequent process of identifying assessment points and evaluation rubrics. Participants will discuss possible models for the implementation and assessment of education for social responsibility at institutions that recognize the importance of this educational direction but have not fully institutionalized it within their general education curriculum and/or co-curriculum.
Catharine O'Connell, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and JoAnn Burkhardt, Director of Teacher Education, Defiance College
CS25: Applying Rigorous Analysis to General Education Reform
This session will address general education reform and institutional culture and change. The presenters will describe a general education reform process in which three design teams offered distinct proposals for institutional consideration. By analyzing the underlying assumptions and frameworks of the general education proposals and comparing it with an analysis of university accreditation documents, the presenters have been able to report to the campus community on the cultural alignment of the three proposals with the existing university culture. Participants will be challenged to think rigorously about institutional change, using the powers of research and analysis that are routinely demanded in the disciplines but rarely applied to internal processes. Participants will work with sample documents as texts to analyze the underlying assumptions and frameworks, and in small groups will compare the frameworks from multiple texts to see if they are compatible or conflicting.
David Sill, Associate Provost, Eric Ruckh, Associate Professor of Historical Studies, and Michael Palmer, Graduate Student, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
CS26: All Curricula, All Students: Congruencies and Contrasts in Planning and Assessing General Education
This session will feature the design and assessment of general education at two institutions: a medium-sized, publicly-financed urban community college and a small, private, technically-oriented college. The facilitators will discuss their vision, goals, and methods for creating successful general education programs. They will offer definitions of general education proficiencies and objectives, articulate clear learning outcomes, and discuss how to create and sustain assessment processes. Participants will learn strategies for strengthening general education, including redesign of syllabi, provision of multiple learning opportunities, and integration of general education proficiencies and objectives into discipline-based course content. This session will include an opportunity for participants to gauge their own programs and will be valuable to faculty and administrators of general education, assessment, and institutional research at broadly divergent institutions.
Debra A. Gonsher, Director of General Education, Howard Wach, Director of Academic Assessment, and Nancy Ritze, Dean of Institutional Research, City University of New York Bronx Community College; and Kathleen Broome Williams, Director of General Education, Cogswell Polytechnical College;
CS27: General Education Institute: Valuing General Education and Assessment
Implementing and assessing a new general education program often requires a change in campus culture, both internally and externally. Administrators, faculty, students, and the public must come together in meaningful dialogue to create a campus culture that defines and values the role of a strong general education curriculum and the many forms of assessment required to assure its effectiveness. Participants will engage in new approaches to communication that help them identify and understand the goals for general education and emphasize their importance. They will participate in a simulated model of a general education institute and receive a workbook that outlines a process to facilitate similar institutes on their own campuses.
Chris Wood Foreman, General Education Director and Margaret Crouch, Professor of Philosophy, Eastern Michigan University
CS28: Deepening Student Learning and Success
This session will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about the research findings and practical tools presented in the morning plenary. Participants will discuss strategies for using this information to enhance student learning on their campuses.
Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute and Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University Bloomington; John H. Schuh, Distinguished Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Iowa State University; and Elizabeth Whitt, Professor, Graduate Programs in Student Affairs,, and Faculty Fellow, Office of the Provost, University of Iowa
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
CS29: Contemporary and Global Challenges as Foci for Student Learning
AAC&U's Shared Futures: General Education for Global Learning project is a vibrant network of colleges and universities using global learning outcomes as organizing principles for the creation of coherent general education curricula. This session will provide a brief overview of the goals and activities of the Shared Futures project, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Participants will then be invited to join team members from many of the sixteen participating institutions in nuts and bolts conversation about their campus-based reform efforts. Shared Futures teams are redefining general education on their campuses as they explore a wide variety of reforms (first year seminars, general education capstones, clustered courses, etc) and develop tools to assess them.
Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President, Kevin Hovland, Director of Programs, and Sook-Yi, Yong, Program Assistant, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Global Initiatives, AAC&U; and Shared Futures Campus Team Members
CS30: Integrating Common Learning Outcomes Across the Curriculum and Co-Curriculum
Whether an institution is large or small, having a unified set of learning outcomes across campus can help it to function as a coherent whole. Session facilitators will share a model and examples related to integrating common learning outcomes into general education courses, major programs, the co-curriculum, and a quality enhancement plan. Participants will examine initial results and reactions to the model and discuss practical uses and the challenges they might encounter to adapting this process.
Laura Joanne Getty, Associate Professor of English, Denise Y. Young, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness, and Laura D. Whitaker-Lea, Associate Dean of Students, North Georgia College and State University
CS31: Pathways for Assessing Information Literacy, Scientific Literacy, and Technology Fluency
This session will feature a large-scale assessment project that can be transferred to different settings at the institution, program, or course level. Facilitators from the University of Maryland University College will describe how state and institutional assessment requirements in the three core learning areas of information literacy, scientific literacy, and technology fluency resulted in a process that supported more effective course design and improved faculty performance. Participants will learn how three separate core learning areas were mapped from national and state standards to course-level outcomes, and they will have an opportunity to practice mapping standards to test items.
Kathleen Warner, Academic Director, Science, and Collegiate Professor, Elizabeth Mulherrin, Academic Director, Library Skills and Collegiate Associate Professor, and Janet Zimmer, Academic Director, Information Systems Management, and Collegiate Associate Professor, University of Maryland University College
CS32: General Education Program Assessment: A Way Forward
Program-level assessment goes beyond course assessment to examine student learning across broad curricular domains. This session will describe a large-scale project at California State University, Chico, focused on program-level assessment of general education outcomes. In the case of CSU, Chico, institutional leaders examined writing, oral communication, and quantitative reasoning. The process included the development of an innovative electronic tool, the Student Tracking, Evaluation and Portfolio System (STEPS). Participants will learn more about the process and about STEPS, as well as strategies for faculty involvement, effective communication, and use of assessment results. They will also have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences with program-level assessment of general education and to apply this case study to their own circumstances.
William M. Loker, Dean of Undergraduate Education, Chris Fosen, Assistant Professor of English, and Margaret Owens, Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences, California State University, Chico
CS33: Adapting General Education Reform to Individual Campus Culture
What elements contribute to successful campus decision-making and general education reform? This session will examine an open and inclusive process-oriented reform model and examples of important process variables that impact specific campus cultures. Among the variables that will be discussed are those intended to (1) educate the campus community about national trends in general education reform, (2) communicate openly and inclusively with the campus, (3) involve all relevant constituents, (4) respect faculty governance, and (5) assure a timely conclusion to reform efforts. Participants will be encouraged to create lists of salient variables on their campuses that must be addressed in process-oriented reform to address their own campus cultures. Examples of how the University of Michigan–Flint addressed campus-specific concerns will be provided.
Susan Gano-Phillips, Director, Center for Learning and Teaching/Associate Professor of Psychology, and Robert Barnett, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Michigan–Flint
CS34: Communicating the Value of General Education to Colleagues, Students, and Constituencies
This session will draw on research conducted as part of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) campaign. Participants will learn about how students, recent graduates, and business leaders view the most important general education outcomes for success in today’s world and will be introduced to messages and language proven effective in making the case for liberal and general education to a variety of constituents. The facilitator will also introduce participants to a newly published self-study guide designed to help institutions align their practices with the messages they send through a variety of means—including curriculum, admissions, Web sites, and external relations.
Debra Humphreys, Vice President, Office of Communication and Public Affairs, AAC&U
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Taking Responsibility for Change on Campus: What If We Just Stayed Here?
This session will summarize some of the key challenges facing campuses as they assess the quality of their general education programs. Participants will be invited to share specific actions they plan for their own campuses to respond to these challenges.
Terrel L. Rhodes, Vice President, Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, AAC&U