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Nurturing Readiness for a “Culture of Learning” for General Education John F. Stevenson University Nurturing Readiness for a “Culture of Learning” for General Education John F. Stevenson University of Rhode Island November 3, 2011

Introduction • Logic: It takes time and multiple processes to “nurture a learning culture” Introduction • Logic: It takes time and multiple processes to “nurture a learning culture” on a university campus! • Especially for general education!! • What are some steps along the way? • How would we know we are getting there?

Introduction: Key Concepts • • ASSESSMENT: PROGRAM-LEVEL MEASUREMENT OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF STUDENTS ON DESIGNATED Introduction: Key Concepts • • ASSESSMENT: PROGRAM-LEVEL MEASUREMENT OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF STUDENTS ON DESIGNATED LEARNING OUTCOMES, WITH THE INTENTION TO IMPROVE PROGRAMS UTILIZATION: MOVING BEYOND A REPORT OF FINDINGS FROM ASSESSMENT TO ACTUAL PROGRAM CHANGES IN LINE WITH ASSESSMENT FINDINGS (“COMPLETING THE LOOP”) LEARNING ORGANIZATION: ENGAGES IN ONGOING REVIEW OF ITS SERVICES, USING AND REVISING OUTCOME EXPECTATIONS, COLLECTING EVIDENCE FOR SUCCESS, ALTERING PROCESSES ACCORDINGLY, QUESTIONING PREMISES STAGES OF READINESS: MAJOR ORGANIZATIONAL PHASES IN MOVING FROM EXTERNALLY REQUIRED ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES TO INTERNAL EMBRACING OF THE VALUE OF ASSESSMENT – A DEVELOPMENTAL PERSPECTIVE

Five-stage model for developing a culture of learning to support assessmen – Stage 1: Five-stage model for developing a culture of learning to support assessmen – Stage 1: Denial: – Stage 2: External Demand – – – • • • “No one really cares about this and we all have more important things to do; it’s a passing fad. ” Administration: “We have to!” Faculty: “You have to!” (denial still rampant for faculty) Fear/defensiveness Top-down pressure reduces sense of intrinsic value, “buy-in” Few resources of any kind devoted to assessment (workload recognition, faculty time, direct funding, staff time, technology Stage 3: Tentative Commitment • • Early adopters on board (administrators and faculty) Strong leadership at the administrative level (key person) Initial internal structures (faculty advisory committee, staff resource) Capacity-building (e. g. conferences, workshops) starting to pay off; more awareness of non-trivializing approaches to assessment Stage 4: Full-scale Effort • • • Clear expectations and incentives at the program level Regular monitoring of assessment progress Positive rewards for “completing the loop” Critical mass of faculty and chairs accept necessity Growing recognition of potential pedagogical value of the process (intrinsic motivation) Formalization of rules and structures Stage 5: Maintenance and Refinement • • Late adopters and resisters targeted Mature resources and structures allow longitudinal tracking of outcomes Pioneers ready for more sophisticated efforts at alignment, taking risks in questioning the premises in their learning outcomes Leadership at every level sees the genuine value and is committed to providing the resources on a stable basis

Some action steps to move along the path • Gauging the readiness (surveys and Some action steps to move along the path • Gauging the readiness (surveys and measures of output) • Building learning communities (interested in general education) • Identifying key constituencies (structures that can help and hurt) • Addressing resistance • Generating data, sharing findings

Looking at where we are and measuring progress • URI: Chair survey on readiness Looking at where we are and measuring progress • URI: Chair survey on readiness for program assessment • NAU: Qualitative review of assessment reports • Both: Spreadsheet tracking by program • • • NAU: Chair survey on “Liberal Studies” NAU: Faculty survey on “Liberal Studies” NAU: Syllabus analysis NAU: Advising worksheet analysis URI: Assignment analysis

WHERE IS URI IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A “CULTURE OF LEARNING”? What stage are WHERE IS URI IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A “CULTURE OF LEARNING”? What stage are we in? Transition between 3 (Tentative Commitment) and 4 (Full-Scale Effort) How are we doing on: Ø Faculty acceptance of assessment? Chairs like it. Ø Leadership commitment and resources? Chairs question those. Ø Alignment across levels? Not well addressed yet Ø Implementation? Undergraduate OK; Graduate just starting; General Education ? ? ?

General Education Learning Outcomes at URI • General Education Cognitive Learning Outcomes In academic General Education Learning Outcomes at URI • General Education Cognitive Learning Outcomes In academic and non-academic settings, with respect to fine arts and literature, humanities and letters, the natural sciences, and the social sciences, students will be able to: • • • Identify basic concepts, theories, and developments; Recognize issues, as well as aesthetic and literary elements and forms; Ask questions appropriate to the modes of inquiry; Collect information relevant to the questions raised; and exhibit Analyze the information in order to address the questions or solve problems General Education Integrated Skills Each course in General Education must also incorporate opportunities for students to practice three (3) or more of the following skills: Reading complex texts Using quantitative data Writing effectively Using qualitative data Speaking effectively Demonstrating information literacy Examining human differences Engaging in artistic activity 3

One incomplete story: Pitfalls and Progress • • Defining learning outcomes (whoopee!) New Provost, One incomplete story: Pitfalls and Progress • • Defining learning outcomes (whoopee!) New Provost, new program … ? Assessment stalls Grand Challenge seminars as a bridge Assessment and community-building Role of peer mentors (and risks) Linking to the planning for a new program

Logic Model for Grand Challenge Initiative Intermediate Objective Activities • Small interdisciplinary seminars • Logic Model for Grand Challenge Initiative Intermediate Objective Activities • Small interdisciplinary seminars • Partnered skill courses • Engagement with faculty • Engagement with peers • Positive attitudes toward global challenges • Interdisciplinary problem-solving skills • General education skills Outcome Objectives • Retention • Academic excellence • Life-long learning motivation

It’s all about learning What assignments are you using to get them there? What It’s all about learning What assignments are you using to get them there? What are your learning goals for the students? How are you judging their work ? (rubrics) It’s all about learning Goals for the program Change in the program? What are they/aren’t they getting? Things to do differently in your course? 2

In General Education: It’s all about learning too (double loop) Course assignments Course objectives In General Education: It’s all about learning too (double loop) Course assignments Course objectives for the students Student outcomes(ru brics) Nurturing a culture to support learning Learning goals & objectives for the program Improvements in the program Results for learning objectives Things to do differently in courses 2

Building community as we go? • Which steps have been taken (ovals)? • What Building community as we go? • Which steps have been taken (ovals)? • What is next? • Nurturing movement (arrows) • Ingraining the learning loop

In General Education: It’s all about learning too (double loop) Course assignments Course objectives In General Education: It’s all about learning too (double loop) Course assignments Course objectives for the students Student outcomes(ru brics) Nurturing a culture to support learning Learning goals & objectives for the program Improvements in the program Results for learning objectives Things to do differently in courses 2

Changing the Culture? • Less of: “Sure I put learning objectives on my syllabus, Changing the Culture? • Less of: “Sure I put learning objectives on my syllabus, but then I teach the way I always have. ” “They need 4 credits of writing!” • More of: “I see that when my students and I know what I’m aiming for, it helps – and our faculty discussions move that to the program level. ” “They need to be able to write coherent, audiencesensitive, well-organized work.

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 • • Preskill, H. & Torres, R. T. (1999). Evaluative inquiry for learning • • Preskill, H. & Torres, R. T. (1999). Evaluative inquiry for learning in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Stevenson, JF, Treml, M, & Paradis, T (November 2009) Assessing readiness for a “culture of learning. ” Paper presented as part of a multi-paper session titled “Emerging evaluation practices in the context of higher education institutions” at the Annual Meeting of the American Evaluation Association, Orlando FL. Treml, M. , Paradis, T. , & Stevenson, J. (March 2011). Gauging the culture of general education through a survey of faculty attitudes and perceptions. Workshop presented at the conference on General Education and Assessment of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, Chicago, IL Wehlburg, C. (1999). How to get the ball rolling: Beginning an assessment program on your campus. AAHE Bulletin, 51(9), 7 -9.

 • Paper presented at the annual, meeting of the American Evaluation Association, Anaheim, • Paper presented at the annual, meeting of the American Evaluation Association, Anaheim, CA. • John Stevenson, Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, 10 Chafee Rd. , Kingston , RI 02881 [email protected] edu; 401 -874 -4240