Monday, November 28

4:00 - 5:00 PM - All LSFY Meeting  CANCELLED
Wilson Center

Tuesday, November 29

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Lunchbytes Workshop:RefWorks
Tredway Library, north end, 2nd floor

10:30 - 11:50 AM - Tuesday Reflection - Pat Nelson, '12
Ascension Chapel, Founders Hall, 2nd floor

4:30 - 5:30 PM - Ekklesia Study Group
Old Main 121

8:00 PM - Faculty Recital - Trombone Quartet
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building

Wednesday, November 30

9:30 - 10:30 AM - Coffee and Conversation
CEC Conference Room, Sorensen Hall, 1st floor

12:00 - 12:50 PM - Bible Study: The Advent Conspiracy
Bring your lunch if you wish. Bring a Bible, or borrow one available at the session
Chicago Room, College Center

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Stand Next to Me Closely: Literary Collage and the Vanishing of Camille Claudel
Erin Bertram speaks about the vanishing of Camille Claudel at the Women's & Gender Studies Tea-Hour Series
Carlsson Evald Great Hall

7:00 PM - River Readings: Jill Alexander Essbaum
Poet Jill Alexander Essbaum is describes herself as obsessing over three topics: God, sex, and death
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building

7:30 PM - "Rembrandt as Printmaker"
Thomas E. Rassieur, a co-curator of the traveling exhibition "Rembrandt in America"
Larson Hall, Bergendoff Building

Thursday, December 1

10:30 - 11:20 AM - Convocation - Eboo Patel "Acts of Faith: Interfaith Leadership in a Time of Global Religious Crisis"
Centennial Hall

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM - Faculty Senate Meeting
Hanson Hall of Science 102

Friday, December 2

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Friday Conversations "Jon Clauss, Mark Salisbury and Ellen Hay "Senior Inquiry: How's it Working Out? What Might it Look Like in a 4-1-4 System?"
3:30 PM - Refreshments
Wilson Center

8:00 PM - Christmas at Augustana
Three hundred student musicians share their talents, featuring performances by the Augustana Brass Ensemble, the Augustana Symphony Orchestra, the Augustana Choir, Ascension Singers, Cantilena Augustana, Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, and the Wennerberg Chorus
$20 General Public; $10 Faculty, Staff & Students; $16 Senior Citizens
Centennial Hall

Saturday, December 3 

4:00 PM - Christmas at Augustana
Three hundred student musicians share their talents, featuring performances by the Augustana Brass Ensemble, the Augustana Symphony Orchestra, the Augustana Choir, Ascension Singers, Cantilena Augustana, Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, and the Wennerberg Chorus
$20 General Public; $10 Faculty, Staff & Students; $16 Senior Citizens
Centennial Hall

Sunday, December 4

2:00 PM - Quad City Symphony Orchestra Concert
Call QC Symphony Office for tickets 563-322-0931
Centennial Hall 

Volume 9, Issue 14 - November 28, 2011

Delicious Ambiguity

From time to time, Augustana lets me out of my little cave so that I can attend a conference related to higher education research or assessment of student learning outcomes. A few weeks ago, a paper was presented at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) that I found fascinating and particularly germane to many of the conversations we have at Augustana about the effects of particular curricular emphases on broader student learning outcomes.

This particular paper examined the influence of required diversity courses on students' inclination toward civic engagement. At many institutions the general education curricula is organized around a series of categories from which students choose one or two courses to meet the institution's requirements. This paper hypothesized that perhaps one course on diversity issues was not enough to influence substantive, lasting learning. The authors examined data from about 500 students, gathered at the beginning of the first year and at the end of the fourth year. The authors also had access to student transcripts that allowed them to identify which courses the students took to fulfill their general education requirements.

Students in this study had two options in fulfilling the diversity requirement. They could take a domestic diversity course or a global diversity course. In some cases, students took both - especially since some courses within the diversity category also fulfilled other requirements necessary for graduation. Thus, the researchers could test the effect of taking one domestic diversity course, one global diversity course, or both courses on students' gains in attitudes toward civic engagement.

The study found that the only students who made substantive gains in an inclination toward civic engagement were those who took both the domestic and global diversity courses. Conversely, students who took only one course focused on either domestic or global diversity had no unique effect on attitudinal gains.

The take away from this paper, and the discussion that followed really honed in on the tendency for us to think that substantive learning can be accomplished by a single course - a "check the box" approach. Of course, as we think about designing a new curriculum these findings might be useful to consider. More broadly, however, I would suggest that this paper reinforces the idea that substantive learning is a function of a series of related experiences rather than any one experience. We are the ones who can help our students engage in related experiences and help to point out those connections.

Make it a good day.


Mark