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Faculty Development Grant

from the Bush Foundation

Nov 2002 - Nov 2005

Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD


Brief Summary of Faculty Development Grant

Introduction

1. Student Learning Assessment

2. Teaching and Learning (Pedagogy)

3. Internships and the Expression of Liberal Thinking

4. Expanding Educational Perspectives (Diversity, Globalism Internationalism, Interculturism)

5. Information Technology

6. Vocation of the College and for our Students: Implications for Learning


Introduction

The overriding objective of Augustana's faculty development program is to systematically explore student learning in at least four ways: (a) understand better the relationship between teacher and student and find ways to improve that fundamental relationship; (b) explore and apply familiar and unfamiliar enhancements of the teacher-student relationship, e.g., opportunities for an intensive internship/practical application component for students, an emphasis on technology and its implications for the teaching and learning processes, and placement of students in an appropriate, diverse international or intercultural context; (c) apply the latest research and methodology to the assessment of student learning and develop functional ways to apply what is learned directly to the curriculum; and (d) explore the ways mission and vocation of the college impact student learning.

This project seeks to integrate appropriate faculty development activities (with commensurate impact on student learning) within the strategic direction of Augustana College. Within the last year, the college completed its first academic master plan. This plan contains a directional structure for the college that has clear implications for the development of faculty skill, student learning, and the overall direction of the college.

The work around the development of the academic master plan has produced four important implications for faculty development at Augustana College. First, we seek to hold up the value and importance of interdisciplinary efforts in curriculum and teaching. Second, the college sees diversity and international/global issues as fundamentally important to the ongoing life and vitality of a liberal education. Another strategic imperative is a continued emphasis on determining the role, function, and pervasiveness of technology in the pedagogy of teaching and in the learning of our students. Finally, the master plan called for greater assessment of student learning to guide decision making. These directions from the academic master plan may serve as a base for proposals from faculty during the project.

In some ways, this project builds on the last one, and in other ways, the activities suggested herein are unique. We have learned important lessons from our previous grant cycle and the comments presented by the evaluators and consultants. For example, the last grant exposed a weakness in our assessment efforts. As a result, this project emphasizes the assessment of student learning and incorporates better measures of grant effectiveness on said learning. This project is more focused than the last and has clearer objectives; e.g., there is more systematic focus for the instructional technologist around student learning. This project suggests themes that are more reflective of this place, themes that flow directly out of the academic master plan. Finally, this project suggests more efficient organization of the assessment and faculty development efforts at the college.

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There are six specific problems and opportunities that form the basis of this project:

Student Learning Assessment

The first problem or opportunity is Student Learning Assessment. There are several elements to making learning assessment work for Augustana College: positioning Augustana for change, identifying institutional strengths and strategies to build commitment, learning about student learning, articulating expectations for student learning and development, identifying methods to assess student learning, interpreting assessment results, communicating results to inform pedagogy, decision making, planning and budgeting, and making learning an institutional priority. We propose to strengthen student learning assessment through department support for assessment, workshops for faculty, and other related projects moving the college toward our goal of becoming a campus where level 3 assessment programs are the dominant category

Six student learning assessment workshops across the life of the project are plannedľ-two for each academic division--with a significant majority of the faculty attending at least one of the workshops. The first three workshops will occur in 2002-2004, and the second three will occur in 2004-2005. The workshops will be developmental, i.e., the second set will be more advanced than the first. Attention will be given to the unique needs of individual departments. Three department development grants (competitive) across the life of the grant will be funded. These projects will be department-wide efforts at improving the assessment of student learning within the department. We expect four serious innovative, incisive, and forward-thinking proposals each year, yielding two grants per year. We plan to develop an Assessment Day as a way to identify what we are doing well, and determine what we need to improve. We expect a substantial majority of faculty and students to participate. Various activities will allow us to compare Augustana College students to students across the country. Activities in academic majors will allow academic departments a chance to assess how well they are doing in helping students learn the core concepts.

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Teaching and Learning (Pedagogy)

Second, very much related to the assessment of student learning, we are interested in expanding the campus conversation about teaching and learning (pedagogy). This project will address issues of teaching and pedagogy, examining the relationship between pedagogy and student learning. Faculty will be invited to explore their philosophy of teaching and learning, exploring when learners learn best. We also expect faculty to explore the ways instructional strategies are influenced by beliefs about teaching and learning. This exploration will involve several specific dimensions, including nontraditional students in the broadest sense of the term, general education, and learning in student-faculty research projects.

The plan will generate two to three projects exploring nontraditional student learning experiences, upward mobility programs in specific professions, e.g., nursing, or projects exploring the learning implications of expanding the college's work with nontraditional and older-than-average students. Ongoing support for the Augustana Symposium, a showcase for undergraduate research projects, is planned. We will invite two to three proposals across the life of the grant designed to examine the relationship between student learning and pedagogy, placing an emphasis on innovative and new approaches. These proposals must show the potential for significant impact on a large number os students, systemic impact on undergraduate education at Augustana, and generalizability to other programs at the college. We expect to recruit faculty teams of different styles of teaching, including current and previous nominees and recipients of the Niebuhr, Lofthus, Kohlmeyer, and similar [teaching] awards. The plan will generate summer projects specifically supporting undergraduate research with particular emphasis on student learning outcomes from student research projects. We expect to fund at least two faculty and two students per summer, coordinating Bush support with ARAF or external support. In these projects, specific attention must be paid to method, manner, and depth of student learning. We will invite the faculty to develop two to three projects that explore the way students learn from general education (pedagogy, student learning outcomes), that explicate how general education informs the curriculum, or that analyze how teaching general education courses impacts student learning. We expect one project per year involving three or more faculty in a particular area of Gen. Ed. (e.g. 3.1) and at least one hundred students in Gen. Ed. courses. These proposals must show the potential for significant impact on a large number of students and systemic impact on undergraduate education at Augustana.

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Internships and the Expression of Liberal Thinking

Third, there is the issue of internships and the expression of liberal thinking. We propose developing, across the three years of this project, five to seven Internship Centers around the country. These centers of student internship activities would be staffed by a part-time (alumni) coordinator. Augustana wishes to provide as many diverse undergraduate experiences as possible within a real-life application of liberal learning and vocational interest. These internship centers would also trigger faculty development in the sense of using distance learning methods and technologies to support the students while they are at the internship site. By the end of year three, we propose to have 40-50 students engaged in internship activities at these off-campus sites. We see these internship centers serving students in the sciences, the arts, and business. We seek to create an experimental internship program, one that does not immediately supercede the existing internship program.

By the end of the project, the college will develop at least five internship centers at various places around the country. These centers will be integrated into the college's funding capability by the end of the third year. We will recruit three alumni in each geographical area and place two to five students in each center per year. Possible sites include Mpls/St. Paul, Chicago, Denver, Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco, L.A. We anticipate exploring the relationship between these sorts of centers and the liberal arts tradition/mission of Augustana College.

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Expanding Educational Perspectives (Diversity, Globalism Internationalism, Interculturism)

Fourth, we seek to expand educational perspectives of our students and faculty in terms of diversity, globalism, regional, and international perspectives as well as intercultural phenomena. This element of the project seeks to create ways to infuse global perspectives into existing courses. We seek to work with and expand the activities of the existing International Studies Committee. In order to accomplish this objective, faculty will have the opportunity to receive Project Grants (classroom-based intensive efforts at international and global immersion) and Focused Study Grants for faculty who can demonstrate the ability to modify the learning environment and learning outcomes for students. Anticipated outcomes would be in the areas of course application, assessment strategies, and research for overseas courses. Further, the definition of globalism and international perspectives includes, for this project, the inner city experience (both here and abroad), Native American reservation experience, international perspectives, and rural perspectives. Finally, the faculty involved in this element will develop relationships with helpful consortia, including but not limited to UMAIE, HECUA, Washington Semester, and others.

The project will fund 21 to 30 Project Grants (7-10 each year) across the life of the project. These grants will be for classroom-based efforts at internationalization and global immersion. We will recruit seven to ten faculty across disciplines in three groups per year to expand global and multicultural emphases in one to two courses each, effectively infusing diversity, global perspectives, and internationalism into the courses. The project will fund four to six Focused Study Grants to members of the faculty expressing an interest in modifying learning environments so as to significantly engage the issues of globalism and international learning. This work will be broader than but related to the work of the Project Grants, offering plans for exploring diversity, globalism, expanded definitions of inter-cultural work, or systematic work with appropriate educational consortia. We will research and develop courses and department-wide emphases in international courses (Interim, semester abroad), interaction with Indian reservations and tribal colleges, and minority communities in urban centers.

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Information Technology

Fifth, there is the important and inescapable presence of information technology (IT). We see this sort of competence as an expression of the ability to use IT (as tools) to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of life's work and to selectively and critically build life's contexts, including the support of self-learning and life-long learning. Across the three years of this project, we will support projects that go beyond equating technology in teaching with skills in writing and speaking. This category implies more than simply learning "how" to do something with technology, and points to understanding the implications for student learning contained in a technological application. For example, we need to understand the effect of varied learning styles and ways of processing information on using technology to provide individualized access to material and content. What are the implications for learning when we provide (through technology) means for electronically collaborating with others in face-to-face and online environments (i.e. sharing applications synchronously or asynchronously)? Specifically, we seek to support projects that will examine the learning implications of curricular innovations making use of instructional technology.

We will develop a faculty fellows/mentoring program for faculty training in the appropriate and effective use of the WWW and the Internet in the classroom. We expect to establish a network of mentoring and mutual encouragement in technology use among faculty and schools. We will develop a campus Center for Web-based Research and Instruction (CWRI) which will house materials, software, teaching aids, resources, and other aids for faculty and students. Led by the instructional technologist, the college will run workshops and short courses for faculty, each interacting with several students. We will continue support for the instructional technologist.

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Vocation of the College and for our Students: Implications for Learning

Finally, there is the issue of being actively involved in the world and becoming sustainers (as involved persons) of the world, which we are calling vocation. We understand Augustana to exist and thrive not in splendid isolation, but in the environment and context of community broadly understood. That is to say, Augustana is people--current students, faculty, staff--but also alumni, parents, future students, pastors and members of congregations, both Lutheran and partners in ecumenical work and conversation, as well as the larger environment of leaders and members of Church, society, and world. We think there are important implications for student learning bound up with this notion of involvement and participation, each of which will be explored in the planned activities for this portion of the project. Work in this area might be described as service learning, or community-based learning experiences.

We will revise the new faculty orientation process to reflect more significantly the mission of the college. The process, led by the V.P. for Academic Affairs, will include reading, mentoring, and evaluation of mission development. Reading and discussion will focus on either Ernest Simmons, Lutheran Higher Education: An Introduction for Faculty, Augsburg Fortress, 1998, or Robert Benne, Quality with Soul: How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with Their Religious Traditions, Eerdmans, 2001. We will revise the New Student Seminar to include questions of mission, liberal arts, and college vocation. We will offer faculty who teach Capstone courses the opportunity to include a more specific focus on questions of mission, liberal arts, and college vocation in their courses. We will develop a series of workshops for faculty on the mission and vocation of the college. These workshops will focus on student learning outcomes coming from or tied to Augustana's mission and vocation. We will establish a series of community-based learning experiences (service learning) for students. These experiences will reflect the mission and vocation of Augustana College. The funds will be used to establish, in partnership with community agencies, two or three community-based learning projects per year.

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