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Critical and Creative Thinking: Accreditation and Institutional Change

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1 Critical and Creative Thinking: Accreditation and Institutional Change
Iain Crawford Department of English, University of Delaware

2 The College of Wooster, 2002-3
“More than 50% of our seniors go on to graduate school” – Department of Chemistry, 2002 Self-Study Report to HLC HLC sanction: monitoring report in 2005 HLC sanction: focused visit in 2006 Dearth of institutional engagement in assessment of student learning

3 Promoting a Culture of Assessment
2005 Ohio5 working group (funded with planning grant from Teagle Foundation): Denison; Kenyon; Oberlin; Ohio Wesleyan; Wooster Developed proposal based upon using Primary Trait Analysis to assess critical and creative thinking as essential outcomes of liberal learning Led to project funded by Teagle ($297,000)

4 Research Questions What tools might we develop to assess fundamental and related outcomes of a liberal arts education? Can we effectively assess development of critical and creative thinking in the classroom? What are faculty and student perceptions of critical and creative thinking? How do student perceptions of these change during their college years?

5 Research Methods Developed rubrics to assess faculty and student perceptions of critical and creative thinking and learning across the curriculum Administered surveys to faculty and students across the participating colleges Evaluated results through statistical analysis of data and discussion in faculty working groups

6 Findings Development and utilization of generic rubric
Critical and creative thinking found to improve for many of the traits assessed Greatest gains occurred in interdisciplinary courses Students generally associated creative thinking with activities outside the classroom; felt that classroom pedagogy was often a barrier to creative thinking Over the course of their college careers, students increasingly believe that creativity can be taught Faculty were less likely to agree that college provides time and space for creativity

7 Project Website

8 Outcomes at Wooster Changes to mission statement:
The College of Wooster is a community of independent minds, working together to prepare students to become leaders of character and influence in an interdependent global community. We engage motivated students in a rigorous and dynamic liberal education. Mentored by a faculty nationally recognized for excellence in teaching, Wooster graduates are creative and independent thinkers with exceptional abilities to ask important questions, research complex issues, solve problems, and communicate new knowledge and insight.

9 Outcomes at Wooster Creation of Graduate Qualities:
Independent Thinking, through the ability to: Engage in critical and creative thinking Devise, formulate, research, and bring to fruition a complex and creative project Embody the intellectual curiosity, passion, and self- confidence necessary for life-long learning  

10 Outcomes at Wooster Evolution in Institutional Culture:
“The project resulted in a major shift in the way we portray ourselves” (Nancy Grace, Project Director) Increased understanding of the value of assessment to enhancing liberal learning Increased awareness of the value of rubrics in assessing student learning Creation of space for new generation of faculty to develop more outcomes-focused approaches to student learning

11 Preparing for 2013 Accreditation Visit
Update from Self-Study Group: We do much more assessment than we did 10 years ago and we do it much better than we did 10 years ago. There is room for assessment efforts to be better integrated.  For example, we have only recently begun to work on an institutional feedback loop—using assessment conducted at the departmental and program level to make institutional planning decisions. In addition, we may have reached an assessment plateau. This means that assessment is very much part of our culture now and we understand what we are doing.  As a result, we are ready to look over our policies from a place of knowledge and decide on a direction for the future.  Some policies may need to be changed and roles and responsibilities more clearly delineated.

12 Implications for Institutions and Accreditors?
Getting beyond the panopticon -- how do we break out of the discipline and punish paradigm? What do we talk about when we talk about assessment? How can the assessment cycle encourage and promote continuity of campus efforts? How do we connect the culture of accreditation with campus culture, particularly with a richer understanding of faculty work and values?

13 Creativity and Critical Thinking: Representations Reports Reflections
Donna Heiland NEASC Annual Meeting Boston, MA December 2012

14 “It was on a dreary night of November … when, by the glimmer of the half- extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.” Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text, ed. James Rieger (1974; U of Chicago Press, 1982). Still shot from Frankenstein (1931), at enstein/images/ /title/stills- photo

15 “This prayer … I made in Latin verse
“This prayer … I made in Latin verse. The lines were not very good, but I knew them not to be very good: I made them easily, and concluded myself to be unimpaired in my faculties.” Samuel Johnson, quoted in James Boswell’s Life of Johnson (1791), ed. R. W. Chapman. (Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 1980), pg Portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1772). Original in the Tate Gallery; this image from Wikipedia:

16 Latin Verse to Liberal Learning
Johnson makes and then evaluates lines of poetry Creativity and critical thought What is the connection between these two activities? From Samuel Johnson's  A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) Internet Archive, cited on tElora Writer’s Festival website (

17 Liberal Learning Outcomes
AAC&U’s LEAP Outcomes Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World Intellectual and Practical Skills Including “Critical and creative thinking” Personal and Social Responsibility Integrative and Applied Learning (

18 From Creative and Critical Thinking: Assessing the Foundations of a Liberal Arts Education

19 Critical Thinking What is it and how do we cultivate it?
How well are we doing and how do we know? CLA & CLA in the Classroom “Systematic Improvement of Undergraduate Education in Research Universities” (Spencer-Teagle project) “A Longitudinal Study of Critical Thinking and Postformal Reasoning: Assessing Undergraduate Outcomes Within Disciplinary Contexts” Campus projects, including Creative and Critical Thinking: Assessing the Foundations of a Liberal Arts Education (Ohio 5) (all supported by the Teagle Foundation, in whole or in part)

20 Creativity What is it and how do we cultivate it? Individuals Systems
How are we doing and how do we know? Creative and Critical Thinking: Assessing the Foundations of a Liberal Arts Education (Ohio 5, Teagle funded) Double Majors: Influences, Identities, and Impacts (Steven J. Tepper and Richard, Vanderbilt University, Teagle-funded) Creative Campus Strategic National Arts Alumni Project

21 Creativity as an Integrative Process
Tepper / Pitt study points to need for integration across majors AAC&U project on integration of student learning over the course of a college career Integrative capstone Major 2 Major 1

22 Creativity as a Recursive or Iterative Process
Preparation Incubation Insight Elaboration Evaluation Based on Mihalyi Csizszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology and Discovery and Invention ( NY: Harper, 1997). Pgs

23 Frankenstein Re-Visited: The Critical Path to Creative Success?
Danny Shanahan, The New Yorker, September 13,1999.

24 Creative Inquiry and Immersive Learning

25 Selective Initiatives on Creative Inquiry

26 Richard Florida, The Rise of the. Creative Class (New York: Basic,

27 Steven S. Tepper, “The Creative. Campus. Who’s No. 1. ” The
Steven S. Tepper, “The Creative Campus. Who’s No. 1?” The Chronicle of Higher Education. October 1, 2004.

28 The Five Ohio Colleges, “Creative. and Critical Thinking. ” Teagle
The Five Ohio Colleges, “Creative and Critical Thinking.” Teagle Foundation, 2005.

29 “Creativity Imperative,” Peer Review, Spring. 2006.

30 “Mapping the Creative Campus,”. Virginia Ball Center for Creative
“Mapping the Creative Campus,” Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry, Ball State University, August 1 – 4, 2006.

31 Creative Campus Research. Conference. Curb Center for
Creative Campus Research Conference. Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy. Vanderbilt University. November 9 – 11, 2006.

32 American Association of Colleges. and Universities. Liberal
American Association of Colleges and Universities. Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)

33 Peter D. Hart Research Associates,. Inc. How Colleges Should
Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. How Colleges Should Assess and Improve Learning. American Association of Colleges and Universities. January 9, 2008.


35 George Kuh, High Impact Educational Practices. American Association of Colleges and Universities,

36 First-year Seminars and Experiences.
Common Intellectual Experiences. Learning Communities. Writing-Intensive Courses. Collaborative Assignments and Projects. Undergraduate Research. Diversity/Global Learning. Service Learning, Community-Based Learning. Internships. Capstone Courses and Projects.

37 The Birthplace of Immersive Learning 15 hours of credit
Substantial budget Project-based seminars Collaborative Interdisciplinary Community Partners Final Showcase See if collaborative is okay, because it fit on one line. Also see if he wants to match. The Birthplace of Immersive Learning

38 Virginia Ball Center Alumni Survey
97% indicate that VBC was the single most important experience in their college education. 68% indicate that VBC contributed directly to their ability to find or design a creative professional life.

39 Creative Inquiry ( ) Immersive Learning ( ) Faculty – 4 Students – 60 Faculty – 1,000 Students – 20,000

40 Strategic Plan Ball State’s by 2012
Immersive Learning as signature educational experience. Increase participation by 10% per year. All 49 departments participate.

41 Immersive Learning Characteristics of Academic credit
Collaborative learning Product-driven Interdisciplinary teams Community-based Learning outcomes Define career path

42 Progress on Ball State’s Strategic Plan 2006 – 07 1,680 students
26 departments 2007 – 08 2,613 students 38 departments 2008 – 09 2,726 students 35 departments 2009 – 10 2,848 students 44 departments 2010 – 11 4,052 students 45 departments Ball State’s Strategic Plan

43 Final Report on the Strategic Plan Immersive Learning, 2012
12,239 Students 755 Projects 70 out of 92 counties

44 Nature at Play Faculty Students Product Partners Recognition
Martha Hunt, Landscape Architecture Students Environmental Science Creative Writing Graphic Arts Elementary Ed. Landscape Architecture Computer Science Product Computer Game for Elementary School Students Partners Storer School, Minnetrista Center Recognition Honor Award in Student Collaboration, The American Society of Landscape Architects


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