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What Does It Mean to Be An Educated Person? February 18, 2005

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Presentation on theme: "What Does It Mean to Be An Educated Person? February 18, 2005"— Presentation transcript:

1 What Does It Mean to Be An Educated Person? February 18, 2005
Gail G. Evans Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies Director of General Education Annette Nellen Chair, SJSU Academic Senate Professor of Tax and Accounting Emily H. Wughalter Director of MUSE Program Professor of Kinesiology San José State University San José, California

2 Events Leading Our Campus to the Discussion of the Educated Person
1998 revision of general education guidelines Addition of embedded assessment into general education guidelines Addition of learning objectives into general education guidelines Increased interest and development of interdisciplinary programs Greater Expectations report (AAC&U) New Provost interested in quality education/quality programs 2002 introduction of MUSE program into the curriculum (SJSU first year experience)

3 Metropolitan University Scholar’s Experience (MUSE)
Spring 2001: a new Provost initiated a first year seminar program to improve the quality of our offerings for first year students and the quality of students entering the first year at SJSU Planning took approximately 1.5 years Program implemented in Fall 2002

4 MUSE Seminars Designed specifically for first semester, first year students Open to all students admitted to the first year regardless of skill set Small seminars (n=17 maximum) Specially designed MUSE seminar rooms Enthusiastic and passionate professors teaching interesting and hot topics MUSE is not mandatory; it can be selected to satisfy one of six areas of the required core general education package

5 Class – Active Learning

6 The MUSE goals are for students:
To develop the foundations necessary to become university scholars; and To understand what it means to be a member of a metropolitan university community

7 Fall 2002 Cohort of First Year Students Percentages of students within groups retained after one year MUSE No MUSE No remedial 77% 79% Both English and math remedial 75% 72% English remedial 80% Math remedial 85%

8 Fall 2003 Cohort of First Year Students Percentages of Students Retained After One Semester
N Enrolled Fall 2003 Spring 2004 % Remaining MUSE 886 839 94.7% No MUSE 1178 1073 91.1% Total 2064 1929 93.46%

9 Process for Answering “What Is An Educated Person?”
Dialogue began in May 2003 with listserv and face-to-face discussion groups. Some of the questions we have posed: What do we expect an educated person to be able to do? Is helping students to become educated persons an appropriate goal for all majors at SJSU? Broadly speaking, what is needed to help someone become an educated person? What was the “most educational” course or experience you had that might be reproduced by others? Are we trying to help our students become educated citizens or persons?

10 What is the role of departments and colleges in helping their majors become educated persons?
How do students know if they are educated persons? Should MUSE be the initial GE course with a capstone GE course to “pull it all together?” What are three key activities SJSU should undertake or improve upon to help us do a better job of helping our students become educated persons and to help them understand that that is a reason for pursuing a university education?

11 A review of our GE program began in S’04
3 campus forums facilitated by the faculty-in-residence for GE 3 on-line surveys: Faculty who have taught GE over past 2 years Department Chairs and School Directors Deans MUSE will begin its 4th class of students in F’05 How do our GE and MUSE programs fit with our campus definition of an educated person? Information literacy conference How will SJSU use this information in strategic planning for the University?

12 Plan for Today’s Session
Brief discussion of our experiences at SJSU over the past 2 years Small-group discussions by participants to answer the same questions for their universities (organized by “like” institutions) Draw general concluding comments as to what constitutes an educated person.

13 Educated Person Dialogue
First – what is an “educated citizen/person?” 17 factor list created Term is too limiting – connotes completeness rather than a process that never ends

14 Educated Person Dialogue - 2
Next – What should an Educated Person/Citizen be able to do? 16 factor list Overlap with first list of 17 items Ties well to CA Education Code Ties to a “university scholar” rubric used for MUSE courses

15 Problems ~ Challenges How to explain “educated person” to students?
Do they need an understanding? Pros and cons of trying to explain How to explain How to be sure we are truly helping students to become educated persons?

16 Critique of factors by students
Intro to Liberal Studies course: What is “real wisdom”? Why are factors so fixated on political and economic understanding? Why not religious or moral understandings? To be educated, does one need to have certain personality traits, such as leadership qualities? What is analytical thinking versus critical thinking? Is it always important to think creatively? Why are students to search for meaning and purpose in their own lives and what does that have to do with being educated? What is a good citizen? Must (s)he be educated? What about motivation? How are educated persons changed?

17 What we did next … Continued to discuss in person and via email
Heard from students – peer mentors in the frosh seminar program + others Discussed AAC&U Greater Expectations report Compared our GE and MUSE objectives to how some other colleges/universities described “educated person” Discussed whether there was also core knowledge an educated person needed Discussed “person” versus “citizen” Came up with ideas for how to help students to understand their purpose at the university + possible changes to our GE program

18 Some Dialogue Ideas Faculty need to be better trained to help promote effective discussion in the classroom Workshop held in Fall 2004 Faculty training on course design is needed Each syllabus should include a chart/template of SJSU learning objectives and how that course addresses particular ones Frosh reading program Socrates Café More emphasis on values needed Senate committee working on “Spartan Standard” SJSU working on institutional values Learning objectives likely to be added to GE Values week should be held once per semester (Academic Integrity week held in 9/04)

19 More Dialogue Ideas Create discussion scenarios for first year classes to help students better understand what should happen in a college classroom, their role in the learning process, benefits of informed discussion, need for being info competent and critical thinkers Have MUSE be required and have an upper division GE course be a capstone Require electronic portfolios to help students see how all of their studies and co-curricular activities and reflections fit together to help make them educated persons

20 A Few More Dialogue Ideas
Greater emphasis on active learning Requirement that at least one GE course involve service learning, or research with professor, or study abroad type experience Create a “theme” for the curriculum that helps students to see and build the interconnectedness of the learning in GE and the major Ex: “SJSU helps students to become ethical, global, creative problem solvers” Change name from “GE” to something that is a better descriptor and w/o the negative connotation that GE can have (e.g. SJSU Studies)

21 And a few more … Need to spread discussion of Greater Expectations report across campus. How? Need to change culture of teaching to one of learning. Look at hiring practices/announcements? Should RTP process include professor statement on philosophy of what they do to enhance student learning/students becoming educated persons? Look at wording of policies and campus literature. How can we help students before they come to SJSU?

22 What do other universities do?
Interesting examples: Alverno College IUPUI Southwest Missouri State University Southeast Missouri State University See chart in handout that compares SJSU GE and MUSE objectives to learning objectives of above three universities.

23 Questions to consider What should an educated person be able to do?
Is helping students to become educated persons an appropriate goal for all majors? What term should be used – educated citizens or educated persons? Why? How do students know they have become educated persons? What role should the university play in helping them understand what it means to be educated? What are the primary activities of your institution that helps your students graduate as educated persons? To be educated does one need to have certain personality traits, such as leadership qualities? What if a student doesn’t seem to have an interest or inclination in being a lifelong learner – they just want the diploma so they can get a good job?

24 The ideas presented in the following set of slides reflect the thinking of the participants who engaged actively in the session in response to the questions on the previous slide.

25 Group Summary What does it mean to be an educated person?
We need to reject the terminology of the “educated person” and shift the focus to “the goals of education”. Educated person puts too much emphasis on product. An educated person has the dispositions business leaders want in employees (e.g., creative thinkers, good hearts and minds, sensible ideas). An educated person means the individual has cultural literacy, writing skills, critical thinking, citizenship, service learning

26 Group Summary Communicating to students why it is important for them to become educated persons is particularly important for first generation students Students are interested in getting the diploma; getting the job We need to model for our students what it means to be an educated person/citizen What does it mean to be a professional in our field? FYE seminars embody these principles. Does every campus need its own model of GE?

27 Group Summary What activities are particularly good that are being used? Writing enriched programs with oral presentations Define six skill areas and each course must represent at least three areas Strength of connecting academic and student life services How to teach students how to create new knowledge? In some cases knowledge is only created in the major not in GE Junior/senior level capstone courses – “The Human Condition” and “The Sustainable Planet” Engage students in the research project with incentives for faculty Comprehensive exams and a senior project – These need good assessment systems.

28 Group Summary What does it mean to be an educated person?
Stakeholders – Survey alumni and dialog with employers Motivation Prior educational experience where students are expected to solve problems Lack of understanding that knowledge is portable What about a concept being taught twice? Students think they already had it or that it is cheating. Strategies for active learning Business model and career hook are too strong. As an educated person how do you go home and talk to your family. Parent and student concerns are important here.

29 Group Summary Questions and problems
Student buy-in to becoming an educated person Assessment – how is critical thinking assessed? Are the FYE seminars working? How, where, and when does liberal education happen? Faculty autonomy versus guidelines Are there disciplines that ignore liberal education more than others? Faculty as well as students need to be convinced of the value of general education.

30 Group Summary How does someone become an educated person?
When they look at problems and ideas they think about them differently. Is it different for different schools (CC, Comprehensive, Research)? We are truly educated when we become lifelong learners.

31 Group Summary What can an educated person know?
Need to balance what should an educated person do and what should an educated person know If faculty are in their little boxes then how can students move beyond their boxes?

32 Group Summary How are these ideas communicated in search processes - presidential, vice-presidential, faculty…?

33 Next steps for SJSU Review and make enhancements to our GE program
Follow through on Educated Person projects/ideas Strategic planning – how will it affect our programs for effective student learning? Can we shift to culture of learning? Can we have a “theme” for our curriculum? Funds for electronic portfolios? Growing interest in interdisciplinary programs and courses Can professors work to help ensure that each of their courses is helping to create “intentional learners?” AND work together to take better ownership of the entire student learning experience? HOW? Convincing the campus that MUSE should be required and creating similar experience for transfer students.

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