Promoting Essential Learning at UW-Madison (and beyond)
Let us know about your LEAP-related activities!
We know that many people at all levels across the UW-Madison campus engage in activities that promote the goals of liberal education. We're always interested in hearing what you do. Please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact one of the UW-Madison LEAP liaisons.
March and April 2009, Conversations About Essential Learning
Following up on the March 2008 intensive discussions about the Wisconsin Experience and Essential Learning Outcomes, Associate Vice Provost Aaron Brower is hosting a series of conversations about Essential Learning to learn about what instructors are doing differently as a result of last year's discussions.
February 2009, Revision of Undergraduate General Education Requirement Statements
In February 2009, the University General Education Committee approved revisions to the 2009-2011 Undergraduate Catalog text to more clearly convey the purpose of these requirements by connecting them to the learning goals expressed as "Essential Learning" in the Wisconsin Experience. Although completion of these requirements does not encompass the full breadth and texture of the Wisconsin Experience, they do provide an important alignment with (and tools for achieving) the aspirations expressed in that document.
January 2009, "How Do We Assess the Essential Learning Outcomes?" Presentation at the AAC&U Annual Conference
In January 2009, Assistant Provost Mo Noonan Bischof, Associate Dean Nancy Westphal-Johnson, and Assistant Dean Elaine Klein gave a standing-room only presentation on assessment and essential learning at the Association of American Colleges and Universities annual conference, "Ready of Not: Global Challenges, College Learning, and America's Promise." (Jan 21-24, 2009)
2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium (May 21-23), "Shaping our Future: Teaching and Learning at UW-Madison"
This annual symposium brings fauclty, staff, post-docs, and graduate students together in support of teaching and learning at UW-Madison. The symposium's goal is to "share best practices, celebrate accomplishments, discuss new teaching pedagogy, and explore themes of mutual interest." This year, the call for proposals included an invitation to focus on the Essential Learning Outcomes for liberal education, and several sessions address specific elements of the ELOs. Two sessions discuss them explicitly:
- Establishing Institution-wide Expectations for Student Learning at UW-Mdaison
Participants in this session will learn about the Essential Learning Outcomes devised in the LEAP project, and their connection to the development of university-wide expectations for student learning, which provide an important framework for setting a university-level academic direction.
Presenters: Jocelyn Milner, Academic Planning and Analysis, and Mo Noonan Bischof, Office of the Provost
- Learning Circle: How Do We Focus on Essential Learning Outcomes?
Facilitators: Nancy Westphal-Johnson and Elaine Klein, College of Letters and Science; Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor, German
March 12, 2008 Focused Discussion: "Essential Learning - What do we already do to promote Essential Learning?"
In Spring 2008, the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning invited a small group of faculty and instructional staff who teach or who influence the 15-20 courses most frequently taken by first-time/first-year and new transfer students to meet and talk about student learning in their courses. They were invited to review the Essential Learning Outcomes, and to consider what their courses, in particular, convey to students.
The participants in this discussion were invited from the schools/colleges that teach undergraduates. Members and friends of the Convergence group led discussion on two broad topics:
- Beyond the specific disciplinary content of your course, what do you want students to learn that will stay with them into the future? That is, what are your students learning beyond the content you teach them?
- In considering the more focused goals of "General Education," what do you try to teach students in your course's general "breadth" or Gen Ed area (communication, quantitative reasoning)? How do you make the ideas that are implicit in the requirements, explicit for students?
The results of these conversations will be analyzed to consider what migth be done to better assess student learning in the General Education program, to promote more effectively a shared set of First-Year Learning goals, and similar projects.
Notes from this meeting are available here.
October 11, 2007 First Year Conference
On October 11, 2007, 160 people spent the morning examining how the LEAP essential learning outcomes can be introduced to first year students, to lay a foundation for further exploration to come in their future years at the university. Provost Patrick Farrell delivered a keynote address in which he praised the outcomes, which speak to those things that are most important not only to our students but to their families, their future employers, and to the people of Wisconsin and the world.
See http://www.newstudent.wisc.edu/conference/index.html for links to the conference archive, program, and other information.