Plenary Speakers, Teagle Presentations Advocate for New Ways of Addressing Teaching and Learning
In addition to welcoming a new member, the University of La Verne, to the consortium, NAC&U applauded its first group of campus ambassadors at the 2014 Summer Institute held June 25 – 27 at the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA.
The theme was “Creating Community through Collaboration” as NAC&U unrolled its new initiative aimed at promoting optimal collaboration within the consortium. NAC&U’s operational assumption that “my student is your student” is the key to its success, for it enables members to leverage their collective assets to the benefit of all students – and thus all institutions. By introducing campus ambassadors – one or two key faculty from each member campus – to the consortium, NAC&U hopes to facilitate increased collaboration between its members, for the benefit of institutions, their faculty and their students.
In the coming academic year, NAC&U members will embark on a collaborative civic engagement project. By measuring and sharing the outcomes and benefits of their ongoing projects addressing K-12 education, the goal is to discuss perspectives and best practices while bringing students into the loop for a related undergraduate research project.
NAC&U campuses are now in the third year of collaboration on “Preparing 21st Century Students through New Visions for Faculty Evaluation, Campus Governance, and Curriculum,” a project funded through a Teagle Foundation grant. The project is geared toward improving faculty evaluation, creating holistic departments, and producing a book detailing the integration of liberal arts and professional studies at NAC&U campuses. Working groups from each facet of the grant presented their progress to Summer Institute attendees and sought meaningful discussions of the work at hand.
Three plenary speakers reiterated the need to find new ways of achieving goals in regard to teaching and learning. Edward Ayers, University of Richmond president and recipient of NAC&U’s Ernest L. Boyer Award, spoke about digital scholarship as a catalyst for collaborative, integrative work in his presentation, “The Future of Scholarship.” During “Change. Flip. Listen,” David Asai, senior director of science education programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, encouraged diversity in STEM by challenging the assumption that students need to progress in a straight pipeline through STEM courses. He advocated for active learning, course-based research and more teaching resources for introductory courses. Robin Heyden, a tech-savvy education consultant and founder and principle partner of Heyden Ty, LLC, discussed ways that technology can help students become creators and collaborators in her plenary titled “Create. Curate. Connect.” She cited specific examples, such as blogging with students, helping them create e-portfolios and websites, and integrating digital badges while attendees shared their successes and challenges in this area.
Next year’s Summer Institute celebrating the 20th anniversary of NAC&U will be held at Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN from June 17- 19, 2015.