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Appalachian faculty to attend summer institute designed to enhance student learning

BOONE—Five faculty/administrators from Appalachian State University have been selected to attend the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AACU) Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments to be held July 10-14 at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.

They are Dr. William Pelto, dean of the Hayes School of Music; Dr. Garner Dewey, director of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan; Dr. Kathleen Schroeder, chair of the Department of Geography and Planning; Dr. Michael Krenn, faculty coordinator of First Year Seminar; and Dr. Paulette Marty, director of General Education.

“Integrative thinking is an essential skill for the 21st century and Appalachian’s general education program was designed to help students develop that skill,” said Marty. “Now that we are poised to revise the program, we have an opportunity to refine and enhance our integrative learning efforts. At this institute, this great team will gather information, make valuable connections with integrative learning experts, and begin forming ideas for how we can deepen our students’ integrative learning at Appalachian.”

According to AACU and the Carnegie Foundation, “…colleges and universities are creating opportunities for more integrative, connected learning through first-year seminars, learning communities, interdisciplinary studies programs, capstone experiences, individual portfolios, advising, student self-assessment and other initiatives. Often, however, such innovations involve only small numbers of students or exist in isolation, disconnected from other parts of the curriculum and from other reform efforts.”

The Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments is designed for teams of faculty and administrators who are working to articulate and link departmental, general education and institutional-level learning goals; encourage innovative teaching, learning and assessment practices among their colleagues; and align institutional structures to reward and sustain learning success.

The institute aims to help these teams acquire the tools needed to implement change that deepens students’ integrative capacities over time – including their ability to connect disciplinary knowledge and inquiry to responsible choices and actions.

“The 2013 AAC&U summer institutes will bring together teams to focus on exactly how institutions can ensure that all students achieve liberal education outcomes that are so essential for success in the 21st century,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “The teams will work together to advance implementation of high-impact educational practices, integrative curricula and faculty leadership for liberal education and its assessment.”

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