The 7th Annual Undergraduate Experiences Symposium — Pedagogy of Integration: Rethinking Assumptions about Student Learning and Success was presented last week by the Office of Undergraduate Experiences, the Center for Faculty Development, and the Office of the Provost at UC Denver. It was a wonderfully rich hands-on, learner-centered symposium, focused on integration pedagogy, strategies and exercises, and facilitated by Emily Lardner and Gilles Malnarich of The Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education (a state-wide resource for two- and four-year higher education institutions with a national reach and a sustained record of educational reform).
The symposium goals were to:
- Evaluate how UC Denver compares to undergraduate education best practices
- Learn how faculty and staff can help new students “do” college
- Explore Integrative Learning as a habit of mind
- Apply Integrative Learning Strategies to enhance student learning and student success
The agenda was comprised, in part, of five assigned articles for in-symposium reading and subsequent table discussions, posters of synthesized, integrated thinking and work, and group reflections. The first four readings (morning work) were discussed by various tables and synthesized for main ideas. After a table rotation (which allowed for discussions about synthesis work done on all four articles), group reporting reflected on key ideas in each article — highlighting issues/problems/statements/philosophies significant to individual readers. Reflective posters were created and hung, and a ‘gallery walk’ allowed symposium participants to read, thin about and evaluate synthesis and integration work done by all table groups. The fifth article (afternoon work, on coaching college readiness) was discussed by all groups and synthesized for key concepts, and posters were created and hung for a second ‘gallery walk’ and reflections.
It was great to experience active learning in this symposium and to come away with some excellent resources, ideas and strategies. Below are key topics (from the point of view of the groups in which I was involved) from each of the articles.
- We need to find ways to get students comfortable, in places where culture is represented
- Identity comfort must come first, then students can maximize different opportunities
- This work is about crossing the traditional boundaries that separate us in American society
Louise Hainline, et al, Changing Students, Faculty, and Institutions in the Twenty-First Century
- Faculty roles are changing
- There is a social media gap
- Student-centered learning pedagogies present challenges for students and teachers
- Structural changes are needed in teaching and evaluative processes
- Engagement and mentoring work also needs to happen in ‘unlearning’ processes
- This work is about practicality, meaning, and value
Parker J. Palmer, A New Professional: The Aims of Education Revisited
- We need to help students become architects of their own learning
- We all need to learn (student and faculty alike) that there are appropriate times and places to ‘speak truth to power’
- We need to mentor students toward enthusiastic engagement
- We need diligence and we need to do better
Louis Menand, Live and Learn: Why We Have College
- What are the authentic purposes of college today?
- Non-traditional students are asking questions in intellectual ways
- Is the purpose of college to identify intelligent people or to train folks for white-collar jobs?
- Change in the college-going population since the 20th century (i.e., Harvard and Yale)
- No tenure at Ivy League schools
- The SAT was created after WWII
- There is value in reading and writing and generating your own ideas
David T. Conley, Components in a Comprehensive Definition of College Readiness
- Help students understand and learn the difference between the writer’s work and the student’s reading
- Work together, go to faculty curious about this work
- Embed skills in context
- involve the Reading Center, helping students learn “how to read”
Additional resources suggested by Gilles Malnarich:How to Read a Bookby Mortimer J. Adler and Lincoln Van Doren
- What is the purpose of a discipline?
The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking by Linda Elder and RIchard Paul
- 8 elements of reasoning
- Question your own assumptions and constructed realities
- Intellectual thinking
- ‘Cultures that weren’t literate had the big ideas’
- SQ3R (a reading comprehension method named for its five steps: survey, question, read, recite, and review)
For more information, please see the symposium flyer.