November 1, 2008
Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, has created a centralized office to foster experiential learning across disciplines. This administrative structure, which grew out of a Lilly Vocation Grant, offers several advantages over more traditional, decentralized support structures. Experiential learning encompasses a wide range of activities, including service learning, cocurricular learning, internships, and field experience.
Have you ever wondered if what you teach and how you teach it results in career-ready students? Have you ever wondered if your expectations for student learning outcomes match what the real world requires? In the Public Relations Studies program at Columbia College Chicago, we wondered, too. So, we set out to answer our own questions about the most basic skills professionals expect of entry-level candidates.
Creating a parents' council can effectively channel parents' energy and desire to help toward projects that institutions and their individual units actually need. In order to achieve this goal, however, it is helpful to develop a charter for the group that clearly specifies what the council does and does not do.
Too often, faculty development occurs in isolation, with a focus on the individual's interests and needs. New faculty are particularly vulnerable to this isolated form of professional development, as they are frequently left to their own devices to learn the nuances of academia, how to negotiate the culture, and how to meet the ensuing expectations. Many institutions address this need with orientation sessions and/or faculty mentor programs, where tenured faculty members are paired with new faculty to provide individual support. In these situations, however, the support provided by the mentor can be inconsistent, based on the motivation, personality, and knowledge of the mentor assigned. In addition, when there is a sizable increase in new faculty hires, the challenge and opportunities of acculturating a large group of new faculty requires a more systematic approach.
I was covering a story on X-ray crystallography. It's not terribly important to know what that is, which is good, since I would have great difficulty explaining it. In fact, when I asked the researcher engaged in this pursuit to explain X-ray crystallography, I understood little more than the prepositions, articles, and conjunctions of his explanation. But I did glean one important fact from his oratory: that his research could benefit the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. I mentioned this to him, and his brow furrowed. He became increasingly noncommunicative as I queried him on this aspect of his research.