Student Outcomes-No more standardized tests?

“Colleges are feeling heat to prove that their students are learning” (Fain, 2016). As the Liberal Education Committee continues to assess what is best for students, a recent article suggests that universities are moving away standardized tests to assess student learning outcomes. As we move towards the assessment phase, what measures can your department use, and what measures can the Liberal Education curriculum use, to assess student outcomes? It is important to think about in terms of both direct and indirect measures. What do you support? Read more about the article here.


“Signature Work” as Educational Goal

The article below explains the concept of “signature work”.  This idea for higher education is to integrate a variety of skills to work over the college years to solve a substantial problem.  It is an interesting concept.  Check it out.

Assessment choices

The Liberal Education Committee will soon be completing Phase 1-learning objectives, and moving to Phase 2- assessment.  An AAC&U survey has found that more universities are using rubrics instead of standardized tests to assess students’ learning.  How do we envision assessment of Liberal Education learning outcomes at FHSU? What type of assessment will be best for both students and faculty?


“Boosting enrollments in STEM is not enough. An educational system that merges humanities and sciences, creating whole-brain engineers and scientifically inspired humanists, fosters more than just innovation. It yields more-flexible individuals who adapt to unanticipated changes as the world evolves unpredictably.”  A critical value of liberal education is that it is aimed at what this article urges — it creates “whole-brain engineers and scientifically inspired humanists”.

Helicopter parenting is a phenomenon that has been with us since the 1990s or so.  We are now seeing it come to full fruition in higher education (arguably less so in this area of the country, although its effects can still be observed daily among our students), with children who never been allowed to deal with frustration or failure, and have had everything fixed by their parents.  In the attached article, a dean explains to parents what they need to do to make sure their children are “college ready”.  However, it seems to be falling more and more on the counseling centers, student affairs staff, and yes, even faculty, to deal with some students’ inability to manage failures, and other emotional setbacks without help.  What do you think is the university’s role in transitioning the helicopter-parented into the “real world” of academia?

Liberal Education…and the small things

In our most recent post, we shared all of the great work FHSU is doing with involving first-year students. In a recent essay, Christopher Schaberg pointed out that in addition to the daily requirements of faculty and students, there is room for the “small things.” These small things mean that we should connect with our students with personalized experiences.Use the learning objectives as your classroom guide but don’t forget to really engage your students in and out of the classroom. The learning objectives provide you with a road map; stay involved with the FHSU Liberal Education Committee process so you can help create unique paths for our students. To read more about the small things, click here.

Rethinking the First Year

Rethinking liberal education also means rethinking the first year.  FHSU is one of 44 AASCU campuses engaged in an exciting Reimagining the First Year Initiative sponsored by AASCU in partnership with the Gates Foundation and USA Funds.  This week in Austin, FHSU joins those 44 campuses for the RFY kick-off event, gaining new ideas that may influence our first year experience in a whole host of ways, including insights into liberal education.  FHSU is a lead campus in one of the signature curricular strategies for the RFY initiative, the National Blended Course Consortium.  Both Global Challenges and Science for Citizens are two of the NBCC courses and FHSU has scholar-teachers serving on both course teams.  Both of these courses offer interesting liberal education options for first year students.