Conversation Starter 3 – Embedding Teaching and Learning in Experience

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a national leader in addressing the importance of a liberal arts and sciences education for a lifetime of learning, professional success, and personal satisfaction.  UIS holds an institutional membership in this organization and much of our institutional identity and values have been influenced by the thinking and reporting produced by the Association.  Some of the previous publications that have impacted the academy include Project LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) and the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Rubrics.

AAC&U also publishes Liberal Education, a magazine that addresses timely issues in higher education.  The latest edition of this monthly (Vol. 104, No. 1, Winter 2018) is entitled Quality, Equity, Democracy: Key Aspirations for Liberal Learning.  The current issue can be accessed electronically at:

Liberal Education is viewable for free online

I want to encourage you to at least skim the following articles in this issue:

  • Planning for America’s Future: Educating for Democracy.  Lynn Pascuerella. P6. (Keywords: quality, equity, discovery and innovation, future of work)
  • Ensuring High-Quality Learning for All.  Elsa Nunez. P12. (Keywords: quality depends on engagement, high-impact practices)
  • Achieving Equity Through Applied Liberal Education.  Lenore P. Rodicio. P20. (Keywords: applied learning)
  • Preparing for Disruption by Creating Future Possible Selves.  Beatrice L. Bridglall. P34. (Keywords: the new reality of work, education for the new economy)
  • One University’s Approach to Engaged Learning across the Curriculum.  Mark Blackwell, Jean McGivney-Burelle, Guy Colarulli, James Shattuck, & Caryn Christensen.  P52. (Keywords: effective strategies, criteria for high-impact practices, investing in faculty development, assessing impact).  UIS has the HIPsters (ask Laurel Newman).

Next year will, I believe, be a pivotal year for UIS.  It will be a time in which the UIS Strategic Compass will chart collectively shared directions for the campus (both in academic units and in the units that exist to support and enhance the academic mission of the institution).  It will be a year in which UIS assumes leadership for Innovate Springfield and begins the process of establishing an innovative arm in partnership with Discovery Partners Initiative and the Illinois Innovation Network (DPI-IIN) that helps to drive economic and social progress in the community and region even as it helps to transform the role and meaning of a liberal arts and sciences education on our campus.  If you want to see a preview of what the academic future of UIS can look like – these five articles provide a useful frame from which to do so.

We have an opportunity to create for students and ourselves a culture that promotes transformational teaching and learning and that uniquely prepares UIS graduates for future professional success, civic engagement, and personal growth.  What do you see as the value of applied learning for students in your degree programs?  Though these articles focus on a liberal arts and sciences education, I hope that the conversation on our campus will be broad enough to include all programs (yes, even professional programs) at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas as we embrace and explore these opportunities.

Provost Dennis R. Papini

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