Springfield College Hosts Workshop Focused on Assessing Critical Learning Outcomes to Improve Student Learning

 

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At left, Springfield College Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Ann Coughlin and Springfield College Faculty Project Coordinator of the Critical Thinking Initiative and Professor of Humanities Missy-Marie Montgomery help lead the workshop.

 

Springfield College hosted a one-day workshop, “Assessing Critical Learning Outcomes to Improve Student Learning,” on Tuesday, June 23. The workshop showcased the research findings the College has produced during its three-year project focused on educators’ contributions to the development of students’ critical thinking and oral communication skills. Representatives from Maine, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island were on campus to participate in the workshop. The Davis Educational Foundation funded both the three-year critical thinking and communication initiative, and the workshop. 

Springfield College faculty members, who have participated in the faculty development and outcomes assessment project throughout the last three years, led break-out sessions during the workshop that highlighted how faculty can embed learning activities into their courses that will enhance students’ critical thinking and oral communication skills. Examples of critical thinking and oral communication skills using the Association of America Colleges & Universities Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education rubrics were showcased, and examples of how faculty can engage at the departmental and programmatic levels in discussions about the assessment of these critical learning skills across the four years of the students’ curriculum were also on the agenda.

Workshop attendees highlighted some of the best practices and lessons learned from research in critical thinking and communication. Charlie Blaich and Kathleen Wise from the Center for Inquiry at Wabash College delivered the keynote presentation, titled “If not now, when? If not us, who? It’s time to roll up our sleeves and make assessment work for us and our students.”

The project was led by Springfield College Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Ann Coughlin and Springfield College Faculty Project Coordinator of the Critical Thinking Initiative and Professor of Humanities Missy-Marie Montgomery.

Founded in 1885, Springfield College is known worldwide for the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy—educating students in spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. With its foundation of academic excellence and rich athletic heritage, Springfield College prepares students with real-world leadership skills for careers that transform lives and communities. The college offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy, and counseling psychology. The college is ranked in the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” in the top tier of “Best Regional Universities – North Region” by U.S.News and World Report, and is designated as a premier Leadership Development Center by the YMCA of the USA. More than 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its School of Human Services campuses across the country.