Thursday, September 11, 2008


I'm teaching a senior level class this semester, and so was in on a meeting where we talked about our goals for our majors and how we assess those goals, which includes a piece directly from students that they have to turn in as part of their graduation requirements. After the meeting, I printed out a copy of the information sheet and took it to class so that I'd remember to talk to students about this project.

Being an English department and all, we have goals for our majors that include things like communicating well orally and in writing. It's way at the top, along with reading and thinking critically.

I started talking about the student piece, and got those desperate looks of students wondering what else was going to jump out of the woodwork to impede their progress to degree. It turns out that most of them had never heard about this particular piece of the major requirements.

I think the faculty has failed the communications part of our work.


  1. At my last job, there was a theoretical framework for the undergrad degrees that was hugely important to the campus--it shaped all the institutional assessment. But students, encountering it as seniors, always said they'd never heard of it. That's the product of a top-down framework that the faculty never bought into, even though a lot of faculty committee time went into forming that framework. But so many compromises watered the language down to such vague statements about liberal education that the faculty stopped taking it seriously. Which was all rather sad, really.

  2. Susan, That sounds familiar!