VWC Student Learning Outcomes
From Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation
VWC Institutional Student Learning Outcomes
There were 166 student learing outcomes identified in the 2011-12 SLARs from nearly all programs (30 programs). A text analysis procedure organized these into 9 groups. The only group with a majority of outcomes from one major was the one labeled "Teaching", which was dominated by Education (appropriate since prospective secondary teachers major in at least one of a third of the programs offered by the college). The VWC institutional Student Learning Outcomes below are abstracts of the outcomes in each group.
Define, plan, manage, write, and orally present research and artistic projects using computer, library and disciplinary techniques.
Solve problems by operationalizing and analysis. Define constraints, conditions, and requirements that are appropriate to solutions. Use disciplinary methods and analyses.
Read, understand, critique, and evaluate disciplinary texts, including their relevant history, structure, variety, principles, concepts, and theories, as well as the interrelationships among science, society, technology, culture, nature, and impacts on their localities and lives.
Employ numerous strategies to assess learning during teaching. Make decisions based on the assessment outcomes. Plan differentiated instruction that uses diverse student learning environments.
Utilize communication, computer application, and media skills, Internet research, aesthetic, and performance skills needed to effectively apply disciplinary standards, concepts, and results.
Interpret various genres, traditions, and authors according to the historical contexts and cultural implications of their language, literarure, music, and mass media by tracking the development of images, ideas, and ideologies.
Create methods for posing informed problems and producing clear hypotheses, measurable objectives, logical designs, and clear data. Use interdisciplinary research and methods.
Analyze on-the-job situations and decision options through multiple lenses including research and development, production, competition, ethics, marketing, finance, and labor. Apply to business, environmental, ecological, and mass media problems.
Use Professional Processes
Initiate, sustain, and bring to closure a wide variety of communicative tasks. Flexibly help individuals and organizations. Listen to clients. Maintain an unbiased approach with professional boundaries. Reflect on their own approaches, seeing resistance as nonthreatening. Summarize client accomplishments at decision points. Develop a professional portfolio.
From the 2012-13 Catalog Description of the Student Experience
The following six general academic skills and personal qualities were printed in the 2012-13 Catalog to guide students in getting the most from the new 4x4 curriculum. A quick read reveals that the institutional student learning outcomes above thoroughly address all but the first two skills and qualities below. This result suggests that program faculty should address the gap between the two sources of information by considering how they can assess and contribute to the development of persistence and of organizational and time management skills.
Organizational and time management skills.
The 4x4 curriculum demands that students prioritize their academic work over jobs, sports, and other activities. The time commitment required for success is a major change for many students who are new to the college. The papers, independent projects, and other enhancements in many courses require students to devote significant time outside of class to course-related activities, working independently or in small groups. Firstsemester students need to recognize and adapt quickly to this increase in their academic responsibilities.
The ability to persist.
The 4x4 curriculum requires that students enter the college with well-established study habits and the willingness to spend countless hours strengthening their academic skills to accomplish the intense intellectual work typical of the 4-semester hour courses. Writing an original research paper or completing a significant hands-on project requires students to tackle a series of complex problems over an extended period of time. They must be willing and able to work through multiple stages and multiple revisions, assisted by professors who provide mentoring and encouragement.
Effective communication with faculty, staff, and other students.
Many of the course enhancements in the 4x4 curriculum require students to be proactive and articulate as they seek information and assistance from other students, faculty, librarians, and professionals at institutions and organizations outside the college. This is a change for many students, compared to their high school experience. They must be willing to seek out support and encouragement from faculty members and advisors as they learn to articulate their needs clearly and diplomatically.
The ability to read and respond to complex texts.
The 4x4 curriculum requires entering students to possess strong general reading skills. During their years at the college, they will be expected to draw on a broad educational background to interpret texts according to their cultural and rhetorical contexts, and to recognize structural elements, analyze arguments, and detect implicit assumptions and agendas.
The ability to develop questions, synthesize and respond to ideas, and apply theory to practice.
The 4x4 curriculum requires students to respond thoughtfully and critically to the ideas they encounter in their courses. It is designed to counteract the common assumption that learning means simply to grapple independently with ideas, questioning what they read and hear, and to develop their own interpretations, arguments, and applications, resulting in greater cognitive development and deeper insight than they would gain from a curriculum that requires only memorization and basic comprehension.
The ability to present their ideas effectively.
The 4x4 curriculum demands strong writing and oral communication skills. Major papers and projects usually require students to articulate and support complex ideas, sustained over the course of many pages or in presentations with multiple components. Thus entering students should possess strong general language skills and be prepared to master the discipline-specific rhetorical and stylistic conventions appropriate for presenting their work to an academic community.