RATIONALE: The California State University (CSU) Graduation Initiative aims to close gaps in opportunities and achievement for all students by 2025. Charting a path toward that goal, the CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning focused its 2016 Summer Institute on proven strategies that can be implemented at the course level to create inclusive climates and engage all students in deep learning. “What Works: Designing Teaching for Diverse Learners” opened with a keynote by Linda Nilson on self-regulated learning, or “active learning on the inside.” The
second day featured sessions on research based principles for building inclusive communities and teaching to increase student learning. The day concluded with dinner and a presentation on developing a first-gen mindset. The closing sessions on the final day helped to prepare us to recognize student learning and success
and to consider how information about who our students are and how they are performing can be used to ensure their success.
Proven strategies and innovative tools that faculty can use to enhance student learning, close the achievement gap, and facilitate student graduation and student success were discussed in the following presentations:
Self-Regulated Learning: Active Learning on the Inside was presented by Linda B. Nilson, Director Emeritus, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University: Most students have serious misconceptions about learning, especially about the amount of effort and focus it should require of them and your role in their learning process. One way to dispel these misconceptions is to teach your students how to become self-regulated learners. Self-regulated learning is the metacognitive skill and practice of strategically planning, monitoring, and evaluating one's learning-- a key study habit that few students know about. Research tells us that instructors can improve their students’ exam performance, written and designed products, and problemsolving skills by incorporating into their courses even a few of the many forms of self-regulated learning activities. These modest additions also reduce the overconfidence that many students feel about their mastery of the material and their ability to apply it.
Measuring the Promise of a Learning-Centered Syllabus: Creating Courses Students Will Love to Take and You Will Love to Teach was presented by Whitney Scott & Ashley Samson, CSU Northridge: Imagine crafting a learning-centered syllabus that students will actually read. Then envision a course where students approach you at the end of the semester with accolades of how the course transformed their thinking, awakened a love for learning, or sparked a new passion. Most of us want students to discover the value of our course, to recognize the knowledge and skills they will learn, and to understand how an expert approaches our discipline. What if you could do all this before your students ever set foot in the classroom?
Developing a First-Gen Mindset was presented by La’Tonya Rease Miles, University of California, Los Angeles & Dimpal Jain, CSU Northridge: Institutions of higher education should be intentional about providing programs and initiatives that address the challenges and enhance the strengths of their first generation students. First-gen students possess an important set of skills, which if tapped, may be a foundation on which to build a successful pathway through college completion. This session highlighted those important characteristics and identify (and challenge) myths about this population. Participants in this session examined how their institutions could better support students’ sense of belonging, ease of academic adjustment, and interaction with faculty.
- There were concurrent sessions in the morning and the afternoon:
In the morning, participants attended Fostering Habits of Mind in Today’s Students or Transparent Assignment Design and Student Success.
In the afternoon, participants attended Introduction to Team-Based Learning or Engaged Academic Literacy for All with Reading Apprenticeship.
How Do We Know (and How Do They Know) They’re Learning? was presented by David Connors, CSU Los Angeles: Effective teachers are always monitoring student learning. Keeping the focus on student learning will naturally result in an integration of assessment strategies with pedagogy. This session provided a deeper understanding of how to recognize student learning and success as well as how students recognize their own learning.
The CSU Student Success Dashboard: Research, Visualization was presented by Jeff Gold & Desdemona Cardoza, CSU Office of the Chancellor: There are many stakeholders involved in ensuring student success at an institution. However, it can be argued that the most important constituency is the faculty. These are the individuals who interface with the students on a daily basis and at every critical milestone and turning point in their academic career. Having information readily available at the system and campus level is important, but it is also important to have information available at the college, major and department level. Faculty must be able to see information about their students and understand who they are. They need to be able to see how students are performing in the courses that they teach, as well as understand who are the students who declare the majors in their departments and who leave for other majors. They need to understand the paths that their students take in terms of unit loads and continuous enrollment or stopping out. The CSU Student Success Dashboard is a tool designed to help campuses use data to move toward a culture of evidence in assessing student success outcomes. Recently a“Faculty Dashboard” was added which focuses exclusively on views by major and department. This tool is designed to help faculty understand their role in ensuring student success.
The CSU ITL Summer Institute 2016 (see Appendix A) continued a tradition of community building within the CSU by bringing together administrators, faculty, students and others for formal and informal conversations, reflection and planning in relation to active learning and high-impact practices (see Appendix B). This year’s theme, “What Works: Designing Teaching for Diverse Learners,” acknowledges the CSU’s central mission as, first and foremost, an institution whose goal is to provide access to an excellent higher education for every eligible student in the state. Designed consciously as a space separate from other meeting scenarios, the institute was an invitation to think outside the box, to dream bigger, and to share this community’s diverse talents and insights in order to strengthen the CSU from within. Participants took advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by the CSI ITL Summer Institute 2016 and found the experience educational as well as inspirational.
Approved Unanimously – January 26-27, 2017