Office of Public Affairs
Dec. 3, 2003
CONTACT: Dr. Sara Varhus, 312-2285
COLLEGE RECEIVES GRANT TO LINK LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
OSWEGO -- SUNY Oswego will focus on how students
integrate their learning under a prestigious grant from the Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Association of
American Colleges and Universities.
The $5,000 grant could enhance how students learn at
SUNY Oswego, said Sara Varhus, dean of the College of Arts and
Sciences. Varhus, Associate Provost Rhonda Mandel, and School of
Education Dean Linda Rae Markert will serve as the project team. Oswego
was one of only 10 schools selected out of more than 100 institutions
"We seek to connect what students learn in major
programs and in general education courses," Varhus said. "The grant
will explore how that might be done."
The three-year project will look at three components
Oswego has implemented in the past few years -- the FirstChoice options
for first-year students, intellectual issues courses designed to engage
students in interdisciplinary learning and discussion, and capstone
courses that culminate students' learning as they complete their
Analyzing the success of those signature programs
and finding ways to improve them will serve as building blocks for the
process, Varhus said.
The first phase, starting in January, will be a
qualitative study of how students connect learning in courses required
for their major and general education classes.
"We will explore questions such as 'how do we know
when students are putting it all together?' and 'how do we help
students acquire the skills to integrate knowledge from their major
with what they learned in general education courses?'" Varhus
Better integrating transfer students into the
academic flow is another goal, she added.
Thanks to funding from the grant, the three team
leaders will attend a conference on integrated learning in January that
will help get the ball rolling and introduce Oswego representatives to
a network of colleagues working on similar issues.
The project also will involve campus-wide discussion
of learning at Oswego next fall, followed by the implementation of a
task force to address the findings of the qualitative study and campus
feedback. The college will pilot and begin to assess the revised
integrated core components in 2005 and 2006.
"This is an opportunity to create a more engaging
learning experience for all students," Varhus said.
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