2005 PKAL National Colloquium


Translating How People Learn into a Roadmap for Institutional Transformation
Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza & the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Kansas City, Missouri
September 30 - October 2, 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

3:00 - 3:45 pm

Opening Plenary
Reports from the PKAL 2005 Roundtable on the Future
Imagining the college/university of the future

Linking what we know about How People Learn (HPL) to the process of:

  • Creating, implementing, and assessing effective pedagogies
    - Diane Ebert May, Professor of Plant Biology, Michigan State University
  • Building, nurturing, and sustaining a strong faculty
    - Terence G. Favero, Professor of Biology & Associate Dean of Curriculum, University of Portland
  • Designing accommodating spaces
    - Jeanne L. Narum, Director, Project Kaleidoscope
  • Determining institutional policies and budgets
    - Stephen C. Ehrmann, Vice President, The TLT Group

...the new science of learning is beginning to provide knowledge to improve significantly people's ability to become active learners who seek to understand complex subject matter and are better prepared to transfer what they have learned to new problems and settings. Making this happen is a major challenge, but it is not impossible. The emerging science of learning underscores the importance of rethinking what is taught, how it is taught, and how learning is assessed.
- page 13. How People Learn. National Research Council. 1999

3:45 - 4:30 pm

Plenary II
Imagining the college/university of the future

Considering metaphors for planning from the 2005 PKAL Roundtable on the Future

  • A 21st century Jeffersonian village
    - James W. Baird, Principal, Holabird & Root & Jigsaw Team
  • A bridge to the future
    - Scott Kelsey, Principal, CO Architects & Jigsaw Team
  • A Rubics Cube
    - Peter G. Kuttner, President, Cambridge Seven Associates & Jigsaw Team
  • A concept map
    - Michael J. Reagan, Director of Science & Technology, Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates & Jigsaw Team

Results from the Jigsaw Groups at the 2005 PKAL Roundtable on the Future will be presented, illustrating the richness and the complexity of having a vision of student learning as the driver for setting institutional goals and developing strategies for institutional transformation.

5:00 - 6:00 pm

Plenary III: Snapshots
21st century learning spaces for 21st century learning communities

Examining key characteristics of spaces that work

  • Presenters from the 2005 PKAL Roundtable on the Future

6:15 - 7:00 pm

Poster Session & Buffet Reception

Particpants are invited to present a poster that documents a personal experience in designing courses, programs, spaces, budgets, etc. that support one or more specific goal(s) for student learning.

7:00 - 9:00 pm

Plenary IV: Interdisciplinary Case Study

Using 21st pedagogies to tackle the problem of setting goals for student learning
  • Deborah Allen, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Delaware
  • Kenneth Heller, Professor of Phyiscs, University of Minnesota
  • Karl A. Smith, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota

Led by three pedagogical pioneers, participants will engage in a problem-solving case study, wrestling with setting goals for student learning in the context of an interdisciplinary problem. Small groups will work through the case, determining how to set goals for student learning, how to design and implement pedagogies that reflect those goals, and how to assess if/how they were met for that specific case.

Building on what one knows, and shaping one's own knowledge is a key step in "...understanding complex subject matter...", and thus this session sets the stage for the following day, during which the future will be imagined.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

7:30 - 8:30 am


Time for birds-of-a-feather discussions, for administrators, design professionals, and faculty with similar interests (pedagogical assessment, facilities design, etc.)

9:00 - 10:15 am

Plenary V:
21st century learning communities that serve the 21st century student

  • Thomas C. Greene, Gaines Professor of Psychology, St. Lawrence University
  • Paul R. Hagner, Learning Initiative Associate Program Director, EDUCAUSE

When we speak of the classroom as a science community, we picture an organization based on dialogue and activity. Knowledge is not transmitted so much as it is constructed, cooperatively, by students working together under the guidance of faculty and- at more advanced levels- by students and faculty working as teammates. To create community, we advocate further blurring of distinctions- here the distinction between pedagogy and content and the distinction between classroom and laboratory. To achieve the goal of making a classroom into a science community, it is not enough to organize people into groups. A community shares values and fosters mutual respect. [The PKAL] model for learning science expresses an ideal that no instructional program of an institution manifests perfectly. It reminds educators of three qualities- community, personal character, and context- that must be sought constantly to make instruction in science and mathematics effective. [The PKAL] model says that membership of the learner in a community of learners is crucial.
- Project Kaleidoscope Volume I- What Works: Building Natural Science Communities.

In this session, we explore the nature of the 21st century learning community, one that serves the 21st century student, that responds to and advances 21st century science and technology, and that ensures that graduates are prepared for lives that serve science and society.

10:45 am - 12:00 pm

Breakout Sessions A

Creating Cognitive Apprenticeships for Undergraduate Learning

  • Wendy C. Newstetter, Director of Learning Sciences, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

A major challenge in universities today is to create effective and workable models for undergraduate education that emphasize the development of cognitive skills over the delivery of specific course content. We have attempted to tackle this challenge in biomedical engineering by working to create interdisciplinary learning environments that develop the reasoning strategies foundational to engineering problem solving while authentically integrating two domains of knowledge--biology and engineering. In this session I will talk about the evolutionary trajectory of our efforts to redesign the scaffolding common to problem-based learning approaches to better support the development of model-based reasoning.

Evaluating & Improving Undergraduate Teaching in STEM

  • Diane Ebert-May, Professor of Plant Biology, Michigan State University
  • Jay B. Labov, Senior Advisor for Education & Communications, National Research Council

This session will address the collective responsibility for programs and coherence at the level of the academic department. The discussion will then move outward from the department to the institution, with all the ramifications thereof: interdisciplinarity, shared spaces and facilities, extended visions of scholarship and accountability in education, and a serious rethinking of what tenure and promotion should mean and recognize in the 21st century college and university.

Pathway for an Institution-Wide Assessment Plan

  • Donna L. Sundre, Center for Assessment & Research Studies, James Madison University

The experience of James Madison University illustrates one institution-wide approach to ensuring strong learning of students in all fields.

12:00 - 1:00 pm


Informal lunch conversations

1:00 - 2:15 pm

Breakout Sessions B

Getting and Keeping Faculty Engaged

  • Terence G. Favero, Professor of Biology & Associate Dean for Curriculum, University of Portland
  • Kenneth Heller, Professor of Physics, University of Minnesota
  • Trace Jordan, Assistant Director- Morse Academic Plan, New York University

There are many interesting paradoxes relating to faculty that must be addressed in planning 21st century learning environments: how to couple faculty development with assessment of student learning, understanding faculty belief structures, and how they affect faculty behaviors; geting faculty involved in the study, implementation and assessment of what is good teaching in their discipline; and increasing awareness of and interest in the scholarship of teaching and its relationship to what happens in the the classroom and lab- particularly in the use of technologies. This session will address how to work with colleagues across the campus and rally around scholarship and research methodologies as a framework for faculty engagement.

The Iterative Process of Moving to & from Student Learning Goals- The MIT Experience

  • Phillip D. Long, Senior Strategist for the Academic Computing Enterprise, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

It takes intentional planning to make undergraduate STEM learning environments more student-centered,in which students have opportunities to construct their own learning. The story of planning and assessing the programs and spaces used by two MIT Departments, Course 16 - AstroPhysics, and Course 8 - Physics Department, illustrates intentional approaches for developing such learning environments-- emphasizing active learning, with cooperative learning teams of students engaged in inquiry-based activity at both the course level (introductory Physics) & the departmental or program level (Aero-Astro). Issues to be explored include: i) the context motivating the curriculum changes; 2) the process of planning, beginning with how the faculty identified the key learning experiences they wanted students to have; 3) considering the pedagogies, spaces, and faculty expertise needed to enable students to have such experiences; and 4) iterative efforts to assess what was happening the new spaces. Finally, the voices of students and faculty about their experiences in these spaces, with these pedagogies, will be heard.

The "Butterfly Effect" in the Work of Institutional Transformation

  • Anne C. Dema, Associate Dean for General Education and Professer & Chair of Chemistry, William Jewell College
  • Stephen C. Ehrmann, Vice President, The TLT Group
  • Marianne Jordan, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations, Bowdoin College

Is there an operative "butterfly effect" in the work of institutional transformation? Is there a role for a "project shepherd," or someone with a formal assignment to be responsible for understanding the inter-connectivity of the key four aspects of the undergraduate learning environment, someone with responsibility engage diverse constituencies in thinking creatively about local challenges and opportunities? This session, targeted primarily at administrators, will address steps to define institutional policies relating to student learning, to keep them moving forward, and to orchestrate them over the long-haul.

2:30 - 5:00 pm

Jigsaw Sessions

5:15 - 6:00 pm

Jigsaw Sessions

6:30 pm

Dinner & Kansas City Jazz

Sunday, October 2, 2005

8:00 - 9:30 am


Informal review of Jigsaw Session Reports

Teams will have time, during breakfast, to review and critique plans by colleagues.

9:45 - 10:45 am

Plenary VI:
From translating...to transforming

Moving from vision (an imagined future) to reality is difficult, time-consuming, but not rocket science. At assigned tables, participants will identify specific strategies by which institutions ensure that the key elements for institutional transformation are in place. Questions raised in the Oblinger essay are the basis for this session; the assignment is to arrive at a "how-to" answer to one or more questions in regard to vision and goals; assessment and evaluation; professional development; support, structure and processes. For example, from considering the question "...does the institution's structure make it easy for individuals to work across organizational boundaries...," those at the table will describe approaches that work, from their experiences, reporting to the colloquium assembly on best practices.

11:00 - 11:30 am

Reporting Out

11:30 am

Colloquium concludes