2007 PKAL Summer Institute


Focusing on leadership, student learning & institutional transformation

2007 PKAL Summer Institute
Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles
- near the Washington Dulles International Airport -
Chantilly, Virginia
June 13 - 16, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Creativity: Means & Ends of Institutional Transformation

The Institute begins on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. with an opening reception and poster session followed by dinner.

Participating teams, including design professionals, are invited to present a poster illustrating their experiences toward achieving sustainable institutional transformation. A template for the posters will be available on the PKAL web site. These posters will be spotlighted in the main assembly area during the entire weekend, an opportunity for participants to connect to and learn from colleagues pursuing similar objectives and overcoming common barriers to change.

The Institute's opening plenary is at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

This two-part session sets the stage for weaving student learning goals into efforts to transform institutions. We begin with the assumption that creativity is not only a critical component of leadership, but a key goal for student learning, as well as a hallmark of institutional quality.

The opening plenary, "The Institution as Creative Leader" is by Tori Haring-Smith, President of Washington and Jefferson College.

Following her remarks, participants will engage in an experiential exercise exploring the question, "if creativity is a central student learning outcome for your campus community, how would your programs, your policies, your budgets, and/or your spaces be shaped? This exercise will be facilitated by a team from the Olin School of Engineering, which had the luxury of building from scratch, as well as the foresight to have "creativity" as a central goal for student learning.

The evening will end with a final set of questions: What kind of learning did we just experience? What happened? What worked? How do individuals and groups form in the process of leadership?

There are many times throughout the Institute for informal gatherings and discussions, which are easily accommodated in the setting of the Conference Center–beginning with time this first evening.

Thursday, June 14, 2007
21st Century Learning Goals for Student Learning: Serving Science & Society

A traditional component of PKAL events is an experiential learning exercise, time for out-of-the-box engagement as leaders and followers. These early morning activities will begin at 6:45 a.m. each day.

Opportunity to share ideas and insights about roles and responsibilities of leaders are threaded throughout the Institute. Beginning with breakfast on the first day, spaces and times are designated for leaders in specific spheres of responsibility to meet with colleagues, including senior academic officers, directors of assessment and/or learning/teaching centers, departmental and programmatic leaders (and followers).

Plenary session II, beginning at 9;15 a.m., introduces a panoply of goals for student learning– in STEM fields specifically and for undergraduate learners generally.

One answer to the ‘why change?" question is that academic leaders are being challenged to be more explicit and transparent in setting and assessing goals for student learning. That this is a timely and possible undertaking is clear from noting the remarkable coherence of goals for student learning set forth in documents from national associations and disciplinary societies, as well as from the work of pedagogical pioneers and leaders in the assessment community.

To illustrate, from the Business Higher Education Forum:

The life-long learning skills and attributes [of] leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, self-management, adaptability, analytical thinking, global consciousness, and communication need to be firmly embedded in teaching at colleges, including community colleges and universities.

And from the Faculty in Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN):

Graduates should demonstrate (selected):
  • an awareness of critical natural science and psychological principles
  • an awareness of experimental methodology, design and data analysis
  • an awareness of historical trends/theoretical perspectives that inform the field
  • the ability of critical thinking and independent thought
  • the ability of communicating effectively, in written and oral form, as well as with figures, graphs, and through presentation software
  • the ability to discern and articulate a rationale for ethical conduct in research
  • an awareness of how neuroscience is informed from a wide range of disciplines beyond the sciences
  • an appreciation of the value of diversity and the ability to work with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

During this day, there will be plenary discussions, break-out groups, and times for individual teams to work together, time to explore if and how goals for student learning can be a driver for building the kind of intellectual, social, and physical environments that ‘work.'

Plenary sessions in the morning and afternoon will include discussions by George Kuh, Director of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and Carol Schneider, President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Kuh will challenge participants to analyze and possibly extend NSSE surveys of student engagement to reflect more explicitly goals for student learning set by leaders in STEM fields.

Schneider will describe the AAC&U LEAP agenda, through which they are challenging academic leaders to think more creatively and substantively about what Americans might expect as an outcome of a robust and transformed undergraduate STEM learning environment.

These Institute conversations of leaders within NSSE, AAC&U, PKAL, and other groups will hopefully prompt continuing discussions of how national organizations can respond to national calls for greater accountability and stewardship within the higher education community.

Break-out sessions in morning and afternoon provide opportunity to explore how various groups build an agenda for change from a ‘student learning goals' foundation.

Morning sessions will be facilitated by leaders of professional societies in STEM fields that have set goals for student learning and/or are tackling the process of transforming what & how students learn in their field. Representatives of PKAL LI campuses will assist. In the context of this Institute, the intent is to highlight the consistency of student learning goals set by a diverse group of leaders, suggesting the potential for greater collaborative effort at the campus level.

Afternoon sessions will be facilitated by practitioners with recognized success in developing, implementing, and assessing programs based on explicit and higher-level student learning goals. Pedagogies include studio classrooms, problem-based learning, case studies, Just-in-time teaching, etc.

These will be followed by late-afternoon time for teams to work together, meet with consultants, and gathering for dinner.

The evening plenary will make the explicit link between student learning goals and the politics and processes of institutional change.

Remarks by Diana Oblinger, Vice President of Educause, will introduce the discussion, challenging participants with a further set of questions:

  • Is there sufficient institutional will—as well as vision—to sustain the institution through transformation?
  • Are the institutional vision and goals clear? Well communicated? Can individuals translate what those goals mean for their daily activities?
  • Are there commonly shared definitions for items in the vision and goals? Competencies? Access?
  • Is there an on-going communication strategy/campaign that ensures the vision and goals remain clear and focused?

The evening will conclude with an exercise through which participants use art (drawing, poetry, acting, etc.) to illustrate the process of using student learning goals as the means toward institutional transformation, or the outcome of such a process–or both. A fun time for show and tell.

Friday, June 15, 2007
Leadership: What This Means for Individuals, Institutions, and Society

Special invitations are extended to colleagues of participating teams, including trustees, presidents and other senior administrators of these colleges and universities. Invitations are being issued to leaders of professional, and disciplinary societies, as well as to leaders in the public agencies and private foundations that are critical to the robustness of America's undergraduate STEM learning environment.

The day offers opportunities for cross-cutting conversations with leaders at different stages of their career, in different spheres of responsibility, facing different kinds of opportunities to make a difference. Collegial groups of leaders will also be convened during and after lunch.

The morning will open with a plenary convened by Melvin D. George, president emeritus of the University of Missouri (past chair of the PKAL National Steering Committee) and Daniel Sullivan, President of St. Lawrence University.

The thread of the discussion will be on leadership as shaping and nurturing a sense of shared purpose, within and beyond the campus community. Margaret Miller, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, will take a futurist look at the changing role of higher education and the challenges that leaders are facing and will be facing, addressing the question: "What will be best for our students?"

Following general remarks, the assembly will tackle an at-the-table leadership case study, opportunity to share questions, lessons learned, ‘aha' moments experienced as leader or follower. The case study weaves attention to the work of leader as nurturing a collaborating group that has a shared purpose, supports respectful disagreement, and is itself the kind of learning community they seek for their students.

Lunch includes an opportunity for senior administrators to convene to explore a common agenda for leaders in STEM fields to represent the larger community in national conversations. Kathie Olsen, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation, has been invited to participate in Institute activities on this day.

Plenary and break-out sessions in the afternoon will examine particular dimensions of leadership, presenting both ‘how-to' ideas and analyses of institutional stories and experiences.

How to make decisions, how to build faculty interest, consensus, and commitment, how to plan for the future, and how to establish institutional structures that ensure stability and sustainability of meaningful reforms. Several institutional stories will illustrate the "a - z" steps taken to build 21st century learning environments for STEM students, including environments that are interdisciplinary, research-rich, and serve all students.

Paul Erdahl, Executive Vice President for Leadership, Medtronic, has also been invited to participate on this day.