Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Conference: AAC&U's Personal and Social Responsibility Meeting

Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility: Deepening Student and Campus Commitments
October 1-3, 2009
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Program (pdf)
Register now online

Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility: Deepening Student and Campus Commitments will bring together faculty, student affairs educators, academic administrators, students, and others to explore how to move education for personal and social responsibility to the center of institutional culture and academic practice. The program (pdf) will feature promising practices that develop students' civic engagement and social responsibility in both a local and global context; personal and academic integrity; ability to examine and understand differing (and often competing) perspectives; and ethical and moral reasoning.

The conference will feature new research based on survey responses from 24,000 students and 9,000 campus professionals at twenty-three colleges and universities on the availability of learning opportunities for social and personal responsibility. The research revealed that, although there was overwhelming consensus that education for personal and social responsibilities should be a goal of a college education, far fewer respondents strongly agreed that their institutions had opportunities for such learning.

As stated by Anne Colby and William Sullivan (both of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) in an article they co-wrote for the winter 2009 issue of AAC&U's Liberal Education:
"The relative lack of institutional investment in students' personal and social responsibility reflects the widespread assumption that academic content knowledge and the intellectual skill of analytic or critical thinking...are the overriding aims of higher education and that the development of personal and social responsibility is only distantly connected with those aims...[W]e take issue with both of these assumptions, arguing that colleges should aim to teach students how to use knowledge and criticism not only as ends in themselves but also as means toward responsible engagement with the life of their times."

From the program, here's a description of a poster presentation that may be of interest to EPAC members:

Curricular and Co-Curricular Designs and Pedagogies
Using Meaningful Reflection to Enhance Learning for Social Responsibility
Susan M. Mountin, Director of the Manresa Project, Kim Jensen Bohat, Director of Service Learning, and Terence Miller, Director, Office of International Education—all of Marquette University

John Dewey said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” Large numbers of students each year participate in volunteer community service programs, curricular service learning, and immersion experiences, both domestically and internationally, but the service in itself is often not a sufficient tool for advancing education for personal and social responsibility. How do campus leaders go about creating time for reflection in and out of the classroom? Why is reflection important in the moral and ethical development of students? How do faculty and staff teach the skills of reflection in a culture filled with noise? How does reflection shape attitudes, dispositions, and behaviors? These questions shape this poster presentation, which will explore meaningful reflection as a key method for deepening students’ social responsibility. The poster will feature: (a) evolving definitions of reflection and how it can enhance learning; (b) models for good pedagogical practice steeped in reflection used at Marquette University (e.g., classroom reflections including writing, WIKIs, e-portfolios, and silence; out-of classroom reflections for service learners on topics such as diversity, understanding social injustice, connecting service and course concepts, and exploring vocation as a result of the experience); and (c) pre- and post-service reflection activities for students in global immersion and academic service learning experiences. The poster will also feature creative exercises which can be used to surface students’ ethical and moral values in relation to their service experiences.

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