Intellectual Engagement

Please read and reflect on the following executive summary for this proposal,
or even better, the full proposal given here: IntellectualEngagementProposal.pdf
Then please read and contribute to the commentary for this proposal.

Executive Summary: Collaborative Inquiry into Deep and Integrative Learning
Authors: Katie King and Mary Knight-McKenna

Elon University strives to prepare our graduates to tackle challenges faced by their local and global communities. Working collaboratively with others to find solutions to complex problems requires the application of a deeply interconnected knowledge base acquired through the integration of learning across a broad spectrum of contexts. Renowned for engaged learning, Elon is now poised to build upon this success by exploring and promoting intellectual engagement on our campus. Through three related initiatives, faculty, staff and students will explore intellectual engagement in the classroom and in experiential and co-curricular contexts. The findings will be used to stimulate curricular and pedagogical innovations in support of deep and integrative learning, so that our students will be prepared to apply their knowledge and skills as leaders of the twenty-first century.

In the first initiative, students, faculty and staff will be invited to participate in Intellectual Engagement Seminars, courses developed around deep and integrative learning. The two-hour courses will be credit-bearing for students, and count toward normal work load or be accompanied by a stipend for faculty and staff. These courses will be offered throughout the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years.

In the second initiative, teams of students, faculty and/or staff will be invited to apply for Intellectual Engagement Grants to support inquiry projects focused on a) deep learning within the disciplines; b) deep learning within co-curricular programs, e.g., Study Abroad, SGA, or Multicultural Center; or c) integrative learning across the curriculum. These projects may be one, two, three, or even four years in length. Inquiry teams working in related areas or using similar methodologies will meet regularly and develop common rubrics for the assessment of deep and integrative learning.

In the third initiative, discussions will be convened so the campus community can reflect, and build on the new understandings being developed. Beginning in departments and programs, these conversations will widen in concentric circles until the entire University is thinking intentionally about deep and integrative learning and how it can be facilitated with new curricular initiatives and pedagogical innovations. The work will also be disseminated widely, through a web-presence, scholarly presentations and publications, and a book summarizing the project, further supporting Elon University’s reputation for intellectual engagement.

This project will have a fittingly deep and broad influence on student learning: those students who participate directly in any of the three initiatives will deepen their understanding of learning, both generally and in disciplinary and co-curricular contexts. They will gain insight into the need to intentionally integrate knowledge, skills and ways of knowing acquired from multiple sources and experience. Students’ intellectual engagement will increase as they take greater responsibility for their own learning and that of their peers. The exploration of deep and integrative learning on our campus will stimulate the development of innovative curricular and pedagogical strategies which will have a long lasting impact on student learning for years to come.

The full proposal is given here: IntellectualEngagementProposal.pdf.

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