When Winston-Salem State University evaluated their Gen Ed curriculum in 2009, they discovered that their goals of improving skills like critical thinking and communicating were hindered by several factors that would need to be addressed. Interim Provost, Dr. Lynn Berry recently joined us to share how her campus worked with Credo Education to implement rubrics for the purpose of achieving consistent measurement of student capacity in important 21st Century skills. See the full slide deck here.
Upon review, WSSU realized their 20-year old Gen Ed curriculum was being negatively impacted by the following flaws:
- The intended skills outcomes were confounded within the areas of study (ex: communication relegated to English)
- Students were given limited opportunities to develop and hone these skills across all areas of knowledge, thus they lacked transferability
- WSSU was not confident these skills were being assessed accurately or equally
21st Century learning outcomes like critical thinking, effective communication, and related Gen Ed skills are among the most important outputs of a college education. However, a strong and growing body of evidence suggests colleges and universities are not producing these skills.
Dr. Berry shared how she was able to implement a process at WSSU where critical thinking and related skills could be contextualized into the discipline, but measured consistently across Gen Ed and programs. Once in place, WSSU’s rubric-based process was successful in engaging faculty with data-driven discussions on instructional strategy and continuous program improvement.
Along the way, WSSU piloted a program to use Credo Education courseware to help them achieve their desired results. 5 of their 7 desired outcomes aligned with what Credo Education offers:
- Critical thinking
- Information literacy
- Oral Communication
- Written Communication
- Quantitative Reasoning
As we move into the 21st century and learn to navigate the new challenges presented by today’s knowledge economy, many learning institutions are having to reassess what they teach in their Gen Ed curricula. The strategies they implement moving forward, and how they assess their efficacy, can determine their place in the academic world of tomorrow.
See the full slides here.