“In the end, our goal must not be only to prepare students for careers, but also to enable them to live with dignity and purpose; not only to give knowledge to the student, but also to channel knowledge to humane ends. Educating a new generation of Americans to their full potential is still our most compelling obligation.”
—Ernest L. Boyer
President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1979-1995)
Teaching and Research
We are approaching the 20-year anniversary of the Boyer Commission Report that sparked significant controversy in higher education. A number of high-profile faculty refused to endorse the report, and the president of the American Association of Universities was highly critical of its recommendations. The reflections of the surviving commission members are quite interesting, revealing how much undergraduate education has changed at research institutions over the past two decades.
What was so controversial about the Boyer Commission Report? It called for the “radical reconstruction of undergraduate education at research universities in the United States.” The report contained essentially a student bill-of-rights, and urged research institutions to embrace their distinctive missions by making research an integral part of the baccalaureate experience by creating a new kind of undergraduate experience only available at research institutions. Specific recommendations included making research-based learning the standard, and constructing an inquiry-based freshman year, along with a number of other ideas that are now routinely practiced on our campus.
Today, the Office of Undergraduate Research at UK provides a wide variety of programs and activities in support of research-based learning across the disciplines. I encourage you to make your students aware of the grants and scholarships available to them, and faculty, please consider providing mentorship to undergraduate students as a part of your research agendas.
Grace Hahn Hester, SAL Project Lead for Foundations of Excellence self-study improvement process
Regarding an inquiry-based freshman year, in my last brief, I mentioned the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. John N. Gardner served as the first director of that center, and he subsequently founded the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. The Division of Student and Academic Life has engaged with the Gardner Institute, and will implement their Foundations of Excellence self-study improvement process over the next year. Grace Hahn will serve as the project director for this effort. Many of you have already offered to participate. We will make sure to include you as committees are organized over the next few months.
Curricular, Co-curricular and Extra-curricular
What do these terms actually mean? Curriculum is a Latin word that means “the course of a race,” derived from currere, meaning “to run.” Today we use this term to refer to the specific set of degree requirements a student must complete to receive a degree. I’m sure our students sometimes feel the original definition is more appropriate. In my view, co-curricular activities must be an extension of the learning experiences associated with degree requirements. In other words, to be so-named, a co-curricular activity must be directly tied to the learning outcomes associated with a curriculum. Examples include undergraduate research opportunities, service-learning, and internships. Extra-curricular activities, on the other hand, are activities that contribute to the development of the whole student, but are not directly tied to a given program’s learning outcomes. Examples include athletics, honor societies, and fraternity/sorority life. I welcome your feedback and am interested to hear if you agree with my interpretation of these words. As always you can email me directly at email@example.com.
Companies in Silicon Valley are employing design-thinking methodologies to spur the creativity necessary to generate innovative products. At Stanford University, the d.school was built around the notion that people can use design to develop their creative potential. Design thinking is human-centered approach to problem solving that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for success necessary to generate innovative solutions.
We are taking a design thinking approach to facilitate the creation of co-curricular activities in UK’s new student center. We are actively seeking participation from those who have responsibilities within UK’s academic programs, and have set aside $200,000 to support their work. An information session on October 26 will include an introduction by Professor John Nash, director of UK’s Laboratory on Design Thinking in Education (dLab), to the design thinking methodology that will be used . In order to better understand the capabilities of the new student center, we have set up opportunities to tour the construction site on October 16 and October 24. Use this form to sign up and reserve your place on the tour, and the first design-thinking meeting.
Feel free to send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life