Developing Intellectual Skills in Multiple Disciplines
- Kansas University
- University of British Columbia
Research Action Cluster 2 aims to study and promote widespread implementation of best practices for teaching intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and information literacy. RAC2 also aims to foster an institutional approach that values their development, with the ultimate goal of improving learning and educational outcomes for students across the curriculum. Queen’s University is leading RAC2 and is joined by partner institutions, the University of Kansas and the University of British Columbia to engage academic departments in the implementation of discipline-relevant and resource effective pedagogical approaches.
In the development and groundwork phase, participating departments will engage in conversation and curriculum mapping to assess where they are in the development and assessment of students’ intellectual skills. Based on this examination, they will produce a plan for implementing evidence-based and student-centered pedagogies to improve teaching and learning these skills. One-page guides for students will be developed that highlight how these skills play out in participating disciplines or fields, and faculty will design and share short tasks to target these skills in specific courses.
In all this work, departments will be encouraged to seek advice from campus-based experts in relevant offices and centers, as well as from their own disciplinary communities, other RAC2 institutions, and the larger BVA network.
In the implementation phase, faculty will test these new resources and pedagogies in targeted classes, and use a variety of methods to assess students’ development of intellectual skills. RAC2 participants will also engage the wider university community with this agenda. Partner institutions will work with their administration, marketing and advancement arms to prioritize learning and assessment of intellectual skills across the curriculum, and develop a change management strategy to support implementation of new approaches.
RAC2 is committed to developing models of leadership for pedagogical and cultural change that can be useful within and beyond the Bay View Alliance. In particular, we will be testing the idea that planned departmental activities will lead to a larger fraction of members who are convinced that it is possible, appropriate, and within their responsibility to contribute to their students’ mastery of intellectual skills, in addition to disciplinary ones. We will test this by observing over time changes in faculty attitudes and practices, by means of surveys, focus group discussions, etc.
The RAC2 project proposal has been developed and refined in consultation with Bay View Alliance partners. Interventions at different partner institutions are being documented to provide a basis for the development of project resources. Common criteria are being developed for assessment, to ensure valid results. Funding for the project will be sought and partner institutions will continue to collaborate on research and seeking funding opportunities.
How to Engage with RAC2