Pedagogies of Engagement

PKAL Sessions at 2008 ACA Summit on Success through Change

October 16 - 18, 2008

Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
Abingdon, Virginia

As part of the collaborative partnership between Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) and the Appalachian College Association, PKAL led two sessions at the 2008 ACA Summit:

Implementing Curricular Change with Project Kaleidoscope
Jeanne Narum, Project Kaleidoscope and Judy Dilts, James Madison University

This session provided an opportunity for participants to gain insights and ideas about how to initiate and institutionalize curricular change. Based on a recent PKAL NSF-funded project, themes explored included:

  • how to start thinking about what students should know and be able to do as a result of a specific learning experience
  • how to build a collaborating team of faculty and their administrative colleagues
  • how to identify and overcome common barriers to meaningful change
  • how to seek external grant support for piloting and implementing new curricular approaches.

Project Kaleidoscope Workshop
Judy Dilts, Project Kaleidoscope and Caren L Diefenderfer, Hollins College

One of the most significant multidisciplinary reform initiatives emerging on college campuses across the country relates to quantitative literacy, with faculty leaders shaping and reshaping programs that infuse attention to quantitative literacy/quantitative reasoning across the curriculum. This attention to quantitative literacy/reasoning reflects widespread understanding that "numbers [are] the principal language of public argument in the 21st century" [BBC]. The multidisciplinary nature of QR is both a challenge and opportunity for undergraduate faculty. QR must be learned in context; not as an abstract theory. This workshop was designed for faculty in all disciplines wishing to provide students opportunity for the sustained engagement with quantitative material required to develop an understanding of basic mathematical concepts like ratios, percentages, and averages; this is to reinforce for faculty and for students the reality that QR is important to all students, not the sole responsibility of the mathematics department. In the first part of the session, participants learned about and explored generic QR goals, examining particular examples of tools used in a variety of disciplines that address those goals, with some suggestions about low-threshold approaches for beginning.

The second part of the Project Kaleidoscope Workshop focused on approaches to shaping tools to assess the students' ability to use the tools of quantitative reasoning in diverse, real-world contexts.