From: Dr. Erika Latty and Dr. Sarah Cunningham
To: The Unity College Community

Dear Colleagues,

Our discussion of college-wide learning outcomes continue to progress as we further refine our expectations for student learning. Of note recently is a common reference to the phrase “backward design” in these conversations. Backward design (also called backward mapping) is a process used for curriculum design in which the first step includes articulating learning goals, which is then followed by the design of the learning experiences. This commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education considers the role of backward design in curriculum delivery and assessment. It provides some useful context for the outcome work in which we are currently engaged.

Process Updates

  • The most current drafts of the reworked college-wide learning outcomes were shared at the Strategic Academic Leadership Team (SALT) meeting and then presented at the last Faculty Meeting.
  • Jennifer Cartier is continuing her work with faculty on program-wide learning outcomes. Dr. Cartier reports that the groups she has worked with are satisfied with the results of their discussions.
  • Academic and Student Support worked with Stamats to complete a timeline for the online bulletin board and survey implementation. Together, we are now finalizing the content of the Moderator’s Guide for the online bulletin board. You will recall from an earlier email, that the purpose of the online bulletin board is to better understand the view of potential students in regards to innovative learning practices.
  • Senior staff voted to approve the First Two Years [F2Y] Project Team Phase 1 Ad Hoc Committee. This committee will be comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators with a charge to consider the curriculum, morphology, and calendar for the first two year experience. Expect to see the fruits of their labor in the months ahead.

Outcomes and Next Steps

  • We expect the online bulletin board to launch in early June.
  • During the May professional development days, we welcome Dr. Mahurin back to campus. Both Dr. Mahurin and Linda Suskie, assessment consultant, will be working with faculty during the professional development sessions.
  • Those involved in the First Two Years [F2Y] Project Team Phase 1 Ad Hoc Committee should expect to hear from Sarah and Erika during the next week.

The close of the semester always proves to be a busy time of campus life. Despite that fact, we are pleased that many of our standing committees were able to devote time to F2Y in the last weeks of the semester. Senior staff’s approval of our new committee will enable us to maintain continued progress on the F2Y initiative over the summer.

Happy “close of the semester” to all of you.