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Serving the Greater Good: Delivering General Education Outcomes in a Small Liberal Arts College
Unformatted Document Text:  Outcome Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Does Not Meet Expectations Advanced Proficient Partially Proficient Not Proficient 1. At a foundational level, Morningside students are able to describe the American experience from the viewpoint of at least one minority segment of the American population. 26 51 13 9 26.26% 51.52% 13.13% 9.09% 2. At a foundational level, Morningside students are able to analyze the relationship of diverse population groups to the broader American society. 27 43 21 8 27.27% 43.43% 21.21% 8.08% Table 1.1 represents aggregate American Experience Assessment data from 4 POLS 147 sections from Fall 2005-Fall 2007. There are 99 students included in the data. Morningside is beginning to acquire institutional aggregate data for each component of the General Education Curriculum; however, at this stage, reporting is insufficient to provide an institutional picture of these outcomes. Early analysis of this data suggested the need for improvement in curricular design to assist students to better understand minority viewpoints. Morningside is situated in Northwest Iowa in a region that has experienced substantial immigration in recent years; however, our student body does not reflect the increasing diversity of our immediate surroundings. Nearly 80% of our students come from a 150 mile radius of Sioux City, Iowa. 12 It is fair to say that the faculty have encouraged the College to build a more representative class; however, as that process unfolds, faculty embraced this particular component of the curriculum as a modest antidote to the homogeneity of our student body. We have identified an obvious a challenge with respect to a homogenous matriculating student body which struggles to understand (and frankly appreciate) difference. Yet, another challenge militates against student success. Since such a high percentage of these students are from the region, the instructor knows that most have at least one semester, if not a full-year of high school government and civics in their recent experience. While the instructor may have thought it was possible to make some assumptions of basic institutional knowledge about US national government that assumption has proven to be dubious. Furthermore, there appears to be fewer students that seek AP credit for US Government. Recent course re-design has more intentionally focused on introducing students to the diverse viewpoints regarding United States national political questions. Readings and writing assignments have been added to augment student development of these perspectives and analytical skills. The upside of this renewed emphasis is stronger learning outcomes of basic political science concepts and content. This assertion is grounded in analysis of the outcomes related to the second General Education curricular component which POLS 147 serves, the Service Learning Flag. As part of the General Education Curriculum, all students must enroll in at least one service learning flag course. Flagged courses include a particular pedagogy as a substantial 12 Morningside College Factbook (2007). Lopez & McKinlay, 7

Authors: Lopez, Lillian. and McKinlay, Patrick.
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background image
Outcome
Exceeds
Expectations
Meets
Expectations
Does Not Meet Expectations
Advanced
Proficient
Partially
Proficient
Not Proficient
1. At a foundational level, Morningside
students are able to describe the
American experience from the
viewpoint of at least one minority
segment of the American population.
26
51
13
9
26.26%
51.52%
13.13%
9.09%
2. At a foundational level, Morningside
students are able to analyze the
relationship of diverse population
groups to the broader American
society.
27
43
21
8
27.27%
43.43%
21.21%
8.08%
Table 1.1 represents aggregate American Experience Assessment data from 4 POLS 147 sections
from Fall 2005-Fall 2007. There are 99 students included in the data. Morningside is beginning
to acquire institutional aggregate data for each component of the General Education Curriculum;
however, at this stage, reporting is insufficient to provide an institutional picture of these
outcomes. Early analysis of this data suggested the need for improvement in curricular design to
assist students to better understand minority viewpoints. Morningside is situated in Northwest
Iowa in a region that has experienced substantial immigration in recent years; however, our
student body does not reflect the increasing diversity of our immediate surroundings. Nearly
80% of our students come from a 150 mile radius of Sioux City, Iowa.
It is fair to say that the
faculty have encouraged the College to build a more representative class; however, as that
process unfolds, faculty embraced this particular component of the curriculum as a modest
antidote to the homogeneity of our student body.
We have identified an obvious a challenge with respect to a homogenous matriculating
student body which struggles to understand (and frankly appreciate) difference. Yet, another
challenge militates against student success. Since such a high percentage of these students are
from the region, the instructor knows that most have at least one semester, if not a full-year of
high school government and civics in their recent experience. While the instructor may have
thought it was possible to make some assumptions of basic institutional knowledge about US
national government that assumption has proven to be dubious. Furthermore, there appears to be
fewer students that seek AP credit for US Government.
Recent course re-design has more intentionally focused on introducing students to the
diverse viewpoints regarding United States national political questions. Readings and writing
assignments have been added to augment student development of these perspectives and
analytical skills. The upside of this renewed emphasis is stronger learning outcomes of basic
political science concepts and content. This assertion is grounded in analysis of the outcomes
related to the second General Education curricular component which POLS 147 serves, the
Service Learning Flag.
As part of the General Education Curriculum, all students must enroll in at least one
service learning flag course. Flagged courses include a particular pedagogy as a substantial
12
Morningside College Factbook (2007).
Lopez & McKinlay, 7


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