Core Integration Activities
Since the Fall 2006 Core Integration Kickoff, Fairfield faculty have been engaged in work on Goal I of the University's Strategic Plan: Integration of the core curriculum. Efforts over the years have focused on integrative teaching and learning across all schools and programs, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Workshops by guest speakers including: Ken Bain, author of "What the Best College Teachers Do"; Leslie Ortquist-Ahrens, an expert on Faculty Learning Communities; Stephen Brookfield, author of "Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher"; and John Zubizarreta, author of "The Learning Portfolio" have provided inspiration. Additionally, overnight faculty retreats in Sturbridge, MA (November 2006) and Avon, CT (Spring 2008) have provided faculty with time to reflect on their practices, engage in interdisciplinary cross-campus discussions on the meaning of integrative teaching and learning, and develop student learning outcomes for the Core Curriculum.
A selection of the activities are described below.
Six pathways or cross-course competencies were identified and developed by faculty in 2009-2010: aesthetic engagement, appropriating wisdom, global citizenship, quantitative reasoning, rhetoric and reflection, and scientific reasoning. These "Pathways to Integration" provide a conceptual structure to organize efforts and focus faculty and student attention on common outcomes. To learn more, consult the Core Pathways brochure (PDF) and the Pathways Summary (PDF).
In response to requests heard across campus - "We want to know more about courses students are taking to satisfy core requirements!" the CAE has collaborated with departments on a series of six informational and interactive workshops. This series is designed to raise faculty awareness of the content delivered, the skills developed, and the methods used in Core courses. Building on the work of those across the Core, faculty can better advise students and encourage integrative learning both within and outside the classroom. "Core of the Core" workshops included in Fall 2010: English, Religious Studies, and Philosophy, and Spring 2011: History, Modern Languages & Literatures, and Mathematics.
Developed and hosted by the CAE and funded by the Davis Educational Foundation. These 3-day Institutes provide faculty with: strategies to advance their integrative work; tools to help integrate departmental Core courses within and beyond disciplines; guided reflection; time and space to collaborate with colleagues and develop new and innovative assignments, activities, or other assessment; and resources to help in their Core integration work and sustain their efforts. To date, the CAE has hosted Institutes in Summer 2010 (May 19-21 and June 14-16, 2010), Summer 2011 (May 18-20, 2011), and Summer 2012 (May 16-18, 2012).
The FPLCs @ Fairfield engages faculty and professional staff in year-long conversations; each community is centered on its own particular topic, but all are charged with exploring contributions to integration across the curriculum.
Since October 2007, this annual interactive event has been held around Halloween to "unmask" Core Course offerings and provide a venue for students and faculty to interact and engage in discussions about the purpose of core courses and their relevance to student learning and development. Each department in the College of Arts and Sciences hosts a table where students can learn about courses and the kinds of questions and methodologies used by particular disciplines.
- Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect
A national project sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The site features: definitions of integrative learning, essays on fostering integrative learning, and integrative strategies from 10 participating campuses.
- Integrative Learning. Peer Review, Summer/Fall 2005, Vol. 7, No 4
This issue of Peer Review features articles on integrative learning and ways to foster interdisciplinary connections and transcend boundaries.