campus partner(s)

Associated Colleges of the Midwest






Fresh Thinking

award date


project director

John Ottenhoff

Associated Colleges of the Midwest

Grant Summary

$150,000 over 34 months. The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) will form a Collegium that seeks to deepen faculty members' understanding of how students learn, and more specifically, of how students acquire the skills and knowledge that are the hallmarks of a liberal education: critical thinking and analysis, integration across disciplines, reflection about the goals of education, and development of expertise through focused research with faculty. Recent research on "metacognition" will serve as a likely focal point for the Collegium. A fall 2008 conference will bring together ACM faculty doing significant research in cognitive science, psychology, and education about how students learn, advanced scholars in these fields from other colleges and research universities, directors of teaching and learning at ACM campuses, and other interested ACM faculty to discuss new research developments in learning with a particular focus on its application to assignments, pedagogy, and curricula. From this broad discussion will emerge a Collegium of 13 faculty (one from each ACM campus) that will commit to reading and discussing the literature about learning in greater depth, and to developing specific, researchable questions about pedagogy and classroom practice. With support from research experts and teaching and learning center colleagues, Collegium faculty will create classroom projects that allow them to apply the learning research they discussed, and to develop ways to determine the effectiveness of those applications. Collegium faculty will report on their classroom projects in a closing conference, the results of which would provide evidence of strategies and assessment formulas that could be further extended and tested. ACM anticipates that this meeting will also generate another cycle of research questions and projects.