campus partner(s)

Wabash College






Special Project

award date


project director

Charles F. Blaich

Wabash College

Grant Summary

$394,500 over 63 months. The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts (CILA) at Wabash College administers a major longitudinal research study—the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education—to "investigate critical factors that affect the outcomes of liberal arts education" and to "help colleges and universities improve student learning and enhance the educational impact of their programs" (CILA website). Twenty-six institutions have to date been involved in the study which has produced high-quality data for their campuses. Simply having such data, however, does not automatically lead to educational change; often, campuses are unable to move from gathering evidence to gathering and using evidence to make changes that improve student learning.

CILA proposes to address this issue by creating a national model for how institutions participating in the Study can (1) gather evidence; (2) use that evidence to make changes; and (3) assess the impact of those changes. Participating campuses will be asked to:

  • Review the outcomes measured by the Study and indicate those in which they would like to improve;
  • Commit to administering the Study and some supplementary materials, to attending meetings and activities that would bring together study participants, and to two site visits by CILA staff and Teagle Assessment Scholars over the life of the project;
  • Commit to a total of $10,000 in the third and fourth year of the project to follow up on findings from the Study, with faculty development of some other process that is aimed at increasing the frequency of effective teaching practices and conditions.

At the conclusion of the project, CILA staff and Teagle Assessment Scholars will review and evaluate the institutional change programs in light of the data to determine which programs succeeded and which did not, and what qualities predicted these paths. CILA aims to sustain the model for working with institutions beyond the grant period, and will develop the infrastructure to be able to add 15 institutions to the Study every two years.