Colleges and universities have developed a wide variety of approaches to the study of the great questions, but rarely in a systematic fashion. When they do, they are typically related to requirements or options in general education that are often standard introductions to a major or in piecemeal form through the initiative of individual faculty and staff members. And yet, a coherent approach to equipping students to address “great questions” of meaning, value, purpose, and personal and social responsibility are especially relevant for students of traditional college age.
The “Larger Vision” initiative supported curricular programs that foster among students knowledge and capabilities related to personal, civic, and moral responsibility. Funded projects included organized set of studies, such as “core courses” or “course sequences,” that enroll a significant number of students and weave together civic and moral questions in a variety of ways rather than simply serve as stand alone introductions to the disciplines. The initiative also sought to recognize effective programs that provide evidence of improvement of student learning through innovations in teaching and learning, and to create robust collaborative relationships as a way to disseminate good practices.
This initiative was informed by a listening in June 2012 that involved senior campus leaders, faculty, and experts in teaching and learning. Major themes that emerged from the discussion were captured by Ashley Finley, Senior Director of Assessment & Research at the Association of American Colleges & Universities, who reflected on the question of “What works in student learning?”, and by Laura Rosenthal, Professor in the English Department at University of Maryland, who offered insights on the question of “What matters in student learning?”
The ten “Larger Vision” funded projects involve over 100 institutions representing diverse sectors of higher education, including liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and research universities. The funded projects’ implementation timelines range from 2012 through 2017. As of May 2016, over 600 faculty and 2800 students have participated in Teagle-supported activities under the “Larger Vision” initiative.
In April 2015, when funded projects were at the rough mid-point, grantees came together in a Teagle-sponsored convening to share their experiences with their colleagues. Key themes that emerged from the convening discussion are available here. A video clip of keynote speaker Martha Kanter, former U.S. Under Secretary of Education, is available in the Library & Resources section.