Students are reporting much higher self-engagement rates under the new First-Year Preceptorial model than under the old common curriculum officials announced during the Monday faculty meeting, a sentiment echoed by faculty observations.Director of Assessment Leah Adams-Curtis and Professor of Biology Jennifer Templeton presented the results of students’ assessments of First-Year Preceptorial from fall term and compared them to the results from years past.
The faculty themselves are also more engaged, but they show a less dramatic difference than the student body.
Faculty report that student learning, as measured by such skills as assessing a text or critically evaluate an argument, shows little change under the new model. Interestingly, the students themselves reported learning such skills better than their peers who went through the old system.
Students also showed little improvement in understanding of academic integrity, getting an average of 16.99 questions right on an exam designed to test understanding of integrity at the end of the course as opposed to 15.91 correct at the beginning.
Freshmen are generally ending up in FP classes of their choice. Statistics revealed at the meeting show that 51 percent of students get their first preference, 28 percent get their second and 12 percent their third. Those numbers do not include freshmen that fail to select a preferred course.
The Academic Standing Committee, addressing concerns raised during the Honor Code review process, proposed a new Statement on Academic Integrity, which would seek to emphasize the positive nature of academic integrity rather than only stressing the negative consequences of dishonesty.
“The proposed Statement is an opportunity for all of us to step back from Honor Board procedural questions, as important as they may be, in order to consider first principles,” Dean of the College Lawrence Breitborde said in his report.
There was debate amongst the faculty on wording, particularly on whether or not to mention the Honor Board in the statement or merely to emphasize the shared role of students and faculty in maintaining honesty in academic work. The faculty gave provisional support to adopting such a statement once details were worked out.
The meeting concluded with a presentation from Associate Professor of Modern Languages Robin Ragan and Professor of History Mike Schneider about integrating digital storytelling (slideshows of photographs with digital voice overlays and music) into Knox classes.
Possible uses for digital storytelling include as an option for oral-enhanced classes, as a way to complete the review portion of the Experiential Learning Component, as a capstone option or simply as an alternative to PowerPoint in ordinary class work. Separate workshops for students and faculty are slated to be held in May.
Other developments of note at the meeting:
-President Teresa Amott declared that an optimal goal for the capital campaign should be to raise between $150 and $200 million for the school.
She also announced in a report sent to the faculty that the school has received $10,470,029 in total gift support as of March 1, up $4,544,744 from last year. Gifts and pledges to Alumni Hall are also currently standing at $9.5 million with a final goal of $11.3 million. Amott said that she was happy with the current rate of donations.
-Admissions are up 20 percent from last year, keeping the college on track to meet its goal of 60 more students for the class of 2017.
-For the fourth time in five years Knox has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This year, for the first time, the school was also named to the Distinction Roll with 113 other schools nationwide.