Workshops Highlight WASC Process, University Initiatives


Workshops Highlight WASC Process, University Initiatives
Faculty and staff gather for WASC Accreditation presentations.
Farouk Darweesh listens during a WASC Accreditation break out workshop.
Tim Corcoran discusses the teacher-scholar model.

At the Fall Conference workshops, faculty and staff received updates about the WASC accreditation process and provided their input for the WASC report. In July, the university will submit its Educational Effectiveness Report, which includes university goals and its plan to accomplish them.

Other afternoon workshops highlighted important university initiatives: encouraging undergraduate research, helping veterans transition to college and the development of a new interdisciplinary major and minor.

WASC Accreditation Presentation

The WASC Committee shared three themes that comprise the university's Education Effectiveness Report: institutional excellence, the teacher-scholar model and student success. Workshop participants shared specific cases of the university achieving those goals.

The Downtown Center and the Music Industry Studies program were offered as examples of institutional excellence, as those programs are unique to Cal Poly Pomona, create a sense of community and help prepare students for the local and global market. The interactive workshop also explored the theme of the teacher-scholar model and the different interpretations. In a discussion about student success, committee members emphasized the importance of achievements that could be verified through assessments, surveys or an external evaluator, such as an internship supervisor or competition judge.

For more information about WASC, visit www.cpp.edu/~wasc/.

WASC Breakout: Teacher-Scholar

The teacher-scholar model session analyzed the integration of instruction and scholarship and how the two are intertwined. Definitions and explanations were listed on display boards, with participants encouraged to attach their observations. Many did, and a lively discussion of what constitutes scholarship followed.

The integration of teaching and scholarship includes, but is not limited to: bringing scholarship into the classroom; embedding studio, lab and field work into the curriculum; collaborating with students; and fostering a climate in which students realize that learning is not a linear process or mere recitation of facts.

WASC Breakout: Institutional Assessment

“What should students know when they leave here?” was the focus of a session on institutional assessment.

Participants discussed and provided concrete examples for 13 learning outcomes, including quantitative reasoning, ethical understanding, interpersonal skills and lifelong learning. Among the points of conversation was the difference between critical thinking and problem solving and how they differ across academic disciplines.

University Strategic Planning

Developed by the University Planning Committee, the University Strategic Plan includes several goals with specific action items for each division. The goals were organized into four clusters: academic quality, learn-by-doing, polytechnic identity and global focus. Workshop participants commented on each of the goals, giving examples of current successes and making suggestions to reach the goals.

In the polytechnic identity cluster, for example, people recommended the strategic plan showcase the university's diversity, urban location and integration of technology in the classroom. In the learn-by-doing cluster, participants suggested faculty and staff share in the learn-by-doing philosophy. Faculty could take a sabbatical to work in private industry, and staff could participate in job rotation and or cross training.

Undergraduate Research Initiative

The UR BRONCO (Undergraduate Research – Building a Research Opportunity and Networking Community) project is a faculty-led initiative that promotes undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in hands-on inquiry, discover and collaborate with faculty and other students.

During the workshop, presenters explained the characteristics of undergraduate research: mentorship, originality, acceptability and dissemination. They discussed the two models: research apprenticeships and research-based learning courses. More information is available online at www.cpp.edu/~urbronco/.

Veterans Service Initiative

The number of military veterans seeking higher education is expected to grow substantially as a result of the Iraq War and the new GI Bill, and the university has made it a priority to facilitate their admission. The Veterans Service Initiative presentation covered their special needs the barriers they encounter, what their priorities are, and how best to meet their needs.

A key element of the initiative will be a website for veterans that introduces them to campus and helps them navigate the admissions process, find resources on campus and meet other veterans or veteran advocates. A survey of veterans found that online orientation was among their top priorities, especially because many cannot make it to campus for the event.

Introducing Science, Technology & Society

This fall, Cal Poly Pomona introduces Science, Technology & Society (STS), a new major and minor. The program addresses the convergence of science and technology with society. The interdisciplinary program incorporates courses from nearly every college and teaches literacy in science and technology while providing a societal perspective.

The STS major is relevant to a variety of careers and can provide a steppingstone for students working in or pursuing graduate degrees in law, public policy and journalism. More information is available online at www.class.cpp.edu/phl/sts/.