Engaging in National Learning Initiative

Three Granite State College academics attended a selective national meeting at Boston University on Saturday, March 24. Sponsor of the institute, The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), invited Granite State College to engage with participants in a 3-year national demonstration grant from the Davis Foundation.

Speakers and workshops focused on the value of developing “signature work” across the college to improve students’ ability to solve complex, real-world problems. Granite State has incorporated such assignments into its seven largest undergraduate courses and will continue to develop this type of work across the curriculum, including in its graduate programs and school of education.

“I was surprised to see how much what we currently do is similar to this type of learning, even though we don’t use the same terms to describe it,” stated Krista Olson, program director of the Master of Science in Management.

Carolyn Cormier, Assistant Dean of the School of Education, also found strong connections with the ways students learn in the teacher preparation and certification programs at Granite State College.

“We are committed to providing teacher candidates the opportunity to apply content knowledge to real problems they face in their classrooms and schools. Being currently employed in schools affords many of our students the opportunity to research a topic in depth, then apply well-supported, professional teaching strategies.”

This institute came at a perfect time for the work that is happening across the College, according to Dr. Scott Stanley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“All of our programs require signature work in the final capstone courses and now we have some strong common assignments in the early coursework. We know many faculty in other courses teach this way, too, but we are in the process of looking at that and helping faculty gather information about how well that works.”

In addition to Cormier and Olson, Dr. Carina Self, Associate Dean of Academic Effectiveness, attended the Institute.