Measuring LER success topic of conversation at second open meeting

Jamie Shearer

Friday forum to be broadcast at all campuses

Faculty members debated whether the university can effectively measure how Liberal Education Requirement classes are broadening students’ outlooks during a townhall meeting yesterday.

The meeting was the second of three forums to elicit faculty feedback hosted by the LER Workgroup, which has been working to revamp the LER system at Kent State.

With a similar format and forum as the first meeting, Senior Associate Provost Tim Chandler and Don Williams, dean of the honors college, led the meeting and encouraged discussion of the three proposed LER models.

The proposed models range from only slightly changing LERs to make them more transferable between majors to completely redesigning the LER system – classes and all.

The purpose of these meetings is “to get faculty and staff feedback,” Williams said.

And faculty members didn’t hold back.

The meeting began with an explanation and discussion about the Learning Outcomes draft, which is designed to instill engagement, knowledge, insight and responsibility in students.

The faculty’s main concern with this draft is the uncertainty of how to measure these abilities.

Elizabeth Smith-Pryor, undergraduate coordinator for the history department, asked if some abilities would be measurable down the road, such as understanding the moral, ethical and social roles an educated citizen plays in a democratic society.

A psychology faculty member commented on a goal under the engagement category of the draft that states students act upon their moral and ethical obligation to others. Her concern is about who will define what moral and ethical values are, since those values mean different things to different people.

But whatever model the university chooses, Williams wants students’ attitudes about LERs as “something you get done” to change.

The third and final townhall meeting will be 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Kiva and will be broadcast interactively to all campuses.

Contact faculty affairs reporter Jamie Shearer at [email protected].