Learning Beyond Measure? Assessing the Liberal Arts
The Seventh Annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts
February 16-17, 2007
Liberal arts education is distinct from other approaches to higher education in many waysits goals, its methods, even the context in which it is offered. Are there ways in which the assessment of liberal arts education must vary accordingly? The seventh annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts: "Learning Beyond Measure?" addressed the assessment of liberal arts education. The conference, sponsored by the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts, took place at
The program opened on Friday afternoon with a keynote address from Daryl Smith Professor of Education and Psychology at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Smith is an expert on diversity in higher education and her work on assessment has focused on assessing diversity initiatives. The second keynote address was from Patricia King, Director for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, who is currently taking part in the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education.
In addition, we featured two panels addressing assessment from the point of view of accreditation agencies on the one hand and of liberal arts colleges and small universities on the other. Those representing accreditation agencies discussed the place of liberal arts colleges in their region and how their work with these colleges on assessment might differ from their work with other kinds of institutions. Our panelists were be Barbara Wright, Associate Director of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Robert Froh, Associate Director of the Commission of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and Jill Reich, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Bates College.
The second panel explored assessment from the point of view of the liberal arts college or small university. Jim Appleton, Chancellor of the University of Redlands spoke from the presidential perspective. Charlie Blaich, Director of Inquiries at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College discussed assessing the distinctive outcomes of a liberal arts education. Mary Docter, Professor of Spanish at Westmont College, addressed faculty perspectives on assessment.
On Friday night the 2007 Conversation on the Liberal Arts featured a special performance of "The Syringa Tree," written by Pamela Gien and starring Gin Hammond.