Public Affairs, The California State University

Faculty Engaged in “Building a Better Baccalaureate”

By Stephanie Thara

Faculty engaged in “Building a Better Baccalaureate”

Faculty came together July 9-11 at the CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning’s (ITL) 2013 Summer Institute to learn strategies and tactics for revision and redesign of curriculum from courses to degree programs. During the three-day conference, professors and lecturers participated in interactive workshops on curriculum design, learned how to integrate online technology into the classroom, discussed how to improve students’ critical thinking skills and shared best practices for effective academic program assessment.

“Curriculum review, development and modifications are an ongoing process,” said Wayne Tikkanen, ITL faculty director. “We are constantly revising or crafting new courses and the institute is a way for faculty to rethink how to make the curriculum tighter and serve our students better.”

The workshops, which were led by CSU faculty, gave attendees the opportunity to provide input about current and proposed programs. Faculty members heard about initiatives and course structures that were successfully implemented at CSU campuses throughout the state. For example, faculty learned how other campuses blended community engagement into the curriculum and used flipped classrooms and ePortfolio projects to enhance student learning. Professors and lecturers were able to take these ideas and adapt them so they could be used in their own classrooms.

The institute used mobile phone technology to help gather faculty ideas and suggestions, a first at an ITL Summer Institute. During the dinner panel on critical thinking, faculty in the audience could text questions and comments to a panel of CSU administrators, faculty members, students and potential employers. The panel discussed the feedback, giving attendees a well-rounded analysis of what critical thinking skills they believe should be emphasized in education.

“This year we had a greater amount of workshops and a greater amount of faculty experts from fields ranging from computer science all the way to anthropology,” said Tikkanen. “Everyone at the conference brought something different to the table and together we were able to work toward building a better curriculum.”