Our Academic Program
New College is also engaged in cross-cutting initiatives to further enhance student learning. These include Seminars in Critical Inquiry, Academic Learning Compacts, the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, and an Assessment of Senior Thesis to Improve Teaching and Learning.
Seminars in Critical Inquiry emerged in response to the SACS requirement for a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan. These content-rich seminars for first and second year students focus on critical writing and revision, and academic research skills. Dr. Michelle Barton is the Director of this project which began in 2009 and will be reviewed by SACS in 2014.
Academic Learning Compacts are available for each Area of Concentration. The Academic Learning Compacts list expected learning outcomes with particular emphasis on critical thinking, communication, and content knowledge. They include measures used to track student progress, measures that will demonstrate each graduate’s competencies, and corroboration of these competency measures.
New College partnered with six other colleges in a five-year project to “Assess the Senior Thesis to Improve Teaching and Learning.” All seven colleges require some or all of their undergraduate students to complete a senior thesis or project. The partnership began in 2009 and will conclude in 2014. A thesis assessment rubric has been developed and participating colleges are sharing best practices and solutions to common challenges.
New College is participating in a longitudinal study of the 2008 entering cohort called the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education. Students in this cohort voluntarily completed the same assessments three times: during first year orientation, during their second semester, and during their 4th year spring semester. The assessments cover liberal arts learning outcomes, high-impact learning experiences, and time spent preparing for classes. Results from New College students can be compared with the national results from both small colleges and large universities.