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Learning-Centered Updates October 16, 2012

Greetings all,

I am pleased to share with you the first Learning Centered College Update for the 2012-2013 academic year. Michelle Shadburne, who has played a key leadership role throughout our journey to become a more learning centered college, is the guest author of this update.

This year marks the 17th anniversary of the seminal educational article that changed the way higher education views teaching and learning, “From Teaching to Learning – A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education” by Robert B. Barr and John Tagg (see article at bottom of message).  Key to this article was the premise, “A paradigm shift is taking hold in American higher education.  In it’s briefest form, the paradigm that has governed our colleges is this:  A college is an institution that exists to provide instruction.  Subtly but profoundly we are shifting to a new paradigm:  A college is an institution that exists to produce learning.”

This academic year also marks the 15th anniversary when PVCC began its conversations around becoming a “more” learning centered college.  The above referenced article along with work from Terry O’Banion, and Peter Senge provided the framework for PVCC’s learning centered college philosophy.  Take a moment to view the mindmap visualizing this philosophy (see file at bottom of message).  The first college retreat was convened on March 27, 1998 to have a dialogue around   “Creating a Learning College for the 21st Century.”  Some of the recommendations resulting from this retreat included:

Continue and deepen the dialogue on learning and develop a greater understanding of learning,

It is critical to continue the discussion on the central role of general education on learning,

Organizational structure managing technology on campus needs to be learning centered and,

All participants are able and responsible to make PVCC more learning centered.

Today, PVCC continues the learning centered college focus in many of the college’s processes, procedures and systems including in and out-of-class program reviews and assessment of general education student learning outcomes.   

The Fall 2012 Employee Convocation was the official kick-off to PVCC’s accreditation self-study.  The college will embark on a period of self-study to pursue re-accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).  Through a careful review of the entire institution, PVCC will evaluate the degree to which the college embodies its vision, fulfills its mission and embraces its learning centered college philosophy.  Take an additional moment to view the mindmap capturing this process (see file at bottom of message).  

As PVCC begins another operational planning and budgeting cycle take time to consider how your program, plan, and service positively impacts student learning, success and completion, and answer the question, how do you know?

Barr, R. B. and Tagg, J. (1995) From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change 27, pp. 6. (Nov/Dec)

Paul Dale, Ed.D.