Brandon Busteed: “Making a Hard Case for Soft Measures”

Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Education and Workforce Development at Gallup, joined the second day of TLISI 2016 to present “We Are What We Measure,” a passionate argument for the utility of tracking non-traditional measures of student success after graduation from college, and using these numbers to evaluate student outcomes. The presentation began from the observation that “lifelong learning,” while the number one phrase used in mission statements at colleges and universities, is not quantitatively evaluated in alumni populations.

Big data metrics tend to rely upon traditional economic measures of success, but Busteed argued for the place of what are sometimes understood as behavioral economic measures when evaluating lifelong learning outcomes. While classic economic measures consist of grades, test scores, and graduation rates, behavioral economic measures comprise such concepts as well-being, engagement, and hope. Gallup has discovered how to implement these non-traditional metrics to track student outcomes after graduation, and Busteed spent some time during the presentation pointing out where the information captured under these scales diverges from, or even outpaces, information captured under previous economic measures.

In particular, Busteed noted that many companies see GPA as far too unreliable for use in hiring practices, suggesting that the large emphasis placed on grades by many colleges and universities should perhaps be rethought. Students should be encouraged to understand other measures of success—such as the outcome of a great job and a great life—which Gallup measures through their hope, well-being, and workplace engagement indices.

The breathtaking findings from the Gallup study indicate that a student’s feeling of well-preparedness for life outside of college correlates linearly to such “Big Six” college experiences as mentorship and inversely correlates with how much student loan debt one has upon graduation. Attendees at this plenary, hosted as part of the Engelhard Project “Conversations on Educating the Whole Person” series, came away with a greater understanding of the effect of their own engagement at their jobs on student lifelong learning outcomes and what it means to “thrive” in life after graduation.

Bringing Together Current Experiences and Previous Content with Technology

“Technology-Enhanced Learning: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making an Impactful Change in Your Course” kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with the workshop facilitators getting to know the audience, divided equally between Georgetown faculty and staff members. Jennifer Lubkin Chávez—Program Manager for Technology Enhanced Learning at CNDLS—then asked the audience to consider what sort of learners they wanted to target with technology in the classroom. Before proceeding, she asked how we might formulate teaching tasks based on the many different types of learners we might encounter.

Students, Lubkin Chávez explained, need a link between the previous content they have learned and their current experiences in the world; for many, technology-enhanced learning can be what brings these two fields together. She went on to introduce a variety of tools educators can use in the classroom, including the active learning platform Echo360, and the workshop quickly transitioned into a structured Q&A between participants, Lubkin Chávez, and Brian Boston, Academic Technology and Internet Development Coordinator at CNDLS. Thinking critically of our own classes, we considered the many different ways technology could fit and enhance our individualized instruction.

The remainder of the time was spent as a very helpful workshop, in which participants learned, experimented with, and questioned the different forms of technology available to Georgetown faculty and staff members.

Altering Syllabi for Transparency Around Participation

The first Tuesday IPC sessions, Syllabus Design for Engaging Diversity, was led by Michelle Ohnona from the Office of the Provost and David Ebenbach, Postdoctoral Researcher at CNDLS. Many attendees of the session were particularly interested in whatever information they would be able to obtain surrounding the new Engaging Diversity core requirement slated to come into effect in the fall for all newly matriculating first-year Georgetown undergraduate students. Despite the potential for this to have veered into some rote territory where the diversity requirement and its implementation would simply have been outlined for attending faculty, Ohnona expertly brought in the critical perspective around diversity initiatives suitable to an audience of academics, while also describing her role as an administrator helping to bring about this change.

Both Ohnona and Ebenbach shared personal tips from their syllabi from previous courses, while also encouraging faculty to pose any outstanding questions about the new core curriculum. This being a workshop, the faculty were then encouraged to use Ohnona and Ebenbach’s policies, expectations, and ground rules sections of their respective syllabi to draft some of their own, and to share out in small groups at their tables. The attendees especially latched onto language around participation and strategies for participation. Some faculty who had never incorporated a section on expectations of participation into their course syllabi previously came away from the session with a plan to do so for upcoming courses.

Domains and Digital Identities Lab and Showcase

As the second day of TLISI 2016 kicked off, attendees filled the Herman Room for the Domains and Digital Identities Lab and Showcase to learn of the endless possibilities that come with an individualized online presence. Because of the recent partnership between the University and Reclaim Housing, part of the larger Domain of One’s Own efforts on campuses nationwide, Georgetown students and faculty may now create their own website hosted by the university. Yong Lee, Marie Selvanadin, and Bill Garr—all CNDLS employees—framed their presentation by asking their audience, “What does it mean to have digital presence? What does it mean to have a digital identity? And what does it mean to have a digital webspace?” Then, after a brief history of domains, they let three undergraduate students, fellows with the Red House, showcase the incredible work made possible through georgetown.domains.

The first to show off her domain was rising senior, Erika Bullock (COL’17). As an English major, she explained how with her domain, she was able to make something along the lines of “a visual annotated bibliography.” The best part of having her own domain, she explained, was her ability to personalize and make it her own. When a faculty member asked how having a domain shifted her scholarship, she explained that the backend research that she’d usually forego was now at the forefront of her projects. In her research projects, she asked herself, “How can I take something I really care about, and make it nice to look at while also doing what I want to communicate?” Explore more of her work as an English major along with her scholarship in video games here.

The workshop then transitioned to Nandini Mullaji (SFS’17). She opened her brief presentation by telling us of her interest in urban studies and the lack of opportunities at Georgetown for students interested in this field. Despite the lack of physical resources before her, Georgetown Domains offered Mullaji the opportunity to make a unique portfolio and personalize it to her intended job market. Ultimately, she enjoyed having the freedom to choose what exactly she wanted to publicize, and controlling what people could do on her site. Mullaji concluded by adding that Domains create a completely different experience that goes beyond just reading and writing a paper, which places Georgetown students at a “considerable advantage” when entering the job market.

The final student to show off his digital identity was Alex Luta. He designed his Domain as a combined effort with Carnegie Mellon University. By creating an interactive page of maps, he was able to present a number of different human rights violations around the globe. More about his project can be found here.

After each student presented their incredible scholarship and digital identity through their domains, Garr concluded that once you get students excited about their work, Georgetown Domains is an exciting launchpad for students of all disciplines. Faculty and staff then brainstormed what they would want their own students to display with Domains while Lee helped everyone create their own domain using step-by-step instructions. Attendees saw firsthand the limitlessness of the applications they can install on their domains, and the endless opportunities for far-reaching digital scholarship.

Curricular Innovation Social Hour

The first day of TLISI 2016 came to a close on Monday, May 23rd, with a social hour focused on curricular innovation at Georgetown. In the Healey Family Student Center Great Room, faculty and staff conversed with one another about exciting curricular changes occurring around campus.

Kathryn Temple (English) showcased how the university is rethinking doctoral education in the humanities. Her work, in addition to that presented by seven other faculty, is part of a larger project called “Connected Academics: Preparing Doctoral Students of Language and Literature for a Variety of Careers,” a national program led by the Modern Language Association and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Together with two other institutions—the University of California Humanities Research Institute and Arizona State University—Georgetown is working to prepare language and literature doctoral students for both academic and non-academic careers by expanding their studies beyond the university.

Many professors utilized the social hour to showcase their efforts to dramatically change the humanities at Georgetown. Mary Helen Depree (German), for example, displayed a compelling course new to her department. In “Private Lives/Public VirtuesInterpreting The Long 18th Century,” students attempt to frame new ways of thinking about the complicated distinctions between public and private. While structured with a specific emphasis on the 18th Century, the interdisciplinary course exposes the relationship between cultural norms and individual experiences far beyond a single century.

The Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service (CSJ) and the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA) joined Connected Academics in presenting, although their focus was on transforming pedagogy at the undergraduate level. Amanda Munroe, Social Justice Curriculum and Pedagogy Coordinator at the CSJ, talked with attendees about community-based learning (CBL) courses, social justice course infusions, and “UNXD 130 CBL: Social Action,” a one-credit opportunity for students to tie classroom learning to community-based work. Tabling for CMEA, Daviree Velázquez and Leslie Hinkson (Sociology) spoke with faculty about A Different Dialogue, a program aimed at helping students foster positive, meaningful, and sustained cross-group relationships through facilitated dialogue about difference.

CNDLS is thankful to those who contributed to a successful and enlightening social hour, especially to our presenters, who shared their knowledge and time with us.

Intersectionality and Students of Color at Georgetown

In “Who Are Georgetown Students,” led by Daviree Velázquez and Devita Bishundat of the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, what began as an overview of statistics surrounding Georgetown undergraduate students of color, captured through admissions data, was re-illuminated through a lens of critical social theories, supplemented by personal narratives. Populations such as first generation college students and high financial need students were conceptually presented to attendees, with a thorough explanation of intersectionality as an appropriate theoretical framework allowing all facets of an individual student’s identity to affect their experience on campus.

A series of case studies was presented to attendees to work through in groups, comprising anonymized student narratives of concerns having to do with such issues as imposter syndrome, stereotype threat, onlyness, internalized oppression, and microaggressions. As many of the Doyle IPC cohort were in attendance at this workshop, this useful new terminology was taken up by them for much of the remainder of the week in describing their personal goals for inclusive pedagogical practices.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A Focus on Learning

On day one of TLISI 2016, Georgetown faculty from a diverse array of departments came together for Sherry Linkon’s first session on research-based teaching: “What Do We Want to Know About Student Learning?” Linkon, Faculty Director of Writing Curriculum Initiatives and a member of the Department of English, described Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as trying to understand what “learning” looks like. Professors are facilitators of learning, and this is how they should make decisions about how to teach—a shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning.

Sherry indicated that this diverse crowd of professors could all ask critical questions (What’s going on? What works? What if? How does it work?), and that these questions could be solved through research and evidence. She then posed a problem for the professors in attendance to try to solve using these questions. Professors were asked to think about difficulties with getting students to read the required material for their courses. Several professors indicated that they often encounter issues with student participation. Sherry asked everyone across disciplines to partner up and talk about their students’ critical reading. After an animated discussion among the small groups, the professors posted their questions around the walls of the classroom.

This exercise clearly gave the professors plenty to think about. Thank you to Sherry and all the faculty who attended this session! We are excited to know that Georgetown faculty care deeply about student learning and engagement.

Walking Tour on History of Slavery at Georgetown

On Monday, May 23, Matthew Quallen (SFS ’16), a member of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory & Reconciliation, led an historical walking tour of sites on and around campus linked to  the history of slavery at Georgetown. The tour grew out of a project with the John Carroll Scholarship and was offered in April as part of Georgetown’s DC Emancipation Day Symposium.

Quallen first took attendees to Freedom Hall, formerly Thomas Mulledy Hall, which now houses the Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy. “Events in 1838 link Thomas Mulledy at Georgetown to the sale of slaves to plantations in Louisiana,” he shared.

With limited time due to the rain, the group headed to a few old campus sites and offered history on Father Healy and Thomas Mulledy to contextualize the 1838 events, and ended with Quallen pointing out the Old College Ground just northwest of present day Red Square. This area, a current construction site, was a segregated burial ground used by Holy Trinity Parish. People there were buried based on race and class.

More information about this history can be found at the Georgetown Slavery Archive, a repository of materials relating to the Maryland Jesuits, Georgetown University, and slavery.

2016 Opens with Professor Shaun Harper: “Universities and the Mis-Education of White America: A Learning Imperative for Faculty and Administrators”

On Monday afternoon, CNDLS Executive Director Eddie Maloney welcomed TLISI attendees by expressing his excitement to bringing together people from across Georgetown campuses to think deeply about teaching and learning. He thanked the TLISI planning team and partners before welcoming Provost Groves to introduce Professor Shaun Harper, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and our keynote speaker.

In his own remarks, Groves expressed the hope that Harper’s talk would help carry further conversation on serious, sustained work toward equity in higher education, especially in light of the recent addition of the Engaging Diversity core requirement at Georgetown. “What can we do to make this community more open and equitable?” he asked. Through a collective awareness of challenges, he wants Georgetown to respond to students’ desire for these conversations.

After taking the stage, Harper opened his talk with how he looks to innovate the diversity imperative by discussing the white student.”Usually when we discuss the diversity imperative,” he said,”we are making sure there is representation.” He went on to address a question that many ask in response to his introduction,”Why are we talking about white students when discussing diversity in the 21st century classroom?” He framed his talk with this study on race bias by CNN wherein children assign negative attributes to dark skin.

Throughout his talk, Harper drew insights from the third chapter of his forthcoming book, Race Matters In College, and described what he refers to as”the mis-education of the white student.” Citing the importance of beginning conversations about race in the K-12 environment, Harper shared that from the toddler years, children are socialized—through media, school, and their parents—to ascribe problematic meaning to race. He offered an example of a well-intentioned parent reinforcing the idea that “we are all the same” and inadvertently invalidating different experiences and backgrounds that peers may carry with them.

Years down the road, such a “color blind” approach can come back to haunt students, as Harper described in his example of a student graduating from a top university who, when approached about having used the word “colored” to describe his black peers, was taken aback. Through this work, Harper is addressing the lack of racial consciousness present in education and wants to help institutions more effectively prepare students for leadership and citizenship in a diverse democracy.

Having established the need for more deliberate conversations on race in higher education environments, Harper offered several suggestions for addressing onlyness (the psychoemotional burden of being the only one of a social group in a given space), stereotype threat (a situational predicament in which people feel at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group), and microaggressions (casual, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to a certain social group), all of which are commons experiences for marginalized students. Of note was the suggestion that universities invite feedback from students of color on their experiences both on campus and in the classroom, as well as the statement that, simply, faculty and staff need to have these often difficult conversations about race with their peers. “Get feedback from colleagues at your institution or at another institution. Invite their perspective and advice,” he said. In order for spaces of higher education to create a racially inclusive climate and raise racial consciousness amongst students, faculty, staff, and administration need first to be able to talk to each other.

2016 Doyle Symposium: “Engaging Diversity, Building Peace, Changing Communities”

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, the Doyle Engaging Difference Program hosted its seventh annual Doyle Symposium, which focused on the importance of engaging difference and creating inclusive communities in an era of increasing global interconnectedness. This year’s symposium drew nearly 200 students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet offered a keynote reflection on the history and development of the Peace Corps’ intentional engagement with interreligious and intercultural diversity. As Provost Bob Groves highlighted in his introductory remarks, Georgetown has a long-standing connection with the Peace Corps, with 29 Georgetown graduates currently volunteering worldwide and a total of 935 alumni volunteers having served since the agency’s founding in 1961.

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Hessler-Radelet opened her remarks noting that there “could not be anything more important in our world today than a discussion of engaging difference and diversity.”  An international service organization, the Peace Corps has sent nearly 220,000 volunteers to work in over 140 countries across the globe. Hessler-Radelet shared several stories of Peace Corps volunteers to highlight how they “learn to see the world through their community’s eyes” and are “transformed into global citizens.”

Hessler-Radelet emphasized the mission and goals of the Peace Corps, as well as her goal to have the volunteer corps reflect the diversity of the nation. Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion is a priority for the Peace Corps, evident through an agency-wide focus on  diversity recruitment, combatting intolerance through running trainings on Islamophobia,  and the establishment of a new Faith Initiative to support volunteers and staff. She emphasized that diversity drives innovation and creativity, and that diverse organizations are more resilient and productive. “Diversity is hard,” she acknowledged, and we have still “not come to terms with diversity.” She challenged the audience to recognize that it can be uncomfortable to engage diversity and it requires real, honest reflection and acceptance of one’s own biases. “Life begins at the end of our comfort zone,” she noted.

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Following Hessler-Radelet’s address, Vice President for Global Engagement and Director of the Berkley Center Thomas Banchoff provided additional reflections that emphasized the work of the Doyle Program to support this work here on campus – that engaging with difference “really means listening.” Banchoff sees Georgetown as a “community of discourse” that provides opportunities for reflection, action, and intellectual engagement around themes of difference and diversity.

Executive Director of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) Edward Maloney introduced the afternoon’s panel of faculty and students. Maloney also highlighted Georgetown’s role as an international institution that strives to live out the Jesuit ideals of justice and community – whether across the globe or here in efforts on campus. Professor Michelle Ohnona (Women and Gender Studies, a former Doyle Faculty Fellow, CNDLS Faculty Fellow, and the university’s Diversity Requirement Coordinator), served as moderator. Ohnona emphasized her passion for teaching, learning, and pedagogy – noting that the classroom is a “space for transformation.”

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Ohnona was joined on the panel by three students: first-year Jasmin Ouseph (SFS ‘19) and seniors Joy Robertson (SFS ’16) and Caitlin Snell (COL ‘16). The students shared  their experiences working with diversity on campus and abroad. Ouseph is chair of the Georgetown University Student Association’s Racial and Cultural Inclusivity policy team, a diversity facilitator for Leaders in Education About Diversity, and also serves as an undergraduate representative on the administration’s Working Group on Racial Injustice. Robertson and Snell participated in Doyle student programs — the Junior Year Abroad Network (JYAN) and the Education and Social Justice Project (ESJ).  Both spoke about the impact of those experiences on their perspectives on diversity and culture. Robertson noted the ways studying abroad  encouraged her to find more upfront and tangible ways to engage difference on campus, and Snell spoke of the importance of being vulnerable and creating “not just safe spaces, but brave spaces.” The panelists considered how traditional classroom and faculty/student dynamics might need to be transformed as  audience questions challenged panelists to think about how difference can be productively recognized and embraced in the classroom.

Concluding with remarks from Michael Kessler, Managing Director of the Berkley Center, this year’s symposium offered a unique blend of global and local perspectives on the importance – and challenges – of engaging diversity in our communities, as well as the meaningful reflections and growth that all can experience when living and engaging intentionally with each other.

The Doyle Program will to continue to create opportunities — from the annual symposium to programs and events throughout the year — for reflecting, discussing, and sharing the ways we can engage difference in our lives to improve our campus and community.

Missed the event? You can view the full keynote address and faculty and student panel, as well as read about past Doyle Symposiums. In addition, you can visit our website to learn more about the Doyle Engaging Difference Program or apply to be a Doyle Faculty Fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year.