I went to a couple of very interesting presentations today at the SACS COC conference here in The Big Easy. Both sessions dealt with creating general education goals (outcomes/expectations), infusing them into the system, and measuring success. I am very interested in the application of those methods to general technical education outcomes.
My informal statement of overall goals for our students at TSTC Waco is this:
â€śOur graduates should exhibit the behavior, attitudes, and skills of a professional technician.â€ť
When I broke that down for our students at orientation, I included trouble-shooting, love for your field, learning behavior, communication skills, troubleshooting skills, honesty/ethics, and customer-service focus. It turns out that most of those things are really close to what liberal arts institutions call General Education Goals or Expectations.
I find this interesting because it helps provide a unified theme, consistent message, and persistent reinforcement for these behaviors, skills and attitudes throughout the technical college experience. It certainly includes academic as well as technical courses (see earlier post on â€śthe great divideâ€ť). The second session indicated that we should be considering how our co-curricular activities help our students meet these goals as well. Yes â€“ Student Development (or Student Affairs, or Student Life, or whatever they have thought to call it on your campus) can be involved in the educational process in more than just a supporting role.
All of this is driven by the SACS requirements and it makes sense:
3.3.1 - The institution identifies expected outcomes for its educational programs and its administrative and educational support services; assesses whether it achieves these outcomes; and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of those results.
3.5.1 - The institution identifies college-level competencies within the general education core and provides evidence that graduates have attained those competencies.
All of this may have been obvious to everyone but me, but Iâ€™ve had a pretty educational day.2 comments