Friday, June 16, 2006

Student Engagement, Learning Communities at Johnson C. Smith University

Telephone interview with Phyllis Dawkins, Dir. Faculty Development, Johnson C. Smith U. about student engagement, learning communities, assessment, related practices and resources; more detail in recording attached (7.5 minutes MP3 - also avail. as TLT-SWG podcast episode).

SKELETAL TEXT SUMMARY [Questions from Steven W. Gilbert = "SWG"
Responses from Phyllis Dawkins = "PWD"]

SWG: What is JCSU doing to develop Student Engagement?
PWD: Trying to find activities that promote social and academic engagement. Using active and collaborative learning; problem-based learning, assignment-based useful activities that result in "artifacts" for ePortfolios.

SWG: How do you know these activities are working?
PWD: In Learning Community program, collaborative/cooperative learning, including service learning and co-curricular activities, have made a difference in terms of student learning and persistence (more high grades, fewer failing grades, fewer on academic probation, fewer judiciary incidents, less negative behavior) .

SWG: What are "Learning Communities" at JCSU?
PWD: Freshman learning communities (cohorts); all 400+ freshmen in learning communities cohorts of 20-30 for 15+ hours per week; each cohort works on a block/theme.

SWG: What about SACS (re)accreditation coming up?
PWD: Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) focuses on Student Engagement and the role of technology.

SWG: What do you recommend most for getting started in this direction?
PWD: Learning Communities National Resource Center [at Washington Center, Evergreen College]

Phyllis Worthy Dawkins
Director of Faculty Development
Dean of the College of Professional Studies
Johnson C. Smith University

NOTE: "Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins (Johnson C. Smith University '75), dean of the College of Professional Studies, was named the 2006 recipient of the top award given to an individual who upholds the high professional standards of Dr. Edwin Bancroft HeE. B.son. The E.B. Henderson Award from the Ad Hoc Ethnic Minorities Council of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) was presented to Dawkins in Salt Lake City, Utah in April. While at the AAHPERD conference, she also delivered a presentation on “Using Active Learning Strategies in the Classroom to Promote Learning."

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