There’s no great mystery about what makes for the most impactful, life-changing college education. Broad-based research has consistently shown that certain approaches to tåeaching and learning offer students the greatest return: dedicated programs for first-year students; a commitment to diversity and global programs; and opportunities for service learning, internships, research and other forms of experiential learning.
Sound familiar? The Association of American Colleges and Universities calls these ideas high-impact practices, but you probably know them as the Wheaton curriculum. The college has emphasized these approaches to learning for many years. And alumnae/i and students regularly highlight these features, along with the faculty themselves, as being critical to the amazing liberal arts education the college offers.
Admittedly, Wheaton is not the only college in the country that offers these types of programs. Many do some of these things, but very few are able to offer them all. During more than 20 years in higher education, I have never encountered any college that integrates these kinds of programs as seamlessly, thoroughly and effectively as Wheaton.
The incredible power of what we do at Wheaton begins with the leadership and creativity of faculty and staff. Wheaton didn’t adopt the idea of first-year seminar programs, of internships and experiential learning, or of a global dimension to the curriculum. We were pioneers. We helped prove that these approaches to teaching and learning make a difference in the lives of students. And over the years, we have refined these programs. [Read more...]