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What you should be getting from your education: Provost’s forum discusses learning outcomes for UFV

“What abilities, skills, knowledge do we think students should have when they complete a course, complete a program, or, in this case, graduate from our institution?” This was the question posed by Provost Eric Davis at the September 20 provost’s forum on learning outcomes, and it is a large concept that no doubt should be addressed. With this in mind, UFV is launching a new initiative that will provide members of the campus community with a universal plan and strategy – a set of desirable learning outcomes that will guide the community of this institution in a unified direction with clear knowledge of what priorities they should hold in regard.

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By Leanna Pankratz (Contributor) – Email

Date Posted: October 10, 2011
Print Edition: October 5, 2011

“What abilities, skills, knowledge do we think students should have when they complete a course, complete a program, or, in this case, graduate from our institution?” This was the question posed by Provost Eric Davis at the September 20 provost’s forum on learning outcomes, and it is a large concept that no doubt should be addressed. With this in mind, UFV is launching a new initiative that will provide members of the campus community with a universal plan and strategy – a set of desirable learning outcomes that will guide the community of this institution in a unified direction with clear knowledge of what priorities they should hold in regard.

The forum regarding the steps UFV will take towards implementing a Learning Outcomes Plan – co-hosted by Wendy Burton – involved a question and answer period, which allowed members of the UFV community to present their praise, questions or concerns regarding the new initiative. Several questions were raised at this forum, some expressing doubts as to whether a plan could possibly be universally agreed on, but the reaction to the proposal was generally positive.

Davis noted that this is to be a collaborative project facilitated by the Teaching and Learning Advisory Council, meant to engage UFV “faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni [and] community members… to talk about what matters most to [them]” in discussions held over the course of the next six months. Davis said the plan is to have a rough draft of the learning outcomes completed by February, which participants can then “critique, debate, [and] edit.” Then on May 1 the plan is to have a day-long professional day which should see the completion of the document outlining the chosen UFV learning outcomes.

Davis noted that the “Document we produce on May 1… will become an operational and strategic document – it will be crucial for program development and program reviews.” When it is necessary to measure the quality of a program being developed or evaluated, those involved will be able to draw on the learning outcomes to measure against.

Student and staff involvement is integral to the project, and many opportunities for involvement will be made available in the next few months, including a blog, various reading material and resources, student-oriented events, wider involvement through community outreach, a parent/guardian event, and presentations at the Aboriginal Community Council. In short, this is to be a collective effort that will require much input from members of the UFV community and the wider community that stands in support of our institution.

UFV is partnering with Alverno College in their Learning Outcomes plan, and drawing inspiration from the setup implemented by Alverno’s institution. A document was presented at the forum that outlined the general procedure for moving towards a concrete Learning Outcomes Plan, which can be viewed here. Students will be directly affected by the Learning Outcomes Plan, and it is recommended that members of the student body get involved and submit input, as their voices in this process are extremely valuable. To view UFV Provost’s Forum video link, visit their website.

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