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Liberal education survey results touted in journal

  • Research about liberal education at Grand Valley has been published in a journal.

Posted on December 21, 2010

How Grand Valley students feel about their liberal education is detailed for the world, as an article written by four staff members was recently published in a premiere journal.

The fall issue of Liberal Education, produced by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, includes an article by Diana Pace, associate dean of students; Catherine Frerichs, professor of writing; Kurt Ellenberger, associate director of the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center; and Tamara Rosier, former FTLC staff member who now works at Kuyper College.

"What Students Say About Liberal Education at GVSU" highlights focus groups done with students in 2004 and 2009 that were conducted as part of the Claiming a Liberal Education Initiative.

Pace said efforts like emphasizing liberal education during orientation, changing university messaging and strengthening the advising system have helped embed liberal education into student culture. "In 2004 no students were able to define liberal education," Pace said. "In 2009 they all defined it."

The research also showed that students take more responsibility for their learning, think globally and better understand faculty expectations.

Frerichs, who served as director of the FTLC during this study, said while students seem to understand what liberal education means, the behind-the-scenes work continues. "In this economic climate, it's a set of principles that doesn't always have an immediate payoff," Frerichs said. "I can understand students' attraction to something that promises immediate satisfaction. Faculty and staff members need to keep the liberal education message front and center."

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