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ERIC Number: EJ923862
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
The Double Helix: A Purposeful Pathway to an Intentional and Transformational Liberal Education
Haefner, Jeremy; Ford, Deborah L.
Liberal Education, v96 n2 p50-55 Spr 2010
The disciplinary major has long served as the backbone of higher education. Every student has at least one major, and each major prescribes a program of study that is supported by a series of courses both within the field and from the general education curriculum. Yet relying solely on the formal academic curriculum to achieve the outcomes of a liberal education shortchanges the total academic experience available to students. A truly transformational liberal education considers the totality of students' lives as the broad palette on which the learning experience is fully realized. The academic major plays a central role, but the learning that takes place outside the classroom is, and should be, a critical player in this experience as well. A robust partnership between academic affairs and student affairs is essential to fostering transformational learning. Faculty members and student affairs personnel should "work together to complete conceptual mapping of the student learning, collaboratively identifying activities inside and outside the classroom that focus upon and contribute to specifically defined learning objectives" (Keeling, 2004). The authors' premise in this article is that, in order to strengthen this partnership and serve students in a twenty-first-century environment, the best approach would be to provide each student with a compass, a map, and a route through the vast array of available out-of-the-classroom learning experiences. The final destination would be marked by the student's achievement of the essential learning outcomes of a liberal education. Retention issues, a focus on learning outcomes, accountability, and other factors have created an acute need for new models for establishing closer partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs. Institutions that strive to build such partnerships will be well positioned to provide a twenty-first-century liberal education. The authors believe that the "co-major" proposed here--when connected intentionally to the traditional academic major--provides the second strand of a double helix that represents a purposeful pathway for achieving the essential learning outcomes of a liberal education. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A