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University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default

Engaged Learning

As part of our commitment to the transformative and enabling power of a liberal arts education, we continue to create opportunities for students to interact closely with faculty throughout their four years. We want our students to grapple more directly with international issues in ways that will help them to understand their roles as world citizens and to develop the cross-cultural competencies they will need to succeed in their chosen professions. Whenever it advances our key educational mission, we want, similarly, to integrate digital technology and other pedagogical innovations to engage our students.

While the larger curricular reform process continues to unfold—and will inform our engaged learning initiatives to an even greater degree—we have already begun to make targeted investments that align with our longer-term vision.

Examples include:

  • A continued expansion of the COLA program, from 45 seminars in Fall 2013 to an expected 71 for Fall 2015;
  • Launching the Liberal Arts & the World of Work program, with two courses in 2014-15 and several others currently under development;
  • The Committee on Educational Policy and the Curriculum (CEPC) approved a new pilot program through which students can complete their undergraduate area requirements by pursuing a group of courses organized around a central theme or topic called a Forum. Each Forum includes a cross-disciplinary introductory and capstone course and additional classes from across the College. A call for new course proposals was circulated to the faculty in April, and the deadline is September 18, 2015. Multi-disciplinary, team-taught classes are encouraged for the five Forums we plan to launch in fall 2016, which include: epidemics; human impact on the environment; mobility and community; visions of the good; and arts and creative design;
  • The awarding of a $3.47 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support significant investment in faculty and curricular strength in issues pertaining to the Global South;
  • Serving as the central unit in the newly approved cross-school Global Studies major program launched in 2014-15, partnering with the Provost in providing funding for the program;
  • Launching the Kapnick Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Program, which brought acclaimed novelist James Salter to Grounds for the fall semester;
  • Inviting distinguished career professionals such as Jerry White, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state and a recognized leader of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Co-Laureate of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace, to serve as a Professor of Practice within the College;
  • The 2014-15 Learning Technologies Incubator (LTi) funded four projects at $10,000 each with the goal of faculty using innovative application of learning technologies to enhance the student learning experience;
  • Also during 2014-15, 13 faculty and one graduate student from seven departments participated in a team-based design initiative integrating authentic learning principles and learning technologies into their courses. This program resulted in the development of projects including the incorporation of digital literacy into writing courses, the design of active learning STEM labs, and the use of e-portfolios in arts administration courses.