ILO Working Groups Update for Spring 2024

Here are some brief status reports for our ILO Working Groups:


Alice Jenkins

The ILO groups were beginning to form, and we did not have anyone to lead the communication group, so I volunteered to take the lead for this group. To get us started, I created a team group to hold all our documents and minutes: (Communication ILO – Working Group | General | Microsoft Teams).  I sent out an invitation to all faculty members inviting them to our first meeting which was held on May 22, 2024. The goal of this meeting was to organize and form our group. All participants were asked to complete a brief survey to find commonalities of what communication skills they taught, how those communication skills were taught and how those communication skills are assessed. We also polled the best time to meet as a group. We spent time reviewing KWAs collected during all BC Community Day (April 18, 2024) and added more KWAs to the list. We reviewed/discussed definitions, examples of communication outcomes and rubrics. One of the accomplishments from the first meeting was that we have an official Communication ILO Group (anyone who is interested is welcome to join). We do have others faculty members supporting and taking part in this group but were unable to attend the meetings. Current Communication ILO Group Members:

  • Alice Jenkins
  • Stephanie Hurst
  • Jamie Gayden
  • Eve Norling
  • Peggy Hardt
  • Mari Brunson
  • Melissa Massie
  • J. Engel Szwaja-Franken
  • Rick Mangan
  • Katrina Atiya Malkin

Our next meeting was held on June 7, 2024. We agreed that this would be the last meeting for this quarter. We spent the bulk of the meeting time reviewing a draft that Stephanie Hurst had put together, “Communication Institutional Learning Outcome Draft “. We had input from Russ and from Rebecca who thought this first draft was a great start as well as a good place to end this quarter and pick up in the Fall Quarter 2024.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday October 4, 2024 @1:30 pm via zoom; please join us .

Critical Thinking

Russ Payne

The Critical Thinking group met four times in Spring Quarter. We started our conversation with some self-study, sharing what specific Critical Thinking skills we teach in our various disciplines. This led us to generating a first draft of a Critical Thinking Skills map:

We look forward to editing and expanding this with input from more colleagues around campus in the Fall.

We have also looked to outside sources to expand and develop our understanding of Critical Thinking. This included discussion of the AAC&U rubric for Critical Thinking (linked below) and discussion of some definitions of critical thinking collected in Jonathan Haber’s short volume Critical Thinking (Defining Critical Thinking linked below).

The Haber volume has been a great resource. We will feature another book group on based on this volume through the Faculty Commons next quarter. Meanwhile, copies are available to borrow from the Faculty Commons.

Cultural Diversity

Anthony Tessandori

We are working on the Cultural Diversity ILO.  Through several discussions it has become clear that there are many different ideas of what cultural diversity is and what it should include.  We have also come to see that the DDR can also play a role in how we define the KSAs for this outcome.  

The plan is to continue to review department level outcomes from departments that have an interest in this outcome.  These departments include but are not limited to: Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, CES, and World languages.

To be inclusive of all interested parties, while also maintaining some control over what courses can claim cultural diversity is proving to be very difficult.  Some of the questions we are hoping to answer: 

  1. How do we shape the ILO so that it isn’t duplicating the requirements of the DDR?
  2. Should the ILO and or the DDR be changed so that other aspects of social justice can be included? 
  3. On the other side how do we define classes that will focus on cross-cultural understanding/cross-cultural exposure .

Quantitative Reasoning

Fatma Serce

We worked on the quantitative reasoning ILO and developed a draft of the KSAs. Please find the document attached.

During our second meeting on May 16th, the faculty suggested sending these KSAs to all instructors teaching quantitative reasoning courses. They can then select the ones that align with their courses, helping us refine the minimum required KSAs for quantitative reasoning. We also discussed the certification process, dashboards, and alternative rubrics. The related documents are also attached:

As the next steps, I recommend sending a survey to all faculty teaching QR courses to identify the KSAs that fit their courses. We also need to continue discussing certification and assessment alternatives with all faculty.

Information Literacy

Elena Maans

Librarians Michelle Schewe and Elena Maans-Lorincz held a Listening Session open to all faculty, on June 6th. It was attended mainly by librarians and faculty who are doing Information Literacy work already in their courses, a few already with librarians.  The goal of this listening session was to update the faculty on the timeline of this ILO and to provide a space for feedback.  After this session the leads for this ILO will work with the librarians and faculty across campus to determine which classes should be the pilots for this ILO and to by then have the KSA’s for the Info Lit ILO for those classes drafted and ready to be assessed after the pilot.   One point of feedback to be discussed and figured out in fall quarter is whether it would be the English courses to be doing this ILO, given they may be the best classes for the Communication ILO and even Critical Thinking.  A point was made that one discipline should not be responsible for so many ILO’s when it could be put into other courses and programs on campus. 


Christina Sciabarra

General consensus is that yes we need to include this, but the question is how.  The mechanism for requiring the Gen Eds remains something that makes envisioning this one more difficult, but not impossible.  Over the summer I am going to map out the classes that likely offer at least one outcome related to sustainability/climate justice/empowering just transitions.  Sonya is interested in working on this over the summer with me. I am also going to pull data to show where we are at so far with the climate justice project and how that can work with the Gen Ed.  Main takeaway is – yes, let’s do this, just no sure how yet.

Creative Thinking

Pete Ophoven is going to take over this Gen Ed.  He has a great framework and plan for moving this forward that will make it inclusive of more than just one area of study.


Gen Ed Reform Update: Spring 2024

We are now over a year into General Education Reform at BC. Our efforts this year were preceded by initial conversations during Winter and Spring Quarters of 2023. Late in Spring Quarter 2023, a team of BC faculty and administrators attended an AAC&U institute on Assessment and Gen Ed. Over the course of that week, we developed a proposal for Gen Ed reform which we presented to the BC community on opening day in Fall Quarter 2023. 

In response to feedback from faculty we spent much of Fall Quarter examining alternative models and researching Gen Ed outcomes and practices at peer institutions in the CTC system. Over the course of Winter Quarter, we shared progress on our Gen Ed plans with divisions, on our Professional Development Day, and in other forums.

Our research on Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs), led by Fatma Serce, was presented in a session at the SBCTC Assessment Teaching and Learning Conference earlier this spring. Our exploration of alternative models for a program of General Education in a series of open meetings helped to clarify the principles and grounds for the broad outlines the proposal developed in the AAC&U institute.

During our Spring Quarter Campus Community Day we began work on new ILOs to replace our 18 legacy Gen Ed outcomes. We have broad consensus on 5 new ILOs:

  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Information Literacy

And we continue to explore a couple further possibilities:

  • Sustainability
  • Creative Thinking

ILO Working groups have been meeting through Spring Quarter to articulate the details of our new outcomes. In the Fall we will develop initial assessment tools for these with the plan of running pilot sections during Winter 2025. By Spring Quarter 2025, we hope to be certifying classes to teach our new ILOs.

Our Gen Ed reform effort has been governed by two guiding principles

  • Meeting accreditation expectations
  • Building a Gen Ed program that better serves our students.

Our two accreditation recommendations make some expectations for our program of General Education clear:

  • Our General Education outcomes should be ILOs, meaning that instruction in our ILOs should reach degree seeking students in all of our degree programs.
  • ILO Assessment results should be actionable, informing academic planning and resource allocation.

These recommendations make it clear that our legacy Gen Ed program is no longer viable. There is no way to incorporate meaningful instruction in 18 outcomes into all of our degree programs. And making the results of assessment actionable requires that we develop a shared conception of what we aim to measure with outcomes assessment, something which has also proved intractable with 18 variously interpreted and assessed outcomes.

We have a long-standing tradition at BC of equating Gen Ed with assessment and thinking of assessment as a mere accountability exercise for accreditation. The accreditation recommendations we are under make it clear that assessment is supposed to be a means by which we hold ourselves accountable for effective instruction in our ILOs. Assessment should serve as a means of continually improving student learning in our ILOs. For this to happen, we can no longer think of Gen Ed merely in terms of assessment, where we simply document what we assume we are already doing.

The TILT (Transparency in Teaching and Learning) model for General Education, initially formulated by our AAC&U team a year ago, aims to make General Education more transparent and meaningful for students. It has undergone a variety of modifications since then in response to faculty feedback, but its main features remain intact. A key innovation in this model is the replacement of FACT (the Faculty Assessment Coordinating Team) with Gen Ed subcommittees to the CAC (Curriculum Advisory Committee), one per ILO. This governance structure reflects and facilitates a departure from equating Gen Ed with assessment in favor of building broader programmatic functions into the governance of General Education at BC. The role of each ILO subcommittee, for their respective ILO, should include 

  • Articulating the content of the ILO, the key knowledge and skills to be taught
  • Developing assessment tools for the ILO
  • Supporting programs and faculty in adopting meaningful transparent curriculum in the ILO
  • Recommending courses for certification in the ILO to the CAC.
  • Facilitating assessment of the ILO

Currently, open ILO working groups are addressing the first two of these functions. Ultimately, ILO subcommittees should have 3-5 faculty members elected by the faculty at large.

Students typically have no awareness of our legacy Gen Ed program. Student facing language consists of one page in the catalogue, which is seldom consulted by students. General Education is typically not discussed on in classes or addressed in syllabi. We aim for our General Education ILOs to be a clear and public statement of what it means to get an education at BC.

As the name of the TILT model suggests, our hope is to make our ILOs transparent and meaningful to students and other stakeholders including parents and employers. This means instruction in ILOs should be explicit rather than implicit. Students should be informed about what skills and knowledge we aim to impart through General Education. They should know when and how these are being taught. Course syllabi for ILO certified courses should include clear discussion of ILOs and how they will be taught and assessed. We have explored implementing a badging system for students to document and share their successful mastery of our ILOs.

Our current language for claiming a Gen Ed outcome in CAC proposals specifies that 30% of a course claiming a Gen Ed outcome is devoted to teaching (not merely applying or practicing) that outcome. We are heartened to hear administration using this number as a benchmark for certification of courses in our new ILOs. This would support the time and attention needed to make instruction in our ILOs robust and meaningful for students. Our proposed governance structure for the TILT model could support accountability that CAC and FACT have been unable to provide.

The vision we’ve offered for Gen Ed reform may sound ambitious. Perhaps worthy goals should. This vision can provide a clear path for growth without being realized all at once. The spirit of this vision is to establish a tradition of collaboration across disciplines aimed at supporting meaningful student learning in the areas faculty have identified as essential to a BC education.

We appreciate that many of our faculty currently feel exhausted by the pace of change we’ve experienced at this institution in recent years. Unlike many of the changes that have been foisted on us, Gen Ed reform is entirely about teaching and learning. It speaks directly to our reason for being here, to serve our students. And it presents an opportunity for faculty to exercise some agency in doing so. For many of the participants in Gen Ed reform so far, this has been reinvigorating. We hope many more of our faculty colleagues will find it so going forward.