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Course Enrichment Component (CEC) Overview:

What is CEC?

The goal of CEC is to enhance the student experience by connecting out of class activity with in class learning.  To meet this goal all 4-credit undergraduate courses must include a 5 hour experiential component outside of the classroom.

How can students complete the CEC requirement?

The 5 hour experiential component is designed by each professor to complement the learning objectives of the course.  Each course syllabus will include CEC learning goals, assignment(s), grading, and the timeline for completion.

How can I learn about events that may count for CEC credit?

The CEC Calendar is your one stop shop to learn about events that students may attend for CEC credit. Please consult with your professor to learn if the events listed on the calendar can count towards CEC credit in your class.

What is the CEC Design Team?

We are a resource to help faculty and students have the best possible CEC experience. We are charged by the Office of the Provost with assessing CEC, identifying best practices for implementation, and making recommendations to improve CEC at Ramapo College.

CEC Design Team Co-Chairs: 

Abbey-Emily                                                                2014 headshot
Emily Abbey, Ph.D.                                                                     Kat McGee, J.D.
Associate Professor                                                                  Assistant Director
Developmental Psychology                                                     Center for Student Involvement

CEC Design Team Members: 

  • Melissa Adamo, Adjunct Faculty (SSHGS)
  • Anisha Banerjee,  Student
  • Abbe Benowitz,  OSS Disability Counselor
  • Zack Brower, Student
  • Megan Chan, Student
  • Eric Daffron, Vice Provost for Curriculum and Assessment
  • Julie Fitzgerald, Assistant Professor of Nursing (TAS)
  • Kevin Hurtado, Student
  • Katie Maricic, Interlibrary Loan, Reference & Instruction Librarian
  • Tracey Pastorini, Student Success Specialist
  • Lysandra Perez-Strumolo, Associate Professor/Dev. Psychology (SSHS, FRC)
  • Alfred Prettyman, Adjunct Faculty (SSHS), Ad Hoc Member
  • Nick Salter,  Assistant Professor of Psychology (SSHS)
  • Sridevi  Shivarajan, Assistant Professor of Management (ASB)
  • Mark Skowronski, Assistant Professor of Management (ASB
  • Sarah Stackhouse, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts (CA)
  • Heather Woodbridge, Enrollment Management Specialist

Down with CEC image blue

Contact the CEC Design Team: 

Comments, questions, or suggestions? Please email us: theteam@ramapo.edu

CEC Resources:

A Guide for Faculty and Staff Teaching at Ramapo College
Spring 2014 CEC Bundle Example

Dear Colleagues,

In Spring 2014 ten courses with approximately 300 students are participating in Ramapo’s first bundled CEC package focused on democracy, social justice, and education. Participating faculty were given the option to offer common experiential opportunities and relevant service learning.

What could your students gain from in-depth themed learning opportunities? What can faculty gain from partnering with other faculty and offices on campus to provide CEC opportunities? Now is the time to start thinking about whether a bundled CEC package is a good option for your Fall 2014 or Spring 2015 classes.

Since the first CEC bundle was launched this spring faculty have inquired about how they might create their own bundled CEC packages. In order to guide faculty through the process we have created a FAQ:

Bundled CEC Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a bundled CEC?

A bundled CEC provides collaborative opportunities for up to 20 credit hours around a particular theme, thus allowing students to gain advanced insight on a topic.Students who have more than one professor who participate in a bundled CEC during the same semester have the added benefit of participating in 5 hours per class on the same topic. This allows students the opportunity to maximize their understanding of a topic see how the topic resonates across disciplines. Professors have a number of options to incorporate bundled CEC into their classes, including:

  • allowing students select their own CEC options from the package
  • selecting a subset of the package for the students to complete, OR
  • requiring students to complete the entire package.

What kinds of CEC options are included in a bundled CEC package? 

Examples of CEC options may include faculty presentations, guest lecturers, service learning, research, film screenings, focus groups, field trips, etc.

Who can create a bundled CEC? 

An interested faculty member can collaborate to create a bundled CEC with other faculty, staff, campus offices, and even student or community organizations. Faculty may seek interested colleagues in convening groups, within a school, or from professors teaching different sections of the same class (for example, First Year Seminars or Social Issues classes). The Faculty Resource Center is also a resource for faculty to announce their intentions to create a bundled CEC so that other interested faculty may join in.

Once I’ve identified a group of interested faculty, how can we learn about resources and potential funding to create a bundled CEC? 

We have learned a great deal about best practices for bundled CEC from the first bundle this spring. There are also a number of ways faculty can seek funding for trips, speakers, service learning transportation, and film screenings to include in a bundled CEC. Please contact CEC Design Team co-chairs Kat McGee (kmcgee@ramapo.edu) or Emily Abbey (eabbey@ramapo.edu) for information.

Is there a blueprint that faculty can consult to see what a bundled CEC looks like? 

Yes: please see the outline below:

Spring 2014 Bundled CEC Package:

Co-sponsors:

Faculty Resource Center, the Civic and Community Engagement Center (CCEC), the Potter Library, and College Democrats.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Students will apply their learning to social issues in our community
  • Students will develop an understanding of historical and structural issues that contribute to social problems in general
  • CEC will promote a sense of community, social responsibility & agency that prepares them to be effective participants in a democracy
  • Students will be able to articulate an understanding on issues of democracy, social justice, and education. This experience will include multiple elements focus on the problem of hunger.
CEC Bundle Options:

1. Documentary Viewing: “Inequality for All,” a documentary that follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country’s widening economic gap, and participating in the live webcast with Robert Reich

Multiple viewings are available as follows:

  • Wednesday 2/19 at 6:30pm in the H-wing Auditorium
  • Thursday 2/20 at 4:15pm in Pavilion Rooms 2-3

2. Presentation by Dr. Martha Ecker, Sociology Professor, focused on the experiences of individuals working in the food industry as well as the recent cutbacks in the supplemental nutrition program. This event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, 2/20, from 1-2pm, in Friends Hall (SC 219)

3. Research: At the discretion of each individual instructor, students would be asked to conduct

research which would ideally involve an investigation of the structural and historical issues that relate to hunger and poverty & the integration of that research with their disciplinary knowledge. At the discretion of their instructor, students would also have an opportunity to develop a personal plan of action (writing to a legislator, to the paper, doing advocacy work on or off campus, developing research projects that would involve data collection, etc.)

4. Support: utilize as needed support from the Center for Reading and Writing (focused on letter writing, etc…) & the Potter Library (Information Literacy sessions and accessing prepared subject guide that would be developed specifically for students participating in this CEC option). In you are interested in these activities, please contact Samantha Wittenberg (library) or Priscilla Tovey VanAulen (CRW)

5. Common readings on the topic of hunger and inequality to include:

  • U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Hunger and Homelessness Survey (pp. 9 to 28 only):
  • Disparities and Access to Healthy Food in the United States: A Review of Food Deserts Literature by Renee E. Walker, Christopher R. Keane, and Jessica G. Burke.
    • An examination of how people’s access to affordable and healthy food is affected by structural, environmental factors.
  • Oh SNAP: The Battle over Food Stamp Funding

6. Service Learning: Students would be required to participate in service through the Civic and Community Engagement Center which runs trips to various agencies in the area. Service learning options include but are not limited to the following:

  • Oasis: A non-profit agency dedicated to feeding and clothing needy women and children and to offering them educational resources and skills to obtain meaningful employment and to break the cycle of poverty.
  • Center for Food Action: CFA provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, counseling, advocacy and other essential services to those in need living in northern New Jersey
  • House on the Hill: Provider of Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, offering comprehensive educational, health and social services to children and families
  • Eva’s Village: Non-profit social service organization dedicated to fighting homelessness and poverty. Their mission is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted and provide medical and dental care to the poor with respect for the human dignity of each individual.
  • Habitat for Humanity: Paterson Habitat for Humanity creates homeownership opportunities for families with limited income & is committed to building decent, safe affordable homes that are energy efficient, environmentally responsible and economical to maintain.
Fall 2012 Design Team Charge

Provost’s Charge to the Design Team Fall 2012:

Charge #1

Determine what aspects of the CEC need attention and implement the proper assessment methods.

Charge #2

Document a formal process for the Design Team via an Operations Manual.

Charge #3

Be available to offer support to programs as the College moves the task of CEC assessment to the program level.

Charge #4

The Team will learn more about the co-curricular transcript that is being developed by the Office of Student Affairs and come to a decision if there are opportunities to engage in a partnership.

2010 Course Enrichment Component Survey Data
Links to Course Enrichment Component Survey Data by role:

The links below are password protected, and are to be shared only with the Ramapo community. The passwords were distributed to the campus by e-mail, and can also be requested by e-mailing theteam@ramapo.edu.

Unit Plan / Curriculum Enhancement Plan Memorandum of Agreement

UNIT PLAN / CURRICULUM ENHANCEMENT PLAN
MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

This memorandum of agreement made this 16th day of November 2005 between Ramapo College of New Jersey, (College) and the Council of New Jersey State College Locals, AFT, AFL-CIO, Local 2274, (Union), the parties to this Memorandum of Agreement. The purpose of this Memorandum is to set forth the understanding and agreement of the parties related to the implementation of the Unit Plan, also know as the Curriculum Enhancement Program (CEP).

PREAMBLE:

The Unit Plan enhances and strengthens course curricula and design, student instruction, advisement and mentoring, grant writing, special projects, and enables faculty to perform other college/community service and duties. The Unit Plan is a comprehensive workload model which enables faculty to teach and conduct research. It strengthens general education and curriculum, and more effectively supports the College mission. The Unit Plan provides faculty with a work load of 24 credit hours consisting of 6 teaching units and one flex unit per academic year.

The parties hereby agree as follows:

  1. To adopt a faculty curriculum and work load model consistent with Article XII B of the Full Time/Part Time Collective Negotiations Agreement between the State of New Jersey and the Council of New Jersey State College Locals dated July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2007. This model shall be called, the “Unit Plan.” All past and existing practices and/or policies within the College related to faculty work load as governed by this Memorandum of Agreement are hereby waived, and shall be of no effect.
  • The College shall use its best efforts to implement the Unit Plan on or before September 1, 2006. Unless otherwise stated all provisions of this Memorandum of Agreement shall become effective upon implementation of the Unit Plan.
  • Cooperation – With respect to negotiable issues, the Union agrees to work with the College to ensure that the Unit Plan has a neutral impact on the budget, and either a neutral or positive impact on the adjunct rate (adjunct rate referring to the number of FTE adjunct faculty required to deliver the academic programs), and that the work load system is fair, equitable and transparent across Schools and Programs.The implementation of the Unit Plan is a major change in the manner in which instruction is offered at the College, and as such, impacts many sectors of the College operation. Accordingly, the parties agree to continue discussions on negotiable issues after the implementation of the Unit Plan to assure that the goals of the Unit Plan, including neutral impact on the budget, and a neutral or positive impact on the adjunct rate are achieved.
  • Faculty Work Load – The teaching work load of all tenured and tenured track full time faculty shall be 24 credit hours consisting of 6 teaching units and one flex unit. Each teaching unit shall be 3.6 credits for a total of 21.6 teaching credits per academic year. In addition, faculty shall complete one flex unit each academic year during which non-teaching duties within load shall be performed. Each flex unit shall be 2.4 credits. Only Fall and Spring semesters count for full load. The Faculty Work Load as described in this Agreement is equivalent to the contractual requirement of 24 teaching credit hours as set forth in Article XII B. of the Full Time/Part Time Collective Negotiations Agreement.If a faculty member elects not to do a flex unit, the faculty member shall teach a 7th unit with a portion of that unit being paid at the overload rate. (See Section 6 below.)When a faculty member agrees to do the flex unit, but fails to do the unit or does not satisfy his/her convening group and Dean that the flex unit was completed in a satisfactory manner, that faculty member shall have a 7th teaching unit for the subsequent two academic years in accordance with the terms of paragraph 6 below.
  • Flex Unit

    Specific flex unit activities and responsibilities will be proposed by the faculty member and the relevant convening group with the approval of the Unit Dean in accordance with a schedule to be determined by the Office of the Provost. Said schedule shall be tied to the Academic Calendar.Proposed flex unit activities and responsibilities must further the goals and objectives of the Unit and Convening Group and be consistent with the Mission of the College.Flex unit activities include, but are not limited to:

    • Scholarly and professional development projects, including research projects with students.
    • Convenorships.
    • Development of courses that are needed and new to the relevant convening group.
    • Introduction or enhancement of technology in a course and/or training in the use of technology.
    • Program management or other administrative assignments
    • Outreach on behalf of the College and its programs specifically coordinated by an administrative office.

    An annual report on the flex unit activities and responsibilities shall be prepared by the faculty member on or before May 30. The report shall include the name of the faculty member, identify the flex unit activities and responsibilities and provide evidence of its status. The convening group shall review and comment on the report and make appropriate recommendation(s) to the faculty member and forward such to the Dean who may propose any further action as appropriate to the faculty member and the convening group.

    Disputes regarding flex unit assignments shall be resolved in accordance with the provisions of Article XII (B) (7). Flex unit administrative assignment and responsibilities may also be made by the College, and nothing contained in this Agreement shall be deemed to modify the rights of the parties as set forth in Article XII (B) (7) of the AFT contract.

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  1. Overload – In accordance with Article XII (B) (1) overload shall be paid for teaching assignments above 24 teaching credit hours.When a faculty member completes 6 teaching units at 21.6 credits, the approved flex unit activities and responsibilities at 2.4 credits for a total of 24 credits, and with the approval of the Dean teaches an additional unit, overload is to be paid for teaching assignments above 24 credit hours.When a faculty member teaches 6 units at 21.6 credits, does not do a flex unit project, but teaches a 7th unit at 3.6 credits for a total of 25.2 credits, overload shall be paid for teaching assignments above 24 teaching credit hours. In such case the parties agree that the provision in Article XII B. 1 of the AFT agreement providing that overload is not mandatory is hereby waived, and it is agreed that the College may require a faculty member to teach a 7th unit.When the faculty member agrees to do the flex unit, but fails to do or complete the flex unit he/she shall teach a 7th unit for the following two academic years as set forth above in paragraph 4. In such case the parties agree that the provision in Article XII B. 1 of the AFT agreement providing that overload is not mandatory is hereby waived, and it is agreed that the College may require a faculty member to teach the 7th unit.
  2. Adjunct Faculty – In accordance with the Collective Negotiations Agreement between the State of New Jersey and the Council of New Jersey State College Locals, AFT, AFL-CIO, Adjunct Unit dated July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2007, Adjunct Faculty shall be paid at the contractual per credit adjunct rate multiplied by the number of teaching credit hours assigned. The parties agree to revisit the rate of compensation for adjuncts in accordance with Article XIV of the Adjunct Unit Agreement in the Spring 2007.
  3. Teaching Load of Temporary Full Time Faculty/Overload – Temporary Full Time Faculty shall teach 7 units or 25.2 teaching credit hours. Compensation at the overload rate shall be paid for teaching assignments above 24 teaching credit hours. It is expressly understood and agreed that the 7th teaching unit may be mandated as noted in paragraph 6 above.
  4. Teaching Load of Part/Half Time Temporary Faculty/Overload – The teaching work load of temporary full time faculty teaching one semester only shall be up to 4 units or 14.4 teaching credit hours per semester. If the temporary full time faculty member is asked to continue employment during the subsequent spring semester he or she shall be assigned 3 additional units, or a total of 25.2 teaching credit hours for the academic year, becoming a full time temporary employee, and he/she shall be paid in accordance with paragraphs 6 and 8 above. Overload shall only be paid for teaching assignments above 24 teaching credit hours.If the temporary faculty member is appointed for a full academic year on part time basis he/she shall teach up to 4 units or 14.4 teaching credit hours.Part/Half time faculty will be paid in accordance with Article XXI (J) of the AFT Agreement.
  5. Overload LimitsNo faculty member shall carry more than one unit of overload beyond the 7th unit in a given year. The Dean may authorize an additional overload unit beyond the 7th unit where there is a clear and compelling need. The additional unit assignment shall be granted upon the written approval of the Dean. The additional overload unit will be granted only with clear evidence of faculty involvement in advising, mentoring and course/curriculum enhancement, and with a clear and compelling curricular need.Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the College’s managerial prerogative with respect to the assignment of teaching and non teaching duties. (See Section 17 below.)
  6. Extra Class Activity – To facilitate College efforts to significantly enhance teaching and learning without excessive costs to the College, the faculty will incorporate into the syllabus and class instruction extra class activity opportunities, such as participation in convocation, colloquia, seminars and guest speaker programs. Such extra class activity will be incorporated into the curriculum after consultation with the Convening Group and Dean.
  7. Released Time/Reassigned TimeEffective September 1, 2006, all administrative, in load or other assignments or projects performed by faculty for which released time was granted, including convenerships and directorships, but excluding released time awarded pursuant to Article X (G) (2) of the Full Time/Part Time Collective Negotiations Agreement, shall be performed by faculty as service to the College and the Community and/or as a part of the flex unit. No additional released/reassigned time may be awarded for such assignments, except that the College may pay an additional stipend to a faculty member for service rendered where determined appropriate. It is understood and agreed that all released/reassigned time awarded prior to Fall, 2006 shall be of no effect, and that there shall be no entitlement to released/reassigned time based upon past practice.Nothing contained herein shall limit the authority of the College to grant released/reassigned or in load assignments where determined appropriate and in accordance with Article XII (B)(7) of the AFT Agreement.
  8. Separately Budgeted Research/Faculty Development /Career DevelopmentFor all awards effective the 2006-2007 academic year and as long as this Agreement is in effect Separately Budgeted Research, Faculty Development and Career Development released/reassigned time awards shall be limited to the summer except by permission of the Provost. Non-teaching monetary awards may be taken throughout the academic year and summer.
  9. Teacher Education/Other Educational SupervisionEffective September 1, 2006 faculty who perform teacher education or other educational supervision such as law and society field studies supervision, shall not receive released/reassigned time for such assignment, but such assignment shall be performed as a flex unit where approved, and/or a stipend may be paid where appropriate.
  10. Management RightsNothing contained in this Agreement shall be deemed to waive managerial rights of the College as set forth in Article XL of the AFT Agreement, or as an agreement to negotiate matters that are non negotiable although they may be referenced herein.
  11. ModificationUpon 30 days written notice to the other, the College or the AFT local may petition the other to meet and discuss a proposed amendment or modification of this Agreement
  12. Duration and TerminationThis Agreement shall remain in effect from November 16th, 2005 and shall continue thereafter until the College gives at least one semester written notice to the AFT Local that it will terminate the Unit Plan indicating the date upon which the Plan shall be terminated. This Agreement shall be subject to negotiated changes made to the successor Full Time/Part Time Collective Negotiations Agreement between the State of New Jersey and the Council of New Jersey State College Locals, AFT, AFL-CIO.

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Course Enrichment Component: Assessed and Refreshed

Course Enrichment Component: Assessed and Refreshed

Design Team Charge
Background

The Curriculum Enhancement Plan (CEP) was implemented in the fall semester of 2006. According to then-Vice Provost Martha Ecker,

“The new curriculum we envisioned would be consistently more rigorous, reflective of the college’s mission pillars, and integrative of liberal studies in all areas including pre-professional and applied programs (Transition to the Curriculum Enhancement Plan: Assessment and Evaluation 2002-2006).”

Through the transition to CEP, most courses became 4 credit courses with 3.6 credits of in-class time and 0.4. credits (5 hours per semester) of outside-class activities (Referred to within this discussion as Course Enrichment Component or CEC.). In the MOU between the AFT Local and Ramapo College, examples of course enrichment, outside-class activities were given:

“To facilitate College efforts to significantly enhance teaching and learning without excessive costs to the College, the faculty will incorporate into the syllabus and class instruction extra class activity opportunities, such as participation in convocation, colloquia, seminars and guest speaker programs. Such extra class activity will be incorporated into the curriculum after consultation with the Convening Group and Dean (Memorandum of Agreement between the AFT Local and Ramapo College of New Jersey, November 16, 2005).”

The Academic and Curricular Guidelines Manual revision of March 2006 described the course enrichment component as the “Experiential Learning Component”. This reflected the confusion surrounding the purpose of the five hour component and led to further disparity within its implementation across courses. When the Experiential Learning Task Force (2006-7) defined experiential learning as, “a purposeful process of engaged, active learning in which the student constructs knowledge, skills, or values by means of direct experiences in authentic, real-world contexts (Task Force on Experiential Learning Report, March 28, 2007)”, there was heated discussion around the inclusion of the CEC within the definition of experiential learning.

In the summer of 2009, several members of Academic Affairs and of Student Affairs attended the AAC&U Greater Expectations Institute. Their resulting action plan called for, “a year-long dialog about our values, student engagement, and high-impact practices centered on the Course Enrichment Component” (Back to Our Values, Forward to 21st Century Learning: Creating High Impact Learning Through Curriculum Enrichment). The action plan provides recommendations, considerations, and a review of barriers to this dialog. Before this plan was instituted, Ramapo College hosted a visit from a Middle States accreditation team. As part of its review, the team looked closely at Ramapo’s curriculum including the CEC.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted to reaffirm accreditation for Ramapo College. The College is required to, “submit a monitoring report, due by April 1, 2012, documenting (among other items), “… the implementation of policies and procedures to assure that the experiential learning components of all courses are conducted with rigor appropriate to the programs offered and are designed, delivered and evaluated to foster a coherent student learning experience (Standard 11)” (Ramapo College Action Letter from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 25 June 2010).

Standard 11 Educational Offerings
The institution’s educational offerings display academic content, rigor, and coherence that are appropriate to its higher education mission. The institution identifies student learning goals and objectives, including knowledge and skills, for its educational offerings (Characteristics of Excellence, 2002, p. 31).

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The Charge to the Design Team

The following charge, shaped by the disparity in the implementation of CEC and the directive from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, is given to the Design Team by the Provost.

The Design Team for the Course Enrichment Component (CEC) will:

  1. Work with the Vice Provost for Curriculum and Assessment to survey faculty and students on:
    • Activities used to fulfill CEC requirements – examples and how they were received by faculty and students;
    • Implementation practices (i.e. graded/non graded, written/oral/no report, assigned/self-selected CEC, linked/not linked to work in the course, reflective analysis/no reflective analysis); and
    • Issues of concern and recommendations for improvement (including but not limited to how to better engage students in CEC activities, how to facilitate more meaningful learning through CEC, how to purposefully link Academic and Student Affairs through CEC).
  2. Recommend policy and implementation procedures that assure that the CEC of all courses are conducted with rigor appropriate to the programs offered and are designed, delivered and evaluated to foster a coherent student learning experience.*
  3. Distribute results of the survey and recommendations; hold an open forum for discussion of the survey results and recommendations and policies recommended by the committee.
  4. In consultation with the faculty and GECCo, recommend overarching student learning goals relevant to all CECs.
  5. Engage the campus community in a dialog revolving around CEC and its potential role as a high impact learning experience.
    1. how are high-impact practices perceived by student affairs and academic affairs?
    2. how can CEC purposefully link Academic Affairs and Student Affairs?
    3. what CEC resources are available and how can resources be made readily accessible by members of the community (e.g., database/website)?
    4. what best practices exist for faculty involvement in CEC (with the recognition that faculty are not contractually bound to oversee the activities that define CEC)?
    5. what other high-impact learning practices can be tied to the CEC?
TEAM ACTIONS AND TIMELINE

Action: Meet with Eric Daffron, Vice Provost for Curriculum and Assessment
Purpose/Details: To develop CEC Survey for Faculty and Students and Plan Implementation
When: By 01 October 2010

Action: Complete administration of CEC Survey.
Purpose/Details: Collect information on current practices and suggestions for improvement of CEC.
When: By 01 November 2010

Action: Analyze survey results.
Purpose/Details: Draw conclusions from results.
When: By 15 November 2010

Action: Develop recommended policies and procedures for the CEC.*
Purpose/Details: Meet Middle State’s request for policies and procedures.
When: By 13 December 2010

Action: Distribute results of the survey, conclusions, and draft policies.
Purpose/Details: Communicate findings and recommendations.
When: By 14 December 2010

Action: Hold an open forum for discussion of survey results and draft CEC policies.
Purpose/Details: Consultation with community.
When: By 19 January 2011

Action: Recommend student learning goals for CEC.
Purpose/Details: Meet Middle State’s request for evaluation of CECs to foster a coherent student learning experience.
When: By 11 March 2011

Action: Develop plan to engage the campus community in a dialog revolving around CEC and high impact activities.
Purpose/Details: Expand the use of CEC and integrate with other units and activities across campus.
When: By 30 June 2011

Action: Implement plans to engage the campus community in a dialog revolving around CEC and high impact activities.
Purpose/Details: Expand the use of CEC and integrate with other units and activities across campus
When: By 15 December 2012

Action: Submit final report with recommendations to the Provost
Purpose/Details: Expand the use of CEC and integrate with other units and activities across campus
When: By August 13, 2013

* In order to meet Middle States’ decision, “To request a monitoring report, due by April 1, 2012, documenting the implementation of policies and procedures to assure that the experiential learning components of all courses are conducted with rigor appropriate to the programs offered and are designed, delivered and evaluated to foster a coherent student learning experience (Standard 11)” (Middle States Statement of Accreditation Status, 25 June 2010), recommended policies must be favorably reviewed by ARC, Faculty Assembly, and Provost’s Council and approved by the Provost by May 2011 and implemented for Academic Year 2011-2012.

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2009 Greater Expectations Institute Action Plan

Ramapo College of New Jersey
2009 Greater Expectations Institute Action Plan

Back to Our Values, Forward to 21st Century Learning:
Creating High-impact Learning through Curriculum Enrichment

Background

Ramapo College is grounded in a history of valuing experiential learning. This 2009 Greater Expectations Team has explored the potential of our five-hour experiential learning component; we will refer to this 5-hour component as “Curriculum Enrichment Component (CEC)” throughout this document.

The goal of this action plan is to develop a framework to engage the Ramapo Community in a dialogue focused on the intentional use of the CEC. Student engagement has been demonstrated to lead to better student learning outcomes and the experiential component has the potential to increase student engagement. We believe that student engagement through experiential learning is so important and integral to our mission and culture, we propose that the year 2009-2010 be themed, “Back to Our Values, Forward to 21st Century Learning.” This fortieth anniversary year would afford us the opportunity to purposefully develop a conscientious awareness of the ways experiential learning is already infused throughout the curriculum and co-curriculum. This purposeful engagement in dialogue will offer us the opportunity to develop a common language that clearly defines the Ramapo experience.

One goal of the proposed yearlong dialog is to strengthen the relationship between the curriculum and the co-curriculum as a means to further engage students in active learning. Ramapo College has a unique identity as “NJ’s Public Liberal Arts College.” As a founding member of COPLAC, Ramapo formally committed itself to liberal arts education. Since its inception, Ramapo College has recognized experiential learning as a hallmark of engaged learning. The mission of the College states: “The College provides service and leadership opportunities for students and faculty through a combination of internships, field placements, community service, study abroad, and cooperative education.” This list demonstrates the centrality of experiential learning broadly defined. The development of CEC is a natural extension of this commitment. In short, experiential learning is part of our institutional DNA.

Fully realizing the potential of CEC can be an opportunity to recommit to our unique identity and founding principles. It is time to engage in meaningful reflection about CEC and how it can be used to enhance student engagement and learning. For instance, there is data suggesting that student attendance at academic lectures and events has increased since the establishment of CEC.

CEC is the perfect vehicle through which to implement high-impact practices as defined by AAC&U in their 2007 report, College Learning for a New Global Century. Ramapo College already employs most of these practices, such as First-Year Seminar, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, service-learning, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, study abroad and other experiences with diversity, internships and capstone projects. Such practices lead to increased student engagement which, in turn, increases the likelihood that any given student will succeed at college, meeting both educational as well as personal objectives. Besides increasing academic success, student engagement has been shown to promote mental and physical well being, community enrichment, personal and social development, ethical development, and global understanding.

Although all students benefit from participating in high-impact practices, research indicates that there is a compensatory effect when at-risk and historically underrepresented groups participate meaningfully in these high-impact experiences; that is, underserved groups tend to benefit even more from such practices than do their peers. Unfortunately, however, these historically underserved groups also tend to participate in these high-impact activities in much lower rates than do their peers. CEC is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that all students have access to the benefits of these high-impact practices as no student can avoid the requirement.

The implementation of this proposal will result in a number of positive outcomes. It will energize the campus around the potential in CEC. It will enable the community to articulate the value of CEC. It will help us pay attention to what we are doing well, and what we can do better. It will help us intentionally harness the potential of CEC as a catalyst for greater student engagement; ultimately leading to students’ increased success in meeting Ramapo’s expressed learning outcomes.

The framework of our Action Plan is depicted in Appendix One. The pillars of Ramapo College’s mission form the foundation of the plan; Student Affairs and Academic Affairs both deliver high-impact practices which can be realized through CEC; this in turn increases student engagement, which ultimately leads to students’ success in meeting Ramapo’s learning goals and outcomes.

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Process and Recommendations:

The Ramapo Community will be invited to engage in a year-long dialog about our values, student engagement, and high-impact practices centered on CEC.

We consider the ENTIRE campus to be stakeholders. However, the Provost will be asked to convene a Design Team which will be charged with implementing the recommendations herein. The 2009 Greater Expectations Team will make recommendations regarding the team’s composition, ensuring that all campus constituents are represented. Students will be engaged in every aspect of this process. We strongly believe that the composition of the Design Team is integral to the success of this process.

The charge of the Design Team is to:

  • Engage the campus community in a year-long dialog revolving around CEC and how it fits within our mission. At the end of academic year 09/10 the Design team will submit a report which will include summaries of:
    1. the activities held during the year which focused on CEC,
    2. how CEC is currently implemented on campus
    3. recommendations on how CEC can be improved, in terms of better student engagement, more meaningful learning, etc
    4. how CEC purposefully links Academic Affairs and Student Affairs
    5. how CEC resources can be readily accessed by members of the community (e.g., database/website)
    6. recommended best practices for faculty involvement in CEC (with the recognition that faculty are not contractually bound to oversee the activities that define CEC)
    7. recommended requirements for students regarding CEC, such as the need to reflect on the hours spent learning experientially, etc.

In meeting its charge, we recommend that the Design Team:

  • Determine a more meaningful way to refer to CEC. One suggestion is “REAL” which represents “Ramapo’s Experientially Aligned Learning”.
  • Present the vision that Greater Expectations has developed to integrate Academic and Student Affairs though CEC to: Faculty Assembly Executive Council, Faculty Assembly, Professional Staff Association, DAC, Institutional Advancement, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, Student Government Association, Student Leaders Coalition, Adjuncts, and Unions. In these presentations the project will be characterized as articulating shared goals rather than initiating change.
  • Enlist the support of the Faculty Assembly Executive Council to allow to members of the community to present CEC-related information at Faculty Assembly meetings.
  • Initiate discussions within units and within convening groups as to how CEC is being implemented and whether its current implementation is in fact leading to desired learning outcomes
  • Collaborate with key offices to formulate clear and consistent messages about what it means to be an experiential learner at Ramapo College, with an emphasis on Admissions, Orientation and other First Year Experience Programs.
  • Collaborate with the Director of the First Year Seminar to clarify the role of CEC in the FYE curriculum as well as to ensure that students have a conceptual understanding of why CEC is integral to a Ramapo education.
  • Explore ways that students can more actively engage with CEC as well as share their experiences, through club/organization presidents meetings, SGA meetings and other relevant student group meetings
  • Create a database/website/e-portfolio of the resources available to help implement CEC. These resources include, but are not limited to:
    • Teaching Learning Technology Roundtable
    • The Office of Student Development
    • George T. Potter Library
    • Cahill Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services
    • Office of Residence Life
    • Educational Opportunity Fund Program
    • Center for Academic Success
    • Instructional Design Center
    • Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts
    • Meadowlands Environmental Center
  • Work with the Institutional Research Office to understand the results from our NSSE data and develop suggestions for the campus based on that data.
  • Host a consultant who can speak on High-impact Practices and what we can learn from the national and our own NSSE data. It is recommended that George Kuh, Chancellor Professor and Director of Indiana University Center for Post-Secondary Research, be invited; if he is unavailable, then someone with similar expertise should be invited (e.g., Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director of Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research & NSSE Institute).
  • Work with the Director of the Faculty Resource Center to design workshops and learning communities that address high-impact learning practices and tie them into the CEC.
  • Create video vignettes where students discuss the benefits of CEC for them (i.e., “The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly”)
  • Develop a workshop offered by Greater Expectations on high-impact practices from a student affairs and academic affairs perspective.
  • Sponsor a showcase for offerings from Library, Cahill, Student Development, etc.
  • Explore the potential for a future lecture series on 21st Century Learning Initiatives.
Considerations for Design Team and Community Exploration:
  • Provide opportunities to seek out ways that two or more classes can explicitly partner to make this component more deep and meaningful.
  • Consider allowing students to “bank” CEC hours across classes to allow more substantive activities (e.g., meaningful service learning, student-faculty research)
  • Begin thinking beyond the five-hour-per-course requirement, and consider it as a possible cumulative experience (e.g. 20 hours per semester or 160 hour experience over four years).
  • Formalize ways that students can reflect on this component and come to see it as integrative and interdisciplinary (e.g. e-portfolios, culminating experiences).
  • Link this experience to General Education, Major and integrate between the two.
  • Consider other successful models for delivery of experiential learning (e.g., Winthrop University, Buena Vista University).
  • Engage the college in a strengths-based conversation using models such as Appreciative Inquiry (see Appendix 2)
  • Consider alternative ways to make students accountable for how they utilized the CEC (e.g., debit card system, e-portfolios)

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Barriers to Accomplishment
  • Significant change in our administration.
  • Faculty resistance to perceived top-down decision making
  • Budget crisis
  • Change fatigue in general and in particular topics relating to course re-design
  • Overworked faculty and staff
  • Student’s general confusion about CEC and how it relates to a liberal arts education
  • Faculty’s confusion about the their role in CEC (e.g., can students’ CEC work be graded)
  • According to NSSE data, our students are risk-averse
Opportunities for Support
  • Capitalizing on the 40th anniversary of Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Using the momentum created by the faculty spring 2009 in-service that communicated the Faculty’s commitment to a liberal arts education
  • The team has identified the key leaders on our campus that will readily buy-in, support our work and comprise the design team. Fortunately, we have leaders from every key constituency on campus
  • Students are actively seeking opportunities to do research with faculty—there is a growing awareness that such research is required for graduate school applications
  • Strong technological infrastructure
  • Employers and community partners welcome increased involvement
  • The experiential component is already institutionalized (i.e., we are not suggesting a “change” per se rather a time to reflect and to strengthen what we do best)
  • We already offer many high-impact practices
TEAM ACTIONS AND TIMELINE:

Action: Meet with Steve Perry, Chair of Greater Expectations Committee
Purpose/Details: To ensure that our team leadership understands and supports the proposal.
When: By July 30, 2009

Action: Present Action Plan to Provost Barnett
Purpose/Details: Inform and gain support.
When: By July 4, 2009

Action: Request that Provost Barnett convene a Design Team of key stakeholder as identified by team to implement proposal.
Purpose/Details: To agree upon Design Team’s charge, and to provide a working group to implement the action plan.
When: By August 13, 2009

Action: Present proposal to President Mercer. Ask that his office supports deeming AY2010 “Back to Our Values, Forward to 21st Century Learning” and that the programming suggested herein be tied to 40th anniversary programs and celebrations.
Purpose/Details: Focus the community on a common purpose as well as highlight the importance of this initiative.
When: By July 30th 2009

Action: Invite consultant to campus
Purpose/Details: To educate about high-impact learning and NSSE (scheduled perhaps for date of State of the College address)
When: By August 13, 2009

Action: Develop a list of resources to provide the Design Team.
Purpose/Details: To provide context for their work.
When: By August 13, 2009

Action: Work with Faculty Resource Center to have learning communities and workshops during Fall 2009 term
Purpose/Details: To provide educational opportunities for faculty.
When: By August 13, 2009

RECOMMENDED TIMELINE FOR DESIGN TEAM (KEY DATES):

Action: Present vision to individual groups identified.
When: September/October 2009

Action: Consult with Institutional Research re: NSSE data
When: September 2009

Action: Develop a calendar of discussions and presentations to engage the community (see Process and Recommendations).
When: October 2009

Action: Develop resources for the community including video vignettes of students, e-portfolio and other suggestions in recommendations section).
When: December 2009

Action: Produce report of major themes and process outcomes that creates a cycle of learning.
When: June 2010

Action: Create a cycle of innovation for CEC
When: June 2010

Evidence of Success:
  • All stakeholders will be able to identify the ways in which CEC can be harnessed as a high-impact practice.
  • There will be more purposeful linking of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.
  • Students will be able to articulate the value of CEC and how it relates to their liberal arts education.
  • There is a general understanding of the value of high-impact practices across campus.
  • Future NSSE data will show that Ramapo students are more engaged learners.
Appendix One: Conceptual Framework of the Action Plan
Whiteboard framework
Appendix Two: Summary of Appreciative Inquire

Appreciative Inquiry is about the co-evolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives “life” to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It centrally involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question” often-involving hundreds or sometimes thousands of people.

from A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry by David L. Cooperrider and Diana Whitney.

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