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UW-Eau Claire Educators' Article Featured
in Prestigious Liberal Education Journal

RELEASED: Feb. 22, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — The winter issue of the Association of American Colleges and Universities' prestigious Liberal Education journal features an article written by two members of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty.

Dr. Andrew Phillips Dr. Michael Wick
Dr. Andrew Phillips
Dr. Michael Wick

In "A Liberal Education Scorecard," Dr. Andrew Phillips, interim associate vice chancellor of academic affairs and interim dean of graduate studies, and Dr. Michael Wick, professor of computer science and chair of the computer science department, describe their evolution from discipline-specific educators to liberal educators.

For years, Wick and Phillips focused their time and energy on ensuring that their students acquired the content knowledge they need to be computer scientists. They've since concluded that students need much more than an understanding of a specific discipline's content to become lifelong learners.

"In fact, when considered within the broader context of their lives after college, the computer science content we teach is the least important thing we want our students to learn," Wick and Phillips state in their article. "Even our most successful graduates will founder within a few months after graduation unless they continue to learn and relate what they know and do to the world around them.

"Without the transferable knowledge, skills and attitudes that characterize a liberally educated person, all the discipline-specific content knowledge we impart today will be insufficient for tomorrow."

Faculty and staff committed to the purposes of higher education must move away from protecting and defending specialized areas of expertise, whether in academic disciplines or in cocurricular areas, Phillips and Wick wrote.

"We must all become liberal educators who hold our students and ourselves accountable for the desired outcomes of a liberal education," the article states.

In their article, Wick and Phillips describe a tool they've developed to guide them as they evolve from disciplinary experts focused on improving their teaching in computer science to liberal educators focused on improving student learning on a broader level. Their "liberal education scorecard" can be used to help an individual instructor, a department or program, or an institution to focus on the learning outcomes of a liberal education.

"We hope that by admitting our own shortcomings as liberal educators and by sharing our growth experience and the resulting scorecard model, we will encourage others to find the motivation and humility to reflect on their own maturation as liberal educators," Phillips and Wick wrote.

Within a week of publication, their scorecard model was already being used to structure faculty conversations on liberal education at such prestigious liberal arts institutions as Wellesley College in Massachusetts and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, Wick said.

The award-winning journal Liberal Education provides a national forum to address teaching and learning, leadership, faculty innovation, and institutional change to improve undergraduate education. It includes theoretical and practical articles, providing the best thinking about liberal learning and the latest research and how it is translated into practice.

You can see Wick and Phillip's Liberal Education journal article online.

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JB

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