The Center for Engaged Learning – 2016 Update

Belk Pavilion

The Center for Engaged Learning was launched in 2012 as part of the Elon Commitment in order to position Elon as the leader of the national conversation on engaged, experiential education. The Center brings together international leaders in higher education to develop and to synthesize rigorous research on central questions about student learning.

Highlights of the Center’s recent work include:

We invite you to explore the Center’s website to learn more about our initiatives and resources.

Peter Felten, Executive Director, and Jessie L. Moore, Director

Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminars

Residential Learning Communities as a High-Impact Practice (2017-2019)

In July 2015, the Center hosted a think tank on residential learning communities, facilitated by Jon Dooley and Peter Felten (Elon). Participants included Mimi Benjamin (IUP), Jeffrey Coker (Elon), Ashley Finley (AAC&U), Karen Inkelas (University of Virginia), Jody Jessup-Anger (Marquette University), Jillian Kinzie (Indiana University), Jessie L. Moore (Elon), Jill Stratton (Washington University), William Sullivan (Center for Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Wabash College), Frank Wcislo (Vanderbilt University), and Lori White (Southern Methodist University). As part of the preparation for this think tank, the Center created a set of resources on learning communities.

Those 2015 conversations led to a June 2016 planning forum for the 2017-2019 research seminar on Residential Learning Communities as High-Impact Practice, which will be led by Shannon Lundeen and Cara McFadden (Elon), with Mimi Benjamin (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and Jody Jessup-Anger (Marquette University).We invite interested scholars and practitioners, regardless of discipline, to apply to join a multi-institutional cohort of researchers collaborating to investigate evidence-based, high-quality Residential Learning Communities. Applications are due November 21, 2016.

Faculty Change Towards High-Impact Pedagogies (2016-2018)

The 2016-2018 Center for Engaged Learning research seminar examines faculty change towards high-impact pedagogies. A core team of international researchers are serving as “hubs” for regional teams who are collectively examining:

  • What causes faculty change from not using high-impact pedagogies (e.g., evidence-based practices designed intentionally for student learning, with transparent learning goals, meaningful faculty-student interaction, and structured reflection) to systematic and sustained use of high-impact pedagogies?
  • How can universities prompt and foster faculty change towards systematically using high-impact pedagogies? What is the role of academic developers in this work?
  • For faculty, what are the implications of adopting high-impact pedagogies?

Integrating Global Learning with the University Experience: Higher-Impact Study Abroad and Off-Campus Domestic Study (2015-2017)

The 2015-2017 research seminar, led by Amanda Sturgill and Nina Namaste (Elon), with Neal Sobania (Pacific Lutheran University) and Mick Vande Berg (MVB Associates), facilitates multi-institutional research on study abroad and off-campus domestic study as integrated global learning practices. Twenty-six scholars and practitioners are collaborating to investigate evidence-based, high-quality study abroad and off-campus domestic study, focusing on:

  • Students’ integration of study abroad and off-campus domestic study with other university global learning experiences
  • Educators’ roles in students’ study abroad and off-campus domestic study
  • Curricular and programmatic factors that integrate study abroad and off-campus domestic study with student’ other global learning experiences
  • Institutional factors that integrate student learning from study abroad and off-campus domestic study

The research seminar will wrap up in 2017, with participants sharing their findings at a conference at Elon, June 11-12, 2017. The conference will be free for Elon faculty and staff. Proposals to present are due by 5:00 PM on November 30, 2016.

Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research (2014-2016)

The 2014-2016 Research Seminar on Mentoring Undergraduate Research supported 34 international scholars collaborating on multi-institutional research that advances excellence in mentoring undergraduate research. Led by Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler and Paul Miller (Elon), and W. Brad Johnson (U.S. Naval Academy) and Laura Behling (Knox College), six research teams explored key characteristics of undergraduate research mentoring, mentoring models, and mentoring across career stages. The researchers shared their findings at the Conference on Excellent Practice in Mentoring Undergraduate Research, July 24-25, 2016, with keynotes by George Kuh and W. Brad Johnson.

moorebasscoverCritical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer (2011-2013)

Led by Jessie L. Moore (Elon), Chris Anson (North Carolina State University), and Randy Bass (Georgetown University), 45 writing researchers from 28 institutions and five countries participated in multi-institutional research cohorts focused on extending higher education’s understanding of how writers transfer writing knowledge and skills across contexts and how institutions can better facilitate students’ development of writing transfer strategies.

Teaching Democratic Thinking (2009-2011)

The 2009-2011 seminar (Led by Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Elizabeth Minnich, John Ottenhoff, Donna Engelmann, Rita Pougiales, and Ed Whitfield) focused on questions about thinking and its relationship to democracy. Many colleges and universities have renewed their focus on helping students to develop the habits, skills, and knowledge to participate fully and effectively as citizens. The seminar concentrated on the intellectual foundations of these efforts to prepare students for lives as citizens by focusing on the teaching of democratic thinking.

Center Publications

The Undergraduate ExperienceParticipants in the Center’s research seminars have published several books and over 50 articles and book chapters stemming from their work in the seminars, including:

Executive Director Peter Felten and President Leo Lambert also recently published The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most, with co-authors John N. Gardner, Charles C. Shroeder, and Betsy O. Barefoot (Jossey-Bass, 2016).

Center Resources

In addition to regular blog posts and an array of videos (with over 39,700 total views) on the scholarship of teaching and learning, undergraduate research, global learning, transfer of writing knowledge and practices, and other engaged learning topics, the Center hosts resource pages on:

Watch for additional resources throughout the year.

Learn More

To learn more about the Center’s work, contact Executive Director Peter Felten or Director Jessie L. Moore.