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Representatives Meeting

Biannual Representatives Meeting
and
Fostering Civic, Intercultural, and Ethical Learning:
An Integrated Approach

hosted by
Oberlin College
Oberlin, Ohio

Inspired by connections and resonances we found between the AAC&U LEAP College Learning for the New Global Century Report and language in Oberlin College’s most recent Strategic Plan[i], the conference theme, Fostering Civic, Intercultural, and Ethical Learning: An Integrated Approach, speaks to the ongoing, meaningful conversations and wide range of work taking place at all of our institutions focused on the building of civic leadership and responsibility through civic engagement. This kind of learning supports the educational experience of historically underrepresented students by centering many of their issues and concerns so as to foster a more inclusive campus community.  At the same time, it provides a wide range of educational opportunities for all students to explore difference by recognizing and valuing experiences, identities, histories, interests, and needs in order to build mutual respect and understanding.

 There is growing evidence about the importance of student engagement in diverse communities, development of skills in leadership and collaboration, and applying learning to “real world” problems. Community-based learning, community-based research, and volunteerism are excellent means to involve students as members of a college or university communities, and, with successful mentoring, simultaneously enables students to find important connections between their curricular and experiential learning.  It can also inspire students to be motivated to more fully explore course work that deepens the relationship between learning taking place inside and outside of the classroom.

This kind of integrated learning also provides an organic way to help students connect with communities and cultures other than their own and, at the same time, reflect on ethical issues related to personal and social responsibility. These kinds of conversations create important opportunities for examining the relationship between campus communities and local and global communities as well as encouraging them to rethink the relationship between the local and global, which is too often ill-defined and limited by traditional notions of borders and specific locales. This kind of reflective work empowers students to put theory into practice, shape professional life paths, and foster more socially just global citizens. By bringing faculty and administrators across our institutions together, we hope that this conference provides all of us with an important opportunity to share, discuss, and reflect around these issues in order to foster opportunities for inter- and intra-institutional collaboration necessary for creating transformative learning experiences for all our students. 

“The LEAP National Leadership Council recommends, in sum, an education that intentionally fosters, across multiple fields of study, wide-ranging knowledge of science, cultures, and society; high-level intellectual and practical skills; an active commitment to personal and social responsibility; and the demonstrated ability to apply learning to complex problems and challenges.

 

The council further calls on educators to help students become “intentional learners” who focus, across ascending levels of study and diverse academic programs, on achieving the essential learning outcomes. But to help students do this, educational communities will also have to become far more intentional themselves—both about the kinds of learning students need, and about effective educational practices that help students learn to integrate and apply their learning.” AAC&U LEAP College Learning for the New Global Century Report, 2007)

Oberlin College seek to “help students clarify and integrate their intellectual strengths and interests, social commitments, and vocational aspirations; enable them to integrate and apply their knowledge; nurture their social consciousness and environmental awareness; and graduate individuals who are humane, thoughtful, and influential actors in the world.” (Oberlin College Strategic Plan, 2005

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