On March 6, 2014, the SSRC’s Education Research Program brought together a national group of communication scholars to discuss ways to articulate and measure learning outcomes for communication undergraduates. These faculty leaders were selected for their dedication to undergraduate education, and for their collective expertise in defining and measuring learning goals. This was the first of a series of communication-focused meetings for Measuring College Learning Project (MCL), a new initiative that aims to develop tools to increase our understanding of learning across multiple areas of undergraduate study. To learn more about MCL, please click here.
In this first meeting, the goal was for faculty to engage in constructive conversation about what students should know after completing: (1), an introductory course in communication; and (2), a major in communication. During a morning session, faculty discussed the essential skills and habits of mind that communication majors should master. To help guide the conversation, the group referenced previous efforts to identify and shape a learning agenda for communication. These included an early draft of the National Communication Association’s Core Competencies Task Force Report, the UK Quality Assurance Agency’s Benchmark Statement for Communication, Media, Film, and Cultural Studies, and a sampling of departmental learning goals. During an afternoon session, the group discussed learning goals for the introductory course in communication, as well as known assessment tools and strategies used across the discipline.
The meeting cultivated a productive conversation across the diversity of communication-related perspectives, and set the stage for continued discussion at a second meeting.