campus partner(s)

Great Lakes Colleges Association






Fresh Thinking

award date


project director

Richard Detweiler

Great Lakes Colleges Association

Grant Summary

$150,000 over 30 months. The Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) will design, implement, and assess the impact of alternative pedagogies in undergraduate education as derived from some of the most salient research of the past decade on how people learn. The Collegium will consider empirical research findings about learning from the literatures of neuroscience / neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, and social / cultural psychology to identify new or different approaches to pedagogy that could be applied to college learning. Based on discussions of this research, teams of three to five faculty will develop proposals to test selected new pedagogies through the use of experimental course modules that will be developed in more than one curricular area (e.g. natural sciences, social sciences, humanities). These proposals will be submitted for approval to a review panel drawn from GLCA's member colleges with expertise in the relevant research methodology and assessment.

Implementation and refinement of the approved experimental course modules will take place over four semesters, from fall 2008 through spring 2010. The impact of new pedagogies on the appropriate components of learning—not just factual content but, to the extent possible, on the broader skills of analysis, critical thinking, and expression—will be assessed. In addition to gauging the impact of these research-based pedagogies within the sequence of a given course, the Collegium will consider the longer-term effect on student learning through assessments undertaken a year or more after students' experience in an alternative pedagogical module. A final conference in summer 2010 will provide an opportunity for the Collegium to analyze results from all experimental course modules.