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Summit Encourages Collaborative Learning

The sixth annual Summit on Transforming Learning – Celebrating Student Learning: Collaboration and Action through High Impact Practices was held on Friday, April 1. Over 130 people from Rollins, the University of Central Florida, Seminole State College, and non-profit organizations from across central Florida participated this year.

The summit began with keynote speaker Dr. George Kuh, director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment and chancellor’s professor emeritus of Higher Education at Indiana University. Director of Community Engagement Micki Meyer, who planned the event, was delighted that Kuh was attending.

“Dr. Kuh is known nationally for his research of student learning. We are thrilled that he joined us for the summit and hope that his message will further enhance our work with student success, high impact practices and retention initiatives.”

The day continued with participants selecting various workshops to attend throughout the summit. The presentations all showcased innovative and engaging practices that model student, faculty and staff collaborative learning.

The workshops, as well as the student panel, focused on the use of High Impact Practices on campus. Meyer likes that these practices “take learning to the next level and actively involve students. Some of the High Impact Practices include study abroad, internships, service- learning/community engagement, diversity experiences, student/faculty collaborative research, capstone courses, living- learning communities, and first-year programs (such as RCC).”

The six students on the panel, Michael James Barrett ’14, Emma Broming ’12, Annamarie Carlson ’14, Lucas Hernandez ’13, Seth Pierce ’11, and Anna Vargas ’11, were asked to discuss these High Impact Practices as well as their best and worst experiences with faculty. The students openly discussed the positive and negative experiences at Rollins.

Meyer was pleased with the discussion that ensued from the students’ responses.

“The lunch panel was focused on the student voice. This was intentional. We can learn so much from our students. We don’t oft en ask students about their ideas and thoughts around learning. Colleges and universities create programs, courses, and structures without their input.

“Educators need to start asking students to be a part of the learning experience from the very start. We need to learn from students what it is that they would like to learn and how we can provide the very best experiences to challenge and engage them.”

The summit was started in 2006 as an opportunity for the entire campus community to celebrate mission-driven practices around teaching, learning, scholarship and research. Since 2006, over 600 faculty, staff and students have participated in summit workshops and discussion groups.

Meyer was thrilled with the results of the successful day and looks forward to possible future changes on the Rollins campus.

“Our hope is that this summit will inspire our campus community to recommit to the mission of Rollins and find opportunities inside and outside the classroom to put student learning at the center.”

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