Retreat on Core Competencies: Critical Thinking and Information Literacy

Event Date: 
Thu, 10/16/2014 - 9:00am to Fri, 10/17/2014 - 3:15pm



October 16-17, 2014 
Hilton Oakland Airport
Oakland, CA

Critical thinking and information literacy are higher-order intellectual skills required for academic, professional, and personal success. They overlap and intersect in many areas, including the ability of our students to be critical consumers of information and to create new knowledge. This hands-on retreat will address campus strategies for developing, integrating, and assessing these learning outcomes across the academic curriculum and co-curricular programs. The focus will be on designing learning opportunities for students to demonstrate these skills and abilities within the context of multiple disciplines and general education. The retreat will also engage participants in developing strategies for faculty, librarians, administrators, and other academic partners to set standards of performance and assess students’ attainment of these learning outcomes at or near graduation.

Facilitators Carol Ann Gittens and Jennifer Fabbi will lead this two-day workshop to support participants in integrating and assessing critical thinking and information literacy skills at their institutions. The format blends brief presentations with interactive team exercises, inter-institutional discussions, and mentoring to engage each participant fully in the work. Participants will be guided through a series of topics and exercises that can be applied to their particular institutional context, culture, and student population. There will be plenty of time for individuals and teams to advance their campus-specific goals and projects.

Areas of discussion include:

  • Articulating critical thinking (CT) and information literacy (IL) learning outcomes
  • Building CT and IL in our classrooms and programs
  • Setting standards for the level of performance an institution may expect at graduation
  • Creating rubrics for CT and IL that are discipline-sensitive
  • Implementing standardized and embedded assessments of CT and IL across the curriculum
  • Using assessment results to improve students’ CT and IL
  • Building a culture to support CT and IL in the digital age
  • Supporting teaching and learning strategies that integrate CT and IL
  • Creating coherent pathways for developmental learning of CT and IL

The retreat is designed for participants from 4-year colleges and universities: faculty, librarians, academic and co-curricular staff, and administrators responsible for curriculum, general education, student learning assessment, and / or program review. Institutions are encouraged to send teams of two or more people; Teams with projects that are focused on information literacy are encouraged to include a librarian who is responsible for information literacy. When possible, teams should include a member with some knowledge of assessment.

The workshop will be most meaningful for participants who identify in advance what they want to accomplish. This will also help mentors to guide their work more effectively. Some participants may wish to focus on a defined project that speaks to a specific institution- or program-level need. Others may attend simply to gather information and seek guidance on how to develop core competencies. At registration, participants will be asked to fill out a brief form indicating the current status of their work on CT and IL.

WSCUC workshops are designed for institutional teams made up of two or more persons. Individual participants are welcome, but a team will be better able to take full advantage of the multiple, simultaneous breakout sessions and opportunities for consultation.

Registration fee includes all workshop activities, Thursday lunch, and Friday breakfast and lunch.  Please note that Thursday dinner is not included.  The Hilton Oakland Airport is offering workshop participants a discounted room rate of $169, plus tax occupancy fee. Participants are responsible for their own hotel reservations. To reserve rooms, please call 1-800-HILTONS. You must identify yourself as a participant in the "WASC Senior College and University Commission" workshop to secure the discounted rate (Code: WAS). The deadline for booking rooms in the WSCUC room block is September 24, 2014 or while rooms are available.

Registration fees: $485 per team member.   After September 26, if space is available, late registration fee will be $510 per team member.  Graduate students are encouraged to participate and may register at a discounted price of $375 (late fee will be $400).

REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  September 26, 2014

  Click here to register 



This educational program has been developed by national and regional experts and is offered as a service to WSCUC member institutions and others who wish to learn about good practices applicable to all institutions. It is entirely optional, and our hope is that member institutions will find it helpful. WSCUC staff will be present to answer questions related specifically to accreditation expectations.