CASTL Program - Liberal and Intentional Learning Concepts

A few years ago, in the Greater Expectations Report , an AAC&U task force looked at the needs of students and how the traditional approach of colleges and universities may not adequately serve the large numbers of people now pursuing higher education. Today, about 75% of high school graduates continue their studies and 90% of high school seniors say they expect to attend college. Some of the observations and conclusions noted in the report include the following.

  • "As college education now becomes commonplace, all students must have the opportunity to achieve the most empowering forms of learning." (page 3)
  • Today, more jobs require a college education, change is rapid and people need to be able to make informed decisions and employ creative and intellectual skills. (page 4)
  • Universities need to educate students to become "intentional learners." "Becoming such an intentional learner means developing self-awareness about the reason for study, the learning process itself, and how education is used. Intentional learners are integrative thinkers who can see connections in seemingly disparate information and draw on a wide range of knowledge to make decisions. They adapt the skills learned in one situation to problems encountered in another: in a classroom, the workplace, their communities, or their personal lives. As a result, intentional learners succeed even when instability is the only constant." (pages 21-22)
  • "Liberal education" can help students become intentional learners, but must be reinvigorated by making it practical and inclusive, such as by including a range of teaching strategies. The report defines liberal education as "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals, liberates the mind from ignorance, and cultivates social responsibility. Characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, and more a way of studying than specific content, liberal education can occur at all types of colleges and universities. 'General education' and an expectation of in-depth study in at least one field normally comprise liberal education." (page 25)