Faculty senate approves ‘all-college goals’ for Calvin graduates


Photo courtesy calvin.edu

Last fall, the provost’s office began to seriously investigate, “What are the enduring characteristics or qualities of thinking, doing and being that mark a Calvin graduate?”

In order to answer this question, the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) created a list of four characteristics, based on the college’s mission, that they would like all Calvin students to embody.

The four “all-college goals” comprise Calvin’s Educational Framework and will be woven into every academic program so that regardless of a student’s chosen major, they will be expected to leave Calvin with the same characteristics.

“[The Framework] has been on EPC’s agenda for a couple years,” said Provost Cheryl Brandsen. “It came about as we were preparing for accreditation and realizing that we don’t really have a succinct and accurate way of describing what a Calvin graduate is like.”

Brandsen also noted this framework is something that is simply good for the college to do, regardless of accreditation or other influences.

The Educational Framework outlines learning, faith, citizenship and vocation as goals for the Calvin curriculum. Based on these four, each department and co-curricular program will identify their own specific learning outcomes for their students.

Brandsen noted the first two goals focus on what students do in their time at Calvin:

“Students come here to learn and part of what we do here is the learning and faith integration,” said Brandsen.

The goals of citizenship and vocation have a more outward focus.

“We have this hope that our students go out and shape the world. That is the citizenship part of it. The vocation piece is becoming aware that what we do when we leave here is not the end of the story.”

While the Framework has been approved by faculty senate, there is still much to do in terms of implementation.

“It is a work in progress and we have to live into it a bit to see how these programs will take place. There is quite a bit ahead of us to do,” said Brandsen.

The next step for the Framework will be for each department and program to implement the goals into their current learning objectives — something that Brandsen believes will be easy for most departments.

“We don’t want to be top down on this and prescriptive,” said Brandsen. “It is about aligning what we already do with the larger goals. With a little tweaking, most departments will align nicely.”

A full version of the Framework can be found on Calvin’s website on the provost’s main page.