Inclusive Pedagogies & Measuring Complex Domains of Learning for the Liberal Arts – 2 workshops

For related research, see also: Measuring Complex Domains (summer/fall 2018)

Emerging pedagogies for inclusion are keen topics of interest across the liberal arts. Our Teaching & Learning Centers, and our academic support colleagues have a growing body of experience – what works and what doesn’t work – when it comes to supporting our diverse student body academically and as whole persons. Collaboration around these insights and measurements across LACOL has seemed like a useful idea to many. To advance these conversations, two interrelated workshops will be held in the Spring of 2018:

WORKSHOP 2: Measuring Complex Domains of Learning (Inclusive Pedagogies)

  • Date: Friday, April 27
  • Location: Davidson College
  • Workshop Leads:
    • Dr. Brent Maher, Director of Academic Assessment, Davidson College
    • Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation, Davidson College
    • Prof. Paul Youngman, Chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group and Professor of German, Washington & Lee University
  • Workshop Resources: Readings & Videos
  • Program: 

WORKSHOP 1: LACOL Dialogue on Inclusive Pedagogies

  • Date: Friday, March 9
  • Location: Haverford College
  • Speakers*:
    • Prof. Verna Case, Assoc. Dean of Faculty, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, and Beverly F. Dolan Professor of Biology, Davidson College
    • Prof. Jyl Gentzler, John Cooper ’64 Presidential Teaching Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Amherst College
    • Dr. Riley Caldwell O’Keefe, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Amherst College
    • Prof. Jonathon Kahn, Assoc. Professor of Religion, Vassar College
    • Dr. Andrea Nixon, Program Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation and Director of Educational Research, Carleton College
  • Program: Agenda

Background and Purpose:

The goal of these paired workshops is to start a dialogue across our stakeholders around issue of access and inclusion, and to consider ways in which both qualitative and quantitative assessments might be used to jointly study this aspect (and others) of the liberal arts experience.

As residential liberal arts institutions serving a diverse student body, we need strong evidence on effective practices that foster environments that are inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of all learners. While all our schools have insights to share based on local experience, there is also a potential for us to work together to develop more convincing arguments that scale.  Pursuing these types of innovations as a network of allied liberal arts institutions provides evidence at scale while building capacity for experimentation across our institutions.

Innovations in assessment can directly address a key challenge for our institutions – demonstrating our value in a time of increasing skepticism about the liberal arts. For example, Davidson College has identified a set of tools and methods with the potential to manage and account for the complex domains of learning. Combined with a ‘probe-sense-respond’ process, they are exploring a design for evidence-based change.

At the 1st workshop, we look forward to an open dialogue among peers about effective programs and practices for inclusion at residential liberal arts institutions.  At the 2nd workshop, the Davidson team will review their proof of concept studies so far and then lead participants through steps to design a single instrument we could potentially run on all LACOL campuses. If we can form a multi-campus research design and analysis team, we have an opportunity to go deeper in addressing these shared research questions than any single college might do alone.

Both events are open to LACOL Faculty, Administrators, Librarians, Instructional Technologists and Designers, Academic Support and Assessment experts from the Teaching & Learning Centers, Institutional Research and Educational Research Offices and other academic centers across our member schools.

Speaker Bios:

Verna Case
Verna Case

As Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Research, Verna Case guides the development of structures and programs that support faculty in teaching and research at Davidson.




Riley Caldwell-O'Keefe
Riley Caldwell-O’Keefe

Riley Caldwell O’Keefe is Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning at Amherst College.


Jyl Gentzler
Jyl Gentzler

Jyl Gentzler is the R. John Cooper ’64 Presidential Teaching Professor of Philosophy, Director of The Writing Center and the Faculty Director, Center for Teaching & Learning at Amherst College.






Brent Mahar
Brent Maher

Brent Maher serves as the Director of Academic Assessment at Davidson College, where he works with faculty to establish and assess learning outcomes to foster improvement. Brent is also a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research explores the historical relationship between higher education and the federal government, particularly related to student aid, research policy and funding, and accreditation and accountability. While at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Brent served as a Doctoral Fellow at the Collaborative on Academic Careers on Higher Education (COACHE), which conducts two national surveys of faculty related to job satisfaction and factors influencing their decisions to stay or leave when they receive external job offers. Brent was a lead author on the latter survey, which was sponsored by the University of California Office of the President. Brent also authored a case of study of Boston University’s inaugural strategic plan and capital campaign, published by Harvard Education Press.


J. Kahn
J. Kahn

Jonathon S. Kahn is Associate Professor of Religion. His teaching and writing interests are at the intersection of race, religious ethics, and politics. His current work explores the formation of modern versions of secularism.  Prof. Kahn is at the forefront of work on inclusive pedagogies in as part of Vassar’s Engaged Pluralism Initiative.




Andrea Nixon
Andrea Nixon


As Director of Educational Research, Andrea Nixon assists departments and programs as they assess learning outcomes, oversees Carleton’s institutional-level assessment, and conducts educational research projects.