Committee Members

Marty Krauss, Co- Chair (Provost)

Jean Eddy, Co-Chair (Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment)

Maggie Balch (Student Life)

P.J. Dickson (Academic Services)

Kim Godsoe (Academic Services)

Judith Jaffe (Provost's Office)

Michaele Whelan (Provost's Office)

Elaine Wong (Dean of Arts and Sciences Office)

Wabash National Study

Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education
Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College
http://www.liberalarts.wabash.edu/


             Context
  • The Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education is a large-scale, longitudinal study to investigate critical factors that affect the outcomes of liberal arts education.
  • It is designed to help colleges and universities improve student learning and enhance the educational impact of their programs.
  • The Study began in 2006 with 19 institutions participating.  Currently 49 institutions participate. They include liberal arts colleges, regional universities, research universities, and community colleges. The study sample contains both private and public institutions, as well as religiously-affiliated, single-sex, and minority-serving schools.
  • Brandeis joined in 2008, supported by funding from the Davis Educational Foundation.

    Fundamental goals of the study
  •  To learn what teaching practices, programs, and institutional structures support liberal arts education
  • To develop methods of assessing liberal arts education

    Timeline
    Brandeis students participate in the study at three points in their academic career:

  • The beginning of the freshman year
    • (Fall 2008, 469 out of 754 in the entering class participated—62%))
  • The end of their freshman year 
    • (Spring 2009, 135 out of 469 participated, 29% of the fall participant group and 18% of the entering class)
  • The end of their senior year   (Spring 2012)

*Mid-years participated when they arrived in January 2009 (93 out of 109-- 85%); second administration November 2009 (23 students participated, 25% of the January group and 21% of the midyear class) .  There will be a separate data series on this group.

Specifics

The Wabash study focuses on the development of seven outcomes associated with undergraduate liberal arts education and the educational conditions and experiences that foster these outcomes. The selected outcomes include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Need for cognition (measures how much people enjoy engaging in effortful cognitive activities)
  • Interest in and attitudes about diversity
  • Leadership
  • Moral reasoning
  • Well-being (a multifaceted concept; it is often thought of as one of the hallmarks of the liberal arts experience, resulting from educational encounters that both guide students in the search for meaning and direction in life and help them realize their true potential)
  • Integration of Learning
The study explores the extent to which students develop because of their college experiences, the conditions that contribute to this development, and ways that liberal arts institutions can more readily assess and act on this knowledge to enhance their impact.

Wabash Outcome Measures

For general information about the Wabash Study of Liberal Arts Education, contact Vice Provost Michaele Whelan at mwhelan@brandeis.edu