A poem by Anna Leahy '88, "States of Matter," has been published in the March issue of Scientific American ma...
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Task Force on the Knox Educational Experience
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
The Task Force on the Knox Educational Experience is focused on a crucial strategic priority in our current strategic plan, Knox 2018: "to assess the learning outcomes of the Knox educational experience and identify new pedagogies and curricula for an increasingly globalized and technologically sophisticated world."
Our most recent curricular revision was the New Knox that developed from conversation stated in the late 1990s, with implementation of the new curriculum in 2002-03. Since the turn of the 21st century, Knox has grown by 200 students and their demographics have changed. For instance, in 2000, 13% of our students identified as U.S. students of color, and today, 30% of the student body identifies as such. In this year's incoming class alone, 43% are U.S. students of color and 13% are international. During the same time, 59 full-time faculty have started their careers at Knox. And new ways of connecting and communicating have developed, for better and for worse.
Although students and their families always have considered college an important pathway to jobs and careers, today, this concern feels more acute, and it is compounded by the cost of college. In addition, we know more about how students learn than we did 15 years ago, we have seen the positive results of high-impact practices (such as independent research and first-year experience programs), and we have more than a decade's worth of new disciplinary knowledge.
At the same time, we continue to affirm the value of the liberal arts and sciences, and the value of the crucial components of an excellent education-critical and constructive thinking, thoughtful communication skills, challenging conversations, and independent and collaborative work. These commitments that form the core of a Knox education have remained steadfast. The educational program at Knox values high quality academic experiences and close mentoring relationships between students and faculty. As a liberal arts college, Knox is committed to an education that allows students to see the world not only through deep disciplinary knowledge, but also through a breadth of perspective that allows understanding of the interrelationships within the world and our place in it.
With our commitment to the liberal arts firmly in place, we also recognize that we are at a point where the expression and practice of our foundational educational commitments may have changed. And we have new voices and perspectives in our community, new communication tools that shape our relationships with each other, and new pedagogical and disciplinary knowledge to explore.
The work of the Task Force on the Knox Educational Experience will assess the learning outcomes of the Knox educational experience and to identify new pedagogies and curricula for an increasingly globalized and technologically sophisticated world. Doing so will allow us to imagine the possibilities, to recommit to our students, to explore ideas in curricula and pedagogy that may hold risk and then great promise, to come upon ideas that are vital to who we are and who we wish our students to be, and to best express the remarkable, often intangible distinctiveness of a Knox education.