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Chicago Program's Robyne Hart and Mary Scott-Boria to Speak at International Conference

Published: November 1, 2011

ACM faculty Robyne Hart and Mary Scott-Boria co-teach the Core Course taken by all students in the ACM Chicago Program: Arts, Entrepreneurship, & Urban Studies. Later this month, they will also team up at an international conference to talk about the teaching model they're using to engage students as active learners.

Robyne Hart

Robyne Hart

Mary Scott-Boria

Mary Scott-Boria

They will present a session on "Privileging Place and Making it Matter: Using the City to Support Experiential Learning" at the 31st Annual Lilly Conference on College Teaching on November 17-20 at Miami University in Oxford, OH.

More than 500 college professors and scholars from throughout the U.S. and around the world have registered to attend the gathering, which offers an extensive schedule of speakers, workshops, and presentations focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning.

"This conference is all about teaching, about exchanging new ideas," said Hart. "It's very hands-on." She noted that the conference draws an audience ranging from new faculty just beginning their careers to classroom veterans looking for fresh approaches to use in their courses.

Core Course, one of four academic components in the Chicago Program curriculum, offers students an introduction to the city within the context of the program's three main disciplinary areas of the arts, entrepreneurship, and urban studies. Seminars, independent projects, and internships round out the academic program.

Both within Core Course and across the curriculum, the program's pedagogy takes a layered approach to learning, according to Hart. All facets of the program – course readings, sessions with guest speakers, experiential exercises, class discussions, reflective writings, internships, and the students’ individual experiences in Chicago – build on and reinforce each other, helping students gain knowledge, develop new perspectives, and actively engage in the city around them.

Experiential exercises are designed to place students in the midst of a complex issue, require them to take action, and then have them reflect on the implications of that action. For example, in the Core Course unit on public education in Chicago, students took on the roles of eighth graders about to enter high school. Their tasks were to inform themselves about high school options in the Chicago Public Schools system, select a high school to attend, explain how they arrived at their decision, and reflect on how that choice compared with their own educational experience in high school.

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For more about the Chicago Program's pedagogy and experiential learning, read "Turning Points: Making the Loop through Experiential Education in Chicago" by Sally Noble in the Fall 2011 issue of ACM Notes.

In their session at the Lilly Conference, Hart and Scott-Boria will discuss the theoretical basis underlying their teaching, share some of the place-based and experiential assignments they have used with students, outline best practices they have developed, and describe the Chicago Program's learning outcomes and modes of assessment. See the conference website for a description of the presentation by Hart and Scott-Boria

A long-time member of the Chicago Program's Urban Studies faculty, Scott-Boria teaches seminar classes and leads the Core Course using the distinctive experiential learning approach that has been a hallmark of the ACM Urban Studies program since it was founded more than four decades ago.

Hart is the Director of the Chicago Program and teaches the seminar in Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining ACM in 2008, she taught at Hanover College for eight years, where she established the Center for Business Preparation, an innovative, experiential business program for liberal arts majors.


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