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The draft is open for comments until December 4, 2020 at 11:59pm. Senate constituents may attend a Plenary meeting on Tues, Nov 24 at 12:30pm Eastern/US to share their views; please RSVP by Nov 23.

A summary of comments below, comments from the Plenary meeting, and comments submitted from small groups after the Plenary meeting is available.


All-Institute Learning Goals [draft]

Pratt students develop skills and knowledge focused on:

  • Justice
  • Resilience
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Versatile Communication
  • Disciplinary Fluency

1. Justice: Buoyed by a self-guided framework of values and shared responsibility for cultivating a diverse, equitable and just society, Pratt students make decisions with a knowledge of their impact upon individuals, communities, and the earth. They are compelled into action with a set of responsive tools that allow for both reflection and agency in positive and just societal transformation.

2. Resilience: The Pratt students’ educational experience instills a sense of strength and fortitude, empowering them to face present and future obstacles. Students learn the connectivity between themselves, their classmates, their families and their community. As Pratt students become proficient in their core disciplines, they also develop the ability to balance being centered and focused with the creative powers of adaptability, flexibility, and acceptance of constructive criticism. These life skills give them the courage to tackle social, professional, ethical and environmental challenges that they will encounter.

3. Creative and Critical Problem Solving: Creative and critical problem-solving is dialogic and co-creative, as students pose questions, identify problems and opportunities, consider multiple perspectives, and make informed decisions based on research and analysis. Students envision and implement meaningful solutions that are grounded in humanistic concerns related to society and the environment through innovative processes.

4. Versatile Communication: Pratt students are skilled speakers and writers who understand that communication is a multimodal process that transcends verbal language. They creatively employ visual tools to communicate ideas to diverse target audiences. In order to create possibilities for progressive change, they invent new modes of communication while critiquing signifying systems that further inequality, oppression, and discrimination.

5. Disciplinary Fluency: Pratt students are skilled in using the tools and techniques of their chosen discipline. They possess the ability to articulate and apply these skills purposefully within a cultural and historical context. They are able to maintain professional practice within their discipline, while possessing the ability to go beyond these boundaries.


Process of Development and Draft Goals for Feedback

Charge and composition of the task force: The All-Institute Learning Goals Task Force convened for the first time almost exactly one year ago, on November 25, 2019. Its charge was to draft a set of Institute-level learning goals that aligns with Pratt’s mission and strategic plan, and that articulates the skills and knowledge that a Pratt education cultivates in all students, regardless of their field or level of study.

Convened by Donna Heiland, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, its members include:

Foundation
James Lipovac, Adjunct Associate Professor

School of Information
Craig MacDonald, Associate Professor

School of Architecture
Eve Baron, Chairperson, Center for Planning and the Environment
Scott Ruff, Visiting Associate Professor, Undergraduate Architecture

School of Design
Camille Martin-Thomsen, Assistant Dean
Keena Suh, Associate Professor, Interior Design

School of Art
Heather Lewis, Professor, Art & Design Education
Donna Moran, Professor, Fine Arts

School of Continuing and Professional Studies:
Rosie DePasquale, Professor & Program Coordinator, Integrative Mind & Body Program

School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Rachid Eladlouni, Assessment and Educational Technology Coordinator, Visiting Assistant Professor, Intensive English Program
Suzanne Verderber, Professor & Acting Chair, Humanities & Media Studies

Process to date: The group’s work began with extensive discussion of what Institute-level learning goals might look like, taking into account what the Middle States Commission on Higher Education has to say on this topic, and studying models proposed by AICAD, by other individual colleges of art and design, by other kinds of higher education institutions, and by Pratt’s own programs.

With that context in mind, and—as noted above—guided Pratt’s mission and strategic plan, the task force met regularly between November and March of last year. The full group drafted an early version of the goals listed below, and then broke into sub-groups, with 2–3 people working to draft each goal, and the full group offering feedback.

We had initially planned to meet with the Academic Senate, the Student Government Association, and other essential groups on campus last spring, to circulate these draft goals, get feedback on them, and revise them further. The pandemic altered our timeline, but the basic plan remains the same. We are therefore very pleased to share these draft goals with you now.

For the Senate Plenary on November 24, 2020: We offer these goals to you knowing that you will have much to say in response, and we are all very interested in your responses. In our minds, these goals really are drafts—we fully expect them to be modified as a result of this process! Also remember that these goals may not capture everything that we, as a community, feel they should—we may want to add one or two.

Next Steps: Once we have presented these goals to the various constituencies that need to weigh in on them, have revised them, and had them further vetted and approved, we will be able to assess our achievement of them in two major ways. We will:

  • Evaluate the extent to which the Institute offers students opportunities to achieve these goals;
  • Study the results of our ongoing assessment of student learning in the curriculum (at the program and course level), and in the co-curriculum, aligning work at the program / department / division level with these Institute-level goals, and so determining our success in achieving them.

49 Comments

Carolyn Shafer 9 months ago

1. Justice. This goal is so important to the mission of Pratt and is the opportunity to be very explicit about the ideals, values and responsibility that a Pratt student should graduate with. This section explicitly calls out diversity, equity and justice but falls short of explicitly highlighting sustainability. I see that it is implied in the next sentence where the impact on individuals, communities and the earth are mentioned, but then the final sentence leaves me feeling as though this section is really about social justice and not environmental justice/sustainability. Perhaps that is the intention… If that is the case I would really want to see and additional goal specifically around sustainability. If this goal is meant to include sustainability, I feel strongly that is should say so..to the point and without ambiguity.
“Pratt students are compelled into action with a set of responsive tools that allow for both reflection and agency in positive and just social AND ECOLOGICAL/ ENVIRONMENTAL transformation.”
Another example:
“Pratt Students can identify, act on, and evaluate their professional and personal actions with the knowledge and appreciation of interconnections among economic, environmental and social perspectives”.Reference

Damon Chaky 9 months ago

I absolutely second a call for something explicit around sustainability. I agree with Carolyn that “knowledge of impact […] on the earth” is lost within the rest of the goal of Justice.

Chris Jensen 8 months ago

Just reinforcing the idea that this goal not only falls short on environmental responsibility but also fails to make the clear connection between social and environmental justice. Failing to address this connection makes it easy to ignore environmental concerns as “outside of the sphere of social justice”. Which, in this era, is very problematic.

Anonymous 9 months ago

I feel this goal is not addressing justice in the text. The text seems to indicate a hesitation in openly expressing what our institute believes is a just world.

In the current framing, the values are self-guided – this justifies any position, as both oppression, supremacism, and injustice are always backed and warranted by a set of values.

In the second paragraph, we discuss the ability to “make decisions with a knowledge of their impact upon individuals, communities, and the earth.” I do not see how knowing the impact of a decision would modify the ethics of that decision. Consumerism, exploitation, and pollution are all decisions made consciously of their implications, made by prioritizing profit other than ethics and responsibility.

In the third paragraph, I am troubled by “positive” societal transformation that does not define the context of positive. Colonialism is intertwined with saviorism, for example. The positive societal transformation is positive for who? and positive based on which scale of evaluation?

Furthermore, the text does not discuss active participation and action: it uses “reflection” and “agency” “make decisions,” and “compelled to action;” It rings counterintuitive if the goal is a just world.

Example
1. Justice: Buoyed by a knowledge of their impact upon individuals, communities, and the earth, Pratt students actively contribute to the dismantling of systems of oppression. They cultivate a diverse, equitable, and just society with a set of responsive tools that allow for both reflection and agency. They contribute to a societal transformation that resists forms of discrimination, inequalities, and supremacism to promote justice, community, and respect.Reference

Anonymous 2 9 months ago

I agree with some comments by “anonymous,” specifically, in his/her/their paragraph #3. Nothing points to a mofidication of ethics for a decision however informed about its impact. Consumerism is predetermed – at Pratt technology is so predetermined that the concept and/ or discipline of ethics is trucated. People frequently misread any discussion as an indictment of their chosen non-belief system. Might we consider ethical thinkers such as Robert P. George as non-threatening to a secular institution like Pratt.

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

Can what the Middle States Commission said on this topic be shared?Reference

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

In my opinion, the language “They are compelled to action” is too passive, and should be modified to “They are activists”Reference

Nada Gordon 9 months ago

Can we mandate activism? Isn’t that something that is supposed to be intrinsically motivated than instilled? People can be encouraged to evaluate and expand their values, but their values shouldn’t be fed to them, nor should we have an expectation that they will hold them.

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

I would add that students develop a strong sense of “self-awareness, independent thinking and conviction that enables them to persevere and overcome obstacles.”Reference

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

In my opinion, the All-Institute Learning Goals should be “SMART” goals:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound:

Excerpt:
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htmReference

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

What is the Justice goal?
How do we measure it at the end of a student’s Pratt Education?

SMART Goals Excerpt:
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).Reference

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

What is the Resilience goal?
How do we measure it at the end of a student’s Pratt Education?

SMART Goals Excerpt:
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).Reference

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

What is the Creative and Critical Problem Solving goal?
How do we measure it at the end of a student’s Pratt Education?

SMART Goals Excerpt:
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).Reference

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

What is the Versatile Communication goal?
How do we measure it at the end of a student’s Pratt Education?

SMART Goals Excerpt:
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).Reference

Kent Hikida 9 months ago

What is the Disciplinary Fluency goal?
How do we measure it at the end of a student’s Pratt Education?

SMART Goals Excerpt:
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).Reference

Nada Gordon 9 months ago

I suggest that in this category as well as the others would use the pronoun “you” instead of “they.” This document should be more student-centered and approachable.Reference

Anonymous 8 months ago

I find this goal to be very vague, encompassing different conflicting ideas. I also really oppose using “resilience” in this document, as so often resilience discourse displaces the responsibility for systemic problems onto individuals.

Could the emphasis shift to focus on understanding interconnectivity, solidarity, and developing strength and courage to face the world’s challenges? That would seem to better reflect our values.

And the part about accepting constructive criticism could maybe turn to being informed by one’s community: professors, students, staff, and our neighbors here in NYC.Reference

Kent Hikida 8 months ago

What is the Versatile Communication goal?
How do we measure it at the end of a student’s Pratt Education?

SMART Goals Excerpt:
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).Reference

Kent Hikida 8 months ago

We should include the students’ evaluation of the creative and critical solutions they have implemented within this goal – ie. measuring the results of their solutions, and revising and improving if necessary. There are multiple solutions.Reference

Sheryl Kasak 8 months ago

I really like the notion of Time Bound in Kent’s SMART criteria. It speaks to continued growth and relevance for both students and the Institute.

I would like to propose “planet” rather than “earth”, somehow it seems more inclusive to other planets – our planet is a part of, and affects something beyond just earth.Reference

Chris Jensen 8 months ago

As far as adding an additional goal goes, I found myself wishing for something like a “Groundedness” goal (with an understanding that that is NOT a good “branded name” for such a goal). What I want is for students to ground their work and decisions in both their own values (implying that they can actually state those values!) and in evidence (being able to back up the factual assumptions of their work with research and/or data). I realize my idea is nascent and it clearly could use a lot of processing by additional perspectives… but I really would like to see this “grounding” built into these goals. Such grounding is implied only weakly by the articulation of the other goals.Reference

Chris Jensen 8 months ago

Okay, replying to my own comment (perhaps suggesting sloppy original reading and thinking?). Maybe what I want could be achieved without adding another goal. Perhaps what’s needed is a change to this sentence in the PROBLEM SOLVING section: “Students envision and implement meaningful solutions that are grounded in humanistic concerns related to society and the environment through innovative processes.”
What I would like to see is grounding in values and science (broadly defined). What’s important here is that the students have to do the work to figure out what their values are and whether the factual assumptions they are making hold up to available evidence.

Leonel Lima Ponce 8 months ago

I agree with Damon, Carolyn, and Chris above. THere must be some mention of environmental responsibility, particularly in regards to the impacts of making and creating.

While this responsibility could be included under the umbrella of “Justice” it may require its own goal.

Within the Justice goal itself, it could be helpful to explicitly describe what kinds of justice are being pursued (e.g., environmental justice, social justice).Reference

Sebastian Kaupert 8 months ago

The most basic strategy that creates resilience is reserves, to not operate at the edge of one’s capacity, to have back-ups, alternatives, excess fuel, an extra layer.

Second, resilience arises out of diversity. Homogeneity makes vulnerable to change and disruption, Diversity and plurality affords flexibility and adaptability.Reference

Uzma Rizvi 8 months ago

It would be good to think through the interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary practice.Reference

Sebastian Kaupert 8 months ago

In our students’ work, resilience to me means future-proofing their designs, to not just design for the specific problem but also for the ‘space’ around the problem, including designing for edge cases.

Kent Hikida 8 months ago

I wonder if this could be renamed either “Empathy” or “Kindness” – wouldn’t that be cool – to graduate kind students into the world!Reference

Kent Hikida 8 months ago

Mens sana in corpore sanoReference

Anonymous 8 months ago

Resilience is about recognition and understanding, it must be proactive

Perseverance (instead of resilience)
Clarity, understanding and recognizing opportunities to maximize their potential as whole persons – relates to flexibility and being able to move beyond the critique with clarity of mind to recognize opportunities;

Balance and cultivate self-awareness.Reference

Genevieve Leonard 8 months ago

I appreciate this area is being utilized in defining learning objectives because it requires all members of the institute to consider social connectivity and character when creating courses, assignments and services.

There is an opportunity to create a new title for this goal since resilience may have an alternate meaning in this context – something vague, ill defined.

As an instructor, I define this goal as a way to encourage more group-related assignments and activities to encourage emotional and social intelligence.Reference

Saul Anton 8 months ago

I think these goals are great. But shouldn’t we also have, as an Institute, the goal of Cultural and Artistic Literacy and Knowledge? I am concerned that we’re setting these goals out in some ahistorical, contextless ether. Isn’t there a certain level of knowledge that students will gain that will allow them to practice justice, resiliency, creative and critical problem solving etc. precisely because they are able to contextualize and to situate themselves within time and history? Don’t disciplines have histories and developments? The word “creative” doesn’t mean much, it seems, unless it’s set against the context of what’s come before. Within my own teaching, for example, students do research for their capstones and they are asked to clearly situate themselves within their field and how it has addressed or failed to address issues (of social justice, for example). That requires historical and contextual knowledge and a certain level of fluency. It feels like an important aspect of what we do.

Sara Rafferty 8 months ago

I agree with Saul’s idea of literacy – image, text, spacial, emotional, etc.

Irina Schneid 8 months ago

These points fall under the umbrella of advocacy and yet the word advocacy is missing from the brief. Be it design advocacy, environmental advocacy, social advocacy, students should be cognizant of and responsible for the power of their tools/training to catalyze social and environmental impact.Reference

Anonymous 8 months ago

Can we clarify if these goals are only for students? Or are they larger goals for all members of the Pratt academic community?Reference

Irina Schneid 8 months ago

In addition to “transcending verbal language” and “inventing new modes of communication,” I feel we should also be explicit about mastery of existing tools- visual, verbal, oral, beyond just being “skilled.” Students need to learn the rules before they can break them, and many of our students struggle with the former. I would argue that greater emphasis on comprehension and fluency of communication could be placed in this tenet.Reference

Sara Rafferty 8 months ago

I think if you decide to develop a pre-amble, as was brought up during the Plenary meeting, it could possibly include an over-arching statement that indicates that these learning goals will be acquired, achieved, and interfaced with a course of study, self-directed or independent work, and community work (both on and off campus).Reference

Sara Rafferty 8 months ago

suggested edit: 1. Justice: Pratt students make decisions with a knowledge of their impact upon individuals, communities, and the earth. Buoyed by self-guided and curricular frameworks of values, the Pratt community sees a shared responsibility for cultivating a diverse, equitable and just society.Reference

Sara Rafferty 8 months ago

I think if pithy, one-word headings are possible, we should incorporate. For example, perhaps this item, name, “Solutions” and in the body of the description right off the bat it says “creative and critical problem solving,” the point is made (?)Reference

Sara Rafferty 8 months ago

Same with this, I think “Communication” could be the heading and then it’s expanded. I was in the group discussing this during Plenary and we put a suggested version (issues around skills, target audiences, etc). No need to repeat here 🙂Reference

Sara Rafferty 8 months ago

I agree with Uzma^.

Potential edit:

Discipline or Disciplinarity: Pratt students learn the histories and context of their chosen disciplines, including those that incorporate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary study. They articulate and apply this knowledge purposefully and contextually. They are educated about relevant professional benchmarks, so that their relation to established norms are cognizant and critical.

or something???Reference

Rhonda Schaller 8 months ago

I love this learning outcome, as it also references campus values that influence behavior. As cited in the Chronicle of Education recent newsletter, “Resilient colleges , like resilient infrastructure systems, need continuous attention. ” The iterative process of design education has at its heart, resilience. The ability to navigate through challenges to successful outcomes. Resilience doesn’t just happen; it needs to be taught, cultivated, nurtured and invested in. The Artists Thrive organization identifies many rubrics on resilience in learning, that can be used to measure this outcome. I really like the ability to measure and adapt systems to new realities. And recognizing the differences in surviving, striving and succeeding, which leads to flourishing and thriving.Reference

Lisa Bateman 8 months ago

edit for consideration:
Justice = Economic Justice
Inequity in education: visible with some of our most economically disadvantaged students and became clear in our online classes and critiques throughout Covid. Many students did not have access to decent Wi-Fi, working space, decent photo tools or adequate computers while stuck off-campus. Some faculty were also challenged by not having the economic support to purchase a new or better computer to continue teaching at their best. Concern about faculty and students reluctant to speak out about this timely need and to seek support. *Is there Pratt support for these challenged students and faculty? Was there a Tech support Plan $ put in place and made available to all of us? Was there a plan to Fed-Ex or ship students and faculty proper equipment to participate as best they can in their studies? Spending initiatives at Pratt for marketing and future ‘research’ – does this include the above? Increased mental health support, increased funding for first-generation students is needed as more online initiatives will be pursued by Pratt in the future.
Can equitable support for all in the Pratt community be reflected in these goals?Reference

Tetsu Ohara 8 months ago

1. Justice: I second Carolyn’s and Irina’s Comments.Reference

Tetsu Ohara 8 months ago

It will be good to include some aspects of wordings including “nurturing problem solving culture at Pratt towards human impact upon environment and climate challenge as part of the future artists/designers’ important responsibility.”Reference

Irene Lopatovska 8 months ago

I find the term ‘resilience’ to be too masculine, not nuanced and not reflective of the need to develop empathy for others and self-care. We are not West Point, we’re not preparing for survival/combat; I’d like our graduates to build stregth through recognizing weaknesses, carying for self/others/planet, working together, building consensus, finding healthy ways to balance multiple goals in life (not just resiliantly pursue some at the expense of others).Reference

Audrey Schultz 8 months ago

I’d like to add that if we are going to add:3. Creative and Critical Problem Solving as a much needed All Institute Learning Goal and we are an Art & Design Institute, my suggestion is to add: Design Thinking in tot he realm. For Example:(existing) and make informed decisions based on (Add: design thinking), research and analysis.

What we do at Pratt as creatives is to follow a design thinking, design research method in developing our artifacts and pedagogy.Reference

Audrey Schultz 8 months ago

Where is Leadership in our proposed All-Institute Learning Goals?

We are developing the next generation of art and design industry leaders, that will go forth and change the world, as we know it today.

My suggestion: purposefully within a (Add: diverse), cultural and historical context.

They are able to maintain professional practice within their discipline, while possessing the (Add: leadership) and ability to go beyond these boundaries.Reference

Audrey Schultz 8 months ago

Resilience, or Resiliency is adapting to change, being agile.

Suggestion: These life skills give them the courage to tackle social, professional, ethical and environmental challenges (Add: and the agility to become resilient to change). Something like that. Thank youReference

Ann Holder and Caitlin Cahill 8 months ago

We co-coordinate the Social Justice/ Social Practice Minor and want to offer the learning outcomes for the program and our core class that we think are relevant to revising the Justice Goal (we will send the task force these separately).

While we agree that Justice needs to be cast broadly, we would urge specificity about the many different formations of justice (Social, Political, Environmental, Racial, Economic). As others noted, it is essential in defining justice to be clear about which values and ethics constitute its theory and practice.

When we designed the Social Justice Minor we didn’t think we could engage students in a discussion about justice without explicitly addressing the structural issues that are at the heart of injustice. We designed learning outcomes to express this commitment, for example:

Identify and articulate how structural inequalities (race, class, gender, etc.) impact the lives of individuals and communities, and how in turn people work collectively to navigate, contest and transform these inequalities …

We also believe Justice is more than a set of ideals, and that it requires engagement and involvement. In our learning goals and outcomes, we focus not only content but process. For example:

Involve students in the practices of making, thinking and doing that bring the
existence of social inequality into focus and plot the direction of creative alternativesReference