A general education should not give students a roadmap to a specific end goal; rather, it should provide them with the tools to navigate in the direction of their choosing, said Gardner Campbell to Georgetown faculty in April as a part of the Designing the Future(s) initiative’s Red House Speakers Series.
Dr. Campbell, Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success at Virginia Commonwealth University, told faculty that an effective general education curriculum provides a framework to foster a mindset where students “see connectedness” in the world around them. In his remarks, he discussed that creativity emerges when we teach students to discover and investigate this connectedness.
He also stressed that, while this understanding can come about in many contexts, universities are best equipped to support this type of formational growth in students. He reiterated that this deep, “whole-person” learning cannot emerge just from direct instruction, nor is it fully supported in co-curricular activities. At a university, he argued, students can take calculated risks and learn from them in the support of mentors and peers.
As Vice Provost at VCU, Dr. Campbell is responsible for efforts at VCU to enhance the quality of teaching and learning throughout the university, the first-year student experience, and advancing learning innovation and the strategic use of digital technologies. He also leads the university’s strategic vision for learning innovation, including the Alt Lab and Online@VCU initiatives as well as the highly successful VCU University College.