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Second FxD Symposium at Georgetown University

Symposium Group Table work

The second annual Formation By Design Symposium welcomed international leaders, Georgetown faculty and designers in higher education to conceive of new ways to explore “whole student” formation.

Project Releases Progress Report

Fxd Progress report

December 2014 – FxD releases the 2014-2015 Formation by Design Progress Report, which articulates five formational outcome areas and suggests eight paths to action for placing formation at the center of institutional design and assessment.

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About Formation by Design

The concept of formation is at the heart of an education dedicated to shaping students to be fully human, to cultivating their authentic selves, and to inhabiting a sense of personal responsibility for improving the world.

Hannah 2025 summary

The Formation by Design Project is a learner-centered and evidence-centered approach to reinventing our institutions around whole person development and doing so in ways that are thoroughly responsive to the emerging learning ecosystem that characterizes this moment in history—the increasingly data-rich environment that, while enabling personalization and customization of learning, at the same time risks de-centering and dis-empowering learners. The Project engages internal and external stakeholders in a process of defining, designing, and measuring formation of the individual within the context of higher education.

Learning—and especially “learner-centered”—analytics hold much promise as a mechanism for integrating qualitative and quantitative measures of formation, as well as visualizing and feeding meaningful data back to stakeholder groups at every level of the educational ecosystem. Formation by Design recognizes that practices of engagement and interaction with formational learner analytics must be developed at three layers for continuous improvement—at the student level, the faculty/designers/program directors level, and at the institutional level.

Of primary importance in this work are the dual goals of empowering students to be in control of their own learning analytics and elevating evidence of the process of integrative, deep learning to higher echelons of institutional decision-making. Providing robust and multiple sources of learning analytics along the whole arc of learning will help achieve the ultimate goal of informing educational designs to best support formation of all of our students.

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Project Outcomes

Framework and Vision

The project aims to articulate a vision that puts formation at the heart of higher education as a value to be designed for and measured using the new power of learning analytics.

Research Agenda and Network

Through gatherings and virtual meetings, the project will establish a collaborative network with a shared research agenda of understanding formational learning.

Designs, Measures and Practices

The project undertakes the task of understanding the changing skillset of liberal education, and designing measures and practices that explore and elevate the visibility of data and evidence to form a picture of the whole learner and the whole educational context.

Project Team

Dr. Randy Bass, Georgetown University

Randy Bass is Vice Provost for Education and Professor of English at Georgetown University. He is the Founding Executive Director of Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), where he continues as a Senior Scholar for Pedagogical Research.



Mindy McWilliams is the Assistant Director for Assessment in the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown. She works with faculty to assess the impact of teaching with technology on student learning, teaching to the whole person, and aspects of students’ general education experience.

Catherine Armour, MArch, Georgetown University

Catherine Armour is Director of Education and Academic Affairs at Georgetown University. She was previously Provost at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC. Her work is focused on program development, academic innovation and curricular design.



Brandi Durkac, MSEd, Georgetown University

Brandi Durkac is the Director of Advancement and Regional Development in the Office of Advancement and works closely with Vice Provost Randy Bass on the Georgetown Learning Initiatives and other university projects related to learning and innovation.


Consultant Team

Dr. Tom Banchoff, Georgetown University

Tom Banchoff is Vice President for Global Engagement at Georgetown University. He also serves as founding director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and as Professor in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service.



Dr. Dan Bernstein, University of Kansas

Dan Bernstein is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Kansas. From 1999 to 2003 Bernstein directed a five-university project on peer review of teaching materials, and his recent writing has focused on electronic course portfolios centered on student work.

Dr. Alex Ambrose, University of Notre Dame

Alex Ambrose is Associate Director of the Notre Dame E-Portfolio Engagement Project (nDEEP), and an Academic Advisor and Co-Director of the Balfour Hesburgh Scholars Program in the First Year of Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

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Ruth Deakin Crick

Prof. Ruth Deakin Crick, University of Technology, Sydney

Ruth Deakin Crick is Professor of Learning Analytics and Educational Leadership at the University of Technology Sydney. She works in Improvement Science at the interface of research, practice, policy and enterprise. She is one of the originators of the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory.

Prof. Simon Buckingham Shum, University of Technology, Sydney

Simon Buckingham Shum is Professor of Learning Informatics at the University of Technology Sydney, where he is Director of the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC). He researches, teaches and consults on learning analytics, social learning media, collective intelligence and dialogue/argument visualization.



Dr. Bret Eynon, LaGuardia Community College (CUNY)

Bret Eynon is a historian by training, studying social movements in the context of political and personal transformation. He is currently based at LaGuardia where he directs the Making Connections National Resource Center on Inquiry, Reflection, and Integrative Education.

Dr. Laura M. Gambino, Guttman Community College (CUNY)

Laura Gambino is Professor of Assessment and Information Technology at Guttman Community College. She is also the Project Research Coordinator for the national Connect to Learning (C2L) ePortfolio project.



Dr. Pat Hutchings, Gonzaga University

Pat Hutchings is a senior scholar with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, and a scholar-in-residence at Gonzaga University. Pat’s work has focused on a variety of strategies for creating a campus culture of teaching and learning: assessing student learning, the peer collaboration and review of teaching, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.