Values Exploration and Engagement Project gets under way

The University is expanding its commitment to its values initiative through involvement in a national project. BGSU is one of 23 institutions selected from a group of 125 applicants to participate in the Core Commitments project sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). (See

The AAC&U project is designed to bring together the most promising institutional practices related to educating students for personal and social responsibility, and to deepen and extend these efforts throughout the undergraduate curriculum and co-curriculum.

In January, the University learned it would receive a $25,000 grant to develop programs that support those purposes, and is focusing on expanding the BG Experience program, enhancing campus service-learning and tying co-curricular activities more closely to the development of social and personal responsibility. In addition, BGSU was named to the Leadership Consortium of the AAC&U’s Core Commitment effort.

The Values Exploration and Engagement Project will carry out four, campus-based initiatives as part of the Core Commitments grant.

In preparation, the Office of Institutional Research will administer an AAC&U-developed Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory (PSRI) this fall to students, faculty, student affairs and academic administrators. The inventory is designed to identify where different groups on campus see opportunities to foster learning about personal and social responsibility and to serve as a catalyst for dialogues across the institution about ways to make such learning more pervasive.

“This will give us a sense not only of where we are, but also where other universities are, in regard to personal and social responsibility,” said Dr. Peg Yacobucci, geology. “For example, Miami University of Ohio is also participating, and the results will show how that very different population will react to the survey questions.”

Campus community members will soon receive an email requesting their participation in a survey, said Dr. William Knight, associate vice president for planning and accountability.

“We would appreciate your participation,” he said, “as it will help us develop these programs in a more useful way and provide a starting point for campuswide dialogues about education for personal and social responsibility (EPSR), which will take place over the next two years.” The goal is to have summaries of dialogues among all academic and student affairs units and student organizations in response to the following guiding questions:

  1. What results of the PSRI spark your attention or concern?
  2. What are the key components of EPSR?
  3. What would BGSU look like if EPSR were pervasive?
  4. What are good ways to promote EPSR?
  5. What can your unit/group do?
  6. What barriers would need to be overcome and what could be done to mitigate these barriers?

Additionally, plans are under way to expand the BG Experience program beyond the focus on critical thinking about values in students’ first semester. The College of Business Administration, the School of Communication Studies and the Department of History have been chosen to participate in a pilot project designed to plan and carry out curricular revisions. New BG Experience courses in students’ majors will be developed this academic year and offered for the first time in 2008-09.

A parallel effort is to expand the University’s service-learning capacity. A faculty learning community comprised of 10 members will develop new service-learning courses and/or incorporate a significant service-learning component into existing courses that will be offered for the first time during 2008-09. The learning community will not only generate new service-learning courses, but will also create a model for continued faculty development in service-learning and expand opportunities for community and campus partnerships.

Last, BGSU plans to expand education for personal and social responsibility within the co-curriculum. A group of four faculty members, four student-affairs professionals and four student leaders will work with 12 student organizations on projects selected by the student organizations. Yacobucci, who is one of the faculty members participating, said “the goal is to be more purposeful in designing community service activities so that students really have a connection to the people they’re raising money for or helping in some way.” The projects will serve as models to show “here are some of the things student organizations can do to connect with the community and demonstrate social and personal responsibility,” Yacobucci said. The participating student organizations will display their projects next spring through an interactive, Web-based Core Commitments e-portfolio and a University-wide e-dialogue and poster session.

The BGSU Core Commitments team includes team leaders Drs. George Agich, BG Experience director, and Edward Whipple, vice president for student affairs, along with Drs. Bettina Shuford, assistant vice president for student affairs; Donald Nieman, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences; Jane Rosser, director of the Office of Service-Learning; Yacobucci, and Knight.

September 10, 2007