"Aggies Commit" Produces Lifetime Learners And Leaders
Commitment has always been an integral part of the culture at Texas A&M.
Texas A&M students commit to their university, to the Aggie core values, to getting meaningful degrees in a timely manner, to being the 12th Man . . . and they commit to becoming responsible leaders of character dedicated to serving the greater good in society, their state and the nation.
Texas A&M faculty and staff share in the commitment to produce those leaders of character by providing students with a well-rounded, high-quality educational experience. The entire campus commits to creating a culture with opportunities and support for student reflection and engagement and to helping students connect their educational experience at Texas A&M with “what comes next.”
That’s why “Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime” was a natural choice for the campus-wide 10-year initiative to enhance student learning at Texas A&M. Given our rapidly changing world, students need to continue to learn throughout their lives, integrating new ideas and information with what they already know. The university-wide initiative — the product of the provost’s academic leadership team working in consultation with students, faculty and staff — is dedicated to producing students who can learn and keep learning, adapt to change and create new opportunities for themselves and others.
Texas A&M Provost Karan Watson stated that the goal of “Aggies Commit” is to “ensure that students, as well as faculty and staff, are experienced in making and sticking with commitments relevant to their growth as well-educated people who serve both professional and societal needs with excellence.”
Under the umbrella of “Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime,” Aggie students are asked to pursue education seriously and to intentionally select and commit to curricular and co-curricular experiences that promote learning for a lifetime.
Intentionality is the key component. Whether it involves a commitment to a high-impact practice such as participating in an undergraduate research project or studying abroad for a semester or committing to the core value of service by joining a student-led organization like CARPOOL, making intentional commitments and keeping them is a habit that will set Aggies apart as lifelong learners, and leaders, now and in the future.
In turn, the faculty and staff at Texas A&M are asked to join in a campus-wide effort that takes advantage of the Aggie culture of commitment and fosters lifelong learning. In fact, “Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime” became the foundation for helping fulfill the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The QEP requires “a carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning that should be embedded within the institution’s ongoing integrated institution-wide planning.”
“Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime” asks colleges, departments and degree programs to design and/or utilize a number of high-impact learning practices that push students to achieve deep rather than superficial learning and demonstrate the achievement of specific learning outcomes.As Luciana Barroso, associate professor, civil engineering, explained, “If we want student learning outcomes such as the ability to work collaboratively, think critically, analyze and synthesize knowledge, apply knowledge and do something with it – if we want our students to become lifelong, integrative learners – then we need to give them the motivational tools to connect their learning not only across their courses, but also from the classroom to ‘real-world’ career opportunities.”
“Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime” is about creating a campus culture that prepares students for whatever the future holds, and supporting that culture with significant university resources, including generous financial support through the Academic Master Plan’s reallocation funds. That translates into increasing the number and types of high-impact learning experiences available to students, increasing the percentage of students participating in these experiences and enhancing the coaching and advising necessary to help Aggies students plan, commit to and reflect upon their participation.
As Texas A&M continues to implement and embrace the tenets of “Aggies Commit,” the initiative also helps Texas A&M achieve some of the university’s high-priority institutional goals. Those goals include increasing the graduation rate as well as the number and quality of graduates, enhancing diversity, demonstrating transparency and accountability and continuing to fulfill our land-grant mission for the benefit of the state and nation.
Specific articles about how “Aggies Commit” works to help Texas A&M achieve the above-listed goals will appear in upcoming issues of TAMUtimes.
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