This information was distributed to all teaching faculty in April 2013 by Dean Dieker:

Last spring, the Cornell faculty approved a new set of Educational Priorities and Outcomes for Cornell College.  These Educational Priorities and Outcomes are now in the Academic Catalogue, replacing the section, Educational Objectives at Cornell College. These new Educational Priorities and Outcomes are an integral component of Cornell’s vision of “reimagining the liberal arts experience” and align with the goals of A Strategic Plan for Growth - Cornell College. 

During the coming academic year there will be a number of initiatives to integrate intentionally the new Educational Priorities and Outcomes into the curriculum and co-curriculum of the college.  What will this implementation entail for our academic programs?   A basic first step is to integrate the Educational Priorities and Outcomes into courses and syllabi as follows:

  • All courses will need to integrate two or more of these priorities, as appropriate, into the course design and course learning objectives.  (Note that faculty legislation requires that all course syllabi include learning objectives.) In many, if not most, courses this is already common practice.
  • Each course syllabus will need to include learning objectives that intentionally integrate the Educational Priorities and Outcomes to be achieved by the students, and a summary statement listing the educational priorities emphasized in the course.

Many of our syllabi already have learning objectives that are focused directly on the liberal arts learning outcomes that are reflected in our Educational Priorities and Outcomes.  However, beginning with our courses in 2013-2014, a more intentional focus on the Educational Priorities and Outcomes should be embedded into Cornell courses and articulated clearly in course syllabi. Of course, not all of the priorities and outcomes are appropriate for any one course, and it is the responsibility of faculty members to decide which of these priorities and outcomes are appropriate in their courses.

Listed below are some examples of actual learning objectives from 2012-2013 Cornell syllabi that include language clearly congruent with the college’s new Educational Priorities and Outcomes. I have included within parentheses the one or more educational priorities that seem logically to be embedded in these objectives.  (you do not need to make these parenthetical indications in your learning objectives.)  It is easy to see many of our faculty members are already integrating the liberal learning objectives, recently codified into our Educational Priorities and Outcomes, into their courses and syllabi.

A Sampling of Learning Objectives from 2012-2013 Cornell Syllabi 

  • In both written and verbal form, effectively articulate, evaluate and critique various production concepts using professional language, theory and standards. (Communication, Reasoning)
  • Students will be expected to gain proficiency with chemical models and theories and to be able to relate macroscopic behavior to what is happening on the molecular level.
  • Students will be evaluated on their ability to explain concepts and to solve both qualitative and quantitative problems. (Reasoning, Knowledge, Communication)
  • To develop and hone skills for reading and writing about challenging poetic texts. (Inquiry, Communication)
  • By the end of the course, my goals are that you will have strengthened your skills in critical thinking, writing, and quantitative reasoning. (Reasoning, Communication)
  • To acknowledge and confront dehumanizing biases such as racism, sexism, prejudice and discrimination and understand the impact these biases can have upon interpersonal relations.(Intercultural literacy, Inquiry)
  • To draw conclusions about a population by studying sample data (inferential statistics). (Reasoning)
  • We will also continue to learn how to improve logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. (Reasoning)
  • Understand the importance of structure, culture, and individuals in the development and sustainability of communities. (Citizenship)
  • The candidate understands Chapter 25 of the Iowa Code and understands the importance of ethics in the teaching profession. (Ethical Behavior, Vocation)
  • Specifically, students will increase knowledge of basic research concepts including: hypothesis development, sampling procedures, sampling bias, research design, data collection, reliability and validity indices, descriptive statistics, univariate statistics, visual data representations (i.e., graphs and tables), and scientific writing skills. (Inquiry)

Obviously, as learning objectives articulated in syllabi emphasize the college’s Educational Priorities and Outcomes, it follows that assessment and grading of students should reflect, in part, their learning related to these Educational Priorities and Outcomes.

Finally, in order to keep an intentional focus on the Educational Priorities and Outcomes, I ask that you include a summary statement in your syllabi regarding which of the Educational Priorities and Outcomes are emphasized in the course. Such a statement will help the college track the Educational Priorities and Outcomes throughout the curriculum and that data will inform our assessment strategies of the Educational Priorities and Outcomes.   I suggest that a statement such as the following sample be included at the end of your syllabus section on learning objectives:

Sample Summary Statement

This course supports the Educational Priorities and Outcomes of Cornell College with emphases on knowledge, communication, and intercultural literacy.

In many, if not most, cases syllabi already have appropriate learning objectives that reflect these educational priorities and it is a simple matter to add a summary statement.

Please be reminded that course syllabi must be posted on MOODLE by the first day of class. These syllabi are archived online at the following link:  Throughout the coming year, I encourage faculty to use the archive as a resource to see how other faculty across the college are designing syllabi that include an intentional focus on the Educational Priorities and Outcomes of Cornell College.  In addition, there will be opportunities in Dean’s Fora and CAT sessions to discuss more fully the intentional use of our Educational Priorities and Outcomes.  Also, be aware that a parallel effort to integrate intentionally the new Educational Priorities and

Outcomes of the college in our co-curricular programs will be undertaken by our Student Affairs staff during the coming year.  These Educational Priorities and Outcomes provide a powerful opportunity for us to align our classes and co-curricular opportunities around a set of core educational outcomes of the college, and help us to work together even more effectively with a focus on critical aspects of student learning.

Educational Priorities and Outcomes

The Mission and Core Values guide learning at Cornell College. The College recognizes that meaningful education occurs in multiple formats and venues, and encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and learning objectives. As an intentional learning community, the college has chosen to emphasize the following Educational Priorities and Outcomes for all students. In order to achieve these Outcomes, the Educational Priorities are embedded in curricular, co-curricular, independent, and collaborative contexts across the campus. Faculty and staff provide opportunities for learning in a supportive environment where students ultimately take responsibility for their own education.

Educational Priorities

Students will…


integrate and apply knowledge from a focused area of study as well as a broad general education which includes disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.


respond to the complexities of contemporary and enduring problems using information literacy tools, research skills, creative thinking, and analysis.


evaluate evidence; interpret data; and use logical, mathematical, and statistical problem-solving tools.


speak and write clearly, listen and read actively, and engage with others in productive dialogue.

 Intercultural Literacy

connect with diverse ideas and with people whose experiences differ from their own and that may be separated from them by time, space, or culture.

 Ethical Behavior

recognize personal, academic, and professional standards and act with integrity.


collaborate with others and contribute in their communities and the larger world.


discover and prepare for the range of opportunities and challenges that await them beyond their college experience.


respect the ways physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual well-being may contribute to a balanced life.