Truth in Society

Task Force Report:
Gleanings from the Program Evaluations

Kalie Hatt
Shawnee McConchie
Thom Parkhill
Julianne Wile

Early in the second term of the 1994-95 academic year the four of us began meeting as a "task force" to review our colleagues' program evaluations done in November and December, with an eye to preparing a report. It was our intention that this report both reflect accurately the tone and content of those evaluations of the Truth in Society section as well as stand as a document useful to people who had no first-hand experience of, but who had an interest in, the Aquinas Program. After some preliminary meetings, three of us--Kalie, Shawnee, and Julianne-- interviewed a number of people who had just such an interest: Theresa Suart, Director, University Relations; Tanya Chapman, High School Relations Officer; Erika Buiteman, Admissions Office; and Dr. Roger Barnsley, Academic Vice-President. From these interviews, and from our own discussions stemming from our study of the evaluations, a number of themes emerged.

The first theme was that students' expectations of the Aquinas Program were somehow skewed. Many students didn't know what to expect, and those in the Truth in Society section, at least, were initially flummoxed by the incongruity between what they expected and what actually happened in and out of the classroom. The first section of this report, edited by Kalie Hatt, addresses this theme.

A second theme that emerged, especially from the evaluations, was that our colleagues saw that they were learning skills that would be useful in the world outside of university. The second section of the report, edited by Shawnee McConchie, treats this theme.

The final theme we chose to address was suggested both by the evaluations and by Dr. Roger Barnsley. He had mentioned the importance of an "academic learning community." We noticed that our colleagues were writing about something similar in their evaluations. The third section of this report, edited by Julianne Wile, deals with this theme.

While we met consistently and worked steadily on this report, the final draft was not finished by the end of classes. This is unfortunate because we hoped to share it first with our colleagues in the Truth in Society section, and revise it in light of their responses. In fact, although we all commented on working drafts of the sections, none of the main contributors has seen the final drafts of each other's work, and none has seen this introduction. I mention this to take responsibility for these first few paragraphs, and to beg my collaborators' pardon for any misrepresentation of the events that led to this report. That said, I would also add that I have not altered my collaborators' work except to correct obvious misspellings ("form" for "from" for example) and format the document so that it is consistent from section to section.

In some of what follows our colleagues are quoting from the St. Thomas University promotional literature describing the Aquinas Program. This is because the December Program Evaluations quoted sections of the description of the Truth in Society section and asked them to assess it and offer alternative descriptions. All excerpts from our colleagues' evaluations are in italics.

-- Thom Parkhill


Preparation for the Workforce

Academic Learning Communities

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