Monday, November 14

Winter Term Classes Begin

"By Hand: A Collection of Commercial Lettering and Illustration From the 1920s to the 1940s" Exhibit Begins (through December 16)
Tredway Library, 2nd floor

4:00 PM - PTPL Report Presentation: Laura Hartman: "Transportation Ethics: American Christianity and Human Motion"
Wilson Center

Tuesday, November 15

Augustana College Art Museum Exhibit: Liberal Arts through the AGES 2011-2012
on display through February 11
Art Museum, Centennial Hall

10:30 - 11:50 AM - Tuesday Reflection - Laurel Householter, '12
Ascension Chapel, Founders Hall, 2nd floor

4:30 - 5:30 PM - Ekklesia Study Group
Old Main 121

Wednesday, November 16

9:30 - 10:30 AM - Coffee and Conversation
CEC Conference Room, Sorensen Hall, 1st floor

12:00 - 1:00 PM - Bible Study Group "What if Jesus Meant the Stuff He Said?"
led by Pastor Priggie, for faculty, staff, and administrators
Bring your lunch and a Bible
Chicago Room, College Center

4:30 PM - Opening Reception with painter Leslie Bell "By Hand: A Collection of Commercial Lettering and Illustration From the 1920s to the 1940s" Exhibit. Includes short talk by the collector Les Bell, and refreshments"
Tredway Library, 2nd floor

8:00 PM - Theatrical Trombone Performance
This recital by Samantha Keehn will combine the two arts of music and theatre
Free Admission
Black Box Theatre, Bergendoff Hall

Thursday, November 17

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM - Blood Drive
Loft, College Center, 2nd floor

10:30 - 11:30 AM - Convocation: LSFY 102 Panel: "From Antiquity to Modernity: How does exploring the past deepen our understanding of the human condition?"
LSFY faculty provide a chronological overview of ideas and issues addressed during the term, highlighted by music and artistic images.
Centennial Hall

2:30 - 3:30 PM - The Augustana Mathematics & Computer Science Department Reading Group will discuss the book "The Theory That Would Not Die" by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne
Olin 202

7:00 - 10:00 PM - College Night at the Figge: Paris When It Sizzles
Inspired by the Special exhibition Turn of the Century Posters from the Krannert Art Museum Collection, College Night offers free admission for college students, faculty and staff
Figge Art Museum, 225 W. Second Street, Davenport, Iowa

Friday, November 18

4:00 PM - Friday Conversation: "Best Practices in Academic Advising" with Mary Windeknecht
3:30 PM - Refreshments
Wilson Center

4:00 PM - Sabbatical Leave Report Presentation: Janina Ehrlich: Music for Cello by Jewish Composers--A Work in Progress"
Bergendoff 113

5:30 PM - The American Scandinavian Association will serve a traditional Lutfisk Dinner and Jennifer Horrell of the Scandinavian Department will speak on "Swedish Crime Fiction"
The dinner is a scholarship fundraiser. Cost is $20 for ASA members, $25 for non-members and $10 for children and students. Reservations are due 11-14-11 to Loryann Eis, 309-762-8303
College Center

8:00 PM - Opera at Augustana Presents "The Long Christmas Dinner"
$12 adults, $10 senior citizens and students, $8 children
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building

8:00 PM - Augustana Dance Company Fall Performance
$8 general public, $5 students. Call 309-794-7306 for tickets
Centennial Hall

Saturday, November 19

7:00 PM - An Intimate Evening with Mark Schulz
This Dove Award-winning artis has become one of the Christian music's most acclaimed singer/songwriters
$10 in advance, $12 at the door. Augustana students, faculty and staff should come to the Ticket Office with their ID to pick up their free tickets in person.
Centennial Hall

8:00 PM - Opera at Augustana Presents "The Long Christmas Dinner"
$12 adults, $10 senior citizens and students, $8 children
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building

Sunday, November 20

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Book discussion: Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
Travel Reads book discussion series.
Free Admission
Evald Great Hall

6:00 PM - Pre-Thanksgiving Day Dinner, sponsored by the Black Student Union
Free and open to all Augustana students, staff and faculty
Dahl President's Home

8:00 PM - Opera at Augustana Presents "The Long Christmas Dinner"
$12 adults, $10 senior citizens and students, $8 children
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building


Volume 9, Issue 12 - November 14, 2011

Delicious Ambiguity

To those of you who were able to take some time away last week - welcome back! And to those of you who never left - thanks for sticking around!

Although we are well into the conversation about improving student learning through curricular reform, the other half of the educational effectiveness equation remains a bit of a conundrum. This "other half" to which I refer is our students' motivation to plug in to the process of learning and growing. We all know some students who don't seem to care much at all about their education. In addition, we all know of students who are tremendously motivated to get good grades but seem to care very little about learning. So what do we know about our students' motivation to learn and succeed in college?

Augustana has not traditionally collected much data that fully addresses student motivation. Sometimes we have presumed that increased student satisfaction will lead to increased motivation. Yet we know that motivation is more complicated - that there are different types of motivation that can produce vastly different results. As a liberal arts college, we actually want our students to develop an intrinsic motivation to learn and be less concerned about extrinsically measured achievement.

Although the Wabash National Study didn't really flesh out the idea of motivation, it did include two items that we can use to dig into the way that student motivation might change in college. Both items are presented as agree/disagree statements with a response scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The first item states, "Getting the best grades I can is very important to me." The second item states, "I am willing to work hard in a course to learn the material even if it won't lead to a higher grade."

Our current seniors participated in the Wabash National Study as freshmen in 2008 and 2009. So the data we have comes from the beginning and the end of their first year at Augustana. Here are their average responses to both questions.


Fall of 2008 Spring of 2009
Importance of Grades 4.36 4.28
Willingness to Work Hard Regardless of Grades* 3.88 3.69


There are two observations I would like you to consider. First, in both the fall and spring our students appear to rate getting the best grades they can as more important than working hard to learn regardless of that effort's effect on grades. Second, between fall and spring the change in the importance of getting the best possible grades is not large enough to be significant, suggesting that this value does not change on average. However, the change in willingness to work hard regardless of grades between fall and spring is significant - suggesting that intrinsic motivation to learn may have actually dropped during the first year.

I am going to revisit this topic in a couple of weeks because it cuts to the core of our efforts to effectively prepare students to succeed in their personal and professional lives. Moreover, it appears that there are certain types of educational experiences that may increase intrinsic motivation. How is that for a teaser?!

Make it a good day,