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Alverno Learning Process Chronology




Early Curriculum Changes
Early curriculum changes were described in a report written by Sister Bernarda Handrup in September 1969. More...




  • New 15-member Lay Board of Trustees chartered by the School Sisters of St. Francis (10 lay members, 5 religious) Learn More...
  • Sister Joel Read appointed President by Board of Trustees
  • Institution-wide study authorized by Board
  • Faculty Senate ratified by faculty
  • Nursing Department reorganized



Exploring of Expanded and Varied Teaching/Learning Styles




  • Board of Trustees expanded to 18 members
  • Curriculum review conducted by faculty and students
  • September '69, a forum for discussion between students, faculty and administration to effect beneficial changes in the Alverno learning process Learn More...
  • The first Alverno Video: Sister Bernardin Deutsch videotaped music education student Andrea Schwellinger as she led a Christmas chorus rehearsal at Franklin High School in December 1969. The practice of videotaping each student's speaking and social interaction abilities was adopted throughout Alverno in 1973.




  • Research Center on Women (RCW) established Learn More...
  • Babysitting, now Alverno Early Learning Center begun
  • Career Services & Placement Office (now Career Education) established Learn More...
  • Writing across the curriculum required starting Fall 1970 Learn More...



Focusing on Areas for Change

Faculty meeting agenda: response of each department to questions addressed to them by the administration:

Kinds of questions being asked by professionals in your field?
Department's position on these?
Manner of dealing with these problems in general education and major?
Anything in your field that students cannot afford to miss?
Learn More...



  • Internship Program (formerly Off Campus Experiential Learning or OCEL) initiated. More...
  • New Liberal Arts direction drafted by faculty



Conceptualizing the Change: Student Outcome rather than Faculty Input


  • May 1971 Faculty Institute: 4 Outcomes are identified:
    Communications,Problem Solving,Valuing,Involvement. Learn More...
  • September 1-2, 1971 Faculty Institute on Women and Their Education. Learn More...
  • 1971-1972 Curriculum Committee (Administration, Faculty & Students): 4 outcomes expanded to 8. Learn More...



  • New configuration for "liberal learning" designed and "field tested" by faculty



Designing the Form and Structure of Curricular Change
The Academic Task Force or ATF was charged with synthesizing faculty ideas into a blueprint for curriculum. Faculty institutes and meetings during this time focused on critiquing and implementing curricular design. Here is a photo of the academic task force with the then Academic Dean, Sister Bernarda Handrup:

Photo of the academic task force charged with crating a blueprint for curriculum change in 1972

Back row Left to Right: Sister Georgine Loacker, Sister Austin Doherty, Jack Cooper.
Front row Left to Right: Brian Nedwek, Sister Bernarda Handrup



  • The Student Development Office (Now Academic Advising) along with a new advising system were inaugurated.
  • The Assessment process was designed with assistance from AT&T loaned executives. More...



Inaugurating the Program
Assessment and learning for integration of content and abilities provided for all entering students



  • Gordon Cook, James Rodney, Nancy Moews, and Sister Celestine Schall were amongst nine total new staff members who were hired in conjunction with the launching of Alverno's new curriculum. More...
  • New Competence-based Learning Program (now known as Ability Based Learning) was inaugurated. Learn More...
  • The Assessment Center was established. More...
  • The “Green Bible” (the first listing of ability statements and developmental levels for all eight abilities, printed on green paper) was published in August 1973. More...
  • FIPSE (Fund for the the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education) grant in the amount of $496,700 was awarded to Alverno College.
  • A Ford Venture Grant of $120,00 was received.



  • Academic programs were reorganized into discipline/competence (now ability) departments
  • A second article on Alverno's new curriculum appeared in the January-February 1974 issue of Alverno Today. More...


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Developing and Refining the Program
Assessment process, including external, continually refined. Advanced levels of abilities developed through specialization in disciplines.



  • Alverno received national coverage in The New York Times, Fortune magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • The first "A Day at Alverno" was held for educators to learn about Alverno's teaching methods.



  • Kellogg Conference Center established with Kellogg grant of $426,000. More...
  • Center for Instructional Communication (now known as the Media Hub) was established. More...
  • Educational Research and Evaluation (ERE) established; longitudinal study begun. More...
  • The 1st edition of Liberal Learning at Alverno College was published.
  • National Invitation Education Conference, co-sponsored by FIPSE, was held. More...
  • Alverno celebrated its 25th anniversary of accreditation as a four-year liberal arts college.
  • The Business/Management Department (now the School of Business) was established.



  • In May 1977, the first class that went through Alverno's Ability Based Learning Program, graduated. Cross-sectional study Learn More...
  • National Institute of Education (NIE) grant of $423,978 awarded for research.
  • Complete accreditation granted by North Central Association (NCA), National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and National League of Nursing (NLN).
  • Weekend College, now known as Alverno on the Weekend, was established; the first students enrolled in September. More...
  • The Professional Communication Department (PCM) was established.



  • Alverno celebrated 25th anniversary of location on 39th Street.



  • Assessment at Alverno, Nursing Education at Alverno, and Valuing at Alverno were published by Alverno Publications.



  • A dual degree program in Engineering was established between Alverno and MSOE (Milwaukee School of Engineering) in 1981. The program ended in 1996.
  • Computer Sciences minor created.
  • Humanities curriculum redesigned and integrated into academic programs.
  • Instructional Services Center (ISC) established.
  • Alverno Institute (now the known as the Alverno Institute for Educational Outreach) was established in 1980 to support research and development by faculty. Learn More...
  • The first four-year Weekend College class graduated in May 1981.
  • The first annual Valuing Workshop was held.
  • The 2nd edition of Liberal Learning at Alverno College was published in 1981.



  • Academic discipline and competence divisions were restructured.



  • The first Educator's Newsletter was published by the faculty.
  • Alverno received eight-year accreditation from the National League of Nursing.



  • The Midwest Performance Assessment Center, sponsored by the New York Board of Regents, was established at Alverno. (It closed in 1988.)
  • The seven-year longitudinal alumnae study sponsored by the national Institute of Education (NIE) to test effectiveness of ability-based education was completed in 1984. The disseminated report was applauded by the academic world. More...
  • The New York Times Selective Guide to Higher Education listed Alverno as one of the five top-ranking colleges in Wisconsin.
  • Faculty created a 3-year National Critical Thinking Network funded by FIPSE.



  • Education, Computer & Information Studies Division created.
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals Assessment Center formed connection with Alverno
  • Nijenrode University in the Netherlands formed a connection with Alverno. Learn More...



  • U.S. news & World Report survey cited Alverno as a top liberal arts college.
  • Professor Georgine Loacker honored by Change Magazine as national outstanding educator.
  • The 3rd edition of Liberal Learning at Alverno College was published in 1985.



  • Alverno College began its centennial celebration.
  • Maximum accreditations received from North Central Association (NCA) and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
  • Carnegie Institute for Advancement of Teaching named Alverno one of five top educational institutions in the nation in 1987. Learn More...



  • Alverno recognized in Money Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, and Changing Times as an educational leader.
  • Business & Management became Alverno's seventh discipline division.
  • The Fine Arts Division redesigned the music major.


Collaboration in consortia with other colleges and across the educational spectrum from secondary to professional schools.


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  • The Chronicle of Higher Education featured Alverno's method of assessing student learning and institutional effectiveness.
  • The 4th edition of Liberal Learning at Alverno College was published in 1989.



Expanded Collaboration with K through 12th grade schools and districts.



  • The college received the CAEL (Council for Adult Experiential Learning) Service Award for innovative programming and contributions to adult higher education.
  • Multicultural approach incorporated into programs; student population was 18% minorities.
  • The 100th commencement ceremony was held in December 1989.
  • An annual survey revealed that over 90% of Alverno graduates were employed within 6 months of graduation. More...



Expanded international collaboration



  • Alverno ranks high in U.S. News & World Report survey for the fifth time.
  • The Education Division developed a new form of assessment for education majors; featured in a documentary produced by WMVS-Channel 10 and the Journal of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.



  • In order to promote better understanding of differences in all peoples, the College sponsored a semester of "World Link-Global Action." More...
  • Alverno featured in The new York Times, Change Magazine, Competence & Assessment and also the Governor's Task Force Report on College Quality.
  • The Education Division strengthened its collaborative efforts by sharing Alverno's outcome-based education methods with Iowa Success Network; Garfield Elementary School in Milwaukee began to implement performance-based assessment as a means to improve learning for its large minority population.
  • The 5th edition of Liberal Learning at Alverno College was published in 1992.



  • Asian bilingual teacher certification program developed by Education Division.
  • Alverno College Institute (now the Alverno Institue for Educational Outreach) was expanded to become a professional service, sharing expertise in ability-based education and performance assessment through a $400,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trust.
  • Alverno College Commission on Education in the 21st Century inaugurated.
  • The College received a $257,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation to assist in the redesign of K-12 instruction practices in the Milwaukee Public Schools.



Publication of longitudinal findings on five-year alumnae.



  • Alverno cited for "measuring results that in itself motivates the faculty and sustains their interest" in The Cost of Talent by Derek Bok.
  • Alverno selected as a recipient of the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for "faculty development to enhance undergraduate teaching." More...
  • The Alverno College Commission on Education in the 21st Century concluded its study and presented its report to the Board of Trustees.



Articulation/Beginning implementation of extensive plan for technology.



  • A Management Accounting Speciality was added to the Business and Management program in Weekend College.
  • Alverno began to offer certificate programs in the areas of Business and Management, Professional Communication and Computer Studies. The certificates were designed to enhance the career opportunities of people with bachelor's degrees.
  • A new program in Spanish Language and Cultures was introduced. The program involved the completion of an immersion experience. Completing the requirements can lead to a certifiable support area for teaching Spanish.
  • Alverno was identified by Money Magazine among top 10 private commuter colleges in the country as a best buy.



  • Alverno's first graduate program, a Master of Arts in Education, was fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction.
  • Alverno launched its first new major in Weekend College since 1977. The new major, Community Leadership and Development (now known as Community leadership), is a combination of social science and management courses.
  • A new Weekday College major, International Business, was launched integrating international management theory with an understanding of how businesses operate in various intercultural settings. It included a semester abroad and an internship in an international business setting.
  • Alverno's web page went online on the Internet.



  • The MacArthur Foundation gave Alverno a grant of $750,000 over three years for its "distinctive approach to liberal arts education." Learn More...
  • Alverno College was honored as one of three colleges to receive a PEW Leadership Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education ($250,000 over three years).
  • The college was cited by the Kellogg Foundation as a "Model of Institutional Transformation" ($1.5 million over three years).
  • The National Science Foundation awarded Alverno College a $200,000 grant to ensure that all Alverno students demonstrate quantitative reasoning in non-mathematics/science courses beyond freshman year.
  • Alverno received the maximum 10-year reaccreditation from the North Central Association.
  • Collaboration with other institutions regarding developing strategies to assist the learning of intermediate students.



  • The Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Teaching, learning and Technology Center (TLTC) took place on October 15, 1997. More...

TLTC construction Jan1998
The Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) under construction, January 1998.

  • The campus network was completed.


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  • The grand opening of the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) was held on April 17, 1999. More...
  • Southeastern Wisconsin Assessment Collaborative (SEWAC) grant was awarded to fund workshops focusing on K through 12th grade performance assessment.
  • Alverno began offering a new Weekday College major in Environmental Science.
  • A new Weekend College major Communication, Management and Technology (CMT) was approved. Learn More...



  • Alverno College ranked in the top tier of liberal arts colleges in the Midwest region as well as first in the "Campus Diversity" category in the U.S. News & World Report Year 2000 College Guide.
  • The Templeton Guide: Colleges that Encourage Character Development named Alverno College one of the nation's leading colleges that encourages student character development.
  • The New York Times, on New Years Day, 2000, cited Alverno College as an institution that higher education experts expect to be on the cutting edge in higher education.
  • Alverno College was cited as one of the two programs in the nation for excellence in undergraduate teacher preparation in the recently published book" Studies in Excellence in Teacher Education: Preparation in the Undergraduate Years, edited by Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor of Teaching and Teacher Education at Stanford University.
  • The Alverno Diagnostic Digital Portfolio (DDP), a web-based electronic tool that allows a student to save and access selected key performances related to her learning as well as internships and volunteer work, was introduced in the Fall 1999 and Spring 200 terms. Learn More...
  • Alverno College added majors in: Global Studies, an undergraduate program; Reading Specialization in the Master of Arts in Education program; and the Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership, a training program to prepare effective principals.
  • The W. K. Kellogg Foundation awarded Alverno College a two-year grant of $325,000 to continue participation in the Kellogg Network for Institutional Transformation (KNIT), a consortium of colleges and universities collaborating to strengthen higher education and mobilize its resources to address societal needs.
  • Alverno College received a $1.18 million grant from the PEW Charitable Trusts to improve the use and understanding of student learning outcomes in higher education. More...
  • Learning that Lasts was published in Spring 2000. More...



  • Alverno College received the new U.S. Department of Education National Award for Effective Teacher Preparation for its elementary education program. Learn More...
  • 25th Anniversary of the Workshop on Assessment-as-Learning. More...
  • AERA (American Educational Research Association) Division I Outstanding Research Publication Award presented to Learning that Lasts.



  • Publication of a report and collection of institutional practices of the PEW funded Student Learning Initiative.
  • Alverno College received a prestigious Experiential Education Program of the Year award from the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE).
  • Alverno freshmen and seniors participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) conducted by George Kuh and the Indiana State University and rank 99% better than any institution that participated in the survey.



  • Fostering Professional Development Through Experiential Learning was published by the Alverno College Experiential Learning Committee.
  • New majors were introduced into the curriculum of Weekday College: Political Science, Division of Behavioral Sciences; Marketing, Division of Business and Management.
  • Sister Joel Read, celebrating her 35th year as President of Alverno College, announced her retirement from that position, effective 2003.
  • The 25th Anniversary of Weekend College was celebrated. Learn More...



  • Alverno was selected as one of twenty institutions for the Documenting Effective Educational Practices (DEEP) project by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute.



  • The United States of America Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks grants a patent to Alverno College for the Diagnostic Digital Portfolio (DDP).
  • Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., is inaugurated as President of Alverno College, the first lay
    president in the College's history.



  • Disciplines as Frameworks for Student Learning: Teaching Practice of the Disciplines was published.
  • The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program was launched in Fall 2005. More...
  • The 6th edition of Liberal Learning at Alverno College was published with a new title, Ability-Based Learning Outcomes:Teaching and Assessment at Alverno College.



  • In Fall 2006, Alverno began offering a Master of Business Administration. Learn More...



  • The George Lucas Foundation named Alverno Collge one of the nation's ten leading schools for teacher education.



  • Alverno awarded $395,00 Joyce Foundation grant to fund education project. More...



  • In October 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan "singled out Alverno College as a shining star; a school that does an exemplary job in training and preparing teachers for the classroom." Learn More...



  • Two new specialities in the Master of Arts program were launched in Fall 2010: a Special Education Licensure-to-Masters program and a World Humanities specialization.
  • Two new undergratuate minors were added to the curriculum: Asian Studies and Chinese Language and Culture. Both for weekday students.



  • A new specialty in the Master of Science in Nursing program: Family Nurse Practitioner was launched in Fall 2011. Learn More...
  • Alverno began offering a new Master of Science in Community Psychology and Counseling in Fall 2011.



  • Alverno College Celebrates its 125th Anniversary.



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