Our assessment journey began with the creation of the University Assessment Council. In fall 2007 the University Assessment Committee was formed by then Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, Dr. Thomas Rocklin. Sarah Hansen and Kate Fitzgerald were appointed to coordinate assessment of non-academic units. The goal of the group was to create learning outcomes for undergraduate education at the University, partially as a response to the institutional accreditation process.
The Division’s work began with each department naming an assessment coordinator in the fall of 2008. The assessment coordinators received training with Dr. John Schuh to craft learning outcomes and to identify appropriate and effective methods to assess these outcomes for their departmental work. Each departmental assessment coordinator is expected to undertake at least one assessment project per academic year. Our goal is to integrate assessment into our daily work, rather than seeing it as a “stand alone” task. For more information, visit Expectations and Support for Assessment Coordinators.
After determining our learning outcomes we focused on determining assessment needs and training. We surveyed professional staff members in the Division of Student Life on assessment education needs. The respondents to the survey rated how valuable learning more about specific assessment-related topics was to them. The topics included: forming good assessment questions, creating student learning outcomes, choosing an assessment method, using different types of assessment methods, analyzing assessment data, communicating student learning assessment results, using student learning assessment data to make decisions, and cultivating support for student learning assessment. We then developed a series of workshops to address the most valuable topics indicated on the survey, along with a number of other Tools for Assessment.
Currently we are regularly assessing staff development needs, creating workshops and other resources to meet staff needs, and publishing a newsletter to provide helpful assessment tips and to highlight assessment projects from across the Division.
As an Assessment Coordinator, you are an asset in creating a culture of assessment within the Division. We have a wide variation in department structure and size within the Division – meaning that Assessment Coordinator roles may vary.