Recognize Your True Identity

Recognize your True Identity I heard a great sermon this past weekend that included lessons from the movie series Toy Story.  There was some scripture included too, but Toy Story provided the analogy for the sermon. The main thrust of the sermon was to recognize your true identity, which was a problem for the character Forky that had been made out of leftover trash by Bonnie in Toy Story 4.  To Bonnie, Forky was a much-loved toy, but to Forky, well he was just some trash. Listening to the analogy made me think of my colleagues in higher education right now.  Life is very different than it was a year ago or even a semester ago.  This hasn’t just been a shift in culture we are experiencing, it has been a seismic upheaval. But, I want to remind my colleagues of who you are in this time of change and adaptation. You are equipped for this moment. Although it may Continue reading Recognize Your True Identity

Assessment in the age of pandemic

Wow, what a semester.  Hats off to educators everywhere who have continued to engage their students through a whole new paradigm of teaching and learning. During this time I have been monitoring the listservs and getting emails from faculty at the college concerned about assessment projects.  So I’m going to offer my perspective on what to focus on this semester as we all shift to a new teaching and learning reality. Keep your focus on the students.  Help them move into an online environment that they may or may not have previously experienced, and continue to work to engage students in learning experiences.  This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing. If you have an assessment project that you were working on in your courses, program or department that translates to an online format, terrific!  Go ahead and capture the assessment data, but be sure and annotate in your data collection that the methodology and pedagogy of this semester was impacted. This Continue reading Assessment in the age of pandemic


I was driving home yesterday and thinking of a myriad of things I needed to accomplish at the office.  There is an upcoming site visit I am chair for the Higher Learning Commission that I need to finalize, I’m chairing and Institutional Committee that is having listening sessions, our Program Review software implementation and first cycle are starting to wrap up and I need to reach out to different groups, etc., etc.  It dawned on me in all my musing that I wasn’t thinking about assessment. When I looked at the blog site today I realized how little I had blogged this Fall on assessment.  I found that I had allowed myself to become distracted with all the other components of my life in higher education.  That’s not acceptable!  But I know that faculty at my institution have the same problem.  It is not that they don’t care about assessment or improving student learning.  It is the distractions of all Continue reading Distractions

What is Assessment by Design?

Assessment by Design (ABD) is the Office of Assessment, Evaluation and Institutional Outcomes flagship workshop. This workshop guides all participants through the Cycle of Assessment with a goal of developing an assessment plan for the upcoming academic year. It also helps the participant understand assessing students is not what improves student learning, it is the educational intervention that faculty employ that makes the difference. ABD is about making assessment meaningful and not a matter of compliance. The assessment process strives to: Document and improve student learning Expand faculty involvement and control in assessment Align assessment objectives with existing curriculum Encourage, support, and recognize innovation in faculty-driven assessment Analyze and support numerous approaches to meaningful assessment Assessments that are focused on improving student learning provide faculty with data about their students and how well the curriculum is working in the classroom. This is a one-day interactive workshop providing course materials, an assessment book, snack breaks, lunch, and a certificate of completion. Continue reading What is Assessment by Design?

New Program Review Software

The Office of Assessment, Evaluation and Institutional Outcomes introduced the new program review software, Strategic Planning Online (SPOL), to the campus during Professional Development Days in August. Some of the highlights of the new software include: A module dedicated to short/long term planning Assessment findings can now be entered into the software Goals can be submitted to your dean/supervisor for feedback prior to completing your program review More robust copying/pasting from other word processing programs Comprehensive and Annual program reviews are now due on December 30. Multiple hands on training workshops were held in September and additional offerings will be added as needed. Please contact our office for details.

Proving or Improving – that is the question

“What is the purpose of assessment?”  I think every assessment director, coordinator, and faculty member has been asked this question at some point.  It is a great question.  I think the answer lies in your “philosophy” of assessment.  I believe there are two distinct ways of looking at assessment – there are those who look to use assessment to “prove” learning and those who use assessment to “improve” learning.  What’s the difference? Proving Student Learning Focuses on an external audience Faculty often have little influence or control in the assessment processes Results can be difficult to tie to the actual teaching that occurs in the classroom Purpose of the assessment is to satisfy accountability requirements from the state, accrediting bodies, external stakeholders, etc. Improving Student Learning Focuses on the program and the discipline Faculty drive the assessment processes and the interpretation of the results Results are based on what happens in the classroom and program Purpose is to improve student’s learning in Continue reading Proving or Improving – that is the question

A Baseball Analogy for Assessment

The bases were loaded…everyone’s favorite hitter was up to bat as the keynote….two-year colleges were on first and second and third base was covered by a four-year school.  Jeremy stepped into the batter’s box and drove a screamer over the back fence.  The crowds were chanting Assessment, Assessment, Assessment! My apologies to the baseball aficionados in the group, but that’s how it felt this past week when we participated in the Assessment Matters 2019 conference hosted here at Johnson County Community College.  This year’s conference brought teams from 10 states and 41 colleges and universities.  Over the two days of the conference we had 162 participants in sessions on assessment in both academic and student affairs settings.  Dr. Jeremy Penn was our keynote provided a wonderful session on the past, present and future of assessment.  Our breakout sessions included projects from two-year and four-year schools, public and private. What was most exciting about the conference was the level of participation by Continue reading A Baseball Analogy for Assessment