Dr. Sean Gillon, food systems & society faculty, co-authored an article titled Plausible Futures of a Social-Ecological System: Yahara Watershed, Wisconsin, USA in the peer-reviewed, international journal Ecology & Society in May 2015.
The mission of the Marylhurst academic assessment program is to support the improvement and visibility of the learning experiences and outcomes of Marylhurst's students.
ASSESSMENT PROGRAM GOALS & ACTIVITIES
1) To foster culture and capacity
We advocate for the careful and reasoned use of student learning and academic program assessment activities and findings at a variety of levels (student, course, program) to continually improve student learning and program quality.We educate the university community about educational assessment theory and practice to inform our educational assessment work.We communicate assessment results by disseminating educational assessment-related information and data.
2) To build and sustain systems
We collaborate with faculty, staff, students, administrators and university committees to establish meaningful and sustainable assessment practices and tools to aid in continuous improvement of our educational programs.We coordinate the design, collection, analysis and communication of assessment-related data across programs.We facilitate needed assessment system changes and collaboratively implement assessment tools with the Center for Learning & Technology and academic department chairs and directors.
3) To provide services and support
We support academic departments in making student learning visible to a variety of stakeholders.We assist academic departments with designing effective assessment plans to support their educational programs.We help identify needs and provide individual and collaborative faculty development programming specific to teaching, learning and assessment praxis, in partnership with the dean of faculty.We support the university and its academic departments in meeting regional and specialized accreditation requirements regarding assessment.We consult with faculty and program chairs and directors to ensure sound assessment practice. We support the Marylhurst Core assessment processes in collaboration with faculty members and the Marylhurst Core Committee and its director. We research and disseminate information about student learning, teaching and effective assessment practices.
MAJOR ASSESSMENT PROGRAM ACTIVITIES
The activities that we facilitate and support work across a variety of levels of academic assessment: student and course levels, programmatic level, and department and institutional levels.
1) Helping faculty with teaching, learning, and assessment practices -- student and course level assessment
We support teaching faculty in refining their teaching, learning and assessment practices by offering small group workshops, individual consultations and resources. We subscribe to the idea that assessment is not an add-on activity, but is a critical part of pedagogical planning that "enhances, extends, supports and expands student learning" (Driscoll & Wood, 2007).
2) Supporting annual program assessment -- program level
The work of continuous improvement occurs annually within each academic department, based on the recommended annual program assessment cycle. Each year, departments determine key questions about student learning and identify methodologies (including indirect and direct data sources) to answer these questions; they then "close the loop" by using their analysis to make changes within individual courses or the program as a whole. On an annual basis, departments may also choose to assess student experience, faculty/instruction, or curriculum for internal improvement. Each fall, departments submit an annual assessment plan representing the assessment work planned for the year ahead. At the end of summer term, departments submit an annual assessment report that identifies what assessment activities occurred in the past year, the findings/results, and changes made ("closing the loop").
3) Facilitating academic department review process -- department and institutional level
Department review is a longer-term, more analytical picture of a the department as a whole, intended in part to inform institutional assessment and improvement. The intended outcome of the department review process is to provide in-depth analysis about our academic programs' strengths, areas for improvement and future opportunities based on input from four areas:
Student learning: Direct assessment of learning outcomes - assessing students' work (individual, course or program-level)Student experience: Indirect assessment of students' experiences - surveys, focus groups, course evaluations, alumni feedback, etc.Instruction: Evaluation of how instructors (individually / collectively) are doing (direct or indirect) - course evaluations, assessing students work, course observations, structured conversations, etc. Curriculum: Analysis of relevance and currency of courses and/or whole program offerings - environmental scans, program comparisons, syllabi review, employer surveys, etc.
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