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About the Assessment Committee

Formed in 1999 by then-Provost Mahler as an ad hoc working group, the Assessment Committee became a permanent faculty committee in 2002 with the charge of studying, reviewing and assessing the College’s educational programs, curricula, and academic departments.   

Over the following twenty years, a broad cross section of the campus community actively participated in this assessment work, with 31 distinct faculty and administrators having served on the Assessment Committee.  The scope of the committee converged and narrowed to the development and implementation of regular assessment activity and reporting from the academic major departments of the College.  By 2012 all major departments had developed student learning outcomes and assessment plans, and most programs adopted a practice of ongoing assessment activity and reporting. 

In 2019 the Institutional Assessment Committee IAC was formed by President Gonzalez with a charge to develop and articulate a campus-wide framework for assessment.  With this broader structure in place, the Faculty Assessment Committee was eliminated as a faculty committee in 2021.   

As a vital part of  IAC’s work, assessment activity and reporting by academic majors continues, with the Assistant Provost for Teaching, Learning and Assessment serving as the primary administrator of that enterprise. 

About Academic Department Assessment Reporting

Every two years, academics departments submit a report assessing at least one learning outcome.  These biennial reports guide the department’s ongoing administration, monitoring, and enhancement of its curricular program.

These reports are reviewed by the Assistant Provost for Teaching, Learning and Assessment who provides a timely written response to the department with collaborative guidance and feedback.  A principal aim in this review is to make connections among the assessment activities of individual units and broadly with activities, programs and units across campus that support the Institutional Learning Outcomes.   A curated digital archive of these reports is maintained to provide campus-wide access to this ongoing assessment work.  

In order to cultivate cross-institutional consistency and coherence, departments and units are encouraged to identify how their learning outcomes might align with and support the broader institutional learning outcomes:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Address complex problems
  • Collaborate successfully
  • Demonstrate intercultural competency

Effective institution-wide assessment demands a clear connection between unit learning goals and overall institutional goals.  While departmental and program learning goals and objectives address the local needs of different disciplines and different program missions, the institutional learning outcomes capture the general profile of skills, abilities, and principles that we expect from a K graduate.  To the extent possible, there should be meaningful calibration between unit and institution learning outcomes, each mutually supportive of the other.  The adoption of new institutional learning outcomes provides departments with an opportunity to review and, perhaps, revise current departmental learning outcomes.  A department may have additional learning outcomes that are not represented by the institutional learning outcomes, and may not assess all of the institutional learning outcomes.

Typically, each department assesses one or two learning outcomes every other year, although departments have effectively assessed more learning outcomes in a single year as well. 

The assessment of learning outcomes should ideally lead to changes that are meaningful to the department, thereby closing the assessment loop (assessment -> changes -> implementation -> reassessment).