Click here to see this online
NILOA February 2018 Newsletter

This month’s newsletter features a plethora of assignment focused material. It leads with a revised and updated assignment charrette toolkit and featured assignment by Nina Namaste, Liberal Arts in Action. In addition, it includes a new Assessment in Practice by Linda Townsend and Pamela Tracy titled Using Backward Design and the Assignment Design Charrette Model for Quality Enhancement, and an invitation to participate in a webinar on facilitating an assignment charrette.

We are pleased to release a response to the equity and assessment conversation by Ereka Williams of North Carolina A&T State University and announce California State University Northridge (CSUN) as this month's Featured Website. Further, we extend an invitation to apply for the Teaching and Learning National Institute (TLNI). Finally, please find a summary of NILOA's activities in the field from January, call for proposals for a NILOA Coach Visit and a summary of relevant news items and events. 

Assignment Toolkit

Revised and Updated Assignment Toolkit Release

NILOA is pleased to announce the release of an updated toolkit for facilitating assignment charrette conversations. The toolkit provides a complete set of resources to assist in conducting an assignment charrette. Included in the toolkit are materials and resources that can be borrowed and adapted to local and regional circumstances. In addition, institutional examples of modified approaches are provided. The toolkit will continue to be updated, so check back often and share your examples with us at

If you have conducted or participated in an assignment charrette, we hope you will submit your assignment for inclusion in the assignment library here. Also, feel free to browse the assigments in the assignment library.

NILOA Featured Assignment


Liberal Arts in Action
Nina Namaste
Elon University

This third installment in our featured assignment series comes from Nina Namaste at Elon University who teaches Spanish, women and gender studies, and general education courses. The assignment focuses on the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) Civic and Global Learning category. Like many faculty, Namaste is committed to the tradition of the liberal arts as a foundation for an engaged and meaningful life. The capstone assignment featured here—Liberal Arts in Action—is one that she has adapted for use in all of her courses. It asks students to become global citizens and to bring their knowledge and abilities to bear on a pressing social issue. Read more...

NILOA Assessment in Practice

Using Backward Design and the Assignment Design Charrette Model for Quality Enhancement
Linda Townsend & Pamela Tracy
Longwood University

This Assessment in Practice (AiP) is based on Longwood University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), focused on designing an instructional development program using Backward Design and NILOA’s Assignment Design Charrette approach. These models engage instructors in processes that allow them to clearly identify student learning outcomes, align these learning outcomes to curriculum and teaching, and determine key student assessments to inform decisions for learning improvement. The authors conclude with various lessons learned throughout the process, and next steps for future QEP instructional design workshops. Read more...

Upcoming Webinar

Facilitating an Assignment Charrette: Providing Space for Faculty-Led Conversations on Assignment Design
Natasha Jankowski, Gianina Baker, and Jodi Fisler

Join us on March 22, 2018 for a webinar on assignment charrettes. Having conducted numerous charrettes all over the United States, along with guiding faculty and administrators through charrettes at their institutions, NILOA staff and external charrette facilitators will provide an overview of the tools, resources, and processes for conducting an assignment charrette. In this webinar, participants will leave equipped with the knowledge and skills to lead assignment conversations along with access to resources to support them in their work going forward in a variety of models on which to build. Read more...

Bringing Equity into the Heart of Assessment


In January 2017, NILOA's Natasha Jankowski and Erick Montenegro launched a conversation on the relationship between equity and assessment in the 29th Occassional Paper, Equity and Assessment: Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment. While we continue the conversation in 2018 with additional responses to the paper, we are pleased to announce the release a of new installment to the equity conversation by Ereka Williams, a NILOA Coach and an associate professor in the College of Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC. Read more...

NILOA Updates

NILOA Featured Website

The Academic Assessment and Program Review website at California State University Northridge (CSUN) showcases the institution’s assessment efforts. The site serves as a resource that provides transparency into the university’s assessment of student learning, as well as into programmatic planning and assessment. Read more...


NILOA In The Field

It was a very busy start of 2018 for NILOA. In January, our staff and senior scholars participated in Pikes Peak Community College’s annual Professional Development Week, WSCUC Assignment Design Charrette and AAC&U 2018 Annual Meeting: Can Higher Education Recapture the Elusive American Dream? where we held a reception for the 2017 Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designees with our EIA partners. To view presentations and commentary from these events, please visit the January entry. Read more... 


NILOA Coaches

NILOA is working with a group of Coaches who are available to help colleges and universities with their improvement efforts at no cost to the institution. Drawn from different types of institutions around the country, the Coaches are experienced faculty, administrators and staff who know first-hand the utility and value of assessing student learning, and can assist with local-level implementation opportunities and challenges. Because they are knowledgeable about the various initiatives unfolding nationally around student learning, assignment design, assessment, and strategies for institutional change, the Coaches can encourage and support institutions at various stages of implementation.

NILOA Coaches are available for a one-day campus visit at no cost to the host institution. A Coach will be paired with the requesting institution based on a match of interests, intended outcomes, and expertise. To request a Coach, please fill out this form. Requests for Coach visits are due by April 2Read more...


Equity Gaining Emphasis in Assessing Student Outcomes
This publication features NILOA’s report on findings from the 2017 provost survey. Among highlighting multiple findings from the survey, Diverse Issues in Higher Education underlined equity and the opportunity for sharing practices on supporting student success seen at Minority-Serving Institutions with predominantly white institutions.

Letters in Response to ‘An Insider’s Take on Assessment’
In January, 2018, Erik Gilbert, professor of history at Arkansas State University, wrote an opinion piece regarding assessment in higher education, calling it ineffective and wasteful. The field responded, publishing letters from various authors and assessment professionals who point out the value of assessment and its importance for students' success. An additional response from Ross Markle from ETS may be found here.    

10 Key Points About Active Learning
Cathy Davidson stresses the importance of active learning as an effective and successful educational experience for learners. She indicates, that higher education is an engaged journey into adulthood, preparing learners for careers and responsible citizenship. She provides 10 points about active learning that she wishes she had known when she started teaching active learning courses.

Engaging Chicago: How a Major Curricular Shift Leads to Profound Engaged Learning Opportunities for Students
Gregor Thuswaldner shares examples of community engagement and experiential programs from North Park University in Chicago regarding the impact of experiential learning on enhancing student and community engagement to position institutions of higher education as truly engaged institutions.

Assessing Teaching: A Curriculum Theory Approach
The author provides a thoughtful discussion on the philosophical perspectives, informed by world views, regarding assessing teaching. Curriculum as content transmission, curriculum as product, curriculum as process, and curriculum as praxis are presented as a more fulsome picture to inform assessment of teaching beyond student course evaluations, peer observations, and reflecting on teaching.

Degrees and Certificates Rise in U.S., but Not Fast Enough
Goldie Blumenstyk discusses a report released by Lumina Foundation which indicates a steady growth of degree holding adults. Although the growth is a positive indicator, its pace is not unfolding at a rate to meet the demand of having 60 percent of adults with a degree or credential of value by 2025.

Helping Students See the Connections
The author makes a case for integrated learning, building from her own classroom examples. Behling focuses on teaching methods that help students make sense of content and subject matter of a particular class, but also how all of the learning activities and larger curricular and co-curricualr elements connect together.

Job Announcement:

Associate Director 
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is seeking an Associate Director in the School of Arts and Sciences Office of Undergraduate Education.  The Associate Director supports ongoing improvement of teaching, learning, and assessment through providing faculty support and professional development in the areas of curriculum design, innovative pedagogies, teaching practices, and assessment of student learning outcomes.  Doctoral degree in humanities or social and behavior sciences discipline is preferred.

Upcoming Conferences and Programs

February 15-17, 2018. 2018 AAC&U General Education and Assessment Conference: Foundations for Democracy
Philadelphia, PA. Association of American Colleges & Universities
**Thursday, February 15, 9:00 am-12:00 pm. David Marshall, NILOA senior scholar, and Sandra Bailey, Director of Academic Excellence at Oregon Institute of Technology will conduct a workshop, Integration of General Education and the Major: Mapping Integrative Learning.

**Thursday, February 15, 3:45 pm-4:45 pm. Natasha Jankowski, director, and Gianina Baker, NILOA assistant director will deliver a session, Assignments on the Road to Learning in All Spaces.

**Friday, February 16, 3:45 pm-5:00 pm. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA senior scholar, Terry Rhodes, Vice President of the Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, AAC&U, and Kate McConnell, Senior Director for Research & Assessment, AAC&U, will conduct a workshop, VALUE Institute: Learning Outcomes Assessment at its Best.

February 15, 2018. Call for Proposals Deadline: Fast Track to Success 2018. 
Austin, TX.

February 21-23, 2018. National Student Success Conference: Innovators and Innovations.
Tampa, FL.
**Thursday, February 22, 8:30 am-9:45 am. George Kuh, NILOA Senior Scholar, will participate in the plenary session titled, Next Generation HIPs: Accentuating the Ineffable.

February 22-23, 2018. New Mexico Higher Education Assessment and Retention Conference.
Albuquerque, NM.
**Thursday, February 22, 8:30 am-11:30 am. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will facilitate a Pre-Conference Workshop Building Sustainable Assessment Processes: Mapping Student Learning.

**Thursday, February 22, 11.30 am-12:45 pm. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will deliver a keynote Equitable Assessment Processes: Unpacking Implicit Design.

**Thursday, February 22, 3:00 pm-5:15 pm. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will host a town hall discussion session.

February 22, 2018. ACE Webinar: Implementing Credit for Prior Learning Policies.

February 22, 2018. High­ Impact Practices in the States Conference. 
Carson, CA.
**Friday, February 23, 8:00 am-9:15 am. George Kuh, NILOA Senior Scholar, will participate in a Breakfast Plenary Panel, HIPs in their Next Decade.  

**Friday, February 23, 11:00 am-12:15 am. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, will present The HIP Landscape at Public Institutions: Exploring Variation in Intention and Participation by Student Characteristics.  

February 23, 2018. 22nd Annual Illinois Community College and Assessment Fair.
Joliet, IL.
 **Gianina Baker, NILOA Assistant Director, will deliver the keynote.

March 1, 2018. Call for Proposals Deadline: 2nd Annual Assessment Conference at New England College.

March 2, 2018. Call for Proposals Deadline: 2018 State Publishing Strategies to Credential Engine's Credential Registry.

March 8-9, 2018. The 2018 Transformative Learning Conference.
Oklahoma City, OK.

March 8-9, 2018. Call for Proposals Deadline: Assessment Institute. 
Indianapolis, IN. 

March 11-13, 2018. Learning Improvement Summit.
Auburn, AL.
**Monday, March 12, 10:30 am-11:30 am. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, Keston Fulcher, and Monica Stitt-Bergh, will facilitate Learning Improvement Foundations for Practice –A Continuum of Opportunities.

**Monday, March 12, 1:15 pm-2:30 pm. Pat Hutchings, NILOA Senior Scholar, will facilitate an Assessment Workshop.

**Monday, March 12, 3:50 pm-4:45 pm. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will facilitate Big Plans –Building Learning Improvement Infrastructure from Scratch.

Follow us on social media