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December 2020
In this issue:
  • Adapting Assessment Processes
  • Exemplary Learning Outcomes Assessment Work
  • General Education Assessment
  • Announcements & Reminders
  • Learning Outcomes Assessment Resources
Adapting Assessment Processes

Despite the disruptions and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council for Learning Outcomes Assessment (C-LOA) received nearly 270 Learning Outcomes Assessment Updates from undergraduate and graduate programs. Although some programs were forced to postpone their assessment activities, many programs saw this as an opportunity to realign their assessment processes with the current needs of the program. The following section highlights three programs that adapted their learning outcomes assessment processes in various ways.

Geology - BS, BSLAS
The program explored the extent to which students were receiving sufficient experiences in honing and applying interpersonal skills in a professional setting through group work, research activities, and field studies. Due to the pandemic, the normal capstone that most students would have taken to demonstrate these skills was canceled. To ensure students had an opportunity to demonstrate these skills, faculty members developed and offered a six-week, intensive field camp that was taught entirely online. Students collected field data, worked with remote geologic datasets in Google Earth and ArcGIS Pro, created geologic maps and cross-sections, and wrote geologic field reports via Zoom. The program now has sufficient data to assess student learning.

Learning and Education Studies - BS
The program changed the format of student learning for the capstone project. Traditionally, students demonstrated learning through face-to-face experimental or observational data collection studies. In response to the pandemic, students worked with their faculty mentors to develop alternative ways to demonstrate learning which included remote or online data collection. Additionally, responding to issues raised by the increased focus on racial inequality and injustice in America, the program saw an opportunity to incorporate culturally relevant materials into several courses through readings and activities that addressed inequities and social justice within the contexts of both formal and informal education. These adjustments have stimulated discussions about how faculty can better address race, justice, and equity issues in their classes in a meaningful and respectful way. Faculty plan to unpack and assess the effectiveness of these efforts at the end of the year. 

Library and Information Science - MS
At the beginning of the spring term, the program was on track to make significant progress toward their assessment capability, which included addressing the lack of direct evidence available for their assessment efforts. While they were not able to actively evaluate learning, the pandemic has given the program additional time for the LIS committee to re-evaluate their program learning outcomes, as well as the assessment questions they want to explore moving forward.

Exemplary Learning Outcomes Assessment Work

During their reviews of the Annual Learning Outcomes Assessment Updates, the Council for Learning Outcomes Assessment (C-LOA) identifies programs engaged in exemplary assessment work. Typically, no more than 10% of programs receive exemplary status each year. This section highlights a sample of programs that have received the exemplary designation.

Agricultural Communications - BS
Stakeholder Involvement
Program alumni involved in agricultural communication practitioner work conducted informal syllabi audits and in-person evaluations of classes and experiential learning activities, which were used by the program to adjust and refine courses.

Community Health - MS, PhD
Reflection and Growth Improvement
The program learned that additional methods are needed to allow faculty and staff to obtain more detailed data regarding graduate students' experiences within Community Health. While the program was able to obtain generalized information regarding students' abilities and experiences, much of the information came from informal conversations with faculty members and students, both of which address broad topics. In order to obtain more detailed information, the program decided it will be necessary to develop an exit survey and conduct focus groups for program graduates.

Dance - BA, BFA
Use of Assessment Results to Improve Student Learning
The program implemented changes to their placement process, inviting outside guests to evaluate students and their learning. Feedback from these external reviewers was then utilized to review dance technique teaching methods and emphases. The Undergraduate Committee was reorganized into separate subcommittees (BA and BFA) and given the task of comparing the writing, speaking, and dancing abilities/learning outcomes between the two programs to improve student learning. Additionally, the Undergraduate Committee is utilizing student feedback from exit surveys to refine programs. The program is also evaluating the evaluation process itself, specifically the exit interview process and faculty feedback for senior thesis dances.

General Education Assessment

In collaboration with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (OVCDEI), the Provost's Office hosted a third General Education Assembly for the U.S. Minority Cultures Requirement (USMC) on December 10, 2020. Faculty and staff who teach USMC courses were invited to learn more about the assessment findings for the USMC requirement from the last three years, to discuss issues that USMC instructors face in their courses, and to identify resources that could benefit USMC instructors and their courses.

If you teach a USMC course and would like to learn more about the assessment efforts and how you can help, please contact Hannah Choi. If you would like to access resources curated specifically for USMC instructors, please contact Linell Edwards.

Announcements & Reminders

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