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NILOA February 2019 Newsletter

This month's NILOA Newsletter begins with our 38th Occasional Paper “Creating Student-Centered Learning Environments and Changing Teaching Culture: Purdue University’s IMPACT Program.” We also extend an invitation to apply as an Excellence in Assessment (EIA) Designee. Next, we are pleased to announce that Erick Montenegro, NILOA Communications Coordinator and Research Analyst, is joining our list of NILOA speakers for topics related to Equity in Assessment.

The Newsletter continues with an Assessment in Practice “Assessing Learning Communities Based on Program Outcomes and the Eight Characteristics of High-Impact Practices” from Stefanie Baier, a Case Study of Washington State University conducted by Pat Hutchings, a Viewpoint “Lessons from the Field: ‘Tracer’ Study Shows Connections Between Faculty Development and Student Learning” from Carol Rutz and Ellen Iverson, and a Featured Website from Purdue University’s Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness. The Newsletter concludes with relevant News items and helpful information on Upcoming Conferences and Programs.

Occasional Paper

Creating Student-Centered Learning Environments and Changing Teaching Culture: Purdue University’s IMPACT Program

Chantal Levesque-Bristol, Michael Flierl, Craig Zywicki, Loran Carleton Parker, Cody Connor, Daniel Guberman, David Nelson, Clarence Maybee, Emily Bonem, Jason FitzSimmons, and Erica Lott
Purdue University

How does a large research university establish a culture supporting student-centered evidence-based teaching? With a foreword by George Kuh, this paper describes Purdue University’s IMPACT course design program, now in its 7th year, which has involved 321 instructors, 529 courses, and in some semesters as many as 95.1% of first-time, full-time undergraduate students. IMPACT uses assessment on multiple levels: What should we examine in addition to grades to document achievement of learning outcomes in individual courses? How do we measure the learning climate and student engagement in a class? Most important, how does a faculty development program focused on course redesign lead to meaningful and lasting institutional change? In telling this story, including lessons learned, readers will discover ways to enhance and evaluate their own faculty development programs to effect evidence-based and teaching-centric culture changes on their own campuses. Read more...

Excellence in Assessment (EIA)

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program is now accepting applications for 2019 designees! Building on the foundation of reporting both student learning outcomes assessment results and processes established in the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), EIA recognizes institutions for their efforts in intentional integration of institution-level learning outcomes assessment. Over the past three years, 20 institutions have been recognized for their Excellence in Assessment. If your institution is involved in exemplary assessment practice, please review the application packet and the accompanying rubric that evaluators will use to assess the merit of each application, and submit all materials by May 6, 2019. Read more...

Equity in Assessment: NILOA Speaker

A more equitable approach to assessment is needed in order for assessment to meet the goals of improving student learning and authentically documenting what all students know and can do as a result of a college education. To this end, NILOA launched its 29th Occasional Paper in 2017 exploring the question “how consequential can assessment be to learning when assessment approaches may not be inclusive of diverse learners?” It effectively began NILOA’s equity conversation that has elicited 13 guest responses to date, with more to be released over the coming months.

As a Latinx student that emigrated to the U.S., the author of the 29th Occasional Paper, Erick Montenegro, understands first-hand how current systems of assessment can work to marginalize certain students. As a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Erick works to bring equity into the heart of assessment through both his dissertation research and work with NILOA; as evidenced not just in his Occasional Paper but also his MSI Report. NILOA’s Equity Conversation is not something that occurs in a vacuum, nor is it a one-and-done initiative. In an effort to continue engaging with institutions, organizations, faculty, staff, and administrators on the topic, NILOA is pleased to announce the inclusion of Erick as a NILOA speaker for discussions focused on equity in assessment. Request a speaker…

Assessment in Practice

Assessing Learning Communities Based on Program Outcomes and the Eight Characteristics of High-Impact Practices

Stefanie T. Baier
Wayne State University

All universities are required to assess the effectiveness of their academic programs for accreditation purposes and for improvement. Less is known about student services program assessment, especially those which focus on academic and social integration. One such program is the Learning Community Program. At Wayne State University in Detroit, a systematic assessment approach was established in 2014 which targets overall learning community learning outcomes including the eight key elements of High-Impact Practices. Whereas the application of the eight key characteristics is related to instructional settings, they can be easily applied in learning communities. Read more...

Case Study

Washington State University:
Building Institutional Capacity for Ongoing Improvement

Pat Hutchings

Washington State University (WSU) was founded in 1890 as the state’s land-grant institution. WSU now comprises eleven colleges, 63 doctoral programs, 79 master’s degree programs, and over 60 undergraduate degrees enrolling 30,000-plus students. WSU was selected as a case study site because of its promising approach to student learning outcomes assessment in the often challenging context of a large, highly decentralized research university. That approach is characterized by a deliberately incremental and iterative process, moving the institution step-by-step toward habits, practices, and policies that support ongoing educational improvement. The aim of this case study is to provide a window into what it takes to support, scaffold, and build capacity for meaningful student learning outcomes assessment in a large, complex institutional setting. The focus is on assessment in the context of undergraduate education. Read more...


Lessons from the Field: “Tracer” Study Shows Connections Between Faculty Development and Student Learning

Carol Rutz & Ellen Iverson
Carleton College

How do programs for faculty development in pedagogy influence teaching and student learning in higher education? Given the importance of student learning outcomes at all levels, from the institution to the course, can an institution gauge the degree to which improved teaching leads to improved outcomes? Moreover, how are such programs supported in the institutional budget? These questions informed a study funded by the Spencer Foundation and conducted by faculty and staff at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, WA, and Carleton College in Northfield, MN. The study shines a light on lessons about faculty development which may be useful in other institutional contexts. Read more...

Featured Website

Purdue University’s Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness (OIRAE) is NILOA’s second Featured Website of 2019. The OIRAE web page describes their foundational learning outcomes as “a developing level of knowledge that assures a general education” for learners on areas such as the humanities, math, oral communication, and science. Purdue’s core curriculum outcomes are further expanded upon to include a map of courses that address each outcome, examples of key skills students can demonstrate upon achieving an outcome, and frequently asked questions based on stakeholder type (i.e., student, faculty, and advisor). Relatedly, website visitors can find a helpful resource that describes appropriate methods of assessment organized by sources of evidence. Read more...


Using Evidence for Improvement: Teaching and Learning National Institute
The 2019 Teaching and Learning National Institute is now accepting team applications. The institute offers many benefits including contextualized, project-based professional learning opportunities to get better at how you use data to design change initiatives that improve the quality of student experiences, assess them, and plan subsequent steps. Applications are due May 1.

New Issue of “Assessment Update”
The January/February 2019 issue of Assessment Update is now available. This special issue focuses on the Excellence in Assessment (EIA) Designation, and includes articles from our 2018 designees: the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Northern Arizona University, Bowie State University (the first HBCU EIA Designee), Harper College, and Mississippi State University. Also included is a NILOA Perspectives piece on assessment committees.

Research & Practice in Assessment
The newest issue of Research & Practice in Assessment is dedicated to learning improvement. The articles in this special issue “represent a commitment of thought, action, and reflection to improve student learning.” Included is an article from Kristen Smith, Megan Good, and Natasha Jankowski that introduces, describes, and offers supports for a new type of higher education position: The Learning Improvement Facilitator. 

Student Survey Reveals Value in Tribal Colleges
According to a recent survey from the Center for Community College Student Engagement, students enrolled at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) undeniably see the educational value in their colleges’ foci on culture and identify. These increase students’ sense of belonging on campus, their motivation, and the ability to better engage with elements of their culture.

Redefining Student Success: Informing the Debate on Accreditation and Innovation
While there are various terms used interchangeably to speak about student success, there is little consensus on how it is defined and what counts as evidence. There is further confusion regarding the relevance of today’s measures of student success to current and future college students’ needs. A recent report from the Higher Learning Commission addresses these concerns by asking us to set aside our assumptions and consider the actual students of today.

AAC&U 2019: Faculty Centrality in Fulfilling the Promise of LEAP ELOs, HIPs, and VALUE
As part of this year’s AAC&U Annual Meeting, Natasha Jankowski, Rebecca Karoff, and Penny MacCormack offered their take on which supports and change processes are necessary to ensure that faculty can create the necessary learning conditions for all of our students to succeed. This ACUE Community blog post offers a summary of the enlightening discussion.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust Students
Students look to faculty for guidance, motivation, and affirmation writes Rob Jenkins, but for this to be effective students need to first trust their professors. To build this trust, faculty must be trustworthy in the eyes of students – through using clear language in syllabi and policies, checking biases, temperament, and favoritism at the door, and not causing harm to students. However, trust is a two-way street and faculty must also communicate their trust in students.

The Record of Everything You’ve Forgotten’?
In order to create deeper connections between courses, the co-curricular, and actualized learning gains, various institutions are undertaking projects to more effectively communicate what skills students learn as a result of learning experiences. Drury University will introduce digital certificates students can earn based on course and co-curricular experiences. Similarly, Western Governors University is working to use a skills-based transcript that can supplement and tie together courses on a traditional transcript with learners’ additional lived learning experiences.

Upcoming Conferences and Programs

February 19-21. 2019 AAC&U Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success.
Villanova, PA. Villanova University.

February 22. Proposals Due: 2019 AALHE Annual Conference.
St. Paul, MN. AALHE.

February 22. Proposals due: 2019 SHEEO Higher Education Policy Conference.
Boston, MA. SHEEO.

February 22-25. 2019 WSCA Convention.
Seattle, WA. Western States Communication Association.
**Saturday, February 23, 2:45 to 4:00pm, Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will deliver the keynote “Advocating with Evidence: Reclaiming Assessment for Disciplinary Empowerment.”
**Saturday, February 23, 4:15 to 5:30pm, Hailey Gillen Hoke, Weber State University, Rodney A. Reynolds, WSCA, Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, and Trevor Parry-Giles, National Communication Association, will participate on a panel discussion “How Do We Advocate for Evidence in the Basic Course?”

March 1. Proposals Due: 2019 Higher Education Assessment Conference.
Henniker, NH. New England College.
**Dr. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will be the keynote speaker.

March 1. 2019 BGSU Teaching and Learning Summit.
Bowling Green, OH. Bowling Green State University.
**Friday, March 1, from 12:15 to 2:15pm, Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will deliver the keynote presentation “Reframing Academic Quality: Sharing Our Stories of Intentional Design.”

March 4. Proposals due: 2019 EAIR Forum.
Leiden, Netherlands. Leiden University.

March 8-9. 2019 Arizona Assessment Conference.
Glendale, AZ. Glendale Community College.
**Friday, March 8, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Terrel Rhodes, AAC&U, and Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will hold an invitation-only leadership workshop “Assessment of Student Learning, the Role of Leadership.”
**Saturday, March 9, 9:15 to 10:15, Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will deliver the keynote speech, and hold a book signing session from 10:15 to 10:30 am.

March 9-13. 2019 NASPA Annual Conference.
Los Angeles, CA. NASPA.
**Tuesday, March 12, 8:00 to 8:50am, Gianina Baker, NILOA Assistant Director, Ciji Heiser, Michigan University, Anne Lundquist, CampusLabs, Gavin Henning, New England College, and Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will present “Current Conversations on the Role of Equity and Cultural Responsiveness in Assessment in Student Affairs.”
**Tuesday, March 12, 2:30 to 3:20 pm, Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, and Samantha Silberstein, NSSE, will present “Creating a Lasting Impact: Constructing and Assessing Significant Student Learning Opportunities.”
**Tuesday, March 12, 11:15am to 12:05pm, Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will present “Making Learning Count: The 1-2-3s of Assessment.”

March 14-15. 2019 Transformative Learning Conference.
Oklahoma City, OK. University of Central Oklahoma.

March 15. Proposals Due: 2019 CBExchange.
Palm Spring, CA. C-BEN.

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