Grant will allow college to assess how well students are learning

by Marisa McCarthy '09

The Davis Educational Foundation has awarded the college $131,200 in grant support toward a three-year, faculty-led initiative to develop an assessment plan across the academic spectrum, including both the on-campus and Graduate & Professional Studies (GPS) programs.

Dr. Randally Krieg

Dr. Randall Krieg, vice president for academic affairs, spearheaded the assessment project for campus, but received a lot of faculty input.

The assessment program was introduced by Dr. Randall Krieg, vice president of academic affairs, who has an extensive background in institutional assessment. Krieg believes that in order to be successful, an institution must value integrity and always be on a mission to improve. He states, “Outcomes assessment is all about determining our learning goals and outcomes, measuring how effective we are, and working to improve.”

Over the summer a faculty team developed a list of 10 attributes that describe learning outcomes for Saint Joseph’s graduates from a year of preliminary work by faculty. Some of the proposed target outcomes for student learning include a passion for learning, information and technology literacy, decision making skills, effective communication, career preparation, ethics and integrity, faith and spirituality, responsibility and justice, and global awareness and perspective.

“It has been wonderful to see so many faculty members pulling together and working to improve student learning,” Krieg says. Committees and task forces of faculty members have logged scores of hours in the past year. They shared their ideas to help in the design of the assessment plan, filled out questionnaires, and provided feedback about student learning. Krieg believes that assessment will serve as a bridge between faculty and students, since there will be a greater understanding of how students learn and develop. As professors within each department examine their courses and review student learning outcomes, each department will discuss the most effective means of assessment.

Krieg believes that in order to be successful, an institution must value integrity and always be on a mission to improve.

The grant will help faculty chairs and program directors as they construct and implement assessment programs. Faculty will receive peer support from more experienced colleagues, work together with other faculty members, and attend conferences on assessment related to their academic disciplines. They will also benefit from workshops presented on campus by leaders in the assessment field. Faculty members across the college will learn how to use e-portfolio software to assist students in building portfolios of assessment-related materials that span the student’s academic careers at SJC.

Psychology professor Dr. Nina Eduljee is serving as the director of assessment, and Dr. Greg Gull, director of the GPS business program, is the associate director. They will be putting the plan into action this fall. Their goal is to make certain that student learning and development reflects the quality of the academic programs.

Dr. Eduljee says, “I have already spoken with over 90 percent of the faculty and the feedback has been very positive.”