Assessment Social March 31


Assessment and outcomes are not just trendy "buzz words" bandied about during tough economic times by those calling for greater accountability from government-supported institutions. They have become ingrained in the culture of higher education. They are also essential to Northern's continued accreditation.


When NMU was accepted as a participant in the Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP), the university identified its number one priority and action project: ensuring that each academic and service department has an assessment plan and reporting schedule on file by the end of the 2006-07 academic year. To help facilitate that goal, an assessment social is being held on Thursday, March 31.


"We are bringing together people responsible for developing a plan, identifying appropriate measures, and establishing a timeline for reporting on the plan," said Teresa Hunt (Academic Affairs). "It's going to be an informal event no PowerPoint, no lectures. I'm going to hand out packets with examples of successful plans, templates, frequently asked questions and other materials. Members of the outcomes committees will also be available to answer questions. We just want to make sure everyone is on the same page as we proceed with this priority."


Hunt said assessment shifts the focus from "Is learning effective?" to "Effective for what and whom?" She referenced a Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions report on what it takes to produce quality learning. The report said institutions must be clear and public about learning outcomes to which it aspires for its students, provide an environment that signals support for student learning at all levels, and promote an atmosphere of critical reflection about teaching and learning.


"This isn't just a hoop we have to jump through once for an AQIP action project," Hunt added. "We need to establish a culture of assessment on this campus and remain committed to it. Every department will put together a plan, implement it, and adhere to a regular system of reporting. Assessment is becoming the business of higher education."



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Updated: October 26, 2005

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