Opportunities for Growth

The assessment committee anticipates that the bulk of the momentum for the assessment process has been a direct result of the upcoming focused visit. There is concern that the process will stagnate after the team leaves in April; steps have been taken to avoid this. Relying on the principle that an effective and sustainable system requires the entire faculty to participate so that no one individual or committee is overburdened, the Core Team has designed the maintenance phase of the system to be largely self-sustaining, requiring less time on the part of faculty than the intensive development phase. Collection cycles will be annual, with time for faculty aggregation and discussion built into the faculty in-service and workshop schedule. These activities will be completed as discrete steps in the yearly process, leaving participants at each phase with a sense of accomplishment and contribution without leaving them to feel as if there is an overwhelming workload they must complete in isolation.

The use of increasingly customized data reporting forms and the exploration of a commercial database means that the incredibly time-consuming process of maintaining and updating the electronic system can slowly be moved into partial automation with many functions able to be completed by faculty themselves, and many by support staff.

The final critical element of expanded purpose is creating connections for students between the processes of the College, the objectives of their courses and programs, and their own learning. This year one member of the Core Team was assigned to the student engagement process, and many positive steps have been taken. A student brochure has been printed and distributed in classes. Many faculty members have taken the initiative to speak with students about how the assessment process affects not just the educational quality of the institution, but the educational goals and accomplishments of individual students. We hope to further engage students in their own learning process by demonstrating to them that taking charge of their own learning means they can learn about their own learning styles, know their own strengths and weaknesses, and better approach each learning opportunity.