Provost's Assessment Awards

Provost Sigler established the Provost's Assessment Awards in 2007. These awards recognize faculty who are contributing outstanding work toward understanding and improving student learning in programs across the university.

2010 Awards

The Awards this year continue to focus on "closing the loop" the term adopted by many accreditation agencies to describe using evidence to improve the program - and then following up by looking at new evidence to see whether the intended improvement did indeed improve student learning. Best practices in each college can be viewed in the individual program reports.


Leslie Albert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor MIS.

Program Level Assessment of Creativity/Innovation Learning Objective. Students in Business 188 (Business Systems and Policy, required of all undergraduate students except MIS majors) and Bus 110A (Intro to Management information systems) were asked to brainstorm solutions to an IT application problem in a coffee shop. Students' responses were coded for productivity and novelty. Closing the loop activities included providing students with creativity exercises, piloting course and grading changes in Bus 110 that encourage comfort with ambiguity (for future implementation in Bus 188 and other courses), development of better measures and course activities based on published work and game-based activities, and presenting the findings and assessment model in the AACSB Assessment Conference. Improvements to the measures will be piloted in a spring 2010 brainstorming assessment in Bus 110A. Aside from implementing improved measures and activities in future sections of Bus 188, the instructor plans to follow up with another measurement in the capstone course (119A for the MIS concentration and 189 for others). The BSBA is currently revising the SLOs to better align with the new COB Mission statement. Creativity will appear in the SLOs posted to the assessment Website once the curriculum committee approves the new SLOs. Read the full Business report.


Department of Kinesiology

Over a period of many years, Kinesiology has offered a set of bookend courses: Introduction to Kinesiology (Kin 70) and Senior Seminar (Kin 18). The ability to integrate physical, social, behavioral, and environmental perspectives with movement and physical activity is what distinguishes trained professionals in Kinesiology from lay people working in the same fields. To assess critical thinking we compared students at the completion of Kin 70 and Kin 185. We administered a common essay to five sections of Kin 70 and Kin 185. The AAC&U critical thinking value rubric was used to assess differences in critical thinking between students beginning and students completing their undergraduate degrees. Though the faculty reported that differences between Kin 70 and Kin 185 students was not apparent, they each noted how the evaluation will inform their teaching of these courses in future semesters. In addition, in spring 2010 faculty will use the AAC&U writing value rubric to assess the written communication portion of the information competency learning objective.


Elementary Education Department

Elementary Ed teacher candidate performance related to the instruction of English Learners has been consistently lower than other areas of assessed practice. The Department faculty met to develop and institute a series of changes. We established ongoing, professional development for faculty. We also examined the program curricula for related gaps and initiated embedded signature assignments into all program courses. Signature assignments were designed to help candidates make more explicit connections between language development, language demands and appropriate instructional strategies for developing academic language in literacy and mathematics. After several semesters of piloting these changes, we are now collecting evidence from these assessments and will have data beginning in Fall 2010.


Industrial & Systems Engr Department, M.S. program.

Based on an alumni survey, the need to understand "lean manufacturing" was elucidated. In order to motivate students to learn this topic, a "certificate" was offered to students who could score above a certain percentage on an exit exam. More modules were included in some of the grad courses. As a result, eighty percent of the students scored 75% or above and were issued the "black belt" certificate. Read the full Engineering report.

Humanities and the Arts

Humanities Department

The Humanities Department has four programs with distinct faculty members. This year all faculty from all programs collaborated in assessment across 100Ws and capstone courses in a thoughtful and engaged manner, carrying on an ongoing conversation involving faculty from all levels, from adjunct through full professor. They completed the loop on the learning objective “[students will] Become skilled in the expression (written and verbal) of the results of interpretation, analysis, synthesis, and argument of ideas in the works of major authors and artists." The faculty history includes some grappling with maintenance of distinctive program identities while finding a shared group identity on the department level. The level of collaboration achieved bodes well for future assessment work and also for other collaborative ventures central to the philosophy of a department that champions integrative learning and interdisciplinary awareness.


Geology Department

In their first attempt to assess student achievement of the SLO "[students will demonstrate] Understanding the interactions of the solid earth with the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, and the effects of those interactions on human kind and the environment" the Geology department recognized that primary focus on the interactions occurs in elective classes. Faculty members agreed that a capstone would be a good idea, both to more systematically address interactions and to assess student understanding. The faculty designed and implemented a new elective course with the elements of a future capstone course. It was first offered in spring 2009. About 40% of our undergraduate majors enrolled in the course during spring 2009, fall 2009, or spring 2010. Instructors used identical “pre” and “post” exams, qualitative evaluation of in-class writings and discussion, and embedded questions in the final exam to assess student understanding of interactions. The pre and post tests provide concrete statistical evidence of improved student performance. The course will continue as an elective in AY 10-11 with implementation of the required capstone planned for the near future. Read the full Geology report.

Social Science

Communications Department

The Department of Communications Studies engaged the entire department in an analysis of ePortfolieos to determine which SLOs were most important to improve and to develop a shared understanding of the standards expected of students. To evaluate the scholarly products in the ePortfolios they formed separate faculty subcommittees to assess performance on ethics, research methods, and social responsibility. The three committees agreed that scholarly and professional writing was the skill most needing improvement. The faculty agreed to increase the focus on writing in all courses in the department and developed a common statement for syllabi to inform students of the new emphasis. At the end of the semester they analyzed student performance and documented the areas in which students had improved including: paragraph structure, proofreading, grammar and style, integration of course material, transitions between sections in papers, and use of evidence. The faculty generated suggestions for assignments and changes in pedagogical practices implemented in spring 2010.

this page last updated 5/4/10