Assessment Committee Meeting Minutes - January 25, 2012

Attendees: Jane Grosset ( co-chair), Sharon Thompson( co-chair), Jody Bauer, Joan Bush, Ellen Fernberger, Judy Gay, Tom Hawk, Ron Jackson, Carl Moore, Todd Murphy, Marge Niven, Dawn Sinnot, Alison Watts, Carol Whitney.

The members introduced themselves and the areas of the College they represent.

Sharon and Jane reviewed the charge to the committee and underscored the importance of the work of the group will be doing. They described the structure this will provide for the framework for college wide understanding of assessment activities and use of assessment information. Key elements include accessibility to the College community of the assessment reports/information we use, transparency in the use of assessment resources, creating a framework for understanding and use of assessment resources and alignment with the standards established by Middle States.

Jane led the discussion of planning and assessment linkages. The College has purposefully designed a decentralized assessment model. However, this has in part led to there not being one place where information and activities related to assessment is housed. She presented a schematic ( attached) which shows our current assessment model and the way assessment is linked to College plans and the mission. The discussion continued to identifying and quantifying current assessment activities. The committee agreed that a good place to begin our work is to document where assessment is occurring in the institution. IR and It respond to many ad hoc requests and produces assessment reports which may not be shared beyond the initial requestor’s department.

The goal is to have assessment information easily accessible e.g. through the portal. Jody Bauer described a few alternative approaches to this issue. There will be an assessment web site, principally for internal use. The focus of the site will be to promulgate understanding of assessment at the College and the use of assessment information and to encourage communication and sharing within the College community. The committee discussed the pros and cons of an external tool versus something that IT could create.

Ellen asked whether all information that departments and areas collect would be housed on this site, and raised the issue of confidentiality of data in HR as an example. The committee agreed that we need to carefully consider this question and come up with a “philosophy”, a clear understanding of who would have access to uploading to the site and who will decide what is appropriate to house on the site. It was agreed that the President’s cabinet, functioning as an ex officio steering committee, would consider this issue and come up with institutional guidelines regarding confidentiality.

The committee discussed how this data would be helpful in the Middle States Self Study process. The IWAC will continue after the Self Study is complete, the goal is to develop a sustained process. Jane

shared the IWAC Resource List (attached ). Sharon reviewed the Middle States standards. Individual committee members who were on a Self Study Work group described their charges.

Jane reviewed the draft reporting structure which is in Excel for ease of entering data (attached). This framework merges the activities of assessment and the Middle States standards. The committee discussed how specific to be when entering reports to the matrix. It was agreed that specific assessment reports would be most helpful. The question was raised about how far back to go. It was agreed that ten years would be ideal but five years was the minimum. Ron raised a key question about the distinction between assessment information and assessment activities and what we want entered on the reporting forms. The committee agreed that for now, we should enter both.

The committee then identified future steps. A major charge will be to identify gaps in assessment activities/information and to provide easy access to assessment resources throughout the College. The library of assessment resources will help us develop the structure of the web site. Some members of the committee will work in subgroups. We will also need to talk to others in our individual areas to identify information. Jody, Jane and Sharon will meet to work on the structure of a shared drive and web site. We agreed that being clear about who the end users will be will help drive our decisions in this regard.

Sharon and Jane will also meet with the co-leads of the Self Study process to let them know about our committee and how the material we are gathering can be a resource for them.

The committee also agreed that we need to be using “standard language” when we talk about elements such as persistence, retention etc. Judy will talk to the Steering Committee about this as well. Standardization will also aid in communication and how we are using the data to make decisions.

Future issues for the committee’s consideration include how to make connections across areas, how to encourage use of the site, who will be responsible for maintaining the site, how to ensure the committee’s work is shared and well informed, how to involve and inform students, evaluating the site to ensure its usefulness and restructuring the site if need be, establishing guidelines for what is to be posted to the site, consideration of data warehousing, and ensuring the connection of the work of the IWAC to the planning process.