Assessment Committee Meeting Minutes – May 17, 2012

Attendees: Jane Grosset ( co-chair), Sharon Thompson( co-chair), Jody Bauer, Joan Bush, Ellen Fernberger, Judy Gay, Anne Greco, Tom Hawk, Kris Henk, Sam Hirsch, Ron Jackson, Carl Moore, John Moore, Todd Murphy, Dawn Sinnot, Alison Watts, Carol Whitney.

John Moore, the Director of Academic Assessment and Evaluation was introduced and is a new member of the committee.

The committee reviewed the meeting notes and one change was noted in the list of attendees- Carl Moore was incorrectly listed as Carol.

Jane began with an overview of the structure for an Assessment Web Site describing it as a centralized point of access for information about assessment processes and assessment reports/information at the College. Jane’s proposed website structure would minimize maintenance by linking to currently existing sites, such as Institutional Research, Academic Assessment and Evaluation, and Administrative Audits. The Assessment website will also serve as a venue for unique information not presently available elsewhere on the web, such as the IWAC committee, the Annual Division/Departmental Objectives process, and the Assessment information library. Members of IWAC committee will be responsible for maintaining the library. Discussion ensued as to whether administrative, confidential and classified staff performance reviews and the Student Evaluation of Teaching processes were evaluation and relevant as a part of assessment. Tom felt that these documents were a logical part of assessing institutional effectiveness and that we should show the overall process rather than individual results. He suggested that for decision making and planning purposes, employee success in meeting institutional goals is key. From that information can come prioritization of needs such as training. Judy reminded the committee of the need to separate assessment from evaluation and suggested just linking to the HR page. The decision was to include this for the present time, but not to label this page on the website “other”. The appropriate title will emerge as miscellaneous assessment processes are identified for inclusion on this page of the website. The site should be ready by Spring 2013.

Tom presented the Annual Division/Departmental Objectives process. He handed out the Strategic Priorities budget planning document and three examples from various areas of a completed planning template. He reiterated that the goal of the process is to document the relationship between goal setting, planning, strategic priorities and resource allocation to achieve the goals. The new process began this year and the budget priorities are more transparently linked to planning. Inter-area conversation remains an issue and indeed the process has pointed to the need for earlier collaboration across areas. The new planning templates include sections on evidence of need and then plans for evidence of successful outcomes. The material collected in the Assessment Library will, in the future, provide a valuable resource for this process.

Ron shared the draft version of the Student Affairs Assessment Process. Sam and Ron’s goal was to ensure that everyone in Student Affairs understood how they were a part of the assessment process. The document had a twofold use, to help staff understand “why assess”, to break down the pieces of the assessment process and to make sure that individual area goals and objectives relate to other area plans and the larger institutional planning process. This also brings all Student Affairs reports together in one comprehensive document. The document will include data sources (using the Assessment Information library), unit level assessments, frequency of assessment, annual goals, outcomes, definitions of data elements, relation to other institutional plans, a mission statement for each area and a recommendation for future directions. This process has already led to identification of the need for professional development of staff.

The committee discussed this assessment model versus the current administrative unit audit process. The group agreed this process may be something to consider in the future and may be more systematic and sustainable on an annual basis. Sam added that another goal was to create a community of learners in Student Affairs to learn about assessment (for all levels of personnel) and to help staff focus on the “why”- how the pieces all fit together. Jane asked if data collection had been done yet and how this can be captured on the IWAC web site. Ron explained that data collection is beginning and this can flow into the IWAC reporting structure.

Jody presented a prototype for providing institution-wide access to the Assessment Information library that is in development. Ellen raised the concern that much of her data is confidential so she will only be able to provide information on the process. Going forward the IWAC needs to agree on a format and what will be accessible to the general user. Tom suggested that it will become clear which reports need to be posted and which information can be “upon request.”

Jane described the structure of the shared drive that will serve as a repository for reports and files for the Assessment library. The drive contains seven folders that correspond to areas of assessment. The committee members should post their material to the W drive by August 1. Jane reviewed the process for posting material: inset a cover page on the document when saved to the shared drive; use the agreed upon naming conventions for the files in which the name of the saved file is identical to the Name of Report on the Excel worksheet. Carl suggested we use a standard for semester and year reporting. We agreed on FL12, SP12, SU12 etc.

Joan and Todd shared assessment reports they identified in their areas. This led to further discussion of what information is important to post and in how much detail. Jane reminded the group that it is important to check off which MSA standard the report supports.

The group agreed to meet again at the end of August or early September. 

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