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Category: Assessment

Many people often view assessment as a laborious burden, something that serves no good other purpose than accreditation obligations. Building a culture of assessment can help faculty see its value for continuous improvement and encourage them to participate in assessment efforts in meaningful ways.

In an interview with Academic Leader, Fang Du, director of assessment and program development at the University of Mount Union, discussed what a culture of assessment looks like and shared lessons learned at her institution.

According to Du, there are four hallmarks of a culture of assessment:

When Du became assessment director in 2009, she worked with the assessment committee to change the program review process from a curriculum review and resource-counting process to one that is based on learning outcomes for each major and minor.

The assessment committee, which consists of six standing members, created a glossary of assessment terms and uses professional development workshops to help faculty understand the relationships among course-level, program-level, and institution-level assessment.

Another goal of ongoing professional development is to help faculty consider the uses and benefits of assessment beyond producing reports for accreditation. Du explains that assessment can help with continuous improvement, and that although assessment requires time and effort on the part of faculty, it actually reduces the amount of time and effort put into continuous improvement.

“Think of assessment as a means, not the end. So many people think assessment is the end. ‘You asked me to do assessment. I did it. I’m done.’ But no, assessment is only a means to help you achieve your end [continuous improvement]. In order to do that work efficiently, you have to embark on assessment,” Du says.

Lessons learned
In her time as assessment director, Du has learned the following lessons (grouped by assessment culture hallmarks):