Report of Faculty Development Meeting, 14 January  2005

.The following is assembled from the verbal reports and written responses to the issues of the session. 

Assessment has three purposes: 1. student learning; 2. improving teaching; 3. accountability.

Some basic questions about assessment: How do we make sure assessment improves learning and is not just busy work? Perhaps we can rethink the nature of assessments�how do we separate qualitative vs. quantitative? How do we know when it is reliable? How should assessment be done/packaged/presented for the agencies, the college, parents, and the student? Assessment jargon/packaging is important, but how do we make sure it serves a purpose relevant to audience.

One of the biggest themes continues to be communication. Faculty need to communicate better with each other, within departments and among departments. 
Faculty need to share their teaching strategies: what works, what doesn�t; how do you do it vs. how do we do it? Are departments using the CPG�s they have, and developing the ones they don�t? To coordinate a united effort, faculty need access to other departments� syllabi, CPG�s, rubrics, Soph/Jr diagnostic Projects and Senior Integrated assessments, goals and objectives of majors, and other assessment strategies. 

How are faculty rewarded (or not) for doing assessment (or not)? How is assessment taken into account in the faculty annual reviews? How is assessment used at tenure and promotion? How do we assess or encourage team teaching? How do we build new faculty into assessment?

Some strategies which some departments are pursuing include electronic portfolios, video technology, outside evaluators (such as from the business community, standardized tests, comprehensive exams, multi-faculty evaluation of senior projects. 
Some suggestions to improve communication include a lunch hour free of classes, a chatroom, and need computer-based, online sharing of info and assessment tools, CELT workshops and brown bags. Perhaps produce a literature template of assessment. 

Concerning students, important questions are: How do we deal better with the deficiencies of individual students? What happens when student does not meet the minimum criteria? How do we clearly validate student accomplishments? How do we assess computer competency for incoming students? Should faculty be given student placement data? We need to find a balance between faculty knowledge of student performance and privacy.

Faculty need on going help, especially with changing technology, which requires large amounts of support. Many faculty are using WebCT, but some are still unaware of what it can, and cannot, do. Can we better embed technology in the study of CORE classes? Help might include review sheets (crib sheets) or user-friendly outlines of how to manage difficult computer-based programs (WebCT, etc.).
CELT will again offer Technology for Teaching Day on May 16. 

There is concern about the transferable skills of liberal arts and how they move from the CORE and become incorporated into the major. Some faculty are unsure about what is going on in the CORE. How do we guarantee critical thinking is being used in content courses? How do we encourage students to take these courses as soon as possible? How can major programs better give feedback to faculty teaching core classes (writing, thinking, speech, quantitative)? Can we build in summaries of what students have learned into syllabi? 
Perhaps a one page handout of key CORE skills for each CORE class, and suggestions for what needs to be reinforced in the majors can be shared. 

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Last Revision: 20 January 2005
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