Assessment Report Card for Provost’s Council (May 2010)

We might anticipate response to this report to be presented to the Provost’s council by the Vice Provost tomorrow.

attached file Assessment Report Card 5-10-10

Draft note to Deans/Chairs to Come From Provost

Draft note to Deans/Chairs


Here’s our first draft.  With your modifications, I hope we can entice a few hold outs to join in the fun.

Deans and Chairs

WSU is preparing its response to NWCCU’s Final Report. As part of that effort, the Office of Assessment and Innovation is working with all undergraduate programs to collect self-studies on program-level assessment activities. OAI has provided feedback to programs who submitted draft self-studies in December, and my office also used that preliminary information as part of a report to the HEC Board in March.

I am reminding you of OAI’s deadline of May 17 for a revised self-study, including the Action Plan and Evidence section which was not required last December. I am asking you to ensure that your program provides a self-study in May, using guidelines found on the website, or that your program is in contact with OAI to make other arrangements.

Timely delivery of self-studies will help OAI by allowing the time necessary to review and compile data from all programs for the report that WSU must provide to NWCCU in the Fall of 2010. My office is also working with OAI to develop a mechanism where the information you provide in these self-studies can be used to also meet many of the requirements of the HEC Board’s Annual Program Review. OAI, Institutional Research and my office are working to streamline as much of this reporting as possible.

College Liaisons, Program Points and OAI Contacts can all be found here

NWCCU’s Final Report can be found on the website.


Re-thinking Course Evals for Prog Eval purposes / Turmoil in Colleges

Re-thinking Course Evals for Prog Eval purposes / Turmoil in Colleges A conversation on the bus home from work with a College Liaison led to this exchange

On 4/6/10 9:18 AM, “Nils Peterson” wrote:
Further to our conversation on the bus. Collecting actionable data, and acting on it, are the things that we believe are likely to engage students and therefore to increase response rates on course evals. How about we get together and talk about some ways to re-think the course eval process. I’m looking for a partner that is in a position to take a bit of an adventurous view of the topic.

(I want to see if this Liaison would venture into something like paired assessment where faculty declare their goals for the course and students say what they perceived happened. We’d get curricular maps, which could then be used by the program to help students navigate course selection.)

Liaison replies:
I will be interested in doing this.  However, let’s put off the conversation for several weeks.  Amongst other things, I still do not know where I am going to land beginning July 1.  That is to say, I do not know what my position will be and in what college.

A Leader Asks, What is the Rain King Chronicle

It’s our blog of the story, or history of this assessment initiative we’ve launched.  We summarize and don’t name names (except our own).  Bits of notes go in this chronicle, for instance the liaison who told us “it is inappropriate for us to share our rubrics.”

It’s not just about keeping a history, which we are wishing we had done on a variety of projects in the past, but, we are also in this work reminded of the Bellow novel.  In the story, the lead character by happenstance becomes the Rain King of a remote African tribe only to learn that the tribal elders are plotting to have him beheaded….

As promised, reflection on the retreat, finally

Re: draft note to staff
I was thinking last night that the persistent concern expressed in our still recent retreat was less about job security and more about qualifications in our protean institution.  If I no longer should be doing what I’ve done in the past, what skills do I need to develop to do what I am expected to do?  And how long, one anonymous note asked, before we change yet again?

In my own thinking, I am coming to understand that it is more about the affect than the skill set, though they are not fully separable.  As the CTLT our work was like teaching an elective course in the major.  Most of interactions were with faculty who wanted to work with us.  And now we fear our new charge is not only requiring us to work with those who share fewer of our concerns and values, but we are drifting into work increasingly with those who clearly do not.  We are now like those who teach required courses.  And the required course we teach is not one that many find rewarding.

Our challenge as a CTLT was encouraging participation in our efforts commensurate with the institutions’ investment in us.  As the OAI, our challenge is, with some irony, helping the institution achieve measurable outcomes.  In CTLT we worked with colleagues who were mostly or who became friends.  As an OAI, we must strive to work collegially.

The challenge is ultimately less about our skills.  We are amply qualified.  It is a challenge to our dispositions.  To a person this is not the work we signed on for.  It has a “feel” about it like a garment not cut quite right.  It is frequently somehow oddly irritating.

“Do we still work with the individual faculty we have worked with?”   No, is the answer.  If the work cannot be parlayed to the program level, then the job requires us to extricate ourselves from that work …and, at least in the work context, away from that friendly working relationship.

“Will we change our organization again?” Probably.  The garment may not fit quite right, but the unit will grow into it.

As the CTLT, however, we were unique and recognized internationally for our transformative focus.  Some aspects of that focus were occasionally a source of some contention, but it was a shared understanding we had of our mission.  We were guided by the belief that not only can we but we must do a better job in our institutions of learning at improving the student learning experience and student learning…outcomes.

So here we are.  Be careful what you wish for, the saying goes. Our new vision, rubric, and the harvesting of community input are being followed nationally. We have a tremendous opportunity to promote real, deep, and meaningful change at WSU.

If we can change.

Dr. Gary R. Brown, Director
The Office of Assessment and Innovation
Washington State University
509 335-1352
509 335-1362 (fax)

HEC Board Report (Feb 25, 2010)

Sent and accepted by WSU administration….
attached report  HEC Board Outcomes Report (March 2010 FINAL)

A program’s response to next steps after receiving feedback

A program’s response to next steps after receiving feedback On Jan 28, 2010 the program representative replied


After our meeting on Tuesday, I began recruiting reviewers for the norming session.  Everyone is busy and no one volunteered.  So, I brought this up with the chair who is unwilling to commit any resources, including faculty time, to reviewing the theses.   Therefore, the rating of the theses is not an option at this time.

However, I am willing to continue to work on preparing the self study to be submitted by May 17th.  Once I receive your propose changes, I will review them and distribute to the faculty for their comments.


On Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 9:52 AM, Nils Peterson wrote:

Thanks for meeting this AM. In the future, I’m happy to reciprocate and go to your office, just share that with Judy.

Here are my notes summarizing what I believe we agreed. Please feel free to clarify or correct anything below.

Regarding the rating of thesis documents:
You have the 6 thesis documents, each about 20 pages. You are working on identifying raters, at present yourself and 2-3 others are likely.

I am going to organize OAI resources for a norming session to take place in about 10 days — perhaps the week of Feb 8. I will need your help arranging a 90 minutes that will work for the raters you are identifying. Please confirm if that week or the week following are preferable.

The process will use paper copies of the thesis, with names removed and code numbers applied. I will get you a guide sheet for doing this document preparation.

I will create an online survey using the rubric in your program’s self study document, and make you an owner of that survey so you can take over the process moving forward.

Following the norming session, raters will have until the end of spring break, March 21, to complete their rating tasks.

OAI will help you get reports of the data and think about next steps after the rating.

Regarding the December draft self-study
You have been sharing the OAI feedback with the chair and are continuing to think about the recommendations and which are politically and practically feasible

I will use Track Changes to propose a new draft of your self-study by the week of Feb 8.

You will accept/modify/reject my suggestions based on the context and we will discuss further revisions.

We did not discuss, but I would hope we have a revised version to send through the OAI rating process by March 8.

Regarding the May 17 self-study
Beginning after March 21, I will help you think about the results of ratings and the feedback on the revised shelf study in the process of creating the self-study due May 17

Thanks again for your attention to all this