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Program Evaluation and Assessment: Integrating Methods, Process, and Culture
Unformatted Document Text:  how best to embed collegial discussions into the process of assessing. Many campuses have “picture-perfect” models, but the process stops after the second stage in Wright’s definition -- “gathering evidence”. Some methods like interviews and portfolios finesse this concern because if faculty conduct the interviews and score the portfolios, they will inevitably internalize a number of meaningful observations and are quite likely to contemplate changes in their courses and approaches to teaching. However, even in these methods where faculty members serve as assessors, assessment will have an even greater impact when there are standard processes for program-wide discussions of the implications of the evidence. Collegial discussion What then are some successful means for generating these collegial discussions? A department chair, dean, provost, or president can each be pivotal influences in generating more collegial discussion. For example, if the provost requires all budget requests for additional funding to include evidence-based rationale, the likelihood of evidence-based discussions goes up. If department chairs know the data and bring agenda items to department meetings based on it, there will be more evidence-based discussions. If there are annual processes for departments to report continuous improvement plans, the likelihood of evidence-based discussion goes up. If faculty are expected to demonstrate involvement in assessment for annual reviews, or at least are rewarded for it, the number of administrative-faculty collegial discussions incorporating assessment will increase. One question that I have been asked on a number of occasions is whether a department can be successful in completing the full cycle of the program assessment process if there is little in the campus culture to reinforce it. This is an excellent question. Of course there is always a possibility that leadership at the program level plus a cohesive group of faculty can pull it off. 18

Authors: Young, Candace.
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how best to embed collegial discussions into the process of assessing. Many campuses have
“picture-perfect” models, but the process stops after the second stage in Wright’s definition --
“gathering evidence”. Some methods like interviews and portfolios finesse this concern because
if faculty conduct the interviews and score the portfolios, they will inevitably internalize a
number of meaningful observations and are quite likely to contemplate changes in their courses
and approaches to teaching. However, even in these methods where faculty members serve as
assessors, assessment will have an even greater impact when there are standard processes for
program-wide discussions of the implications of the evidence.
Collegial discussion
What then are some successful means for generating these collegial discussions? A
department chair, dean, provost, or president can each be pivotal influences in generating more
collegial discussion. For example, if the provost requires all budget requests for additional
funding to include evidence-based rationale, the likelihood of evidence-based discussions goes
up. If department chairs know the data and bring agenda items to department meetings based on
it, there will be more evidence-based discussions. If there are annual processes for departments
to report continuous improvement plans, the likelihood of evidence-based discussion goes up. If
faculty are expected to demonstrate involvement in assessment for annual reviews, or at least are
rewarded for it, the number of administrative-faculty collegial discussions incorporating
assessment will increase.
One question that I have been asked on a number of occasions is whether a department
can be successful in completing the full cycle of the program assessment process if there is little
in the campus culture to reinforce it. This is an excellent question. Of course there is always a
possibility that leadership at the program level plus a cohesive group of faculty can pull it off.
18


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