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Welcome back to another new school year! A new community of students has arrived and, with them, their youthful energies and enthusiasms that invigorate everything we do, including our thinking about what we want our students to learn.

That thought comes to many more folks than the instructional faculty. It concerns the talented staff members working with students outside the classroom. Their engagement with student learning is critically important in co-curricular activities. Many people on campus are working towards the same end.

Understanding the common purposes of our work, the Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) and the Co-Curricular Assessment Committee (CoCAC) are teaming up to host the second annual SIU Assessment Conference, September 30 - October 1. You will learn more about that event below.

I think showcasing our assessment work in this way is an exciting opportunity to learn from one another, across campus, in and out of the classroom, about best practices in measuring student learning outcomes and using the results to improve what we do to promote even more and better learning.

I am also happy to announce the next meeting of the Conversation About Student Learning and Engagement (CAStLE). It will take place on Wednesday, September 23 from noon-1:00 p.m. in Morris Library Rooms 752-754. CAStLE activities are sponsored by both CWAC and CoCAC. We plan to discuss the frameworks people use to guide their rubric development.

Below we introduce you to our three new Provost Assessment Fellows: Nolan Wright in the School of Law, Deborah Barnett in Non-Traditional Student Services, and Heather Brake in Student Involvement. They’ve got great ideas to share with you. And so does Pat Manfredi as he works to assess student learning in the University Core Curriculum.

Stay tuned. Lots of good things are happening this Fall. You’ll see soon enough.

Jim Allen
Associate Provost for Academic Programs


The Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) and Co-Curricular Assessment Committee (CoCAC) are hosting a two-day Assessment Conference, Wednesday, September 30- Thursday, October 1, 2015 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) in Morris Library. The conference theme focuses on actionable assessment for academic and co-curricular learning. We hope to have both morning and afternoon sessions.

Although the submission date may have passed, we still encourage you to consider reviewing the guidelines and contacting us if you have a proposal in mind for the conference. Click here for full details on what types of proposals we are still considering.

What If I Think I Might Want To Submit, But Don’t Know For Sure?

If you have a presentation idea, but don’t know for sure if it is what the Committees are looking for, or if you need assistance in fully developing an idea, please contact Sharon Walters at sharon@siu.edu or 453-5669.

How are Proposals Reviewed?

Members of the Proposal Review Committees will use the following criteria: availability of space, presenter mix, presentation type, and perceived quality and impact. Applicants will be notified by September 11, 2015. The Conference program will be finalized by September 18, 2015.



This Community will meet face-to-face on a semi-monthly basis during the fall semester, not only to discuss issues related to student learning, but also to provide feedback on current assessment methods, to share best practices, to discuss assessment-driven pedagogy, and to give co-curricular specialists a chance to share with academic units. We are pleased to announce that the following dates have been confirmed for the fall semester CAStLE discussions:

Tuesday, September 8 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754
Wednesday, September 23 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754
Tuesday, October 6 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754
Wednesday, October 21 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754
Tuesday, November 3 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754
Wednesday, November 18 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754
Tuesday, December 1 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754
Wednesday, December 16 noon-1:00 p.m. Morris Library 752/754

Dr. Christie McIntyre, Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, discussed the frameworks people use to guide their rubric development at the September 8th CAStLE meeting.  Dr. Deborah Barnett, Coordinator, Non-Traditional Student Services, and Ms. Heather Brake, Coordinator, Student Involvement, will lead the second CAStLE with a discussion of the Co-Curricular Résumé project.

An online “Course” shell is now available for faculty, staff, and graduate students to “meet” informally to discuss assessment-related issues and to post information from the discussion meetings. If you would like to join this Online Community of Professional Learners, please e-mail Sharon Walters at sharon@siu.edu.  More information will be shared through the listservs.


Nolan Wright


We are pleased to announce that the second call for Assessment Fellows resulted in not one, not two like last spring, but three outstanding provost assessment fellows. 

One fellow this Fall is Nolan Wright, Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor, School of Law.  Professor Wright is also the School of Law’s representative on the Campus-Wide Assessment Committee.

Mr. Wright’s project is entitled, “Information to Aid Those Establishing or Assessing Course- or Program-Level Student Learning Outcome Targets: Getting Information about Resources to the People Who Need It in a Format they Can Use.” This multifaceted project will involve the following components: (1) investigating the information needs of SIU faculty, instructors, and others engaged in developing course- or program-level student learning objectives or targets, methods for formative or summative assessment of student learning at the course level, or mechanisms for program level assessment; (2) identifying and preparing descriptive material about resources that address those information needs; and (3) recommending how to most effectively provide access to those resources for everyone interest in it.

When asked why he felt assessment mattered, Professor Wright stated, “I think it is extremely important that students know the specific knowledge, skills, and values they are expected to actually walk out of the classes and other learning opportunities we offer them with, how we are going to assess whether they do, and that we know that the means we are using to assess it accurately measure the outcomes we seek. It is a mutually binding contract: In essence we are saying ‘this is what we expect of you and will hold you accountable for, and you can hold us accountable for providing the opportunities for you to develop that level of mastery.’”

Deborah Barnett and Heather Brake

Deborah              Heather

Dr. Deborah Barnett, Non-Traditional Students/Single Parent Programs Coordinator, and Heather Brake, Student Involvement Coordinator, are our first administrative/professional staff assessment fellows.
Dr. Barnett and Ms. Brake’s joint project focuses on advancing the co-curricular learning experience that the university provides for students by coordinating the implementation of the co-curricular résumé (CCR). The CCR will equate co-curricular opportunities to student learning outcomes by providing a record of the student’s co-curricular involvement and learning experience. The CCR serves to accentuate the student’s personal journey and provides a holistic view of a student’s skills and abilities. The fellows believe that it is important to utilize the co-curricular record for student documentation and program data.

When asked why they believed assessment mattered, Dr. Barnett and Ms. Brake responded, “Wherever student learning occurs, assessment is important and co-curricular learning is no exception. We believe that it is critical to demonstrate that learning, both inside and outside of the classroom, can be complementary by purposefully linking co-curricular learning to general education outcomes. The CCR project will further the culture of evidence of student learning outcomes, increase opportunities for students to engage in and document co-curricular learning experiences, and provide data to improve out-of-classroom learning. It is important that the university is doing its best to produce a college experience that will be shaping individuals to be the best that they can be in whatever their chosen career field will be.”

We are honored to have three outstanding assessment fellows to work with this Fall. Faculty and A/P staff members who are interested in the fellowship can apply during the 12th week of each semester for appointment the following semester, excluding summer semester. No more than two semesters of fellowship experience shall be awarded to the same individual in any five-year period.


Andy                 Beth  

Dr. Andy Morgan, Acting Associate Dean of Students, and Ms. Beth Scally, Associate Director, University Housing, have agreed to co-chair the Co-Curricular Assessment Committee (CoCAC). They are continuing the work started by CoCAC’s former chairperson, Dr. Anne Moore, former dean of Library Affairs. The focus for the Fall semester will be to work with co-curricular units to develop assessment plans that will allow the collection of actionable data. We will also continue former Dean Moore’s SIUOnline polling weekly assessment survey polling of students and others on services provided by co-curricular units.

When asked why they felt assessment was important, Dr. Morgan stated that assessment is needed “to prove more than our department’s self-worth to others.  With continued financial issues within education and within our state, providing evidence that our department’s efforts are leading to or providing student success is a must.  Assessment can provide that evidence.” Ms. Scally added, “The more assessment we do the stronger our programs can become. When we assess our programs we can measure whether or not we are achieving our learning outcomes and make adjustments based on facts not anecdotal information.”

We are pleased to have two outstanding and knowledgeable individuals serving as co-chairs who obviously understand the importance of educating the whole student. 

University Core Curriculum Program Assessment


In anticipation for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Accreditation 2019-20 visit, we need to ensure that all Core courses are being assessed for more than just content area knowledge. The Provost has asked the Associate Provost office to assist Dr. Pat Manfredi, University Core Curriculum Director, with assessment of the University Core Curriculum.

The first phrase this Fall will involve the assessment of learning in courses taught in the Foundation and Science areas.  Pat Manfredi, James Allen, and Sharon Walters will schedule meetings with faculty in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, and Human Health areas within the next month to discuss assessment of their student learning, starting in the Spring 2016 semester.

We will keep you apprised as we proceed. It is an exciting project that involves many faculty instructors and, we hope, more than a few student affairs specialists.


We are currently working with Dr. Arden Lockwood, Assistant Manager, Project Management Office, Office of Information Technology, to streamline the way the Associate Provost for Academic Programs’ office functions.

We started this process after attending a conference when we realized we did not have an effective method to track assessment reports/plans. Many of those reports ended up in different e-mail in-boxes and thus did not get timely feedback. We also realized we did not have the funds available to purchase a site license for a commercial tracking product.

The process has been a very beneficial one since we first had to educate Dr. Lockwood and her staff on exactly what our office does and, maybe more importantly, who it affects. Thanks to our discussions, we learned that our website needs to be updated to reflect a different audience, since our current website addresses more of our office needs than those of the audience it was intended for: faculty, staff, and students. We also realized that we needed to create a document to share with the various assessment committee members that explains in less technical terms the responsibilities we share.  We worked with Dr. Lockwood to create a document, similar to a syllabus, to share with committee members and post on our revised website.

This has been a very rewarding process. We still have a long ways to go streamlining the assessment process, but we are getting closer.  We will keep everyone posted as we progress.


The August 2015 newsletter from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) contains a timely and interestingNILOA Guest Viewpoint feature by Michael Bassis, Senior Fellow, Association of American Colleges and Universities, “The Transformation of Higher Education in America: Understanding the Changing Landscape.” The newsletter and website contain a wealth of information regarding assessment and transparency.

The August 2015 Newsletter from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) contains a timely and interesting article, “High-Impact Integrative General Education at Northern Illinois University.” The newsletter and website contain a wealth of information regarding assessment and transparency.


According to a recent SIU News article, Southern Illinois University Carbondale jumped 10 spots in Forbes Magazine’s rankings of “America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities 2015.”  This is definitely something to brag about.


Check out the Fall/Winter Assessment Showcase newsletter where we will provide you with details about the many assessment activities scheduled for the spring 2016 semester.

question markQUESTIONS?

Each quarter we will present what we believe to be practical information regarding assessment practices. However, because we believe assessment works best when feedback is sought, we encourage you to submit any questions regarding any aspect of the assessment process (i.e., at the course level, department level, college level, etc.) to us at assess@siu.edu. We will attempt to answer these questions in the following quarterly's newsletter and post them on our website under FAQs.

Editors: Dr. Sharon Walters, Assistant Director, Office of Assessment and Program Review, sharon@siu.edu/453-5669 and Rhonda Ferguson, rferguson@siu.edu/453-7653.