Academic Assessment Conference on September 11-13, 2019, which brought together higher education professionals, researchers and faculty from across the country and the globe under the theme of “Moving from Concept to Practice.” Throughout the conference, nearly 60 sessions were held to examine how institutions can better serve their students through academic quality, experience and assessment. Goodwin’s Department Head of Graduate Studies and Assistant Clinical Professor Anne Converse Willkomm led a concurrent session titled “Let Me Tell You a Story: Creating an Assessment Narrative.” Her article, “The American Idol of Program Evaluation: The External Reviewer” which she co-authored with Bobbijo G. Pinelli, Associate Director of Assessment at Immaculata University was also published as a chapter in the conference proceedings book for 2018.
In her session, Anne explored how cold numbers don’t provide a holistic enough assessment when it comes to measuring outcomes. She showed how creating an assessment narrative can better speak to student and faculty attitudes, behavior, and even effort, as well as programmatic vision and progress. In the session, participants were able to practice hands-on how to use data to tell a story and then apply that to programmatic initiatives and communication efforts. The main outcomes of Anne’s session were: 1. Participants identified at least three ways they can develop a narrative from standard assessment data 2. Participants learned how to speak with colleagues about the value of using a narrative to convey assessment data.
In the conference proceedings, Anne and Bobbijo provided a roadmap for becoming an external reviewer in academia for those who come from a non-academic background, or who have never acted as an external reviewer before.
"The goal from the academic institution is to bring professionals with discipline-specific experience in assessment, curriculum development and reform, and space management (Halonen, 2017). What happens when the qualified professionals are not available within a specific discipline? In some instances, schools must turn to professionals within a discipline, who do not have program review experience. In this case, the novice reviewers learn as they go, which could impact the efficacy, efficiency, and integrity of the program review process, and the program reviewer may have to give up financial incentives and authorship due to their inexperience.
By providing a roadmap to those who are interested in becoming external reviewers, faculty and staff members can move forward confidently to participate in the external review process. There are six key considerations for anyone looking to take on an external evaluator role. These considerations essentially provide a roadmap for the program evaluation process ."
The main considerations of becoming an external reviewer include marketing yourself, accepting the role, preparation, the site visit, reporting and professionalism. You can read the entire chapter by visiting the 2018 conference proceedings page.
On Anne’s repeated exemplary participation in Drexel’s Academic Assessment Conference, Goodwin College of Professional Studies Assistant Dean Tim Gilrain adds,“Anne and her work in overseeing assessment for the college has allowed us to reshape our course offerings to reflect feedback from our students. Her ability to leverage assessment principles to create the best possible student experience has helped to provide greater focus and support for our faculty in the classroom.”