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Faculty Helping Faculty: The New Assessment Fellows Program

Currently on campus, there are faculty members who are participating in the assessment of teaching and learning in an exemplary fashion. As on any other campus, however it is sometimes difficult to show the importance of assessment as well as provide training opportunities, since the common perception is that assessment is both an outgrowth of an increased federal regulatory environment, and a "push down" effort by regional and program specific accreditation bodies. The Office of Assessment, Accreditation and Effectiveness under the purview of the Provost, seeks to initiate an Assessment Fellows program which we believe, will remediate that issue and provide tremendous benefit across the Drexel community.  Selected Fellows will be the conduits to other interested faculty members who would like to develop assessment plans and practices to foster continuous improvement in their courses and programs regardless of mandate or compliance requirements.

In order to launch this program, the Office of Assessment, Accreditation and Effectiveness examined some of the existing successful Assessment Fellows programs that exist on multiple campuses. The common thread among them is that they are all interested in the continuous improvement of teaching and learning.  Additionally, after much discussion and seeing multiple presentations at various Assessment and Accreditation conferences, including our own, a plan was put in place based on what was viewed as the most effective plan for Drexel University.  The basis of that plan is a faculty driven approach implemented successfully elsewhere as well. Having faculty as the locus of this effort will help to underscore the importance to other interested faculty members thus creating a groundswell of support. Such an approach will combine research, mentoring, hands-on workshops and recognition of quality work.

The Office of Assessment, Accreditation & Effectiveness is looking to identify five faculty members who will research and develop a curriculum for a series of professional development workshops to be known as the Assessment Institute. The Fellows, and the curriculum they will design will train faculty, programs, departments, schools and centers on the different elements of assessment from developing course learning outcomes to analyzing data and making improvements. While much information is routinely shared already through the Assessment website, conferences, PAR, Assessment Handbooks, the annual Drexel Assessment Conference, professional development workshops, etc., we believe that the benefit of faculty to faculty transmission cannot be minimized.

Additionally, the Fellows will also act as mentors to any faculty member who needs help in any aspect of the assessment cycle including collaborating with Institute attendees on assessment efforts after the training has been completed.  The work of the Fellows and attendees will also be displayed at an annual Assessment Fair and, of course, at the annual Drexel Assessment Conference.  The Fellows are envisioned as a collaborative partner with other professional development initiatives across campus.  The Fellows will work directly in collaboration with Stephen DiPietro, Associate Vice Provost for Assessment and Accreditation (sld343@drexel.edu) and Joe Hawk, Director of Assessment Operations (jmh356@drexel.edu). Any further questions, can be directed towards them.