Assessment Conferences

2015-03-14_OhNoLogo22-abby3Assessment heads – happy almost November! There is so much assessment in November that I’m looking forward to, most specifically:

  1. Higher Education Assessment Friendship Summit (i.e., Mark + Abby + our incredible group of friends = meeting of the minds in the same time zone!), and
  2. my group presentation at the New England Educational Assessment Network (NEEAN – try saying it 3 times fast) fall forum at College of Holy Cross.
Stay tuned next week for Oh no, Friendship Summit edition. For this week, NEEAN!
I wrote last time about great assessment collaborations and the NEEAN presentation is one result of those. You’ve all read our many, many, many (did I mention many) posts about learning goals/outcomes. My office ties several of our programs and services to nine student learning goals, and we’re gearing up to do that on an even broader scale. The Associate Director of Institutional Research and Assessment at Carleton (Carol Trosset) has been invaluable as we move into this next phase.
At NEEAN, we’ll be exploring my office’s learning goals through one example of this expansion: our internship program. Students create learning goals and strategies prior to their summer internship. They write reflections during and after the internship about their learning, in order to capture their outcomes. Carol has been helping us code students’ goals so that we may understand on a larger scale what students intend and seek to learn prior to their internship. At NEEAN, we’ll be comparing Carleton’s process to the great process at Bennington College, where Carol examined the outcomes of student experiential learning. I can’t wait to learn more about the Bennington process and get inspired by so many my assessment professionals.
Next up on the home campus front, we’ll conduct focus groups with student interns about their learning outcomes. Over the next few weeks, I’ll have pre-interviews with student interns to start structuring the focus groups. So much great assessment happening – stay tuned for more assessment fun!
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Assessment Takes a Village: The Power of Collaboration

2015-03-14_OhNoLogo22-abby3Collaboration is an awesome thing. I’ve been working with various people and departments on campus on some exciting assessment projects over the last year. Good assessment takes a village; I can’t do it alone. It’s been a pleasure and a gift to benefit and learn from all the talent of my campus colleagues.

Here’s an overview of just a few of these projects:

  • Institutional Research: The associate director of IR and I have been working on all sorts of projects. One such project focuses on the learning goals our summer interns created prior to their internship. She analyzed these learning goals, coded the goals into overarching themes, and (eventually) will examine how those themes overlap with learning goals in the classroom (a project and expertise she’d initiated at a previous institution). 
  • ITS: Wow…ITS has helped our office with a number of incredible projects. Too many to list! They built a digital pipeline from our internal counseling note system (i.e., Symplicity) to the College’s data warehouse (read: so much data mining potential!!). And, they built us an interactive online career development tool for students – it’s an organizer, planner, and tracker all in one. Students can see our Career Center learning goals and the programs/services tied to each, select which they’d like to complete, pick a date they’d like to complete it by, and then check it off to track their progress. Did I mention, WOW?!?!
  • College Communications/Marketing: College communications took our survey data about student interns and created some really beautiful data visualizations. I don’t have an actual proof to show you yet but the concept comes from *TIME Magazine. The original piece (see photo) focuses on income brackets, whereas, ours focuses on interns by year and shows data about students and their internships (e.g., geographic location of internship, top internship industries, etc.) along the sides surrounding a photograph of the student. 
    Time Intern Posters
  • Mathematics/Statistics Department: This academic department offers a statistics elective called Statistical Consulting – the class organizes students into consulting groups, takes on actual organizations from the community as clients, and helps the organization address their real current issues using data. The Career Center was a client – the student group reviewed our data about student visits and helped us better understand which students we’re seeing, how often, and during which weeks in the year. Conversely, we also have a better understanding of who we’re not seeing. Valuable insights from this collaboration.

There are MANY other great departments and people collaborating with the Carleton Career Center; these are just a few from the last year. Assessing learning can be a blessed mess, so an ENORMOUS thank you to all the many people and offices who helped us achieve so many of our assessment goals. We couldn’t have done it without you!

With whom are you collaborating??

*Barone, E. (2014, September 8). Who we are. TIME, 184, 53-58.