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Making Progress Towards Improved Assessment

Director of Assessment Susan Gracia has been at Simmons College for less than a year, but already she has helped to make some strong improvements in the area of assessment.

During the past few months, Simmons has been focusing on the following assessment areas:

  • Develop a data-driven process
  • Base assessment on student outcomes
  • Identify outcomes and use results to improve
  • Pay attention to UG programs in CAS
  • Assess teaching across campus
  • Post-tenure review of faculty
  • Build a culture of assessment
Gracia said progress includes the creation of a campus-wide assessment committee, assessment training from a nationally recognized assessment expert, the creation of a draft institutional assessment plan, the establishment of program assessment data collection and of reporting protocols and procedures, and the implementation of a series of ongoing student assessment/outcome seminars for faculty and staff. In January, assessment reports from 17 academic and co-curricular departments were submitted, and the College held its first annual assessment summit to look at assessment data and identify common institutional themes and needs to be addressed.

In February, Simmons was selected to participate in the Council of Independent Colleges Engaging Evidence Consortium: Using Data to Strengthen Student Learning in Independent Higher Education. Simmons also is embarking on an assessment project focused on improved student advising. By May, all CAS programs will have developed learning goals for all programs that include what outcomes are expected for students to achieve goals, and the supporting evidence.

Additionally, Gracia said that a survey has been administered to deans about course evaluations and peer reviews and the Provost is working with the faculty senate to discuss procedures for conducting student course evaluations and peer review of faculty. A faculty advisory committee was formed to look at post-tenure faculty review, candidates for review were selected, and consultants were brought to campus. The evaluation plan will begin in June.

Posted by Alix Roy on June 5, 2012 11:35 AM