The College of Arts and Sciences website is a resource for student learning outcome assessment and its application across the various departments. By navigating this site, you will find information, tools, and resources to better equip you in understanding and applying assessment. The assessment process is the primary method for evaluating what students have learned in their chosen programs of study and throughout the core curriculum. It plays an essential role in academic program review, and it has become a central focus in the external reaccreditation process through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
The purposes for engaging in assessment include increased student awareness of their learning, more effective academic advising, a framework for faculty discussions of course and program design, a systematic method for departmental planning and improvement, a means for evaluating institutional effectiveness, and evidence for external accreditors. Student learning outcomes assessment makes learning intentional. By explicitly stating expectations for learning, students can engage the process more directly. Students gain confidence in what they know and the ability to communicate it to others. Assessment also assists faculty members in the advising process. Research in the area of outcomes assessment has shown that faculty are more likely to see interdisciplinary connections and overarching educational goals when advising students to complete their coursework in the core curriculum, and it can assist in identifying primary goals of a program in relating them to student interests. Assessment is also a method for developing shared expectations for learning within a program so that students are more able to appreciate a disciplinary identify and adopt a common language. It can help a program build coherence and effective sequencing in exploring curricular redundancies, overlaps, and gaps. It can serve as a primary guide for program planning, and can foster excellence in creating an effective institutional learning environment. Internal and external reviewers are better equipped to understand the general learning process through the lenses of the program curricula at undergraduate and graduate levels, and throughout the core curriculum.
The College employs an associate dean and an assessment team (A-Team), faculty trained in assessing student learning outcomes in one of four divisions: Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences and Mathematics. Their names and contact information are listed below. They can assist you in navigating this site for important information, timelines, and forms needed in the assessment process:
Debbie Tahmassebi, Associate Dean, A-Team director, ext. 4545
Andrew Cross, Art Division, ext. 2280
Molly McClain, Humanities Division, ext. 4044
Jesse Mills, Social Sciences Division, ext. 7740
Debbie Finocchio, Sciences and Math Division, ext. 2276