​National Assessment Expert Visits ASU Campus Oct. 3 to Discuss General Education

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By Hazel Scott

From among a crowded, qualified field of applicants, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) awarded Alabama State University the daylong visit from national assessment expert Shontell Stanford.

On Thursday, Oct. 3, Stanford will lead several interactive workshops and provide useful information on the value and importance of assessing what and how students are learning. The first session (Planning for General Education) is from 8:30  to 10:15 a.m., the second session (Student Learning Outcomes) is from 10:30 to noon, and the final session (Curriculum Mapping) is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The event will be held in the Great Hall of Teachers. Among other accomplishments, Stanford serves as the Curriculum Manager for the Division of Graduate Education in Biomedical Sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine and Director of Program and Operations for the HBCU Collaboration in Education Excellence and Quality Assurance. 

According to Dr. Christine Thomas, associate vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, Stanford and the University’s General Education Competency Committee, which provides oversight in the assessment process and development of assessment plans/reports for general education outcomes and competencies, will explore opportunities to refine and advance ASU’s general education programs and their assessment.

“We are on a journey toward heightened assessment engagement. A visit from a NILOA coach underscores the University’s commitment to making assessment a continuous and meaningful process,” said Thomas. “Receiving training from a NILOA coach on assessment best practices will reinforce our efforts and position assessment as a significant tool for data-driven improvements. We look forward to benefiting from the knowledge base of a seasoned coach, such as Ms. Shontell Stanford.”

The workshops are concentrated on topics that align with ASU’s educational goals of student success, its mission, accreditation requirements and higher education trends. The workshops also will engage ASU deans, chairs and faculty on constructing solid general education plans and enhancing skills in writing and student learning outcomes, as well as curricula mapping.

“Assessment is valued by University administration, and faculty are encouraged to be involved in universitywide assessment to include the assessment of students in and out of the classroom,” Thomas said. “Academic Affairs, in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, is committed to offering faculty opportunities to enhance general education and educational program offerings.”

The underlying philosophy of the general education program, Thomas asserted, is to help students develop their ability to reason and make ethical choices in today’s social world.

“The general education curriculum is required for all bachelor degree programs in the country,” Thomas stated.  “ASU is pleased to offer a curriculum that fosters and develops knowledge and skills in the areas of critical thinking, mathematics and communication, while stimulating students’ capacities for creativity and innovation.”

According to Thomas, collecting, analyzing and interpreting data supports strategic changes that hold the University accountable to ASU’s students, stakeholders and community.

“It is our posture that a NILOA Coach would advance our institutional efforts in enhancing the learning and support experiences of the University as we continue to move ASU 150 years forward,” Thomas said.