The description of our workshop "What to Expect When You're Assessing" is:
This workshop is intended for faculty and administrators who have responsibility for administering assessment activities at the program, department, or higher level. Through hands-on activities, participants will learn essential skills for supervision of the whole assessment cycle, including good reporting, tips for data analysis, avoiding assessment pitfalls, good practices with tools like rubrics and curriculum maps, as well as management approaches to get the best out of your team using calendars, policies, and institutional readiness assessment. The workshop is appropriate for those with little assessment experience as well as those who would like to further develop their existing practices to create sustainable and meaningful assessment programs.
The reason for offering the workshop is to help institutions grow their own expertise in leading assessment processes. Because gaining trust of faculty and administrators within the organization is so important, it's a good strategy to find someone who already has that trust and teach them about assessment rather than hiring an assessment expert from outside who then has to win everyone's trust.
I asked the ASSESS-L email list for their "Must-knows for a new assessment coordinator" (thanks to Katy Hill, Sean A McKitrick, and Rhonda A. Waskeiwicz for their responses). The results were interesting for a noticeable dearth of technical items, and an emphasis on political and personal skills, some of which actually de-emphasize technical knowledge, including:
- It's okay for things to not be perfect.
- One has to 'suspend disbelieve' at times with regard to rigor
The lists are insightful, and have helped me think about the one-day program we're putting together. Roughly, it's about one half technical stuff:
- The basic idea of assessment loops
- Common terms and what they mean in practice
- How to write good reports
- Use of rubrics and curriculum maps
- Data analysis and presentation
- Appreciative inquiry
- Responding to specific challenges (this was a topic on ASSESS-L too)
- Setting expectations
- Assessing institutional readiness
- Working with other groups on campus (e.g. faculty senate, center for teaching and learning)
- Administrative buy-in
- What software tools can do and what they can't do
I welcome comments or suggestions. More materials will be forthcoming.
Edit: In addition to the ASSESS-L archive, there is a wonderful site Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment hosted by University of North Carolina and maintained by Ephraim Schechter, a familiar name in assessment circles. That page is a familiar open window on my browser, and an essential bookmark for anyone interested in assessment.