“100% of why I think we have continued to make progress and were not stagnate is because of the faculty.” Dr. Irma O’Dell is a senior associate director for academic affairs and associate professor of leadership studies. O’Dell came to Kansas State University about 15 years ago. When she first arrived she worked for Linda Thurston for two years. And then joined the Staley School of Leadership Studies, which is where she is now, going on her 13 years a Kansas State University.
O’Dell recalled the memories of when she first came to the Staley School and learned that there were 16 student learning outcomes, which she thought was a little much. She also recalled that there were several per class and then after some time and talking they decided that they needed to make some adjustments. “It’s been a process,” O’Dell stated. They did not reduce their student learning outcomes overnight, it happened over time.
The Staley school make O’Dell very proud because they not only want to interact with their students, but they also want them to use their leadership skills and talents to make a difference. “That’s something we’re really proud of, and in order to do that we create partnerships with not only individuals on campus, but also individuals in the community as well as the surrounding community.”
The faculty is a contributing factor to the success of the school. “We would not have these SLOs (student learning outcomes) or SDOs (student development outcomes) without the faculty.” O’Dell said that even though she’s the one that’s gathering the information and putting it together, they’re the ones that deliver in the classroom.
The Tilford Multi-Cultural Competencies define Knowledge Learning as Awareness and understanding needed to live and work in a diverse world. Knowledge of:
- Cultural Self — The ability to understand one’s ethnic identity and how it influences identity development.
- Diverse Ethnic Groups — Knowledge of diverse ethnic groups and their cultures.
- Social/Political/Economic/Historical Frameworks — Awareness of how social, political, economic and historical issues impact race and ethnic relations in the world.
- Changing Demographics — Understanding population dynamics related to ethnic minority and majority citizens.
- Diversity Implications for Career — Understanding how diversity impacts the academic discipline, career and professional development.
Too often data from assessments of General Education Outcomes (knowledge, oral and written communication, critical thinking, diversity, professional integrity) are ignored or simply not used other than proving the assessment was done. Kansas State University expects programs to define how the undergraduate learning outcomes align and are demonstrated by students in their programmatic area. Assessment results are collected annually and should be reviewed by programs demonstrating competency that is foundational for many programmatic expectations. A number of programs have used assessment results to transform their curriculum to enhance these important skills. The Office of Assessment can assist programs in using their data to understand student needs and discover what it can mean for teaching and learning.
The purpose of assessment is not administering an assessment task and measure, but analyzing, reporting, and making decisions that could lead to improvement. Again, if faculty are using course-embedded assessments, they’re already collecting evidence. Be sensitive to the extra work of aggregating, analyzing, and reporting. Do all you can to keep the burden of this extra work to a bare-bones minimum and make everyone’s jobs as easy possible.