Kansas State University


Office of Assessment

Faculty Spotlight: Greg Eiselein

Professor EiseleinGreat ideas can often come from the strangest of situations. For Dr. Greg Eiselein, Donnelly Professor of English and Director of K-State First, the idea for a first-year experience program came about while working on the first task force for the K-State 8. One of the conclusions this task force made was that creation of a first-year experience program would be beneficial for new students. Several faculty members and administrators liked the concept and began meeting unofficially to discuss ideas and implementation.

Provost April Mason encouraged their work, which started with a pilot study to demonstrate the positive impact that a program like this could have. “From the very beginning of the first-year experience program, K-State First was committed to assessment,” said Eiselein. “We decided from the get go that assessment would be the foundation of everything we did.”

What resulted was K-State First, the University’s first-year experience program, which was launched six years ago and has had already some impressive results. Eiselein said that the four main areas of measurable success have been: higher retention rates from freshman to sophomore year, graduation rates and improved time to degree, higher overall GPA, and a greater level of student engagement.

Most importantly, said Eiselein, students are excited about the courses they are taking and excited about college itself. This has led to high engagement rates, with 84 percent of students reporting having an “excellent teacher” and 68 percent having an “excellent course” in the fall of 2016.

The student learning outcomes used to assess the success of the program are critical thinking, communication, community building, and application of learning. According to the K-State First website, these courses “have been developed and organized for students to achieve maximum success during their first-year.”

Departmental collaboration has been a key to the program’s success. Working with other departments to continue to engage first-year students in exciting courses is something many professors have been eager to assist with, said Eiselein.

Just six years after its implementation, this great idea continues to grow, as K-State First engages first-year students and prepares them for a great college experience.

For more information on the assessment methods used for K-State First, please click here.

Plan to Attend “Designing Rubrics to Teach Critical Thinking”

The K-State Teaching & Learning Center has recently named 2017 as the Year of Critical Thinking. In keeping with these efforts, the Office of Assessment will host the second critical thinking event of March, “Designing Rubrics to Teach Critical Thinking.” This workshop will be led by the Office of Assessment’s Director, Fred Burrack and will take place on March 15th and 16th (repeat session) from 3-4 p.m. in Room 209 at the Union.


Critical Thinking in the context of an assignment or within a discipline is an expectation in most courses and programs. This session will explore how to assess student demonstrations of traits associated with critical thinking and provide examples of rubrics that can be adapted for a variety of assessment tasks. Participants will consider how students demonstrate critical thinking within their courses and programs and connect them to rubric design choices that enable authentic assessment of critical thinking.

More information can be found at the Office of Assessment events page and Twitter. To become a part of the critical thinking work at K-State, please plan to attend this event and engage on social media with the hashtag #MarchTowardCriticalThinking.

The event is free and no registration is required.

Multiple Choice Tests for Critical Thinking Workshop Video Now Available

On February 16, the Office of Assessment sponsored “Designing Multiple Choice Assessments for Critical Thinking” workshop in Bluemont Hall. This event was led by Warren White, Professor of Special Education and Director of Assessment in the College of Education.

This workshop was a part of the Year of Critical Thinking, an effort led by the Teaching and Learning Center. You can learn more about this endeavor here.

You can view the workshop below. We hope you enjoy and will continue to be a part of the Year of Critical Thinking.

Faculty Spotlight: Don Kurtz

Dr. Don Kurtz, associate professor of social work, is no stranger to the work of assessment. At the start of his day, he had already had a meeting with faculty on evaluative measures.

The environment in the social work program is a collaborative one. “All of our professors are committed to (evaluation),” said Kurtz. Many in the program, including Kurtz, have taken on AAC&U VALUE Rubrics, available here. Kurtz has used the rubrics in a variety of ways: to monitor discussion boards, by adapting them to assess a written assignment, and to save time. Especially in large, online courses, Kurtz said the benefits of rubrics are extremely advantageous.

Continue reading “Faculty Spotlight: Don Kurtz”

New Office of Assessment Video Highlights Importance of Faculty Work

K-State’s Division of Communications and Marketing has recently created an informational video of the Office of Assessment you can view here.

This video contains faculty testimonies and the resources available at the Office of Assessment. Many will recognize the familiar faces on campus; professors from the College of Human Ecology, Journalism and Mass Communications, and K-State Polytechnic all make an appearance.

Additionally, the video highlights the value of the assessment work that programs are currently doing. In benefiting the department, assessment work also brings K-State closer to the 2025 goal.

We hope you enjoy the video and will check out our Twitter and blog page for more examples of faculty work in assessment.

Celebrate the New Year and Say #YesToAssess

K-State’s Division of Communications and Marketing has recently compiled faculty testimonies and the resources available at the Office of Assessment into a promotional video you can view here.

In celebrating the new year, the Office of Assessment has also taken time to reflect on the work accomplished in 2016 to further the goals of the K-State community.

Continue reading “Celebrate the New Year and Say #YesToAssess”

Plan to Attend the Annual Faculty Exchange for Teaching Excellence Workshop

The Teaching and Learning Center and Faculty Exchange for Teaching Excellence will present “Teaching Critical Thinking to College Students within the Logic of One’s Own Discipline.” on January 27th. The annual teaching workshop is designed to examine critical thinking and how it is used in higher education.

Fred Burrack, Director of Assessment, will begin the day with a brief presentation on what we know about Critical Thinking at K-State. Dr. Gerald Nosich, author of Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across Curriculum is the main workshop speaker.

Registration is open. This event will take place Friday, January 27 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Alumni Center. We hope to see you there!