Assessment Brief #101 - Advice from Assessment Award Winners

Assessment Logo: assessment-revision-outcomes

September 2018

Advice from Assessment Award Winners

Last April, Miami University honored the first recipients of the University Assessment Award. Created by the University Assessment Council, this annual award recognizes outstanding contributions, commitments, and efforts that academic and academic support programs have made to their improvement through full-cycle assessment.

The 2018 winners were:

  • The Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering (Jim Kiper and Eric Bachmann) for Outstanding Assessment Activity; and
  • The Department of Finance (Kelly Brunarski) and Department of History (Amanda McVety and Dan Prior) for Most Improved Assessment Activity.

Honorable Mentions were given to the Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry, French & Italian Studies, Microbiology, and Philosophy.

To select the winners, assessment plans and reports from the past three years were reviewed and using these criteria:

  • Clear articulation of assessed learning or other outcomes
  • Clear alignment between outcomes and selected assessment measures
  • Use of multiple measures (direct, indirect)
  • Presentation of collected evidence
  • Involvement of key stakeholders (faculty, staff) in the assessment process
  • Use of assessment results for educational improvement
  • Educational improvement strategies tracked over time

The outstanding and most improved winners receive $1,000, which can be used to advance work on assessment (e.g., consultant, conference, books, or other resources).

Tips from Winners

Dr. Jim Kiper: "No one can know where they are going without knowing where they are and where they have been. The key to assessment is to find an effective method of collecting and analyzing data in a way that is not onerous, that can be done as a matter of course as we teach our classes."

Dr. Daniel Prior: "The undergraduate and graduate programs in History necessarily took very different approaches to improving assessment. The common thread was that the department faculty takes time at least twice a year to learn from our assessment results and work on our goals."

Dr. Amanda McVety: "Revising our assessment plan helped our department to think together about the most important skills that we believe our majors should acquire and how we could do a better job at helping them master them."

Dr. Kelly Brunarski: "I promote meaningful and quality assessment by providing faculty with examples of assessment tools and various methods they can use to close the loop. When many faculty teach the same assessed course, as in the Finance Department, assessment efforts need to be well-communicated and coordinated at the course level. Individuals coordinating assessment efforts need to be informed of previous assessment outcomes so that they can work toward "closing the loop" in a meaningful way. It is vital that everyone understand that assessment is about striving for improvement in student learning outcomes, without judging or ranking classroom performance. Finally, it is important that department assessment plans be updated when course pedagogy changes, so that faculty can follow a plan that is relevant for their courses."

2019 Assessment Award Information

Programs may self-nominate for this award by sending an email to Carolyn Haynes, Associate Provost,, by November 16, 2018. Additionally, members of the University Assessment Council may nominate programs. For self-nominations, departments may submit a one-page memo that explains how the departmental assessment activity meets the selection criteria.