Recap and Resources of Barbara Walvoord Workshops

June 21, 2013

Writer: Hayden Coombs

Dr. Barbara Walvoord, professor emerita at the University of Notre Dame and author of Assessment Clear and Simple, was on campus for faculty presentations on Thursday, June 6th, and Friday, June 7th, 2013. Dr. Walvoord first met with College Deans and Department Chairs on Thursday, then with the general faculty at a luncheon and a meeting about grading and classroom assessment on Friday.

Alan Dutson, who is serving as the Director of Academic Outcomes and Assessment, coordinated with Dr. Walvoord on the Thursday meeting. He explained that Dr. Walvoord's focus was primarily on establishing program level outcomes and assessments. He said, "Many departments already have program level outcomes, but these workshops provided guidance in establishing meaningful assessment plans and making existing assessment plans more effective."

Dr. Walvoord also encouraged the BYU-Idaho faculty to look forward to the accreditation process as a chance to engage with colleagues in a discussion about the quality of our work.  She emphasized the need for all faculty members to be able to identify program outcomes, to be informed regarding assessment plans and findings, and to be ready to discuss links between program and university-level outcomes.

To assist the deans and chairs with that education and to promote faculty awareness of these issues, all are invited to visit the newly enhanced Outcomes & Assessment website.  A number of short video clips from interviews with BYU-Idaho faculty members add personal perspective to the information available on the website.

During the General Faculty Meeting Luncheon on Friday, Dr. Walvoord pointed out that faculty are already doing a significant amount of classroom assessment. Using two case studies, Dr. Walvoord demonstrated that by paying more attention to the information collected, faculty can enhance student learning and make classroom time more efficient. With a limited amount of time, each member of the faculty needs pertinent information to make informed decisions on learning in classrooms.

Dr. Walvoord discussed issues around effective grading a final workshop held Friday afternoon. In this session Dr. Walvoord addressed issues such as effective rubrics, grade inflation, meaningful feedback, and establishing grade criteria.

Videos of the Friday meetings can be found on this Learning & Teaching workshop page.