Messiah University named to 2020 Class of Excellence in Assessment Designees

Messiah University named to 2020 Class of Excellence in Assessment Designees

A badge saying "Excellence in Assessment Designee."

Messiah University was recently named as one of just twelve members of the 2020 Class of Excellence in Assessment Designees, a national program aimed at recognizing colleges and universities conducting comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes as a means to drive internal improvement and advance student success. The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation is the first national designation of its kind, spotlighting institutions that successfully integrate assessment practices across the institution, providing evidence of student learning, and using assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance.

According to the program, Messiah University benefits greatly from clear, vocal and persistent support of assessment efforts from institutional leadership. For instance, Messiah has achieved great strides in advancing assessment, including important updates to assessment policies which codified their increased commitment to learning outcomes assessment. Additionally, Messiah’s Assessment Office regularly hosts trainings where assessment of student learning is supported through the teaching and learning office. Because of these investments, the Messiah community is able to engage more meaningfully with evidence of learning and use that evidence to make improvements in teaching, assessment and curricula.

The designation was created to acknowledge on a national level the important work colleges and universities are doing through comprehensive assessment activities and to highlight those practices so other institutions can draw upon them to inform their own efforts. As part of the application process, colleges and universities were asked not just to detail the specific assessment activities they’ve undertaken, but also the reason why such efforts are a priority for them. The designees needed to demonstrate how aligned processes, building from course-based assessment, foster a coherent, collaborative approach to assessing student learning.

“Learning outcomes assessment is truly a campus-wide initiative, and the award belongs to our entire community,” said Kate Oswald Wilkins, Ph.D., professor of communication, assistant dean of general education and common learning and director of assessment at Messiah University. Effective assessment takes collaboration from the faculty level all the way up through administration, and it includes general education, academic departments, and the student success and engagement division. “I feel so fortunate to work with faculty and staff who care deeply about student learning, and chairs, deans and provosts who are willing to support the Assessment Office toward advancing large scale assessment goals,” Wilkins added. “Special thanks also go out to Assistant Director of Assessment Susan Donat and former Graduate Assistant Nathan Reese for all their hard work.”

The EIA Designations are directly linked to NILOA’s Transparency Framework. More information on the designation can be found on the EIA Designation web page.