Thanks to everyone who made Assessment Week so successful. Upwards of 800 students took the Social Science Assessment, designed by HWC faculty, and with lots of help from committee members and computer lab staff and volunteering faculty and willing, volunteer students and the tremendous leadership (and sacrifice) of Michael Heathfield (he practically lived in the computer lab this week), this semester’s Assessment Week was a tremendous success.
And just in case you’re wondering what Assessment Week is all about and why it matters, I thought I’d throw this piece from the Chronicle out to you.
UMBC specializes in the task that every parent, pundit, and lawmaker in America most wants universities to accomplish: teaching young people to become great scientists and engineers. It may already be better at this than the Ivies and Research I universities that everyone knows.
But without reliable, public assessment information to prove that to the world, UMBC has few ways of elevating its standing to a level that matches the quality of its academic work. Right now, universities’ reputations rest on wealth, fame, and selectivity. UMBC can’t hit up rich alumni for giant donations because it hasn’t existed long enough for many of its alumni to get rich. Starting a big-time sports program is a bad bet, as the scandal-plagued basketball program at Binghamton University, a fellow America East Conference member, shows. If UMBC becomes too selective, it risks sacrificing diversity and its obligations as a public institution. And it will be hard for whoever follows Hrabowski to match his particular talents.
Without a good measuring stick, great public universities can’t prove their greatness.
Thanks to all who contributed toward our efforts to both improve student learning and measure our success at helping students learn.