Institute for Teaching & Learning

2012 CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning Summer Institute

2012 CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning Summer Institute

Long Beach in the summer is the destination for beach-goers, vacationers and faculty looking to tune up their teaching skills. From June 25 – 27, The CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning held its Summer Institute, providing workshops addressing tools for program level general education assessment.

Figure. 1. Participants discussing performance tasks.

The Institute workshops addressed topics identified by the participants in the October 2011 General Education Symposium as tools which would be useful and important in the general education assessment action plans developed by their campus teams at the Symposium.  These tools were: instruments to assess critical thinking; rubric design and implementation at the program level, and; application of ePortfolios to program level assessment.

Teams from 15 CSU campuses and a Project Compass team with membership drawn from three community colleges attended the Institute, totaling 70 faculty and three administrators. From the introductions and keynote address on the importance of general education assessment as an academic program and strategies to achieve that goal (Gail Evans, San Francisco State University) on Monday night, through the closing workshop on Wednesday afternoon, the teams were engaged by experts in: developing performance tasks to assess critical thinking skills (Marc Chun, Hewlett Foundation and recently of Council for Aid to Education); program level rubric design and implementation (Mary Allen, Professor Emerita, CSU Bakersfield) and: ePortfolios in program level assessment (Ruth Cox and Maggie Beers, San Francisco State University).

The Institute drew two distinguished guests from the California State University. Participating in workshops was Bernadette Cheyne, faculty representative to the California State University Board of Trustees and Professor of Theater Arts at Humboldt State University. In addition to her participation, she also provided opening remarks to the participants about the importance of understanding the effectiveness of instruction in ensuring that student achievement meets our expectations.


Figure. 2. Trustee Bernadette Cheyne

The Chair of the Academic Senate of the CSU, Diana Wright Guerin, spoke to the participants of the importance of academic governance in the CSU to assure that faculty set the standards for quality of our academic programs.

What Stuck? Observations and recollections from participants prompted by the following three questions on the Summer Institute evaluation. 

One idea (or more) that I want to remember from the Institute is…

  • Realistic assessment programs don’t need to sample every student, or even a very large quantity of students
  • Keep general education assessment simple and straightforward
  • Get buy-in and involvement from the general education instructors
  • Assess general education (and for that matter, major education) using a variety of approaches, including signature assignments, rubrics, and eFolios
  • How to make rubrics more simple while maintaining their value; the need to consider portfolios for student employment needs and not just assessment
  • Assess general education (and for that matter, major education) using a variety of approaches, including signature assignments, rubrics, and eFolios
  • A necessary precondition for general education program level assessment is that general education be a program, rather than a collection of courses
  • Critical thinking performance task assessment design components

One way (or more) that I can use what I learned from the Institute is…

  • Have many great tools to share with faculty regarding rubrics and performance tasks; have new language to share with chairs regarding consideration of portfolios
  • Gain ideas of how to get faculty to buy-in
  • Become involved in the leadership of the general education assessment program on my campus
  • What I learned from the Rubric workshop can be very helpful to assist the develop the rubrics for general education program assessment; and the tips shared by Mary are available (how to select faculty team to conduct assessment; how to calibrate the readers to increase the reliability of assessment, etc.)
  • Getting our team to draft general education learning outcomes and shop them out to colleges
  • Strategic planning for general education assessment on my campus and performance tasks in my class
  • To continue to enhance my courses so that there are clear steps from the beginning of the course to outcomes
  • Ensuring consistency between my course goals and learning outcomes, volunteer to be involved in assessment, and offer assessment advice that does not encroach upon the academic freedoms of faculty

 Something I would like to learn more about is…

  • Successful (not in development) methods for program assessment
  • Pros and cons of different ways to organize general education assessment (on a campus-wide level)
  • Obtain the best practice from other campuses regarding their general education program and program assessment
  • I also want to learn more about the campus projects that support the collaboration between the community colleges and the CSU campuses
  • Vendors, costs of ePortfolios, and assessment of performance tasks
  • I was hoping to see the actual practical side of using and evaluating using rubrics. As well as assessing general education across the disciplines. I wanted to see the actual process of how an institution has evaluated general education classes. I was very disappointed by the fact that we had people talk a good game framed in the theoretical- I would have preferred an institution to step up and say that they tried using an evaluation method and show us how they started and ended
  • Implementation details of successful general education assessment programs.  Actual example assignments in different programs, rubrics used and how they were scored
  • e-portfolios, especially the Moodle plug-in
  • Convincing faculty that assessment of general education outcomes is important
  • Developing baccalaureate goals for our institution
  • Follow-up with Mark Chun
  • Effective processes for organizing general education faculty and the student artifacts
  • Backwards design
  • Rolling out of general education assessment plans, and how to get faculty buy in

 How can ITL improve the Summer Institute for next year?

The survey of participants had about a 50% response, and several trends were apparent. Among the observations were that there was insufficient team time planned (considered both useful and important), and as a result, the start and finish times of the Institute may  change. Alternatives for evening programming and Institute schedule are being deliberated for the 2013 Summer Institute. The theme of the Institute is also being discussed at the Faculty Development Council and the ITL Advisory Board.

If you would like to provide further input into next year’s Institute please contact the ITL Director.


One response on “2012 CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning Summer Institute

  1. Nice summary of the event, Lee. I toaltly agree that the best part of the event was mixing with teachers. Somehow, it seems even more powerful when you talk with someone who doesn’t speak English as a first language. I can understand your emotion because the language of “teaching” is universal and it comes through loudly and clearly whether in Portugese, Spanish, Chinese, English, …

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