Accreditation director presents at Higher Learning Commission meeting
Larry Peterson, director of accreditation, assessment and academic advising, presented at two sessions at the Higher Learning Commission’s annual meeting in Chicago, April 5-9.
Peterson’s “Strategies for Assessing General Education Outcomes within Disciplinary Capstones” won the best paper prize for the theme Assessing and Improving Student Learning. The paper was co-written with Joan Hawthorne, director of assessment and regional accreditation at the University of North Dakota, and Matt Smith, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Ind.
The writers focused on general education program outcomes within disciplinary capstones which can be a valuable source of artifacts for assessment because they offer a number of advantages, including the ability to motivate students’ “best work” from which faculty can draw information about student learning that is meaningful to individual departments.
Peterson’s second presentation and paper, “Authentically Assessing Liberal Education Outcomes in Two and Four Year-Degrees” was co-written with Michael Gress, director of institutional effectiveness at Vincennes University, and Cory Lock, dean of university programs at St. Edward’s University. The paper summarized the major findings of a two-year, nine-institution project investigating how campuses used authentic assessments that did not lower expectations simply because they need to generate data, perhaps even quantitative data, for accountability reports.
Both presentations were based on an Association for General and Liberal Studies project that included two community colleges, a private professional college, three church-affiliated colleges or universities and three public research universities. The project was partially funded by the Lumina Foundation to identify, document and evaluate ways of assessing student learning at the about-to-graduate levels of liberal learning. Peterson and Susan Ray-Degges, associate professor of interior design, co-wrote one of the chapters in the resulting volume, “Judgments of Quality: Connecting Faculty Best Assessment with Student Best Work.”
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.