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HDFS Undergraduate Programs Receives the 2020 Amy Rupiper Taggart Award for Excellence in Program Assessment

Learn more about the Human Development and Family Science department's approach to program assessment.

The Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) undergraduate program was selected for North Dakota State University’s (NDSU) 2020 Amy Rupiper Taggart Award for Excellence in Program Assessment.

The Assessment Award Committee chose the HDFS undergraduate program based on their persistence in implementing a holistic model for program-wide assessment, commitment to continued improvement in assessment techniques through internal and external validation, and the expert execution of a program-level curriculum mapping initiative.

Dr. Joel Hektner, HDFS department chair, said of the department’s assessment efforts, “In the spirit of continuous improvement, we should never really be finished—but we are at a place now where we can reflect on how far we’ve come.” 

The HDFS nomination particularly resonated with the committee because of the department’s passionate involvement in developing skilled and informed undergraduate students. The most impressive efforts of the group centered around the intensive data collection methods and the strategic restructuring of the curriculum. These efforts reflect a deep-rooted commitment to improving instructional quality and individual student experience. The department's efforts of providing continuous evaluation and verification of student learning, thinking, and communication enables students to develop and practice critical thinking skills. Dr. Heather Fuller, who has led the HDFS assessment efforts, stated, “We are honored to receive this award in recognition of our ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness of our undergraduate pedagogy. We have gained tremendous insight into the interconnections among HDFS instructors, students, and alumni and are excited to continually evolve our programs for years to come.”

The Office of Teaching and Learning at NDSU sponsors this award to honor academic programs for documenting and improving assessment effectiveness over time. The award promotes sharing of outstanding program assessment models with the NDSU community. The HDFS undergraduate program received a $1,000 prize to use toward a professional development opportunity of their choice.

The award is named after Dr. Amy Rupiper Taggart, NDSU faculty member and the Office of Teaching and Learning’s associate director, who passed away in 2017. Rupiper Taggart joined the NDSU English Department in 2002 after earning her Ph.D. at Texas Christian University. Rupiper Taggart’s leadership with the National Science Foundation-funded Gateways-ND teacher training project, General Education improvement at NDSU, and the Office of Teaching and Learning embodied her professional passion of improving the education of university students by working with students, faculty, and instructional staff. She was successful in improving student learning through actively engaged pedagogy and robust assessment. Her understanding, grace, and guidance contributed to making NDSU a wonderful, welcoming place to involve students in learning.

Nominations for the 2021 NDSU Amy Rupiper Taggart Award for Excellence in Program Assessment will be accepted January 1 through March 1, 2021. If you know of a program on campus who is doing standout work in the area of assessment, nominate the program for this important award.

The Office of Teaching and Learning’s mission is to create and share best practices to enhance teaching and learning.

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