CEILS and Institutional Assessment: A Critical Partnership

Jessica Gregg, Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences, UCLA

CEILS was founded a collaborative center for teaching and learning, as reflected in its mission statement: CEILS creates a collaborative community of instructors committed to advancing teaching excellence, assessment, diversity, and scholarship, resulting in the enhancement of student learning experiences in the Life and Physical Sciences at UCLA.

The center physically resides within the part of campus where the science buildings and faculty are located, and serves the life and physical sciences and their multiple departments through proactive efforts to engage its community members in collaborations around teaching innovation. For examples, to further its capacity for professional development, CEILS has established important relationships with campus units such as Partnership UCLA that engage alumni in undergraduate and graduate programs that support career development. Building a culture of assessment around teaching involves CEILS partnerships with two major assessment units on campus, including the Office of Instructional Development (OID) Center for Education Innovation and the Graduate School of Education's Higher Education Research Institute.

For the purposes of this essay, however, the partnership and collaboration that may be most "critical" as well as beneficial to all parties involved is a close collaboration between CEILS and OID. Through this collaboration, CEILS has been able to leverage a data-driven and evidence-based approach to nearly all aspects of programming. This relationship also allows for collaboration for proposal writing and successful attainment of extramural grants as a source of funding that is shared across departments and programs. CEILS has the ability to approach such proposals with expertise in discipline specific knowledge as well as knowledge on the scholarship of teaching and learning. OID and the assessment office has access to institutional-wide data as well as the skills to construct measurement instruments for specific programs and interventions, gather feedback, and interpret findings. These two skillsets in collaboration have proven exceptionally valuable to bring to light some of the issues that need to be addressed and better supported for the faculty and students in the sciences. To be clear, while some of the proposals are intended to provide funding to CEILS, CEILS also serves as a collaborator on proposals across the university - which additionally fosters good will, strengthens the reputation of CEILS as a collaborative center, and positions CEILS to be more likely to be included as a collaborated in projects spearheaded by other departments.


Center Profile: Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences - UCLA