Proposal success, participant response, and student outcomes inform our center programs and expansion

Shanna Shaked, UCLA Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences

The UCLA Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (CEILS) evaluates its services in a variety of ways, ranging from tracking faculty interest and participation to formal assessment of education initiatives of which CEILS takes part. These tend to involve aspects of faculty development and instructional innovation.

The institution (UCLA) provides support for core staff and center operations; however, to maintain the entrepreneurial aspects of its mission, CEILS consistently competes for extramural grant funding. Successful awards provide leverage for CEILS to expand resources, including staff. Recognizing the value in our center, our Deans are positioned to request and commit institutional funds to sustain center programming. In this way, administrative leaders in the institution play critical roles as center advocates beyond the disciplines they immediately serve. Such efforts are also important to the credibility of the center for research and teaching faculty in the sciences.

Assessment of CEILS activities and professional development efforts include tracking event attendance and administering surveys. These data help Center leaders determine how to adapt or expand particular activities, modified accordingly to feedback for optimal effectiveness and maximum engagement of faculty. As evidence supporting the efficacy of this assessment methodology, CEILS has observed increasing numbers of faculty attending the annual "Faculty Workshop on Best Practices in STEM Teaching", with over 90 attendees at the most recent workshop in fall 2015, doubling the number of attendees in 2014. Furthermore, participation in weekly journal clubs has steadily increased between 2015 and 2016.

In terms of communication, we have recently started using an email marketing service for CEILS bi-weekly newsletters. This service enables us to track which items are clicked on most and therefore appear to be most appealing to subscribers. This feedback will inform the types of workshops and events CEILS offers to the community.

The last form of assessment CEILS regularly engages in is related to grant proposal reporting functions. Designed to be employed as both formative assessment for faculty as well as program assessment for education projects, we employ a variety of instruments and evaluation techniques. These include concept inventories, student and faculty surveys, and institutional data. Results from these assessments inform the development of future education projects as well as shape the professional development efforts of CEILS in support of the community it serves.


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