Initial Publication Date: January 16, 2009

Pre-Workshop Assignments: Due February 10


Each participant should submit a short (2 page) essay that describes how you currently assess your department program. If you are feeling on thin ice as to how you assess the program as a whole but feel that you have a particular technique for assessing some particular aspect of your program, you are welcome to focus on just that element.

The goal of the essay is to provide examples and help to others (at the workshop and beyond) as they work on their own program evaluations, so valuable aspects of this description would include
  • a strong description of what you are doing
  • a discussion of why you are doing things this way, for example
    • how the assessments help you learn about specific high priority departmental goals,
    • how the design fits in with institution wide programs or addresses specific challenges at the institution,
    • how the design overcame logistical or other obstacles.
  • what is working particularly well (or not).
Please submit your essay by February 10. We will post the essays on the workshop website and as appropriate, incorporate them in the Buildling Strong Departments site materials on program asssessment and evaluation.

Assessment Instruments

One of the time consuming places we often strugle is in creating the actual assessment instruments, items such as senior surveys, alumni surveys, rubrics for evaluating senior research, or classroom assessments that are integrated into the department's overall assessment. There is substantial interest in seeing instruments developed by others as a mechanism for improving the design of new instruments and to reduce the need to reinvent the wheel. Please use the Assessment Instrument Upload to share instruments that are working for your department. In order to help your colleagues make effective use of these instruments, we ask you to provide information on their design, use, and impact, in addition to uploading the instrument itself. Submissions will be made into webpages with an attached file and made widely available via the Building Strong Geoscience Departments website.

Department Mission/Vision Statements, Departmental Goals/Learning Objectives, and Evaluation Plans

We have had a large number of requests for examples of these types of statements. In some cases, they will be most helpful if they are presented as a set so that it is possible to see how the mission or vision statement is reflected in the goals or learning objectives, and how these are in turn assessed in the evaluation. Thus, we provide a single form, Vision, Goals, and Plans Upload where you can upload one or more of these items. Please don't hesitate to upload only one or two of the three items requested, just leave the other fields blank. You may also want to describe the program that you are evaluating. This can be done using the Curriculum Submission Form. Submissions will be made into webpages and made widely available via the Building Strong Geoscience Departments website.

Departmental Review

The external review is one of the primary mechanisms we use to both evaluate our departments success and obtain formative feedback on our departments programs. The instructions that a department gives to an external reviewer can play a critical role in shaping the utility of the feedback the department receives. Please use the External Review Instructions Upload to share these important documents. If you have other documents related to external review that you think would be of value to your colleagues, please use this same form to upload those and provide a description of how you use them in the comment box. Submissions will be made widely available via the Building Strong Geoscience Departments website.

If you have recommendations for other types of collections that would help you better evaluate your department's program please contact Cathy Manduca.