On Our Own Assessment Terms?


A group of Otis faculty and administrators recently attended the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Academic Resource Conference. The theme for this year’s conference was “As Others See Us: Higher Education 360.” The others, students, parents, policymakers, employers, etc., are increasingly asking for more accountability and transparency about the costs, outcomes, meaning, and integrity of a degree and higher education overall. There seems to be a gap between how we view ourselves and how they see us.
Having recently assumed the duties of Director of Assessment (in addition to being the Liberal Arts Chair), the many panels on assessment, rubrics, curriculum maps, and learning outcomes were useful. It was comforting to know that we had in place a thoughtful structure and plan for assessment, oftentimes ahead of universities far larger than we are, and motivating to see that we need to keep moving forward in a charged, challenging and changing climate.
The most exciting and promising event for me was a meeting of 23 art and design professionals from 10 different institutions who are interested in or doing assessment. We are going to form a consortium to extend the conversation about good assessment practices in creative institutions, and how these might inform and expand assessment practices in general.