University Assessment Panel

Notes from Meeting of
October 17, 2003

The second meeting of the University Assessment Panel (UAP) for the 2003-2004 academic year was held on Friday, October 17, 2003, at 10:00 a.m. in Lowden Hall 304.


Cassidy called the meeting to order, and introduced Joyce Rossi, the new Assessment Services secretary.

Barnard advised the panel that the Fall Issue of Toolkit has been sent out.  Future issues will include: links to informative websites, an article on embedded assessments, a column on FAQs, 60 second interviews, and other features.  Panel should give suggestions and ideas for Toolkit to Barnard.  Barnard asked panel members to share Toolkit with others in their department. It is currently sent to directors, chairs, curricular deans, the Council of Deans, departmental assessment contacts, and members of the UAP, APC and CITC.

The Higher Learning Commission site team will be on campus Feb. 23-25. The members of the team are from the Midwest and none are from Illinois.  Cassidy will participate in a conference call with the team leader on 20 October.  The goal is to have the self-study ready for distribution to the team members before the university closes for winter break. The Northern Star was contacted about placing an article soliciting students’ input to the self-study draft that is available on the intranet site. The deadline for comments from the university community is 31 October.
Emmett asked Cassidy what is the correct name of the accreditation body.  She said some people on campus did not recognize the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and referred to the North Central Association (NCA).  Cassidy advised that it is the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and should be referred to as the HLC.

Review of Self-Study Chapters

The panel engaged in an extended discussion of the introduction and the chapters of history and mission and governance and planning. Numerous recommendations were made for condensing information, focusing more on current history, addressing the impact of technology and the changing characteristics of students on the university’s mission, and highlighting what the university does well and its statement of mission, among others. Specific recommendations made by the panel will be forwarded to Jan Rintala by Cassidy. Panel members were also encouraged to submit their comments from the website.
PEW Project Update

The university is participating in a pilot project funded by the PEW Charitable Trusts and coordinated in the state by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Data will be collected from 1998 alumni and 7th semester students currently enrolled. Barnard explained that the survey will ask questions about students’ college level learning and attitude. Participants will be solicited to participate via email, and the surveys of the students will be conducted on November 13 & 14. The PEW grant has funding to help defray the costs of contacting students and alumni and for giving students incentives to participate.  There will be five $100 prizes awarded to participants.

Rose-Hulman Project

Barnard advised the panel that this grant proposal is being developed to fund a project to test a software program that was developed for an electronic portfolio.  NIU was chosen to be part of the pilot project, which focuses on students enrolled in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. The grant will provide funding for training on the use of the software. NIU will have use of the software for agreeing to participate in the project.

Other Business

Elisa Fredericks, a professor in the Department of Marketing, held 15 focus groups to see what students felt about general education classes, and she received very positive feedback.  Fredericks video taped the sessions and prepared a 15 minute presentation.  Cassidy asked Barnard to contact her about giving a presentation to the UAP.

The meeting was adjourned.  The next meeting of the UAP will be November 7, 2003 in Lowden Hall 304.