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IU Bloomington Libraries, CITL, and Biology Collaborate to Prepare Future STEM Faculty for Assessment of Student Learning



IU Bloomington Libraries, CITL, and Biology Collaborate to Prepare Future STEM Faculty for Assessment of Student Learning


The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has announced awards to seven universities, including Indiana University, to develop new approaches for enhancing graduate student skills and understanding in the assessment of undergraduate learning. Supported through grants to CGS from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Teagle Foundation, the awardees will integrate learning assessment into programs that prepare graduate students for faculty careers. The University Graduate School will oversee the award for Indiana University, which includes one study on the Bloomington campus with primary investigators Brian Winterman, Information Fluency and Assessment Librarian (IU Bloomington Libraries), Katherine Kearns, Senior Instructional Consultant with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (Indiana University), and Richard Hardy, Associate Professor of Biology at Indiana University.


The collaboration among the investigators will build upon previous successes in engaging science graduate students in course-based learning assessment to explore models for program-level assessment. The graduate students in this project will develop an assessment model with a strong focus on authentic learning to measure STEM learning outcomes at the individual, course, and program levels in Biology. Participating graduate students will facilitate the integration of concepts, exercises, and assessments throughout the undergraduate curriculum, from introductory through advanced biology courses. This model of curriculum development and assessment will be adaptable to a variety of learning outcomes and disciplines, and participating graduate students will regularly communicate results and best practices to students and instructors in other STEM programs at Indiana University and beyond.


The project builds upon the results of a prior partnership with the Teagle Foundation to explore needs and opportunities for the integration of undergraduate learning assessment into PFF programs. “Assessment of student learning is an essential skill for effective teaching, and yet many new faculty are not exposed to useful methods and tools until they are managing the responsibilities of a first job,” noted CGS President Debra W. Stewart. “The awardees and affiliates have shown extraordinary leadership in recognizing this important link between graduate training and successful teaching.”


The CGS project is designed to identify effective institutional models for improving the preparation of future faculty across all fields, while also examining issues specific to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, social sciences, and humanities. CGS will work with partnering institutions to develop their findings into best practice guidelines for integrating assessment into faculty professional development programs such as the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program launched in 1993. Project partners will contribute to a webâ€based clearinghouse of resources on learning assessment. The other institutions selected to receive funding are Cornell University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, University of California – Merced, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.