Provost’s Conference Will Assess Methods For Measuring Teaching Effectiveness

Issue Date: 
January 19, 2016

Pitt’s Office of the Provost will hold its fourth annual Assessment Conference on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the University Club. Provost Patricia E. Beeson, who is also a Pitt senior vice chancellor, has established an ongoing culture of assessment within the University that focuses on best practices for measuring teaching effectiveness.

Joan HawthorneThis year’s keynote speaker will be Joan Hawthorne, director of assessment and regional accreditation at the University of North Dakota (UND). Her address is titled “Making Assessment Useful: Principles to Guide Planning.”

“Pitt’s annual assessment conference is a welcome opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to advancing educational excellence, and to consider the best ways of acting on this commitment. This year’s conference is particularly important as the University prepares for its Periodic Review Report, a rigorous process of self-evaluation that places a high priority on assessment,” said Juan Manfredi, Pitt’s vice provost for undergraduate studies.

The conference will begin with breakfast at 8:30 a.m., followed by the keynote address, breakout sessions, lunch, and a wrap-up session, ending at 2 p.m. 

The three simultaneous breakout presentations will address facets of undergraduate- and graduate-program assessment at Pitt. The presentation on undergraduate assessment, “Assessing Student Engagement via the Outside of the Classroom Curriculum in the College of Business Administration,” will be presented by the College of Business Administration’s Audrey Murrell, associate dean, and Derek McDonald, manager of administrative operations. The discussion will be moderated by Manfredi.

The session, “Using Assessment, Evaluation, and Research in Student Affairs: From Theory to Practice,” will be presented by Philip Badaszewski, assistant director of academic initiatives, Pitt’s Office of Residence Life. It will be moderated by Kenyon Bonner, Pitt’s interim vice provost and dean of students. 

The third breakout session, “Blending Student Assessment with Program Assessment: Examples from the Graduate School of Public Health,” will be led by the Graduate School of Public Health’s Eleanor Feingold, professor of human genetics and biostatistics and associate dean for education, as well as Martha Terry, assistant professor of behavioral and community health sciences. Vice Provost for Graduate Studies Alberta Sbragia will moderate the session.

Lunch and a recap session will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Joe Horne, director for instructional services, Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education, will also discuss resources and the annual timeline for assessment at Pitt. 

Keynote speaker Hawthorne establishes assessment oversight policies and practices in conjunction with UND’s University Assessment Committee. She has developed and taught a number of UND classes, including its first graduate course on assessment in higher education. She is an assessment mentor for the Higher Learning Commission’s Assessment Academy, and a member of the board for the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education and the North Dakota General Education Council.