Provost’s Office to Host Assessment Conference

Issue Date: 
January 26, 2015

Pitt’s Office of the Provost will host its third annual Assessment Conference, focusing on best practices for measuring teaching effectiveness. Highlighted at this year’s conference—to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 30 in Pitt’s University Club—will be assessment practices in the School of Nursing, the Katz Graduate School of Business, and the Department of Communication at Pitt-Johnstown. 

Marco Molinaro

The keynote speaker will be Marco Molinaro, director of the iAMSTEM Education Hub, a University of California, Davis, program committed to assessing and improving teaching in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses.

Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson leads an ongoing culture of assessment that is critical to the University’s commitment to excellence. 

“Pitt’s annual assessment conference provides an opportunity for us to reflect on our assessment practices, and learn from others who consider assessment an essential part of improvement in higher education,” said Juan J. Manfredi, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “I look forward to the presentations and discussions that this year’s focus on teaching effectiveness will inspire, and to the conference contributing to Pitt’s ongoing effort to advance student learning.” 

The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast and a welcome from Provost Beeson followed by Molinaro’s talk at 9:00 a.m. In his lecture titled “Improving Student Outcomes Through Evidence-Based Actions,” Molinaro will discuss ways to identify patterns in student performance and potential action points, ways to monitor instructional outcomes and intervention effectiveness, and specific approaches and results of instructional innovations in large science classes. 

From 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., there will be three simultaneous breakout presentations examining aspects of undergraduate and graduate program assessment at Pitt. A wrap-up discussion will follow lunch. 

Presentations will be made by Kathryn Puskar, Pitt associate dean for undergraduate education, School of Nursing; Patty Wharton-Michael, cochair of Pitt-Johnstown’s communication department; and Dennis Galletta, professor and doctoral program director, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Moderating the discussions will be Manfredi; Janet Grady, Pitt-Johnstown vice president for academic affairs; and Alberta Sbragia, vice provost for graduate studies.

Lunch and a recap of the program assessments will occur from 12:30 until 2:00 p.m. In addition, resources and an annual timeline for assessment at Pitt will be discussed. Presenters will be Joe Horne, director for instructional services, Pitt’s Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education, as well as Vice Provosts Manfredi and Sbragia.

Members of the Pitt community may register for the conference at