Assessment - English and Journalism

Outcomes assessment

Faculty in the English and journalism division have been busy implementing assessment plans, collecting data and writing mini-grants.

Diane Davis, associate professor and chair of the English assessment committee, described how their first major assessment project focused on student learning outcome 3, “Communicate effectively through the clear and accurate use of language” in seven developmental writing courses. Faculty were interested in looking at the transition that occurred between paragraph-to-essay-level writing. A committee of faculty with substantial experience in developmental writing courses devised a rubric that assessed four areas deemed appropriate: content, organization, style and mechanics. Maureen Fitzpatrick, professor and English assessment committee member, explained that data was collected in spring 2010 and scored by committee members in fall 2010. They are now analyzing and asking important questions based on the data.

Davis and Fitzpatrick, along with the English assessment committee, planned a retreat for faculty in April that provided an opportunity for English faculty to meet and discuss ongoing assessment projects and brainstorm new projects that would reflect the interests of multiple areas. Davis and Fitzpatrick were awarded an outcomes assessment mini-grant to fund the retreat.

Davis said, “Assessing student writing is incredibly labor intensive, even more so in the context of developing appropriate and relevant assessment measures. I’m proud of this committee and their dedication to meaningful assessment, and I’m fortunate to work with such talented and hardworking colleagues.”

In the journalism department, Mark Raduziner, professor and chair, described how faculty are on their second cycle of outcomes assessment. Their project was jump-started with the aid of an outcomes assessment mini-grant. Raduziner, along with Molly Baumgardner, adjunct associate professor, and Corbin Crable, adjunct assistant professor, were awarded an outcomes assessment mini-grant in fall 2010. The funds were used to purchase flip cameras that were used in journalism courses to assess four student learning outcomes. With the advent of “backpack journalism,” students must learn to write, photograph and shoot video to find successful careers in the ever-changing media industry. Baumgardner described how they developed a rubric to assess specific student learning outcomes such as outcome 8, “Use technology efficiently and responsibly.” Crable expressed the importance of not only the technological literacy but also the ethical use of the devices that are required in the journalism field today.

They have since submitted a second mini-grant application and were awarded funds to purchase additional flip cameras for the department. Raduziner’s plan is to incorporate photography and video technology into all journalism courses. He planned two workshops for department faculty; staff in the Educational Technology Center trained journalism faculty on the use of the flip cameras in April.