May 24, 2012

Assessment update: Advisory group works to define a Knox education

About a decade after the current Knox curriculum was set in place, criteria for some of its graduation requirements are now being formulated.

The Curriculum Committee, which approves courses proposed to fulfill Foundations or other graduation requirements like writing and oral presentation, will soon have definitions to use when considering course proposals.

According to Associate Dean of the College Lori Haslem, the committee, along with the Assessment Advisory Group, worked this year to get together with faculty from each of the four Foundations areas and come up with a comprehensive definition and learning goals for each one, a sometimes difficult task.

“You’ve got to get faculty from each of the four areas of campus to kind of sit down and say, ‘Okay, now what do we mean when we say something is a Foundation in the humanities?’” Haslem said. “It was tricky.”

The exact definitions will not be available until sometime during fall term when the Curriculum Committee gives them final approval. Next on the agenda, Haslem said, are the other key competencies, experiential learning and the educational plan.

Haslem said the old courses, for now, will be “grandfathered in” under the new system, and the Curriculum Committee will eventually go back and determine whether those old courses fit the description.

The move to develop these definitions was prompted by a 2009 report from the Higher Learning Commission, and Haslem said most of the assessment efforts since then are geared toward the report due back to the HLC in 2013.

Here are some updates on other assessment efforts around campus:

– Haslem said the new system of yearly reports from each department are underway, but at the May meeting of the faculty, she reminded them that only half of the reports had been turned in after the deadline.

“We’re still trying to get people into thinking that you have to do something every year,” Haslem said. “It’s not like you just think about assessing your program or department when the big review is there. It’s something that you do all the time.”

– The cycle of external reviews for departments and programs is underway. This year, external reviewers scrutinized journalism, classics, music, environmental studies and business. On next year’s schedule are art, mathematics and biology.

– Director of Academic Assessment Leah Adams-Curtis will soon begin writing the report due back to the HLC in 2013.

Charlie Megenity
Charlie Megenity (formerly Gorney) is a senior double majoring in political science and economics. He previously served TKS as managing editor and as co-news editor while working as the weekend reporter for The Galesburg Register-Mail. Over the summer of 2012, Charlie interned in Wisconsin with Patch.com, an online hyperlocal news source, where he covered the August 2012 Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting; he will return to Patch during the summer of 2013. He is also the journalism editor for Catch magazine.. Charlie has received three awards from the Illinois College Press Association for newswriting and design, including a first place award for front page layout. He was the 2013 recipient of the Theodore Hazen Kimble Memorial Award in Journalism for a feature story published in The Knox Student. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post.


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