Dr. Spencer Baker
Dr. Spencer Baker

Institutional Assessment

The Hampton University Comprehensive Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes Program provides information generated by each academic department, describing program improvement plans. Activities include a review of the current planning and assessment systems to provide reliable and valid feedback on student learning outcomes as well as an assessment of senior majors (including student learning outcomes, opinion surveys of educational programs, instruction, and post-graduation plans). To establish a comprehensive assessment program, three goals were initiated. These goals were the establishing and measuring minimum student essential competencies, identifying and measuring specific intended student learning outcomes at the program level, and the development of faculty to understand the necessity of change to a focus on student learning.

The first goal was to link each course objectives to Departmental objectives; link learner activities to course objectives; link student competencies to learner activities; and, link evaluation measurement to student competencies. This goal was to identify student minimum essential competencies to each undergraduate level; freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. The goal was not only by major but a specific task force established these same procedures for general education requirements. For each department or program, an Assessment Facilitator was identified and became the focal point for development. This process was captured in a matrix.

The second goal was establishing specific student intended learning outcomes and the measurement of both the minimum student essential outcomes and specific intended learning outcomes. During the fall semester of 2005, the Provost established a University goal of determining student competencies in promoting learning, building of character, and preparation of promising students for positions of leadership and service. This goal was aligned with the University’s mission statement to address the problem of “How do we know that we are academically preparing students to meet Hampton University’s mission?”. This goal had three strategic objectives with timelines. To implement this goal, guidelines were established for developing syllabi with specific instructional goals and objectives with measurable specific intended student learning outcomes.

The third goal of faculty development is accomplished through continuous education. This was accomplished through using an established team, the Center for Teaching Excellence. In order to reach all faculty, the Center for Teaching Excellence developed seminars and workshops for bi-annual faculty institutes, new faculty workshops, and bi-annual meetings of adjunct faculty. These sessions covered topics associated with teaching, technology, research, and measurement of student learning outcomes. Workshops were developed on how to create a syllabus, how to develop general instructional goals with specific intended student learning outcomes, and how to incorporate technology into the classroom.

As the Institutional Assessment Coordinator, Dr. Baker assists departmental assessment facilitators with training in assessment of student learning outcomes, analysis, development and alignment of curricula, development of outcome-oriented objectives, use of classroom research techniques, analysis of learning objectives according to Bloom's Taxonomy of cognitive and affective functioning, and with methods to motivate department colleagues to become actively involved in measurement of student learning outcomes and improvement of instructional skills.