Recapping the IUPUI Assessment Institute

As always, attending any conference causes a brain overload, and this year’s Assessment Institute was no exception. Thank goodness for my colleagues who can share the load of joining a variety of sessions. In this blog I will chip away at the large amount of information that I attained, and share it with you. But first let me recap where I’ve been and what has been happening.

The past two years have been busy as the faculty have been tip-toeing, walking, stumbling, and eventually confidently sauntering down the road to assessment. It all began with the Phased Assessment Plan which guided the faculty in adopting our Leadership Model and connecting course goals and objectives to the five leadership principles and their corresponding objectives.

Assessment Phased Plan Graphic

The curriculum mapping phase was a bit difficult, but that was to be expected with this particular faculty. The great thing was that everyone wanted to learn and understand what curriculum mapping was and what it could do. At first, it took a bit of time to generate understanding that each course does NOT cover each and every leadership objective. The phrase “One Course MBA” was coined, and eventually understanding of curriculum mapping was achieved! One of the greatest results of this process was generating cross-discipline conversations, which are on going. In a future post, I will go through the mapping process, and talk about how we got the faculty on board.

Which brings me back to the IUPUI conference, and something that I learned about curriculum mapping. And that is that I need to consider the curriculum map a LIVING document. Never is a map “one and done”, but rather, much like construction in Chicago, it is on going and never ending.

A curriculum map should contain the depth of not only the program (course level), but dig into each individual course, into each individual assignment, and even into each learning objective for each session of the term. Doing this can illustrate the big picture of the program, but also give the course teams insight as to what is taught when, and they will have the opportunity to drill down into individual topics and how they are taught. Sharing this information not only provides continuity and greater understanding of the material, but it will generate conversations to ultimately increase the rigor of the course and curriculum. Win-win-win! Students win because they will learn important concepts that will be applicable immediately; faculty win because they are continuously improving what and how they teach; and administration wins because it now becomes easy to show how the loop is closed.

Sounds like a boat load of work. But wait! Here’s the best part: at the beginning of this process, we created a template that asked the faculty to list out their current objectives, connect those to the leadership objectives, and list out what assignments achieved these objectives. Even though I would like to claim that I originally planned for this, the truth is that I was not sure how to connect all of the information that I knew I wanted to the ultimate output of the curriculum map. But now I do. That is the value of an academic conference, where a gathering of people who have done what you need to do like to share. And in the spirit of sharing, I will pay that forward. Contact me if you would like to see a sample of the templates we used, and for ideas on how to use the template for your own unique mapping project.

Thank you to all of the presenters.