2020 Assessment Conference

Assessment Conference and Series 2020-2021

Assessment at Ohio State: Community and Conversation, Tools and Techniques

Sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs


Intended Takeaways

  1. Learn

    Learn about the latest tools and assessment strategies employed by experts at Ohio State. Attend Zoom sessions on Nov. 6 and at least one during SP 21, attend a CRISPEE meeting, consult with the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning or the Office of Distance Education and eLearning, or attend one workshop around a tool that supports data collection, analysis or visualization.

  2. Connect

    Build relationships with colleagues across the university working on assessment. Log in to the Carmen course. Join the Teams space.

  3. Engage

    Continue conversations around assessment in the coming weeks and months through regularly scheduled seminars, post to Teams, or set up a virtual coffee hour with a colleague you met at the conference.


Pre-Conference Workshop: Assessment Basics
Thursday, October 29 | 2:30 p.m.
Many faculty members take on a role in program assessment as part of their departmental service. If you are new to assessment or want a refresher, join us for a brief session on the basic process and vocabulary.
Alan Kalish and Teresa Johnson


Time Details  
9:00 a.m.

Welcome and opening remarks
W. Randy Smith, vice provost for academic programs
Bruce A. McPheron, executive vice president and provost

9:20 a.m.

Opening plenary: Assessing the New General Education
Meg Daly

10:30 a.m.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Carmen Assessment Basics
Wendy Bowles, John Muir

Centering Equity and Inclusion in Assessments​
Cindy Xinquan Jiang, Jaqueline Meshelemiah

Using Research to Help STEM Program and Course Assessment
Caroline Breitenberger, Andrew Heckler

11:30 a.m. Break  
12:15 p.m.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Digital Flagship and Technology Strategies for Assessment​
Clayton Funk, Jessica Phillips, Cory Tressler

Assessment as Community Accountability: How Comparative Studies' Graduate Programs Redesign Integrated Assessment to Help Ensure Coordinated Effort Toward a Shared Vision
Melissa Anne-Marie Curley, Elizabeth Marsch Vu

Aligning GE, Program Assessment and the Embedded Literacies
Meg Daly, Gail Kaye, Susan Lang

1:15 p.m. Break  
1:30 p.m.

Closing Plenary: Together at a Crossroads: Reclaiming the Promise of Assessment
Melissa Beers, Andrew Martin


Session Descriptions:

The university has re-imagined its general education as a coherent program, with expected learning outcomes for both individual elements and for the program as a whole. Beyond these explicit expected learning outcomes, the new general education program is envisaged as having institution-wide goals for student academic progress. This new model has been developed with an eye towards assessment, but poses some unique challenges in aligning assessment across these levels and in building a meaningful and collaborative assessment model for courses and for the program.


Meg Daly, associate dean of undergraduate education; professor, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology

The ability of educators to track learning outcomes can be a cumbersome and arduous task unless the right tools are used. This session will help you engage with the basics of assessment and evaluation of student course learning outcomes through the utilization of the assessment platform integrated in Carmen. We will review how to set up outcomes in Carmen, link to goals and expectations and create a rubric to track those course learning outcomes. Once the outcome mechanism is in place, it creates a wonderful opportunity for faculty to connect assignments with the course outcomes to seamlessly track and evaluate if students are meeting the outcomes for the course. After this session, you will be able to easily set up your course to measure these outcomes and track your results over time for continuous quality improvement of the course based on the outcomes.


Wendy Bowles, assistant dean for baccalaureate programs, College of Nursing
John Muir, associate director for course design, Office of Distance Education and eLearning

In this session, presenters will engage participants in discussions about how assessment choices may perpetuate achievement gaps. We will also discuss methods of identifying inequities using campus data and explore strategies that allow us to think more broadly about the role of assessment in equity and inclusion. The goal of assessment should be to create educational environments where all students have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Therefore, the following questions will be answered:

  • Why must equity and assessment be linked to conversations regarding student success?
  • What are evidence-based methods of assessment that measure learning inclusively for all students?
  • How can innovative uses of data reveal inequities in student outcomes?


Cindy Xinquan Jiang, senior research associate, Office of International Affairs
Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion; director, Leadership Initiatives for Women of Color; associate professor, College of Social Work 


This session will focus on how university units are using methods of research on teaching, learning and student progress to help with STEM program and course assessment. The session will include brief statements and a Q&A discussion with four panelists and a moderator, all with experience in research and program/course evaluation and improvement.

To promote educational excellence and support efforts to improve student success, the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning invites professional instructors at Ohio State to participate in the inaugural Council on Research in Student Progress and Educational Excellence (CRISPEE) conference. The CRISPEE conference will be held in two virtual sessions that will convene on Wednesday, Nov. 10 and Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Caroline Breitenberger
Andrew Heckler 


After completing a lengthy department self-evaluation and external review, it became clear that in order to reckon with the changing landscape of graduate education and create a sustainable future, Comparative Studies needed to update its graduate programs. With help from Teresa Johnson of the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning, the department undertook a rigorous redesign.

Starting with a reflection on the assessments collected from the self-study, the department ran a series of “dream sessions” imagining the ideal programs; the graduate committee then developed new program goals, outcomes and proficiencies, pausing at key moments to seek feedback from faculty and graduate students. We mapped our goals onto a revised curricular map, and from this map, our new assessment plan emerged. Because the department’s shared goals and aspirations were centered throughout the redesign process, this assessment plan can now serve as a tool for holding ourselves accountable toward realizing our community’s desired outcomes for our programs. Rather than collecting information that seems extraneous, or imposing a series of hoops through which to jump, the assessment process collects information we genuinely want to know and act on in the years to come.  


Melissa Anne-Marie Curley, director of graduate studies, Department of Comparative Studies
Elizabeth Marsch Vu, senior academic program coordinator; associated faculty, Department of Comparative Studies

This session will explore opportunities with utilizing the university’s Digital Flagship program and other technology tools and strategies for programmatic assessment. Digital Flagship provides all undergraduate students with an iPad, digital skills learning experiences, access to a free coding certificate program and opportunities to learn about the design thinking within a mobile app development framework.

This broad access to technology and skills development presents a unique opportunity for Ohio State faculty, chairs and academic leaders to incorporate technology into their academic programs and courses and into the assessment of those programs and courses. Attendees will learn about how Digital Flagship has started evaluating and assessing it’s goals in order to enhance the program and how a large enrollment general education course, Art Education 1600, is utilizing iterative course design and evaluation to continuously create a humanistic course experience that promotes student success.


Clayton Funk, senior lecturer, Arts Administration, Education and Policy
Jessica Phillips, associate director of student experience, Digital Flagship, Office of Distance Education and eLearning
Cory Tressler, director of learning programs and Digital Flagship, Office of Distance Education and eLearning

The newly approved General Education program allows students to satisfy required competencies in data analysis, communication and technology through coursework within their academic program or through stand-alone courses. Embedding these general education goals within the program allows students to get discipline-specific and professionally relevant training in these domains. We provide examples and perspective on how programs might think about these competencies within their majors and discuss how they might satisfy and assess the embedded literacies in ways that align with their program goals and assessment practices.


Meg Daly, associate dean of undergradaute education; professor, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology
Gail Kaye
Susan Lang

Assessment affords us the potential to understand and enhance student learning, promote equity and inclusion and empower students to take ownership of their academic outcomes. Multiple stakeholders including the public, accreditors, administrators, teachers, and — most importantly — students themselves all stand to benefit from well-designed and executed assessment practices. Yet, to date, the promise of assessment has not been fulfilled. Assessment efforts in higher education have floundered and drifted from their original, primary focus on student learning; consequently, even staunch advocates of assessment have grown frustrated and alienated. 

At Ohio State, we face a significant crossroads. Rapid changes in response to a series of crises have stifled and even dismantled some assessment efforts. Yet, these changes open new doors for more intentional, culturally responsive, collaborative and transparent assessment practices. This session will consider how we can capitalize on this moment and center our students as we refocus and reprioritize. We conclude by outlining the next steps in our journey to build a thriving assessment community here at Ohio State. This includes a series of seminars and workshops over the course of the remaining academic year that explores important assessment related topics and challenges.


Melissa Beers, program director, Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Social Psychology
Andrew Martin, associate vice provost of academic affairs; professor, Department of Sociology

Presenter Biographies

Melissa Beers

Melissa Beers, PhD, is the program director for Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Social Psychology at Ohio State, courses enrolling over 3,000 students annually. She directs curriculum and assessment for these courses, and trains and supervises 30-40 graduate student instructors who teach these courses each year. She is a national leader in learning outcomes in psychology. With her instructional teams, she has developed tools and processes for gathering evidence to improve student learning, and she regularly shares her expertise across the university and beyond. She has contributed to many university-wide programs that increase access and student success at Ohio State, including the new General Education curriculum, digital affordability programs and an open textbook program. She was the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Michael V. Drake President’s Award in 2020 for her commitment to university values, diversity, engagement, and access and affordability.

Wendy Bowles

Wendy Bowles, PhD, APRN-CNP, CNE, serves as assistant dean for baccalaureate programs at the College of Nursing. She has been a nurse since 1994 and a pediatric nurse practitioner since 1998. In addition to a fulfilling career as a nurse, she began her journey in nursing education in 2005 and realized the importance of educating future nurses for current practice environments. She is committed to advancing the science of evidence-based pedagogies of teaching and learning in nursing education. Her research includes extensive work with alternative pedagogies, curricular development and student engagement. Bowles is currently receiving funding to implement a collaborative model for seamless academic progression between associate degree and RN to BSN programs in the State of Ohio. She has also instituted creative approaches of teaching and learning in undergraduate programs to include innovative clinical models and strategies to increase nurses in primary care settings who operate at the top of licensure in their field.

Melissa Anne-Marie Curley

Melissa Anne-Marie Curley, PhD, is director of graduate studies in the Department of Comparative Studies, where she also teaches courses in world religions and religion and culture in East Asia.

Meg Daly

Meg Daly, PhD, is associate dean of undergraduate education and a professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology.

Clayton Funk

Clayton Funk, PhD, specializes in eLearning, instructional design and web development and draws upon a background of art education and library and information science. He supervises and teaches two general education courses in hybrid and online deliveries: AAEP 1600 Art and Music since 1945 and AAEP 2550 Introduction to Visual Culture: Seeing and Being Seen. As a participant in the Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX) Funk authored and compiled an open textbook and web-based curriculum for AAEP 1600 that students use free of charge, and which is available as an open educational resource to anyone. Thanks to training received in a Digital Flagship cohort, his classes are also optimized to use new technologies and to support student success.

Funk’s academic research is about the history of material culture, education and technology, which also informs his practice in instructional design and eLearning. These cultural histories reveal webs of learning filters, learning ways and learning machines as they affect education in history. His work is published as articles, book chapters, and his studio work includes graphics, web development and fibers.

Funk is senior lecturer of Arts Administration, Education, and Policy at Ohio State. He holds an EdD in art education from Teachers College, Columbia University, an MLS from Queens College, City University of New York and an MFA in painting and printmaking from Bowling Green State University.

Cindy Xinquan Jiang

Cindy Xinquan Jiang, PhD, is senior research associate in the Office of International Affairs. She has led research and assessment initiatives focusing on global and intercultural learning outcomes. She also works with faculty to integrate assessment into improvement of  teaching and learning.

Teresa A. Johnson

Teresa A. Johnson, PhD, is an assistant director and the coordinator for assessment and curriculum design at the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning. She earned a doctorate in Microbial Ecology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has taught in the sciences at Butler University and at the College of Wooster. Her pedagogical research has focused on classroom assessment techniques and impacts of prior knowledge on student learning in the sciences. Her current interests are course and curriculum design, articulation of learning outcomes and evaluation of teaching strategies.

Alan Kalish

Alan Kalish, PhD, assistant vice provost and adjunct associate professor of educational studies, supports faculty efforts on academic program assessment, implementation of a revised general education program and institutional accreditation. Previously, he worked in educational development for 25 years, directing the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Ohio State for 18 years. His research includes transitions from graduate school to faculty life, teaching and learning in higher education, and course and curriculum design.

Susan Lang

Susan Lang is director of the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing and associate professor of English at The Ohio State University. Lang has extensive experience in teaching online and hybrid courses in technical communication (including courses in technical editing, usability and web design) at both undergraduate and graduate levels. She and colleagues at Texas Tech also developed Raider Writer, program management software for large writing programs. Her research examines aspects of writing program administration, writing analytics and technical communication. Her work has been published in College English, College Composition and Communication, Writing Program Administration and Technical Communication, among others. She is the recipient of the 2016 Kenneth Bruffee Award for Best Article in Writing Program Administration and the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Writing Analytics.

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin, PhD, is associate vice provost of academic affairs and a professor of sociology. His responsibilities in Academic Affairs include working with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, along with other public higher education institutions in the state of Ohio, to support transfer and articulation, facilitating the development of new curriculum across the university, and supporting initiatives on campus that help further the land grant mission of Ohio State. His research focuses on contentious market politics, with a specific interest in how activism spurs innovation in development of institutional rules.

Jacquelyn Meshelemiah

Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, PhD, is the associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion, director of Leadership Initiatives for Women of Color, and an associate professor in the College of Social Work. She has been on the faculty for 25 years at two universities and has played an integral role in curriculum development in the social work profession.

John Muir

John Muir is associate director for course design in the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE), where he leads ODEE’s instructional design and multimedia team and takes part in the office’s broader support for online and hybrid teaching across the university. In seven years at ODEE, he and his team have supported Ohio State instructors with the design of hundreds of online courses aligned with evidence-based strategies for distance instruction. His recent work has included a coordinating role in the Keep Teaching site and programming and other elements of ODEE’s pandemic response work, as well as developing tools and resources related to online course effectiveness and quality in the context of curriculum approval and ongoing assessment. 

Jessica Phillips

Jessica Phillips has served in many roles within the field of education and eLearning since 2008, most recently as associate director of student experience for Digital Flagship in the Office of Distance Education and eLearning at Ohio State. In this role, she and her team focus on where technology intersects with the student experience to ensure high-quality, student-centric approaches. In addition to her full time role, she designs online courses and teaches online undergraduate students at Ashford University and Ohio State.

Phillips has a MA in Education with a Curriculum and Instruction specialization, an MA in Psychology with an Educational Leadership specialization, and a BS in Early Childhood Education. She is also a public speaker and has presented at numerous colleges, universities, national and international conferences and CIO forums. She is a graduate of the MOR Big10 Academic Alliance Leadership Program. Her public speaking work focuses on leading and managing successful organizational change that is driven by student centric design practices.

Cory Tressler

Cory Tressler earned multiple undergraduate degrees from Ohio State University, a master of arts in teaching degree at the University of South Carolina, and most recently, a master of educational studies with a focus on learning technologies from Ohio State.

While completing his undergraduate degrees, he worked as a library associate at the Music & Dance Library, where he managed a collection of thousands of music and dance recordings and produced the Music Library Hour on OSU's Underground Student Radio. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, he became an elementary school teacher at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts. In 2009, he became an administrator for Beaufort County School District in South Carolina, where he helped create virtual learning and technology rich classroom experiences for over 20,000 k12 students.

In 2012, he returned to Ohio State as part of the Digital First initiative, where he assisted with the development of over 90 public iTunes U courses, the creation of the OSU Marching Band iPad program and the Digital First Impact Grant, which placed mobile technology in university classrooms.

In 2014, he co-authored and was named principal investigator of an Ohio Straight A Grant titled, "College Ready Ohio," that was awarded $13.5 million to promote college readiness via teacher professional development, technology integration, access to rigorous content and online dual enrollment opportunities from Ohio State in 10 public high schools throughout the state.

In 2015, he was named an Apple Distinguished Educator, and in 2018, he helped create, launch, and lead Ohio State’s Digital Flagship program which focuses on providing students with access to technology and building their digital skills to empower them towards success academically and professionally. He has served on a wide range of university committees including those focused on General Education, college credit plus and workforce development.

Elizabeth Marsch Vu

Elizabeth Marsch Vu is senior academic program coordinator and associated faculty in the Department of Comparative Studies, where she teaches courses in world literatures and cultures.