Department: Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty named assessment champions

April 20, 2015

Five Emporia State University faculty members have been recognized as “assessment champions” for their perpetuating exceptional learning experiences for students by using assessment as a change agent.

The recipients were nominated by the campus community with voting by members of the Student Learning Assessment Council. The award from the university and Office of Institutional Research and Assessment includes a $250 stipend.

The five recipients are:

Diane Nutbrown, assistant professor of chemistry, assessed student preparedness for Chemistry I and II, and her findings led to changes in enrollment requirements for these foundational chemistry courses. Nutbrown led efforts to adopt American Chemical Society standardized exams to assess Emporia State students in comparison to national results. She also worked to adopt online course enhancements for both courses.

Darla Mallein, associate professor of social sciences secondary education, uses assessments to compile reports for The Teachers College that are required for the Kansas State Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Each semester, Mallein also reviews teacher work samples submitted by her student teachers. In her methods course, “mini-teach” presentations are digitally recored to provide feedback. Mallein also uses feedback from students to make changes to these exercises.

Kenneth Thompson, professor of physical sciences, was nominated by a student, who wrote, “(Dr. Thompson’s) use of assessment is geared toward capturing student learning, separating testing into a scheduled format. Assessments occur approximately every three weeks, with each assessment solely focused on one aspect of science. This helps to improve student learning as we can each delve deeply into one core concept before moving on to another area of instruction.  Dr. Thompson also assesses student learning through monitoring group work projects, experiments, and assignments given to the class.  It has been over a year since I have taken Dr. Thompson's course, and as a student intending to go into the education field myself, I often reference Dr. Thompson's teaching style as a basis for my own future classroom”

Tim Burnett, associate professor of biological sciences, is active in assessment for the Department of Biological Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the entire university. He has served as the Biological Sciences Assessment Coordinator for the past eight years, assessing students' learning outcomes and identifying areas for improvement. Burnett created an assessment course that includes a major field test where assessment indicator scores are compared with average national comparable institutions. He analyzes the data and then conducts a vaculty survey to assess the importance and the degree of coverage of the 30 topics of the major field test to coordinate the teaching coverage of essential and important material.

Rob Catlett, assistant professor of mathematics and economics, has been actively involved in assessment at many levels across the university for a number of years. His work has included presenting at national conferences about his findings after comparing Emporia State students’ scores on ACT exams given in high school and the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency test given close to their university graduation dates.