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Office of Institutional Effectiveness Assessment Champions

Assessment Champions

"That is what we are!"

Emporia State University values assessment and recognizes that assessment activities are driven by Assessment Champions. Annually, The Office of Institutional Effectiveness recognizes the outstanding assessment efforts of ESU faculty. Nominations are made by the campus community and the Student Learning Assessment Council votes for the annual award winners.

Class of 2021

CLAUDIA AGUIRRE MENDEZ, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Aguirre-Mendez reviewed the expectations of the chemistry capstone project for undergraduates (CH 480) and how the project is evaluated by faculty. She noted that expectations were not being met (both by students and faculty) and proposed changes. First, students would be advised to start capstone projects earlier and the program would be modified to help students meet expectations (requiring a communications course and a literature review course). In addition, she started a conversation on how "to provide consistent and reliable feedback to the students" since faculty evaluations were considerably varied. She proposed "ask to the reviewers (the two in charge of a specific capstone report) to meet and discuss their scoring to reach a lower spread standard deviation". The chemistry program has 100% completion in assessment reporting, with most faculty reporting beyond minimum requirements. Dr. Aguirre-Mendez reported on the assessment of student learning from a perspective that will be incredibly influential. Her assessment report reflects her devotion to student learning and the future success of our students. It is inspiring working with a group of faculty who are working together to improve the program.

ALFREDO MONTALVO, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies Department in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Montalvo's success in assessment falls into two general areas: encouraging faculty to self-reflect, and realigning curriculum. In AY 2016, the Department implemented a new instrument to get faculty to reflect on their teaching, including what went well and what they would do differently next time. Faculty reported that the self-reflection exercise was very good for their teaching. This qualitative exercise is the very essence of assessment-taking stock of what worked, what could be improved, and what to do next. Faculty reported that they enjoyed the exercise and it improved their teaching. Also during this time, the Department developed a new FRC document which heavily emphasized teaching as the single most important component of promotion and tenure. The measures for this included student teaching evaluations and, once again, faculty self-reflection. Under Dr. Montalvo's leadership, the Department then undertook another critical aspect of assessment: curriculum realignment. The Department moved forward with numerous curricular realignments starting in AY 2017. The Crime and Delinquency Studies major was revamped with new interdisciplinary requirement to make graduation requirements more straightforward. A requirement for the Sociology major was expanded to include a choice of classes. Two new concentrations were added, along with two articulation agreements with other institutions. All of these changes were in addition to other required changes to meet new Board of Regents Mandates. Finally, Dr. Montalvo led a group of faculty to a workshop on embedded assessment techniques. Dr. Montalvo did not do any of these things by himself, instead, he led a highly collaborative Department in which faculty themselves worked together to design and implement these strategies.

MELISSA GERLEMAN - Instructor in the Department of Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education in The Teachers College

Mrs. Melissa Gerleman uses assessment in her courses to authentically impact and improve the student learning experience. As an integral part of the Special Education program in our department, Gerleman teaches courses to our undergraduate students in the elementary education program. She leads by example for all of her students as she implements best practice in assessment, teaching, and learning in her courses. Many of the assessments she includes in her courses are assessments that her students as future teachers will be using soon in their own classes. Gerleman collects data frequently in her courses and disaggregates data to ensure student learning. Through project-based learnings, students receive authentic experiences in special education topics and current trends. Some of the experiences that students participate in during the semester include student voice and choice assessments, student driven learning, self-assessment rubrics, and frequent check-ins for students used to guide instruction. Gerleman uses student choice boards to teach her students to assess content through the lens of student involvement and engagement. As she applies her knowledge of trauma and reliance in the educational setting, Gerleman uses formative assessment to enhance the students’ experience. Melissa Gerleman is truly an assessment champion.

DOUGLASS SMITH, Phd - Assistant Professor, Department of Accounting Information Systems, and Finance in the School of Business

WILL SENN, Phd - Assistant Professor, Department of Accounting Information Systems, and Finance in the School of Business

Assessment testing data revealed that School of Business students are weak in quantitative skills (statistics). His discipline committee conducted an investigation of why students were not getting enough out of IS253, which covers statistics content. Dr. Smith and Dr. Senn and their colleagues determined that a part of the problem was that professors teaching IS253 were spending too much time reviewing Excel skills. Rather than teaching the course content, they were using time teaching the tool that students would use to practice their statistics. Their solution was to develop a resource of Youtube videos, of how-to guides demonstrating Excel skills. Dr's Senn and Smith spend countless hours with the help of librarian Art Gutierrez to create this resource. We the School of Business Student Learning Committee believe that Drs. Senn and Smith should share the award this year. Their actions -- digging ever deeper into the matter to discover the source of student weakness and its remedy -- truly represent the culture of continuous improvement that we are trying to foster in the School of Business.

Class of 2020

HEATHER C. CASWELL, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education in The Teachers College

Dr. Heather Caswell has a social reconstructivism and existentialism approach to instruction and assessment. Caswell believes the teacher's role is to listen, observe, and assess the individual needs of the learner to provide the appropriate experience, materials, support, and guidance. Caswell understands that in many learning environments educational standards and objectives drive outcomes. She supports formative, summative, self-reflective, or growth-oriented assessments. She believes the main purpose of assessment is to guide further growth and check for understanding. She looks at assessment through a process lens rather than a lens of mastery. Based on this understanding and educational philosophy, Caswell uses different assessment strategies (both informal and formal) prior to instruction, during instruction, and following instruction. Caswell assesses her learners through performance-based practice by demonstrating a balance of assessing content as well as learning process. She also uses assessment tools that ask learners to reflect on their approach to learning and engagement in learning. Caswell assesses the learner's ability to engage in self-reflection. It is these final written reflections in which learners are more formally assessed for their new knowledge and understanding. Writing as an assessment tool allows learners to document thinking. Caswell asks learners to create something new, using their content knowledge and understanding that communicate this metacognitive process. Through creating, learners are able to demonstrate their understanding and apply their understanding in new ways. Caswell provides assessment measurement tools, such as rubrics, prior to the completion of an assignment. This allows learners to be fully aware of the criteria being assessed. Additionally, this allows time for the learner to self-assess prior to instructor assessment. Learners need time to process and organize their thinking. Caswell believes assessment tools should be implemented to inform both the learner and the educator by documenting growth, currently understanding, and depth of engagement. For this reason, Caswell only uses assessments when the tool informs and promotes further learning to occur. Dr. Caswell is truly an assessment expert and is certainly an Assessment Champion for ESU!

JOYCE ZHOU, PhD - Associate Professor/Chair, Department of Business Administration in the School of Business

Dr. Joyce Zhou has used student feedback and learning reflections as one of the important tools to assess the course learning outcomes. Based on the feedback from students, employers, and business advisory board members, she continuously applied classroom innovations to enhance student learning. She has improved and adapted teaching content based on students' feedback over the past ten years. I would like to share a few examples here. She partnered with an ESU instructional designer to apply virtual reality (VR) to her marketing class; she teamed up with Emporia Main Street on providing high impact learning experience by going behind the scenes of Emporia Small Businesses; she also brought in numerous real life projects to the classrooms so students will have hands-on experiences; she uses micro-credential tool "badge" to enhance student learning. The students' feedback are overwhelming positive. The VR student learning projects were mentioned in 2018-2019 AACSB Innovations that Inspires booklet. In her classes, students collaborate with area businesses to develop a complete business plan for a virtual reality application, from creation and development to point-of-sale transactions. She also worked with graduate students on research projects. Based on graduate students' feedback and exit survey, the students appreciated the research opportunity with the faculty. She has guided her graduate students to participate in the university Research and Creativity Day in the past ten years since she joined ESU and is the School of Business faculty member you can count on every year to bring her students to that event, where her students' presentations were recognized as "Best Paper Award" or "People's Choice Award". She has provided a very supportive environment for our graduate students. She developed innovative curriculum activities into the graduate classes, such as real-life projects with ESU's community partners. She has worked with our graduate advisors to give students advice and guidance on their graduate studies. Furthermore, she was the Marketing Discipline Curriculum Chair in the past few years. She guided the marketing disciples with assessment embedded assignments, rubrics, and curriculum design. She provided input on how to close the loop in the discipline. It is with great pleasure for me to nominate Dr. Joyce Zhou for the Assessment Champion award. This award recognizes the outstanding efforts of Emporia State University faculty and staff in perpetuating exceptional learning experiences for our students using assessment as a change agent. Dr. Zhou is truly a change agent and provides exceptional learning experiences for our students.

SUSIE WILLIAMS, MFA - Assistant Professor, Department of Communication & Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Besides her work as our costume designer, Ms. Williams is also the coordinator and advisor for the Speech and Theatre BSE. When she was hired, she was asked to assume this role and readily agreed to do so. She is currently in her third year both at ESU and in this role. As we all know, the secondary education programs involve more than just individual course assessment and program assessment, but also require extensive documentation to meet accreditation standards. Susie came in with no prior experience in this regard, but jumped into learning about assessment and learning how to complete the assessment reports. To that end, she has done an excellent job. I want to highlight three important aspects of her work. First, her reports are thorough and complete. We had some difficulties with the person immediately proceeding her collecting all the data, but Susie has been thorough in doing so. This is remarkable as 1) again I want to emphasize that she came in with no prior experience in this area, and 2) she needs to collect and compile data from multiple classes and instructors. Second, her willingness to engage in assessment extends to her service. As our BSE advisor, she automatically serves on various committees related to teacher instruction and assessment. However, this year, she agreed to chair the Council for Teacher Education (last year serving as vice-chair). Third, Susie looks for ways to improve our assessment process. She and I met earlier this semester, at her initiation, to discuss how we can better assess and meet KSDE Standards. Susie not only shared with me what she is already doing, but had ideas for how we might engage the faculty more in this assessment process and what classes we might use to better serve our students in preparing them for the praxis exam. Overall, despite her substantial commitments to the theatre program and its productions, Susie works diligently to make sure our assessment of the BSE program is meeting accreditation requirements and is preparing our students to be educators.

GAILE STEPHENS, PhD - Associate Professor/Interim Associate Dean, Department of Music in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Gaile Stephens has been the head of our music education department for several years now, and she annually compiles the results of our degree checks for music education majors. She is chair of the music education committee, and organizes these meetings with students and faculty at the end of each semester, selecting different levels of students to collect data and follow-up on any concerns. Gaile completes the assessment for all of our music education majors in order for ESU to remain accredited by NASM, the National Association of Schools of Music. She also coordinates the degree checks for all music education majors, so that they stay on track and understand deadlines and requirements for their degree. She organizes meetings for the music education committee, and reports back to the faculty during our regular monthly faculty meetings, keeping us up-to-date with changes in curriculum and student concerns. She compiles the data from several music classes with student grade reports every year, so it is very time consuming, but so essential to keeping our music education degree. Our department is so grateful and lucky to have someone so dedicated and organized in completing all of these requirements. As she potentially transitions into a more permanent position in the Liberal Arts & Sciences office as Associate Dean, she might have to pass along her music education assessment duties to someone else. This is a daunting task, as Gaile has helped countless undergraduate and graduate students to graduate and achieve their teaching license. As Associate Dean this year, she has continued to build relationships with registration and other departments and offices across campus to help students.

TOM MAHONEY, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Economics in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Tom Mahoney plays the lead role for assessment of the master's degree in Mathematics. He analyzes the data each year and writes the annual report. More importantly, he has implemented changes based on that assessment. For example, for many years the enrollment process was a source of frustration for graduate students. Due to demand exceeding supply, students were not always able to enroll in the classes they needed. So Tom spearheaded an effort that allows students to submit their preferences to a survey. He then wrote a computer algorithm that sorts those preferences based on proximity to graduation, and prioritizes enrollment based on that. Enrollment is processed based on the algorithm's recommendations. Student satisfaction has skyrocketed since we implemented this process. Another example is in relation to the master's seminar that all students must complete before graduation. Our assessment identified multiple concerns. Tom led an effort to revamp this process. This included setting up a Canvas course for all students to enroll in for a semester. Strict deadlines are put into place to help students not fall behind. He also set up a system where students give feedback to each other throughout the semester. Our hope is that this new scheme will improve the consistency and quality of the presentations. We implemented it last semester and so far it seems to be a success. Dr. Mahoney's efforts also extend to our undergraduate courses. One example relates to MA130, Problem Solving with Computers. Our undergraduate assessment identified this as a course that needed to be overhauled. Due to his expertise in Python, I asked him to teach the course using this language. He created a completely new syllabus that would address the concerns that were identified. He has taught it for a few years now and student feedback has dramatically improved. I could give many more examples of Dr. Mahoney's efforts in assessment, but hopefully it is clear that Tom is truly an Assessment Champion.

Class of 2019


SARAH SUTTON, PhD - Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Management

Dr. Sarah Sutton performs several assessment duties at SLIM. The first duty relates to our common assignments. Some background is needed to understand what common assignments are. In SLIM, we have several cohorts across the country. Multiple instructors teach the same courses to different cohorts. ALA is the accrediting body for our MLS program. In order to demonstrate to ALA that we deliver consistent quality and substance across our cohorts, each of the core courses in our curriculum uses a common assignment. The common assignments are used regardless of who teaches the course or where. This way, there is an element of consistency when the same course is taught by different instructors at different locations. Each of the common assignments is tied to that course's learning outcomes. All instructors who teach a particular course form a community of practice. They decide what the common assignment is. At the end of every term, instructors who taught a core course submit their common assignment grades to Sarah. Sarah collects and analyzes the data. Based on this data, we are able to see, in general, how students performed in the course. We are able to see trends over time. Moving forward, we hope to improve the granularity of our data by adopting common rubrics for the common assignments. The rubrics will be aligned with the course learning outcomes. This way, we will be able to assess student performance not only by assignment but by learning outcome. Sarah also serves on the University's assessment committee. She informs us of developments in the assessment office and across the University. We are very fortunate to have Sarah serve in this role. It is tremendous work that goes unrecognized.

CONNIE PHELPS, PhD - Professor, Department of Elementary Education, Early Childhood, & Special Education in The Teachers College

Dr. Connie Phelps directs all aspects of the Special Education Gifted, Talented and Creative endorsement and MS degree as a single faculty member. She advises 60 or more graduate students and teaches 18 hours of gifted program coursework including four practica courses. In this capacity, she creates course assessments, gathers student data, and prepares all program accreditation reports (e.g., KSDE, CAEP, HLC) measuring student progress toward KSDE Gifted program standards. Additionally, she implements program evaluation surveys during Focus Groups with alumni and their administrators to determine program strengths and areas for improvement. She uses Campus Labs to construct Gifted program curriculum mapping and evaluate program courses for student impact and improvement. Because Dr. Phelps schedules a minimum of five advisement phone conferences with each student, she also acquires qualitative anecdotal information regarding student progress throughout the program. Beyond her program assessment at ESU, Dr. Phelps sharpens assessment skills by leading KSDE and National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Specialized Professional Associations (SPA) program reviews. She also volunteers as national site visitor for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

JEFFREY MULDOON, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Business Administration in the School of Business

Dr. Jeff Muldoon has taken over as the assessment director in the school of business starting in August 2018. Since that time he has approached assessment with determination and energy. He has gone above and beyond in seeking training and advice. He coordinates with our Associate Dean regularly, weekly or more frequently. He assures that data is collected and processed. He has quickly gotten up to speed with the existing process. He attended two two-day assessment workshops in January 2019. He came back for the training with a long list of change he has already started making to the process. He has held training sessions for new faculty. He has rewritten our program learning goals. He started the process of changing one of our assessment metrics from a standardized test to a faculty-written test. He is setting up a meeting for after spring break where he will lead the faculty in rewriting our assessment rubrics. He is leading us in making needed changes to the assessment process and in using our assessment data, for what it is worth right now, to make changes for the betterment of student learning. He has started implementing a process to forward the data to all faculty members through the curriculum committees for analysis and recommendations. He had started a process by which we will overhaul the data we are collected, so that it can drive meaningful change. But most importantly, he is committed to building a culture that strives to improve student learning rather than one dominated by a compliance mentality.

THERESA MIX, MA - Instructor - Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

As a longtime instructor and previously the director of the Writing Center, Ms. Theresa Mix serves a vital role in assisting students in developing and refining their writing skills. She has used assessment to inform strategies to provide individualized and group instruction. She has mentored many students for whom English is their second language. The following is an excerpt from the student who nominated her for the assessment champion award: Ms. Mix used our feedback to adjust the class for the benefit of all of us. Additionally, she constantly asked if we felt we could manage due dates or other constraints. Lastly, she hosted individual meetings with each student to ensure we each were accomplishing our tasks and felt confident we were going in the right direction. Assessment is at the center of student learning excellence and Ms. Mix continuously provides excellence in both classroom and individualized instruction.

MICHAEL SMITH, PhD - Professor and Chair, Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

We believe Dr. Michael Smith has created for the Social Sciences one of the strongest assessment programs on campus. It certainly has grown in sophistication and contribution in the past several years under his direction and leadership. More description of this below, but first some personal notes from his two colleagues and nominators (Phil Kelly and John Barnett). Michael steadily has assisted his faculty in guiding them toward both meaningful yet easier paths in assessing their teaching and course materials. We simply no longer hear complaints about campus assessment (this praise also includes Jo Kord, who contributes the same!). He gently reminds us of deadlines for submitting our reports, but he always is available for assisting us as well. When we need assistance, his advice uniformly is clear and positive. We are beginning to take on some pride of our accomplishments in assessment! If this is believable to the reader, we have come to realize that not only is assessment not a burden, but it actually improves our instruction! We frankly can visualize our improvements, as the statistics below will reveal. Last year, he nominated the two of us as Assessment Champions; nonetheless, our being recognized as Champions probably was due more to him than to us. Under Michael's aegis, new and simplified rubrics and curriculum maps have been adopted for all of our disciplines. Utilizing these, over 300 student samples were taken this year, doubling those for previous years.The Department as a whole has now achieved 100% faculty compliance in the use of these new assessment rubrics. (Executive Summary 2018). From gathered tabulations, higher performance outcomes reveal statistical proofs of progress. For instance, we have assigned new writing practices in Political Science, and these are anticipated as well for History and other colleagues. Student means on research papers in Political Science, reflective of those changes, rose from 3.4 in writing mechanics to 4.17 this past semester. Similar improvements can be seen in History. New protocols on such research will become simplified in describing expectations for good writing: citations for quotations, at least one topic sentence, and at least one concluding sentence, for instance. Such new regimes and others will continue to expand, and we feel the results are showing some good dividends to date. Political Science appears to be taking the lead in administering plans for assessment and in seeking new innovations. But, Michael is encouraging cross-fertilization among our programs. For instance, in Political Science, students are required to submit all major assignments to multiple drafts with professor comments on each draft. Likewise, standardized language for all writing assignments is being applied throughout the department, the current results also seeming to be productive. It should be noted that his encouragement for the historians appears in the 2018 assessment report. Additional statistics and evidence of progress could be stated, but the above may suffice for this nomination. Above all, we all applaud Michael's leadership in directing the department's growth in assessment and in his positive encouragement and clear directions. He has turned around our assessment programs from so-so average assignments that we reluctantly must do to something quite different - to a meaningful and do-able procedure for assessing our instruction to a group of wonderful and gifted students who deserve a stronger devotion from us toward forwarding their chosen careers. In sum, we strongly nominate Michael Smith as a worthy "Assessment Champion." He thoroughly deserves such an award.

MICHAEL BEHRENS, PhD - Assistant Professor - Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Over the past 3+ years, Dr. Behrens has led the assessment of the Bachelor of Arts degree program in English, Modern Languages, and Journalism. He has worked tirelessly and has collaborated with other individuals in our department to gather initial data, pilot a new assessment strategy and tool, and conduct the formal assessments that align with departmental student learning outcomes. Dr. Behrens will continue to improve these assessment strategies to ensure that EMLJ undergraduate majors are performing and progressing through our program in ways commensurate with university, state, and national standards.

Class of 2018


MICHAEL DENNIS, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Since 2008, Dr. Dennis has served in many lead roles in assessing student learning for the department. He has designed scales to measure student learning from multiple courses related to our department goal "Develop research-based projects and communicate results orally and in writing.” He has assessed student artifacts from multiple courses including SP 312, Theories of Communication where students demonstrated in writing that they are capable of describing and summarizing communication theories and their concepts, as well as of applying them to their own pragmatic realities. As students were required to read and discuss many articles portraying relevant primary research, he implemented a three week unit on Research Methods early in the semester to prepare them to understand and critique the articles. He sought to assess the extent to which this module was effective in addressing the department's Goal 2a. These assessment findings led to re-offering SP 580, Analysis of Communication Studies (Capstone course in research methods) which was reinstated as a core requirement for Communication Majors. Since 2013, Dr. Dennis has continuously engaged in assessment practices that have informed curriculum changes and improvement in student learning in capstone courses. In addition, he has also assessed student learning performances in general education courses SP101-Public Speaking, while utilizing the Association of American Colleges and University's Oral Communication Value Rubric aligned with KBOR core outcomes. Conclusively, the assessment efforts of Dr. Dennis have improved the department’s curriculum and the student learning experience, he is worthy of being named an Assessment Champion!

KATHERINE 'KAT' O'MEARA, PhD - Assistant Professor/Director of Composition, Department of English, Modern Languages & Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. O’Meara has excelled in implementing assessment best practices for the Composition program. Since her hiring in the fall of 2017, she has redefined the rubrics used in assessing student success in written communication and has aligned these rubrics with the American Association of College and University’s Value Rubrics for Written Communication and Critical Thinking. She has led the Composition Committee’s work in directing program improvement using assessment data from multiple years of assessment practices. These practices include multiple reviewer scoring of individual student artifacts and portfolio analyses. Dr. O’Meara also served as a member of the AY2017 General Education Assessment Team. She has made immediate contributions to the university-wide assessment of our general education program. Her research is directed toward understanding how courses in other disciplines contribute to instruction in writing and mastery of writing skills and is informing her efforts to impact writing within the disciplines and across the curriculum at ESU. As Composition program director, she is the primary person coordinating the assessment of Composition I and II courses.

PHIL KELLY, PhD - Professor Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

JOHN BARNETT, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Just a few years ago, political science assessment was still using an outdated multiple-choice test not well-aligned with the program's learning objectives. Today, the assessment of the program has both increased and improved immensely. Dr. Barnett has worked closely with Dr. Kelly and chair Dr. Michael Smith to completely redesign assessment practices for the Political Science program. Starting in 2016, Dr's. Barnett and Kelly adopted a new rubric aligned with learning outcomes and learning objectives from the revised curriculum map. They have integrated capstone experiences into two upper-division political science courses (PO 500 and PO 501). Most remarkably, in 2017, Dr's. Kelly and Barnett each separately evaluated each student's political science capstone paper, thus producing a dataset for evaluation in which inter-rater reliability was measured. In addition, Dr's. Barnett and Kelly contributed to the adoption of policies (multiple drafts and standardized language) to addresses weaknesses in student writing and composition identified by assessments. These efforts resulted in AY2017 student learning outcomes for writing and composition skills showing remarkable gains as compared to AY2016 results.

CHRISTOPHER STONE, PhD - Assistant Professor and Associate Chair in the School of Business

Dr. Stone has served as the Chair for the Council on General Education during AY2017-2018. His leadership has included collaborating with the Director of General Education and General Education faculty in perpetuating university-wide assessment efforts for the General Education Program. In October 2018, he attended the Higher Learning Commission’s General Education Assessment Workshop which focused exclusively on assisting ESU as it navigates change strategies to improve the overall assessment practices of the general education program. His leadership in general education assessment will include input in designing and implementing future assessment plans. Dr. Stone is also integrally involved in assessment for the School of Business in his role as Associate Chair as he collaborates with his colleagues in ensuring that the School of Business remains accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

GARY WYATT, PhD - Professor, Associate Provost, and Dean of the Honors College, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Crime & Delinquency Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Wyatt, has provided leadership in ensuring that the university has planned and implemented assessment strategies aimed toward quality student learning experiences. Formerly as the Director of General Education, Dr. Wyatt first led the charge for implementing an assessment plan for the General Education Program. These efforts served the institution well, as it embraced the changing climate of assessment and accountability. As the first Dean of the Honors College, he led groundbreaking efforts to embed assessment practices into every operational component of the Honors program including the assessment of student learning outcomes in Honors courses. He also leads assessment efforts for faculty driven leadership and student engagement in learning the Kansas Leadership Center’s principles and competencies. Dr. Wyatt’s attention to detail and inclusive assessment efforts have led to our students’ engaging in unique high-impact learning experiences dedicated to learning civic leadership competencies in perpetuation of the university’s mission of preparing students for lifelong learning, rewarding careers, and adaptive leadership, and for its’ vision of changing lives for the common good!

Class of 2017


KINDRA WELLS, MS - Instructor, Department of Mathematics & Economics in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Ms. Kindra Wells has been serving as the ESU Mathematics General Education Coordinator since 2014, and annually approximately 700 students complete the math courses included in her assessments. Using an AAC&U value rubric to measure student learning across all course sections, the data collected informs adaptations to both the curriculum and pedagogy strategies. Working with Dr. Hollenbeck, she also geared the college algebra contents toward real-life applications. Labs and other instructional activities have been created and implemented to address this effort. Students are encouraged to explore and compare complex ideas for multiple disciplines, and also apply knowledge from the perspective of multiple disciplines, such as Sciences, Economics, Finance, Health, Education, and Sociology. Her assessment efforts have been making extraordinary contributions in terms of using the assessment data to improve student learning. Because of the proactive and meaningful assessments Ms. Wells has been doing, our department noticed the student learning outcomes have been steadily increasing over the last 2 years. There is no doubt that the success of these courses has a big impact on the student educational experience at ESU and is a key influence in student retention.

ANNA CATTERSON, PhD - Coordinator of Education Technology, Department of Information Technology

Dr. Anna Catterson has done a remarkable job creating the Online Readiness Course for Emporia State University instructors. While balancing her many duties in the Learning Technologies Department, she leads the ORC by assessing the needs of ESU instructors. She adapted this course curriculum to reflect the mission and values at Emporia State University. The Online Readiness Course provides best practices for online teaching in order for ESU instructors to provide quality lessons in an online setting. Developing a course like the ORC takes time and commitment and with each module, Dr. Catterson provides feedback and continues to develop the ORC based on instructor’s feedback and submitted projects. She doesn’t develop based on theory alone but on the assessment of the course’s successes and failures. She generously provides assistance with ESU instructors, faculty, and staff. She is always eager to help instructors with identifying areas that could use improvement and has proven many times how to engage the online learner. With her expertise in instructional design, she has identified the roles instructors need to play in order to engage students in discussion boards and has used her own experiences as examples. She has assessed that students are more engaged if the instructor is engaged and she is extremely dedicated to developing an engaging learning environment at ESU.

AMANDA MIRACLE, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Amanda Miracle has assumed the primary assessment responsibility for the History M.A. degree program for several years now. The History M.A. capstone assessments are held as a part of a Saturday session course that rotates from professor to professor each year. This program uses a department-wide rubric developed by the faculty to measure the efficacy of student learning. In addition, she has kept the assessment consistent and has also ensured that the MAT program is assessed even though it has been discontinued as we are now only graduating students that were grandfathered into the program earlier. Dr. Miracle has collaborated with department faculty in promoting assessment and filling in the gaps for ensuring the effectiveness of the curriculum as faculty departures have occurred.

MAIRE JOHNSON, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Maire Johnson assumed responsibility for assessment of the undergraduate History program upon the departure of a faculty member. Since then, she has developed a plan for a simpler, more streamlined, shared rubric in the history program based on her previous experiences teaching at Elizabethtown College. However, she has also collaborated with Dr. Darla Mallein in Social Sciences Education to ensure that the new rubric will be implemented when the new state standards for K-12 history teachers are released. She has also been one of the 1st historians to submit her own general education assessment on Campus Labs, and has used the data from assessment to change her approach to teaching HI 101, incorporating more use of oral, collaborative projects in a way that is very popular with students. Finally, Dr. Johnson has attended assessment training this year to prepare for her new role.

TRACY FREEZE, DM - Associate Professor, Department of Music in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Tracy Freeze designed the jury rubrics for the Department of Music. Juries are our applied playing exams that all of our 100 plus undergraduate and graduate music students complete at the end of every semester during finals week. He provides the rubrics to all of our wind and percussion faculty, and then we send the completed rubrics back to him, and he tabulates the data. His technological knowledge and expertise have been invaluable, and he has donated hundreds of hours to help our students and the music department. The information from the rubrics has been very valuable as our group of faculty can evaluate grading mechanisms, evaluate student performance and skill levels, and identify areas for learning improvement strategies. Use of these rubrics has been very beneficial for accumulating data to measure student performance and track student learning over time, thus being used to improve student learning effectiveness.

Class of 2016


DIPAK GHOSH, PhD – Professor, Department of Business Administration in the School of Business

Dr. Dipak Ghosh is the assessment point person for the School of Business. He is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and preparing annual assessment reports for AACSB accreditation and the Higher Learning Commission. He serves as the chair of the Student Learning Committee, provides assessment workshops for the faculty, and serves as a faculty assessment consultant. Dr. Ghosh takes great effort to ensure that the assessment process is unobtrusive to faculty and beneficial to students.  On example of his efforts has resulted in significant improvement of measured student knowledge in international business courses.  His craft at working with people results in effective faculty involvement in assessment, meanwhile he has streamlined assessment practices resulting in a comprehensive culture of assessment.  Finally, Dr. Ghosh serves as a model for what assessment should be, a constant process.  Assessment is not a part-time or side job for Dr. Ghosh and his dedication to the assessment cause garners the respect of his colleagues.  In summary, he champions assessment efforts within the School of Business on a daily basis. The value of Dr. Ghosh's contributions toward assessment are impossible to quantify.  His work directly supports the maintenance of our AACSB accreditation, the standards set by HLC, faculty participation in assessment, and most importantly, improving student learning.  As such, he is deserving of being recognized as an Assessment Champion.

MELISSA REED, PhD – Associate Professor, Department of Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education in The Teachers College

Dr. Melissa Reed has multiple years of overseeing undergraduate research assessment protocols through the ESU Summer Undergraduate Research Program (ESURP). Her student assessment strategies and results of student success have been published and presented nationally.  Her works have also been cited many times in the state of Kansas and nationally.  She utilizes the Canvas learning management system as a digital assessment tool for her classroom and student research projects.  Her model has been adopted by her program and faculty within the program as excellent assessment tools to help them operate effective assessment protocols in their own classrooms.  Dr. Reed mentors junior faculty in the Elementary Education/Early Childhood Unified/Special Education on ways to be successful with assessment best practices.  Her assessment efforts and contributions to the department are such valuable assets and definitely worthy of assessment champion recognition. 

MALLORY KOCI, MS – Instructor, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ethnic & Gender Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Ms. Mallory Koci has been proactive in implementing assessment in her courses (both general education and upper division) since she has been teaching at ESU. She was an early adopter leading curriculum mapping and assessment practices in general education courses and is committed to her students and to their successful learning.  She is comprehensive in her assessment practices and frequently adapts her courses to ensure that student learning outcomes are being met.  She consistently closes the loop by implementing changes, assessing the effectiveness of the changes, then continuously using this cycle to improve student learning.  Her participation in Kansas Leadership Center activities as an early adopter and leader of the initial class of attendees “Hornet Trailblazers” utilizes her assessment skills working with other faculty and staff to evaluate how leadership is embedded in the courses taught.  She uses the principles of the four competencies promoted by KLC both to guide her own behavior in the classroom and to present material to her students. The competencies, especially "diagnose situation" and "intervene skillfully" are central to assessment and making course adaptations.  Ms. Koci is an inspiration to others in the practical application of assessment to improve student learning outcomes.  She approaches assessment with a positive attitude and truly sees the value of assessing what we do and using assessment to make changes and improvements.  She truly is an assessment champion!

MATTHEW HOWE, PhD – Associate Professor, Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in The Teachers College

Dr. Matt Howe is responsible for the Athletic Training program at Emporia State University. The program is fully accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) and the requirements for this program are extensive.  Dr. Howe coordinates and implements accreditation processes including assessment design, data collection, data review, reporting of findings, and aligns changes to the program based on the assessment information.  He does a fabulous job and deserves to be commended for all his hard work and dedication to ensuring that assessments and reports are completed, meanwhile the program continuously improves student learning experiences and maintains CAATE program accreditation.

ANDREW SMITH, PhD – Associate Professor in the School of Library and Information Management

Over the past five years, Dr. Andrew Smith has led the curriculum review process in SLIM resulting in the comprehensive update of the MLS curriculum. This process included alignment of the SLIM Program Outcomes and Professional Values with ALA Core Competences of Librarianship.  Each course has a complete set of measurable student learning outcomes mapped appropriately to SLIM Program Outcomes, Professional Values, ALA Core Competences and professional standards (e.g. KSDE standards for School Library Media Specialists, YALSA standards for librarians serving youth).  In its most recent review report the Higher Learning Commission commended the SLIM program for its approach for documenting student learning outcomes in course syllabi.  Additionally, data driven changes to the curriculum and a course addition have been made for the School Library Media Licensure.  Dr. Smith implemented an in-depth approach to utilizing the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction by linking assessment feedback to learning outcomes to improve instruction.  He also pioneered the IDEA additional questions feature to elicit student feedback on the Course Learning Outcomes, which gives another indirect measure of student learning.  Dr. Smith has served as SLIM’s representative on the Student Learning Assessment Council since its inception in 2014.

Class of 2015


DIANE NUTBROWN, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Diane Nutbrown's assessment efforts include identifying reasons for high D-F-W rates in Chemistry I & II courses with analysis resulting in changes to requirements for enrollment in these foundational chemistry courses. She has lead efforts to adopt ACS standardized exams to assess our students' in comparison to national results and also worked to adopt on-line course enhancements (ALEKS module) that are now used for all sections of Chemistry I & II.  Data analysis of the student performance on ACS exams has been and will continue to be informative for efforts to improve student learning, and reduce the number of students having unsatisfactory experiences in our Chemistry I & II sequence of courses.

DARLA MALLEIN, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Darla Mallein's assessment efforts include compiling required KSDE and CAEP reports for the Teachers College. In addition, every semester includes reviews of the Teacher Work Samples submitted by her student teachers.  In her methods course "mini-teach" presentations are recorded digitally to provide feedback which also involves students writing self-reflective essays for improving teaching.  She has implemented changes in these exercises based on the feedback she has received from the students, and as a result has seen increases in scores for her student teachers.  Student teacher feedback from cooperating teachers is also used to inform her methods course.  Exit surveys with personal interviews also serve to inform student learning, as she uses data from interviews to improve student advising and has made changes to both curriculum and pedagogy's in her courses based on continuous assessment practices.  Her contributions to social sciences annual reports and the continuous improvements she makes based on her assessment findings make her a leader in using assessment change strategies. 

KENNETH THOMPSON, PhD - Professor, Department of Physical Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Ken Thompson's nomination by a student was inspiring and is presented as written, “Dr. Thompson is a genuine person and truly dedicated professor! He is willing to help any student learn more effectively, personally answering individual questions or concerns as they arise.  His 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.  I appreciated his approach to valuing all student learning, and being willing to help us each achieve our highest understanding possible, adapting curriculum and doing his best to meet our individual learning styles and personalities.” 

TIM BURNETT, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Tim Burnett's assessment activities include the Department of Biology, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the university. He has served as the Biological Sciences Assessment Coordinator for the past eight years, and has done outstanding work on assessing student learning outcomes and identifying areas for improvement.  He utilizes a number of assessment tools to evaluate the learning effectiveness and the rigor of programs.  He created an assessment course GB 480 Senior Experience in Biology and a component of the course includes a Major Field test where assessment indicator scores are compared with average national comparable institutions.  He analyzes the data and then conducts a Faculty survey to assess the "importance" and the "degree of coverage" of the 30 topics of the Major Field Test, aiming to coordinating the teaching coverage of essential and important material.  In an effort to address critical thinking learning outcomes, an assessment called the Test of Scientific Literacy (TOSL) was added.  Data analysis is now underway for the data gathered over the past four semesters.  In addition, he has also conducted the knowledge inventory survey in his upper level cell biology courses to allow students to self-report content and topic coverage.  In response to this assessment, a survey of the biology faculty who teach "core" classes was conducted to ascertain the degree of coverage of these topics discovered in the student survey.  As the Assessment Coordinator of the Department of Biological Sciences, his contribution to assessment at both department and institutional levels is extraordinary.

ROB CATLETT, MS - Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Economics in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Mr. Rob Catlett's assessment activities span many years and he has been actively involved in assessment at many levels across the institution. He has presented at national conferences about his linkage study between our student scores on ACT exams given in high school and their results on the CAAP tests which they take close to their ESU graduation date. This provides an excellent verification of the "value added" from their education at ESU.  He has been an innovator in a wide variety of curricular areas.  His most recent new course is a Globalization course in Economics.  He also has been a leader in a variety of ESU's projects connected to the American Democracy Project.  ESU has been a national winner in the America's Future Project competition.  He does extensive assessment of the economics program and has assisted in the assessment of the mathematics undergraduate and graduate programs.  He has maintained close contact with economics graduates over the course of many years.  This assessment not only shows the success of our ESU graduates in economics, it also provides a wealth of contacts and connections for current students.  He frequently invites alumni back to ESU to make guest presentations in his courses.  He has been heavily involved in assessment at a variety of levels and has served on numerous assessment committees.  

Class of 2014


DEBORAH GERISH, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Deb Gerish is doing outstanding work in the implementation of course embedded assessments for “Teaching Writing & Critical Thinking with Targeted Assignments” which measure student learning in HI101. Deb’s work spans multiple years and includes rubric analyses, scaffolding assignments, and tracking students’ feedback on learning effectiveness.  This cyclical assessment is worthy of emulation and confirms her commitments to successful student learning.

CYNTHIA KANE, MS - Professor, University Libraries and Archives

Ms. Cynthia Kane recently presented research findings at the Higher Learning Commission 2014 Annual Conference on “Academic Libraries, Information Literacy Assessment, and Higher Education Accreditation.” This work represents the culmination of her fall 2013 sabbatical research on the assessment of Information Literacy.  She continues her assessment of student Information Literacy skills in UL100 using Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education as supported by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL).

KENNA REEVES, MS - Instructor, Department of Communication & Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Ms. Kenna Reeves has done great work in the assessment of verbal communication skills in her SP307 course by embedding a rubric analysis of two separate speeches for each term the course is taught. She has three years of data and has brought assessment efforts full-circle with analysis of strengths and weaknesses and implementation of changes based on assessment findings.  Verbal communication is a highly regarded transferable skill and Kenna’s assessment efforts support continuous improvements in student learning.  Her assessment work along with that of Dr. Miller, Dr. Blankenship, and Dr. Gerish have been shared in the Kansas Board of Regents report on Student Learning Assessments and meeting the needs of the KBOR Foresight 2020 Strategic Plan.

CHRIS BLANKENSHIP, PhD - Assistant Professor and Director of Composition, Department of English, Modern Languages, & Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Chris Blankenship as Director of Composition has been coordinating and implementing portfolio analysis by English Faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants in assessing student writing skill competencies for both EG101 and EG102 cohorts. This work is highly recognized among assessment best practices and informs the continuous improvement of written communication skills at ESU.  These assessment practices have been influential in improving overall student learning of written communication skills and continues to be a key component of the general education program assessment plan.

BRIAN MILLER, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Brian Miller utilizes course embedded assessments in his HI111 course to measure student learning in forming a question, thinking critically, and using evidence to prove an argument. He uses a rubric to score student mastery of these outcomes with the goal of improved student performance over the duration of the course.  His data supports continuous student improvements in these skill sets as students navigate the course curriculum.  Brian’s work is reported as a component of critical thinking for Kansas Board of Regents Student Learning Assessments and is a valuable part of the general education program assessment plan.