Assessment and Accreditation Council

Council Purposehigher learning commission logo

Northwestern University has reconvened the assessment and accreditation council to develop a framework for the assessment of undergraduate education. The Council, reporting to the Provost, will follow-up on the university’s last accreditation visit in order to look more comprehensively at assessment. The Council’s efforts will focus initially on undergraduate educational assessment and gradually expand to other areas.

Council Goals and Strategy

The purpose of assessment is to support evidence-driven decision-making and measure knowledge, skills, or abilities against defined competencies or learning outcomes for the improvement of learning.  At Northwestern, our strategy will be to assess curricular and co-curricular activities in an integrated manner.  Rather than a centrally controlled and monitored student assessment process, the framework that is developed will be a faculty driven entity that will help the understanding of the assessment efforts that are currently underway across the University.  The proposed framework does not intend to prescribe one assessment methodology for measuring student learning.  The framework that will be established by faculty and staff will:

  • Raise awareness and educate faculty and others of assessment processes and outcomes
  • Develop a current inventory of assessment efforts that summarizes the assessment activities undertaken by the various academic and administrative units at the university
  • Develop a set of best practices for assessments based on the inventory results
  • Provide a forum for addressing assessment issues facing the University
  • In support of the measurement of student learning, the assessment framework will develop an assessment vocabulary, implementation processes, and methods for data generation and reporting.  The vocabulary is intended to provide a baseline of terms.
  • Develop a set of building blocks and best practices, with the appropriate stakeholders, that can be assembled, modified, or shaped to a particular unit’s integrated approach to learning, teaching, and assessment
  • Develop a foundation of terms, processes, and procedures so that all stakeholders involved with the development or consumption of assessment results may operate from a common understanding
  • Develop an overarching strategy for developing and implementing the goals of the framework

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Forum

This annual, university-wide event is designed to:

  • Provide faculty, graduate instructors, and administrators the opportunity to share and/or showcase their assessment initiatives at the class, department/program, school, and/or university levels.
  • Share and highlight teaching & assessment innovations, strategies, practices, and outcomes.
  • Demonstrate the University’s assessment framework in practice.
  • Promote dialogue about assessment, its purpose and value for improving learning & teaching.

The 2013 forum was held on October 8, 2013. Presentations and posters from that event may be viewed here.  (NetID login is required to view this page.)  Information on the 2014 assessment forum will be posted at the beginning of academic year.

Council Members

  • Ron Braeutigam, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
  • Susanna Calkins, Associate Director, Searle Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Stephen Carr, Academic Associate Dean, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Dona Cordero, Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Director, Office of Change Management
  • Debbie Crimmins, Associate Director of Institutional Research, Office of Administration and Planning
  • Tracy Davis, Associate Dean, Academic, Graduate School Administration
  • Sally Ewing, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs, School of Communication
  • Mary Finn, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Linda Garton, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Student Affairs, Bienen School of Music
  • Desiree Hanford, Lecturer, Editorial, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Larry Hedges, Professor, Statistics, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jake Julia, Associate Provost of Academic Initiatives and Associate Vice President, Office of Change Management
  • Peter Kaye, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate and Credit Programs, School of Continuing Studies
  • Gregory Light, Director of Searle Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Michele M McDonough, Lecturer, Molecular Biosciences
  • Lisa Metzger-Mugg, Director of Institutional Research, Administration and Planning
  • Susan Olson, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, School of Education and Social Policy
  • Alison Lanser Phillips, Assistant Registrar, University Registrar
  • Jennifer Puchtel, Manager Accreditation Process, Office of the Provost
  • Angela Ripp, Coordinator, Academic Affairs
  • Marianne Ryan, Associate University Librarian, Library Administration
  • Babette Seligmann Sanders, Associate Professor, Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences
  • Robyn Schuster, Director, Dean's Office, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • H. David Smith, Senior Lecturer, Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Patricia Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs