My name is Dr. Andrea Barra. I am one of the newest employees at Taskstream, but no stranger to the company! Before becoming Manager of Assessment Strategies at Taskstream, I was the Assessment Coordinator for the School of Education at Lehman College, City University of New York.
In my capacity as Assessment Coordinator, one of my main duties was to manage our assessment processes through Taskstream. Lehman became a client of Taskstream just as I was beginning my tenure at the institution, which allowed me to help shape the thinking around how best to utilize the software in order to suit the many challenges schools of education face. The need to understand how to most effectively collect, organize, and synthesize data was vital as Lehman assessed programs and prepared for a final NCATE legacy visit. On top of that, New York was one of the first states to implement edTPA for certification. Challenges, indeed!
I have brought all of this experience—as well as years of teaching and research—with me to Taskstream to assist other institutions as they grapple with the many and varied issues that arise when dealing with assessment and accreditation. I’m fond of saying that “it’s not about the technology.” Software systems (especially Taskstream) are great, but they can’t do the thinking for you. Thoughtful planning, sound strategy, and strong relationships are the cornerstones of successful assessment practice. Without those, you will not achieve the goals that your institution has set forward. More importantly, your students will not benefit.
The aim of this new position at Taskstream is to be a resource to client and prospect institutions, working with them to think through how to implement effective assessment practices. I love to help administrators and faculty members strategize ways to plan effectively (and realistically!) and create assessment champions on their campuses. As well, I collaborate with various departments at Taskstream to support and advance the ways we think beyond the software to bolster innovative approaches to assessment further. It has been very exciting to join a team of professionals who really understand higher education institutions and are so dedicated to assuring their success.
I look forward to meeting as many of you, our clients, as possible and assisting you on your way to all of your assessment goals!
– Andrea Barra earned her MA and PhD in Sociology from Rutgers University and a BA in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Richmond. She has held various positions in student services, research, and teaching in higher education over the past thirteen years. She worked as an Assessment Coordinator and Research Associate at Lehman College (City University of New York) in the Bronx until joining the Taskstream team in January of 2015.