Tips for engaging faculty in assessment

September 18, 2023 Melissa Helvey

Tips for engaging faculty in assessment

When your higher education institution's assessment team is brainstorming ways to boost engagement, remember that your faculty are an integral part of the assessment process and must participate to deliver the most accurate and comprehensive results. An engaged faculty is more dynamic, strategic, and productive. They are also more willing to go the extra mile to ensure your academic programs are highly beneficial and deliver positive learning outcomes.

We are breaking down a few easy ways to inspire sustainable faculty engagement in assessment.

How to build sustained engagement in assessment 

Sustaining faculty engagement is integral to reaping the most benefits of your institution's assessment measures. Getting each member to be an active and involved participant is only half the job. Your college or university must also continue ongoing efforts to keep your faculty on the same page to inspire long-term success.

Explore the following ways your higher education institution can harness sustained faculty engagement in assessment:

1. Reiterate the importance of assessment

Assessment can be a hard concept to be universally accepted by stakeholders on campus. There are sometimes conflicting views on what assessment is and the value it brings to students. A successful culture of assessment should support learning done in the classroom by faculty members. The results of successful student learning that faculty are inherently demonstrating through their work are often the same results (in a quantifiable format) needed by the assessment team. 

Educating your faculty on the importance of being able to demonstrate class and program learning through data — which in turn helps to ensure student development and growth — is key to success. It eliminates the guesswork in determining student achievement and can accurately inform areas for improvement. It drives better programs and student success overall.

Be sure to reiterate the value of assessment whenever possible to inspire and motivate your team. 

2. Redefine common goals with input from faculty and other stakeholders

Communication is necessary when it comes to a successful culture of assessment. Getting faculty and stakeholder input on the goals for our assessment initiatives is also important. Not only does this allow various stakeholders from many different backgrounds to generate new ideas around assessment, but it also allows for ongoing communication about assessment to develop innately on campus. 

For instance, a common goal may be improved student learning. Establishing goals that are common across faculty and administration opens the lines of communication and allows all stakeholders to have a common target for concentration. Your institution can use insights and input from faculty members to refine shared goals to reach success sooner.

3. Support assessment efforts with dedicated and well-defined resources

Defining not only goals but key stakeholders within the process is necessary for a healthy assessment community on campus — these are resources that are critical to the assessment processes. The most successful institutions are those that have not only well-defined goals but individuals appointed to spearhead the various assessment tasks and help shepherd them to completion. 

By investing in technology to assist with the assessment processes on campus, stakeholders feel their institution is dedicated to their success and supporting the necessary tools to accomplish the larger institutional goals.

4. Communicate that assessment is about assessing student learning, not teaching

Assessment tends to inspire a lot of fear. Some of the faculty members are more concerned about assessment results regarding their performance in the classroom than their students'. However, this is not the focus, and your institution can benefit from highlighting this fact when discussing assessment details with your professors.

Communication helps faculty use their results in a constructive way to make courses, programs, and institutions stronger. Ensure your teaching staff understands that assessment is not punitive to them or their teaching methods.

5. Recognize faculty members going above and beyond

Recognize faculty members going above and beyond

Another effective method for engaging faculty in assessment is to highlight the individuals who are putting in the most effort and making the greatest impact. Shine a spotlight on how they are helping your institution meet its goals despite all of their other teaching responsibilities. You can demonstrate your appreciation for their hard work and inspire them to keep up their amazing efforts.

Your college or university can utilize recognition as a tool for thanking your faculty members and showing others the blueprint for success.

6. Consider offering incentives for participation and engagement

If your higher education institution experiences issues keeping faculty members engaged in assessment processes, consider offering incentives for participation. These incentives may include:

  • Stipends.
  • Bonuses.
  • Travel funds.
  • Paid time off.
  • Faculty celebrations.
  • Gifts.

Choose rewards that are motivating and valuable to your faculty. In addition to boosting engagement with rewards, your college or university can improve employee morale and attitudes. If your team has a better outlook on your assessment processes and student learning initiatives, they will perform better as instructors.

7. Shift the culture from the bottom up

A strong foundation for assessment is necessary for a successful and flourishing culture on campus. By communicating the importance of assessment, removing any punitive connotations, having resources available to those participating, and opening up conversations on goals for student learning in the future, you are able to build an ideal foundation for grassroots assessment initiatives. 

Get faculty involved by hosting assessment forums, and let them know how valuable and critical their input is to the future of student learning at your institution. Host brown-bag lunches with students and talk about the importance of assessment and how critical valid assessment is to the success of their programs and the institution as a whole. 

By cultivating these ideas and getting the whole community involved in assessment, you will be able to create an energy and inertia that will help catapult your institution to the next level. And in a way that ensures continued participation and success on campus.

Request a demo of higher education software from Watermark today

If your higher education institution is interested in enhancing faculty engagement with the right software, turn to the solutions from Watermark.

We have over 20 years of experience providing colleges and universities with the assessment tools they need to improve student learning outcomes, help faculty members improve their processes, and ultimately enhance their entire institution.Watermark Planning & Self Study increases data transparency at every level, helping your institution streamline assessment and accreditation management.

Request a demo to see our solutions in action.

Request a demo of higher education software from Watermark today

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