General education is the core of the undergraduate experience. It provides a lasting foundation for students’ future academic, civil, cultural, economic, and social lives. Additionally, as part of most general education curricula, general education as well as first-year experience programs are becoming virtually universal in colleges and universities; first-year seminars often are integrated into general education programs to promote student retention, engagement, and success. The assessment of these institution-wide efforts is particularly challenging, but many campuses have made substantial progress from which we can learn.
In this book, the author draws on her experience with over sixty colleges, universities, and college systems to
- Establish a broad context for general education and first-year experience programs and assessment, and summarize relevant ideas from professional organizations
- Advise how to develop mission, goal, and outcome statements
- Explain how to align curricula and pedagogy with learning outcomes, develop alignment questions to be used in assessment projects, and describe how campuses can use course certification to promote alignment
- Describe approaches for assessment planning, criteria for selecting strategies, and ethical issues to be considered
- Provide examples of direct and indirect assessment strategies
- Discuss the infrastructure for general education assessment and offer advice for effective collaboration among faculty and staff
Written for college and university administrators, assessment officers, faculty, and staff who support general education and first-year experience programs, this book is a hands-on guide for developing, aligning, and assessing general education programs in meaningful, manageable, and sustainable ways. The author presents a variety of approaches and dozens of examples to help readers understand what other campuses are doing and develop a repertoire of their own methods so they can make informed decisions about their programs.