Why are faculty wary of assessment?
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 3 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-3-March-2006
Outcomes-assessment practices in higher education…are in fact scams run by bloodless bureaucrats
who, steeped in jargon like “mapping learning goals” and “closing the loop,” do not understand the
holistic nature of a good college education. (Fendrich, 2007)
I vividly recall reading the quote above as part of a commentary in
The Chronicle of Higher Education roughly two years ago. What struck me, apart from the direct
language, was that it was written by a faculty member who made an effort to learn about and be
involved in assessment on her campus. If not a “believer,” she had at least come to the table with an
open mind and a willingness to do the work. She left the table with neither.
While the above is an extreme example, we hear stories all the time about individuals and groups of
faculty who will not “come on board” with assessment. They seem intent on keeping it at arms length. If
they do not resist outright, neither do they embrace assessment and seek to make it work in the way
administrators, accreditors and, now, the Federal government, typically hope.