Seward feb25 11_camp_comp

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Michael Seward's opening presentation from Minnesota Campus Compact's February 2011 Assessing Civic Engagement workshop

Text of Seward feb25 11_camp_comp

  • 1.Assessment of Civic Engagement Northfield, MN February 25-26, 2011 MN Campus Compact

2. Civic Engagement & the Academy

  • "The cultivation of virtues associated with . . . 'personal and social responsibility was a guiding principle for the original American liberal arts colleges."
  • "A recent study of 331 mission statements from top-ranked colleges and universities suggests that one-third of the campuses currently address values, character, ethical challenges, and/or social justice in their mission.Hersh and Schneider, 2005

3. Civic Engagement & the Academy

  • [M]any view colleges and universities as having an obligation to prepare morally astute individuals who will positively contribute to the communities in which they will participate Hersh and Schneider, 2005
  • "[E]ducators must equip students with the values, skills and knowledge to become complex thinkers and ethical decision-makers in a society currently plagued with conflict and inequality. Sylvia Hurtado, 2009

4. What is Civic Engagement?

  • For some it denotes any activity that involves groups or communities external to the academy. Others equate it with the cultivation of political knowledge or of political processes, and perhaps even a sense of political agency. Still others use the term to describe the development of democratic, creative, caring, committed citizens who actively contribute to creating a democratic society.Harkavy andHartley, 2008

5. Civic Engagement?


6. Civic Engagement?


7. Who decides?

  • Source: Source:
  • NY Times

8. Whos more engaged?

  • Source: Source:

9. Civic Engagement?

  • What is it?
  • Who decides?
  • What counts as civic engagement?
  • Who counts it?
  • How?
  • These Questions = Assessment

10. What is CE on Your Campus?

  • Service learning
  • Volunteerism
  • Community partnerships
  • Course content
  • Assignments
  • General Education or MN Transfer Curriculum
  • Student perceptions, attitudes, beliefs

11. What to Assess?

  • Student learning?
  • Student perceptions?
  • Number of projects on campus?
  • Quality of projects on campus?
  • Impact of projects on campus?
  • Community perceptions of institution?
  • Number of relationships to community partners?
  • Quality of relationships?
  • Impact of relationships?

12. Where to Assess?

  • In assignments?
  • At course level?
  • In projects/partnerships?
  • At program/department level?
  • In the community?
  • At the institutional level?

13. How to Assess?

  • Student learning outcomes
    • Tests
    • Rubrics
    • Random samplings
  • Perceptions
    • Interviews
    • Surveys
  • Number/Nature of activities
    • Inventories
    • Checklists
  • Impact of efforts
    • Dollars
    • Hours
    • Testimonials
    • Focus groups

14. Challenges to Assessing Engagement in the Academy

  • "Assessing these institutionally specific[engagement] goals [. . . ] is often a complex task.
  • "[D]ifficulty arises from our tendency to 'compartmentalize' assessments, employing one set of instruments for the climate, another for student outcomes.Sylvia Hurtado, 2009

15. Overcoming Challenges

  • Breathe deeply
  • Start with whatever you have:
    • Good teaching/learning (assignments)
    • Existing connections to community partners
    • Institutional goals in place
  • Exploit opportunities
    • Direct measures (observable, rubrics, learning)
    • Indirect measures (perceptions, inferences)
  • Embrace complexity
  • Move slowly but INTENTIONALLY
  • Review effective practices/models

16. Assessment as Process

  • Definitions
    • Institution-wide
    • In programs, departments and courses
    • In assignments
  • Measures/Outcomes
  • Data collection tools
    • Rubrics (e.g., VALUE from AAC&U)
    • Surveys (NSSE, Noel-Levitz, ACT)
  • Closing the loop
  • Iterative

17. Goals of Workshop

  • Identify strengths and opportunities of own situation
  • Move your own process to next level
  • Connect with and learn from other teams
  • Identify allies at own campuses
  • Use facilitators as a resource
  • Engage yourself with engagement and assessment

18. Format of Workshop

  • Concurrent sessions repeated
  • Time for individual team work
  • Time for networking
  • Time to plan, review, evaluate
  • Time to enjoy

19. Engage!

  • Assessment:
    • Enables creation of concrete tools that explicitly define, teach and measure these skills
    • Provides evidence/data of impact and effectiveness of CE efforts
    • Allows for more nuanced and effective discourse around these issues
  • Educating for personal and social responsibility will take nothing less than a pervasive cultural shift within the academy. Hersh and Schneider, 2005