Millersville University, Faculty Senate

Attachment A
Faculty Senate Minutes
18 March 1997

State System of Higher Education

The System Works for Pennsylvania


Assessing General Education

Learning Outcomes

April 17-18, 1997
Holiday Inn Harrisburg East


Two of the State System of Higher Education's new Imperatives for the Future are Focus on Learning and The Accountability Imperative. Assessing student learning outcomes is fundamental to both. If we are to focus on what students learn--on outcomes instead of inputs--we must define learning expectations and develop ways of finding out how well the expectations are being met. The purpose of assessment is to use the findings to continuously improve teaching and learning--which includes closing any gaps between them! In fulfilling this purpose, we are also responding to the "accountability imperative." We are no longer telling out publics, in effect, to "trust us--we know what we are doing!" Rather, we are regularly defining and redefining what we indent to do, gathering data to tell us whether we are succeeding, and revising what we teach, how we teach, and how we involve students inlearning to insure that students achieve intended learning expectations.

The purpose of the symposium is to provide System faculty and administrators with the opportunity to explore various approaches to defining and assessing typical intended outcomes from General Education programs, to discuss shared concerns, and to learn from one another.


Dr. Margaret (Marge) Tebo-Messina is Executive Director of the South Carolina Higher Education Assessment Network, a consorium of 34 state agnecies and public and private insittutions of higher education. In this role, Dr. Tebo-Messina consults with faculty across the state and plans conferences and meetings focusing on assessment issues. In addition, she teaches writing, literature, and composition theory as an Associate Professor of English at Winthrop University; before assuming her statewide position, she served as Coordinator of General Education Assessment at Winthrop. Since 1987, when she completed the doctorate at SUNY-Albany, Dr. Tebo-Messina has published numerous articles, given more than thirty presentations on assessment at regional and national conferences, and conducted numerous workshops on writing assessment, general education assessment, and classroom assessment.

Dr. Gerald W. Patton, an historian by training, is Executive Associate Director of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education with major responsibility for coorindating the Commission's efforts in assessment, distance learning, and non-traditional study. Previously, Dr. Patton held a similar post with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Before moving into higher education accreditation, he served as Director of African and Afro-American Studies and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School at Washington University. He also taught at and earned advanced degrees from Western Illinois and the University of Iowa.


The symposium is being sponsored by the State System's Outcomes Assessment Resource Group. This group, with representatives from each System university, was formed to serve as a catalyst for full development of outcomes assessment programs at System universitites and to provide a forum for sharing ideas and information. The Resource Group is chaired by the System's Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Suzanne Brown.


Thursday, April 17
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Registration
2:00 - 2:30 p.m. Symposium Overview
2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions: What System Universities are Doing to Assess General Education Outcomes
3:45 p.m. Refreshment break
4:00 p.m. Keynote Address: Whose Child Is This Anyway? Adopting General Education Assessment--Dr. Margaret Tebo-Messina
5:30 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. Conference Dinner
7:45 - 9:00 p.m. Informal Discussion: General Issues and Questions Pertaining to Assessment of General Education Outcomes
Friday, April 18
8:30 - 9:45 a.m. Small-group work sessions focusing on particular General Education outcomes
9:45 a.m. Refreshment break
10:00 - 11:15 a.m. Small-group work sessions focusing on particular General Education outcomes
11:30 - 12:15 p.m. Remarks: How General Education Fits into the Middle States "Framework for Outcomes Assessment"
Dr. Geral Patton
12:30 - 1:00 p.m. Buffet lunch
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Wrap-up: Summary of Work Session Outcomes--Dr. Margaret Tebo-Messina and discussion group leaders


Hotel Reservations
Please call 717-939-7841 to reserve your room at the Holiday Inn--Harrisburg East for the night of April 17. Ask for a room in the block reserved for the State System of Higher Education. With a State Hotel Order, room rates are $65 for a single or a double. Deadline for hotel reservations is Friday, March 28.

Conference Registration Fee
The registration fee of $30 includes refreshment breaks Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, plus dinner Thursday night and lunch on Friday. All participants will be expected to pay the registration fee even if they will not be there for all meals, as the actual cost of the meals is higher. It is being subsidized by the vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, who is also providing funds to cover the cost of converence presenters.

How to Register
Ideally, each university chief academic officer will designate one person to coordinate registration, complete one registration form for everyone who will be attending, and procure a single university check, payable to the State System of Higher Education, to cover all registrations. Please send or FAX (717-720-4211) the list of registrants by the registration deadline of March 28 (same as for room reservations!), even if the check is not yet ready (the check may be mailed soon thereafter). Please send the check, payable to S.S.H.E. to the address below.

Need More Information? Call Suzanne Brown at 717-720-4210 or send an e-mail message to:
Mailing Address: State System of Higher Education
Dixon University Center
Attention: Linda Buffington.
2986 N. Second Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110.