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Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

IU receives grant to teach graduate students to better assess learning

Nov. 7, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University is one of seven universities developing new approaches for enhancing graduate student skills and understanding in assessing undergraduate learning. The Council of Graduate Schools announced the project, which is supported through grants to the council from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Teagle Foundation.

The project is designed to identify effective institutional models for improving the preparation of future faculty across all fields while also examining issues specific to science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- the "STEM" fields -- as well as social sciences and humanities.

"Assessment is a key component in effective teaching," said James Wimbush, dean of the University Graduate School at Indiana University. "This award will enable us to develop evidence for best practices in the assessment of undergraduate learning and to integrate what we learn into Preparing Future Faculty programs for graduate students at IU Bloomington and IUPUI."

Working with the University Graduate School will be the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at IU Bloomington and the office of Academic Planning and Evaluation at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Maxine Watson, associate dean of the University Graduate School, and NaShara Mitchell, assistant dean with the Graduate Office at IUPUI, were responsible for the grant application.

Institutions selected to receive funding, in addition to IU, include Cornell University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, the University of California, Merced, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The project partners will contribute to a Web-based clearinghouse of resources on learning assessment. An additional 19 institutions, including Purdue University, will participate as affiliate partners.

"Assessment of student learning is an essential skill for effective teaching, and yet many new faculty are not exposed to useful methods and tools until they are managing the responsibilities of a first job," said Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. "The awardees and affiliates have shown extraordinary leadership in recognizing this important link between graduate training and successful teaching."

The Sloan Foundation has invested in introductory and gateway courses in STEM fields, which are vital to U.S. student persistence in science majors and the cultivation of domestic talent. The Teagle Foundation funds projects to prepare future faculty in the humanities and social sciences.

For more information, see the Preparing Future Faculty project page.