Learning assessment

Dan Stypa feels a success of the University is that he learns through integrating his course material. He and other panelists shared their thoughts on this and other achievements of the University during a panel discussion yesterday.

The panel of 11 was made up of students, faculty, graduate students and former students. Some members of the Board of Regents were in the audience along with Sidney Ribeau and other members of the faculty.

The panel discussion started with a ten-minute video of successful students and projects they are working on. The video chronicled the success of University students and what programs they were in to help them be successful.

When asked how an individual assess their own learning, panel member Asia Johnson, senior, said it is by how much information you retain.

“A lot of times students fall into the trap of just wanting to get a good grade. You may cram a lot of times to get the ‘A’ but you don’t remember anything you just read,” Johnson said.

Panelist Dan Stypa, sophomore, said it comes down to all of the things he’s learned coming together, how information overlaps in classes and how he retains what he has learned.

“Like in your freshman year when you’re taking all those general education requirements and then how all those come together and are part of the bigger picture,” Stypa said.

Panelist Nicole Messmore, junior, agreed that all the information is integrated together. She said her political science class overlaps in almost all her other classes and by seeing how her classes can overlap, she can assess how much she is learning.

Another way she can see she is learning is being able to apply her knowledge to real life situations and questions.

As a graduate student, Deanna Vaden Woodhouse also applies what she’s learned in real life with her students.

She learns by “seeing all those theories that I read and write about and bringing them to life with my students,” Woodhouse said.

As a faculty member, John Farver, associate professor of geology and the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, assesses his growth by feedback from his students. He does this through mentorship and friendship with his students. When Farver got invited to a student’s wedding and had a fun time, and knew he made an impact on that student’s life.

“Student’s may hate you when they’re taking that course, but they do come back and tell you that was the most meaningful course,” Farver said.

What is key, according to Farver, is maintaining high standards with your students because when you lower standards for students, you are selling them out.

Joe Phillips, junior, did not find it interesting listening to the panel discussion.

“I really didn’t learn anything. It was interesting listening to what people were saying though,” Phillips said.