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The 8th Annual NCICU Assessment conference was held at Methodist University back in May and was themed “Improving Institutions One Assessment at a Time.” Participants in attendance represented twenty-four of the thirty six North Carolina private colleges and universities with eleven of those there on behalf of their university library. The majority in attendance were from the Office of Institutional research. I always find this gathering enjoyable. It gives me not only the opportunity to hear assessment efforts from the larger university context, but also almost always there are some interesting library specific sessions.
Building a Better Graduate: the Development and Use of Assessment Tools for General Education,” was given by Carol Rowe, Barton College faculty member and their QEP Director, Kevin Pennington. The focus of this session was designing general education courses with embedded learning outcomes. The learning outcomes were based on soft skills surrounding written communication, oral communication and critical thinking. Faculty members took a deliberate intentional approach to creating a syllabus around these outcomes. The course discussed was a current affairs course, so students had a written assignment, oral projects as well as group discussions. Rubrics were used to provide targets for assignments and to provide consistency in assessment.
Brent Atwater and Nancy Elveen of Greensboro College discussed, “Using Assessment Results to Improve Internship Experiences.” This was a collaborative venture between their Career Services and their Office of Institutional Research. The expectations of the internship are clearly defined. What will the student gain by way of experiences? Here are some of the assessment questions asked at the end of the internship. We could possibly incorporate some of these in an effort to assess effectiveness of the internship opportunities we provide here at ZSR.
•To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in writing?
•To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in speaking clearly?
•To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in working effectively with others?
•To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in acquiring work related skills?
New Tools for Examining Library Impact on Student Learning,” was the most interesting and most relevant sessions of the day. Please view the slides from this joint project between Elon University Library and UNC- Chapel Hill Ph.D. student Derek Rodriquez. In particular note the slides that outline student use of library resources during a work task within their academic major. Check out slide 18 which list the top 15 uses within the library by the Elon University students.
My final session for the day was given by David Eubanks of Johnson C. Smith University on “Building and Using a General Education Assessment Dashboard.” The dashboard is a warehouse of liberal arts assessment data within the core learning outcomes of the university, critical thinking, effective writing and effective speaking. Students are assessed by faculty at the beginning of the course and then again at the end. Students are evaluated as being ready to graduate or not. Stats are also maintained regarding the amount of effort put towards obtaining any one particular skill. You can find out more about this model by searching for Eubanks work entitled “Assessing the Elephant.”
I have a notebook from the conference which has all the slides from each presenter. If you’d like to see them, just let me know.