What do evaluation, assessment, and research mean at the CFI?

In Fall 2016, the CFI began to reconceptualize how we assessed our faculty development programs. The Research and Assessment Team (RAT) was convened to explore ways to show the impact of the CFI through innovative evaluation, assessment, or research strategies. Evaluation methods were mapped to JMU’s Strategic Accountability and Reporting Tool (STAR), providing a clear evaluation strategy grounded in the Center’s three year strategic plan. At present, the CFI uses the terms evaluation, assessment, review, and research to guide our work. Inspired by the work of assessment expert Sue Hines, we distinguish these constructs as follows:

  • Evaluation refers to determining the worth and merit of individual programs. This micro-level process looks at the extent to which each program, respectively, meets it intended objectives.
  • Assessment refers to determining the extent to which the center’s learning outcomes are being met. This meso-level process maps to program outcomes affiliated with our strategic plan.
  • Review refers to determining the overall quality and effectiveness of the center. This macro-level process, both internal and external, reviews the overall quality of center operations. For the CFI, program review is manifest in the APR (academic program review) process.
  • Research includes IRB-approved evaluations and assessments that may stimulate broader discourse, understanding, advocacy, and change within the broader field of educational development. CFI research may culminate in presentations, manuscripts, books, or policy briefs.
Select research initiatives
  • Faculty associate experience study: utilizing a grounded theory methodology, the CFI is exploring the professional development experiences of faculty engaged in its associate program.
  • Metacognition and course design: utilizing a mixed methods approach, the CFI is completing a longitudinal study rooted in 5 cohort experiences within an intensive course design institute.
  • Belongingness and educational development: with Dr. Natalie Kerr of Psychology, the CFI is exploring the complex intersections between belongingness, loneliness, and educational development.

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