By: Tomi Simmons
McPherson College is constantly trying to create a more inclusive and better student experience for the years to come. Faculty are planning for the future; this means assessment day. Through interview with Cari Lott in the dean’s suite of the admissions building, it can be understood the necessities and purpose of the different assessment days. Specifically, February 26th and the Racial Climate Survey can be analyzed.
The entire student body received a Racial Climate Survey recently. The survey is a follow up to several efforts to look at student experiences and their feelings about the racial climate on campus. Cari Lott explained that years ago there was an organization called Students United Against Hate. Meanwhile, at another campus, racial and hateful slurs were said. The organization came together with that campus to end hate on campus. However, this sparked more than student action. President Michael Schneider began the conversation about experiences on campus that have to do with race and discrimination. In addition, the board of trustees began to do research on college campuses. Faculty analyzed the college senior survey questions and began to question how much diversity there really was on campus.
Through years of previous surveys and data, this year’s Racial Climate Survey was created though those results to create a systematic approach when it comes to diversity on campus. A plan has now been created beginning from Spring of 2018 to future years to create and better inclusive programs on campus.
Every senior on campus is required to take an assessment day exam and this has to do with curriculum on campus. Within these results, which are scored by at least three faculty members, the data is all put together in order to understand if the goals of the college curriculum is being met. The results are also given back to seniors and they can see how well they did compared to the rest of their class; this would be a positive for resumes to come.
Because general education is assessed on a rotating basis, the faculty come together to discuss how results can improve. Assessment day is a busy time; even athletics, admissions, and marketing submits a survey on assessment day. Throughout the day as well, faculty and professors are going to do professional and educational development.
Cari Lott says, “We use your assessment to really help the institution plan for the future. It helps us improve the student experience. That is really what it’s about.”
An example of when faculty took these surveys into account was a couple of years ago when there was a constant complain about WiFi. Faculty realized they needed to increase the budget in that area and they ended up hiring an outside firm to understand how they can better their internet connections and technology.
Assessment day is a multitude of things, and overall it is built off of years of research and the effort to create a positive learning and social experience at McPherson College.
The day before assessment day, the Higher Learning Commission will come to Mingenback at 4pm on February 24 for a student forum. All students are invited to share their thoughts and the commission will be asking about their experiences on campus and in the classroom.