HawCC faculty and staff convene in Hilo for ‘Assessment Day’

HawCC English lecturer Bill Lawrenz, second from left, discusses assessment with fellow English faculty on Friday, March 1. The day was devoted to working on assessment practices at HawCC.

Nearly 200 faculty, staff and administrators from Hawai‘i Community College gathered at the Manono Campus on Friday, March 1 for a full day devoted to one important topic: assessment.

The day began with breakfast in the cafeteria and opening remarks from Beth Sanders, Interim Director of the University Center, West Hawai‘i, who conveyed a message on behalf of HawCC Chancellor Noreen Yamane.

“We have pukas in our assessment, and we’re asking everyone to help the college to work on them, collectively and cooperatively,” Sanders said on behalf of the Chancellor. “Our main goal is to become an institution that actively and effectively uses assessment to improve the learning and services at this college. We recognize that you’ve made the commitment by being here today to be part of this effort. Thank you for your willing participation. Have a productive day! Let’s get it done!”

James Kiley, HawCC Assessment Coordinator, and E. Kalani Flores, Associate Professor of Hawai‘i Life Styles and the Accreditation Liason Officer, also welcomed the group and spoke about assessment.

Flores emphasized the importance of solving problems with HawCC’s assessment. He pointed out that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges reaffirmed HawCC’s accreditation in January, but also required that further work be done in the area of assessment. A follow-up report is due to accreditors by October 15, 2013, Flores added.

“What’s our method of assessment, and what’s our plan? That’s what today is all about,” said Flores.

He added: “We can’t just have some groups that are finished. It’s a collective. Everyone has to do it.”

Smaller groups drill down on assessment

After the large group met in the cafeteria, faculty, staff and administrators broke into 14 smaller groups that were defined by academic subject area. Two additional non-academic units met, the Academic Support Unit and the Administrative Affairs Unit.

In the ATE conference room, Joyce Hamasaki, Interim Dean of Career & Technical Education, helped evaluate assessment practices with faculty from the Architectural, Engineering and Computer Aided Design Technologies Program (AEC) as well as the Electronics Program.

Gayle Cho, a Professor in the AEC program, recounted how looking at assessment recently sparked an idea for an assessment activity that will help to align the course learning outcomes with HawCC’s broader Institutional Learning Outcomes.

Gail had been asking herself: “How can we bring Hawaiian Culture into Auto CAD?”

Then it occurred to her to test students’ Auto CAD skills by having them draw petroglyphs, thereby making a connection to Hawaiian culture.

Faculty members from across the academic spectrum were busy examining their assessment methods March 1.

Bill Lawrenz, an English lecturer, said he and others in his group were working to “bring together the top-down and bottom-up” aspects of assessment.

“A day like today is an opportunity to understand the connection between the wider goals of the school and what’s happening at the student level in the classroom,” said Lawrenz.

Meanwhile, Donnalyn Kalei, an Associate Professor in the Administration of Justice Program, worked with Fire Science Instructor Jack Minassian to look at the Fire Science Program’s methods of assessment.

Minassian said assessment certainly makes sense.

“I guess my problem is currently, with mine, is I’m just looking at a piece of the pie and I’d rather be looking at the whole pie,” said Minassian.

Kalei said assessment is a “good thing because it lets us know if we are doing our jobs.”

The Academic Support Unit was led by Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joni Onishi.

The Administrative Affairs Unit was led by Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs James Yoshida.

Programs housed within the Social Sciences Department were led by Donnalyn Kalei during assessment day.

The Automotive Mechanics Technology; Machine, Welding and Industrial Mechanics Technologies; and Diesel Mechanics programs met to discuss assessment on March 1.

Interim Dean for Career & Technical Education Joyce Hamasaki worked on assessment with faculty from the Architectural, Engineering and CAD Technologies and Electronics Technologies programs.

Professor Robert Yamane led faculty from the Business Technology & Education Division during assessment day on March 1.

Assessment Coordinator James Kiley speaks to the group at the beginning of the day.

James Lightner leads the discussion for the Hospitality Division during assessment day.

Marilyn Bader leads the discussion for the Math Department during assessment day.

The Early Childhood Education Program reviews their assessment practices.

English faculty meet during assessment day.

Elizabeth Ojala leads the discussion for the Nursing & Allied Health Division.

Science faculty focus on assessment.

Social Sciences faculty talk about assessment.

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