Surprise! Assessment Helps Academic Programs Get Bling!
by Catherine Lewis, Humanities Department
In the world of design, process is a hot topic. Designers are trained to implement a design and reflect on it at the same time in order to identify future improvements that better serve the user. In many ways, it is this design process that the Media Design Programs (MDP) at Hostos brings to course and program level assessment. As the coordinator of this program that encompasses the Digital Design & Animation, Digital Music, and Game Design majors, I feel lucky that this methodology of user-centered design is simply ingrained in the processes of our faculty members.
This culture of assessment in our program has developed over time as we have worked to grow the three majors. It is through both failures and triumphs that the importance of our assessment plan has become clear. For example, our annual MDP Portfolio Reviews have highlighted the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve student learning outcomes as industry critics are invited to give feedback on student work. In other efforts, the analysis and external evaluator feedback from our Academic Program Review (APR) served to give our faculty a snapshot of where we are and an opportunity to formulate and share a direction for our future. This APR has been the most important catalyst for change in our program’s development. Although each of these events and exercises that assess student learning and program outcomes represent a hefty amount of work, they have given us confidence in our decisions that we are indeed continually moving closer towards student success.