Asee peer logo

“We’re All in the Same Boat”: Promoting an Institutional Culture of Assessment

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

ABET Accreditation, Assessment, and Program Improvement in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1725.1 - 22.1725.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Sandra A. Yost University of Detroit Mercy

visit author page

Dr. Sandra A. Yost is Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy. She also serves as the ABET Coordinator for the College of Engineering and Science, and as a member of the University Assessment Team. She has been an active teaching scholar for almost 20 years, and has been active in developing curricula in robotics and mechatronics. Yost has served ASEE at Section, Zone and Division levels, and has served twice on the ASEE Board of Directors. She is currently the Chair of the selection committee for the ASEE National Outstanding Teaching Award, and also serves on the ASEE Projects Board.

visit author page


Elizabeth Roberts-Kirchhoff University of Detroit Mercy

visit author page

Elizabeth Roberts-Kirchhoff is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She also serves as
Director for Assessment for the University and is a member of the University Assessment Team and the Faculty Development Team. She has been an involved in revision of biochemistry curricula including the implementation of project-based laboratories.

visit author page


Pamela Zarkowski University of Detroit Mercy

visit author page

Pamela Zarkowski is currently Professor and Academic Vice President at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM). She is former Executive Associate Dean of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. She received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Public Health in Dental Public Health and Teaching Certificate in Community Dentistry from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the Wayne State University School of Law where she served as an Editor for the Wayne Law Review. An educator for more than 33 years, she has held various administrative roles at the UDM including chairperson of three departments an associate dean for admissions, community outreach, and academic affairs. In addition to serving in an administrative role, she remains involved teaching community dentistry and legal and ethical concepts to predoctoral, dental hygiene and graduate students. She has conducted continuing dental education courses and published in the areas of community oral health, and legal and ethical issues for dental professionals. She is a former president of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and American Society for Dental Ethics (ASDE). She is also the former Chairperson of the ADEA/Gies Foundation and past president for the Society of Executive Leadership for in Academic Medicine (SELAM). She serves as a faculty contributor to the annual ADEA Leadership Institute and Allied Leadership Institute programs and a senior consultant for the Academy for Academic Leadership.

visit author page

Download Paper |


“We’re All in the Same Boat” Promoting an Institutional Culture of AssessmentThe proposed paper is the first in a series that will explore the application of principles oforganizational change theory and engineering design to the problem of achieving valid andsustainable assessment processes in a private university (Master’s comprehensive.)The institution that is the subject of this study [name of institution] offers a number of programsthat are accredited by different agencies. Other programs are accredited only in the context of theinstitution’s regional accreditation. Outcome-based assessment processes have been required bymany of the disciplinary accreditation agencies for many years, and the assessment processes inthose programs are often more mature than those in programs that are not separately accredited.The assessment leaders for the institution’s ABET-accredited programs have worked diligently toobtain assessment data from relevant courses in the engineering curricula, but are often unable toconvince instructors outside the engineering departments to provide such data. As a result, theevidence to support claims that students are achieving, for example, ABET’s Criterion 3(h) and3(j) is hard to come by, even though we know that the university’s liberal education coreaddresses those outcomes.[name of institution] is currently designing a new Core Curriculum that is based on studentlearning outcomes. Engineering and other externally accredited programs eagerly await the flowof assessment information from the liberal education part of the core to satisfy accreditationcriteria. Because much of the core will be delivered by departments whose members are relativelynew, and in some cases resistant, to outcomes based assessment, it will be important for thosewithin the institution who have assessment expertise to partner with those who will be deliveringthe core to ensure that assessment is an integral and sustainable part of the core design andimplementation, and that the processes yield information that is useful for satisfying accreditationcriteria from different agencies, including ABET.This paper will explore existing approaches to this problem, and make recommendations based onthe literature in organizational change theory to achieve higher levels of “buy in” from thestakeholders. This will require a significant cultural shift in the institution, as academics place ahigh value on autonomy in their teaching as well as in their scholarship, and thus some tend to seemandates for assessment as interference with academic freedom. Proposed next steps fordesigning core assessment that works will direct future work.

Yost, S. A., & Roberts-Kirchhoff, E., & Zarkowski, P. (2011, June), “We’re All in the Same Boat”: Promoting an Institutional Culture of Assessment Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17293

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015