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Democracy & Assessment Series— Your Voice Matters! Episode 2 Defining Democratic Learning

AACRAO Annual Meeting 2021


Dr. Jarek Janio

SLO Coordinator

Santa Ana College

Dr. Anthony Scinta

Executive Vice Provost

Nevada State College

Dr. Ereka Williams

Associate Dean

Winston-Salem State University

Dr. Natasha Jankowski

Higher Education & Assessment Consultant


March 31, 2021 @ 2:00 PM 3:00 PM EDT

Image Sources: Scantron.com & Pacific Standard


Institutions of higher education have long espoused that a primary purpose or role of education is in service to the public good through supporting the development of students ready to participate in democracy and civic life. Alumni metrics on voting rates and civic engagement serve as indicators to institutional leadership on the success of fostering democratic involvement, but democracy involves mastery of various learning outcomes such as debate, critical thinking, analysis, problem identification, and community building to name a few. Further, the role of higher education in educating students for democracy is evolving over time, recalibrating based on societal needs. 

The United States has faced fundamental threats to democracy for several years, the most recent of which involved an attack on the nation’s capital that added stress to an already long road to healing. Higher education leaders offered statements to reaffirm core beliefs and call for serious reflection on societal structures and organizations that have enabled or supported the deterioration of the foundation of democracy in the U.S.

As your community of practice, AEFIS Academy is launching a four-part series designed to explore and unpack the relationship between Democracy and Assessment. Throughout this series, a variety of thought leaders will come together in conversation around what the current relationship between democracy and assessment entails, what the relationship should or could be, and what the role of assessment might be moving forward to support a productive democracy.

As the series unfolds, we will invite all participants to join a community group to continue discussions on how we might, as a field, advance assessment for democracy. Within the community, we will develop strategies and processes for embedding assignments and other experiences that engage students in democracy into courses and co-curricular activities. Please join us because Your Voice Matters!

Key Takeaways for Episode 2

It is our goal to provide the audience with the following intended key takeaways:

1. Uncover and critique how democratic citizenship and civic engagement are currently assessed in higher education. 

2. Outline additional learning outcomes to consider in assessing the development of democratic citizens. 

3. Develop a list of learning outcomes to support active citizenship within a democracy. 

Our Discussion Leaders

We are honored to have these discussion leaders leading this panel:

Dr. Jarek Janio, SLO Coordinator, Santa Ana College

Dr. Janio has been working in the field of higher education for over twenty years teaching graduate education courses on instructional design, bilingual/bicultural education, technology in education, critical theories of education, and disability. At Santa Ana College, Dr. Janio has also been overseeing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for one of the largest noncredit programs in the country. He is a founder and coordinator of the Annual SLO Symposium and Friday SLO Talks serving the community college system in California and the U.S. Dr. Janio received his B.A. from California State University Long Beach, M.A. from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Walden University.

Dr. Anthony Scinta, Executive Vice Provost, Nevada State College

Dr. Tony Scinta is the Executive Vice Provost at Nevada State College. Dr. Scinta has invested heavily in efforts designed to improve instruction, enhance student support services, refine curricula, and generally advance the fortunes of the college’s largely non-traditional, under-served student population. He has assisted with the creation of strategic plans for the entire campus and the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, led institutional accreditation efforts as the liaison to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, promoted the growth of the college through structured enrollment management, and guided the development of college-wide academic programs, including the Gateways to Completion program run in conjunction with the John N. Gardner Institute. Prior to beginning his career at NSC, Dr. Scinta earned his Ph.D. from the social psychology program at the University of California, Los Angeles and spent two years as a visiting professor at Williams College. In his nearly 11 years at Nevada State College, Dr. Scinta has served as an associate professor of psychology, the Department Chair of Social Sciences, the Associate Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and his current role as Executive Vice Provost.

Dr. Ereka Williams, Associate Dean, Winston-Salem State University

Dr. Ereka Williams joined Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) as the associate dean of education on July 1, 2021. She is a former public-school teacher with more than 22 years of higher education experience. Most of Williams' career has been focused on issues of educational equity and access for parents, teachers, and learners of underserved communities. She is a nationally trained Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation leader. She serves as a coach with the National Institute of Learning Outcomes and Assessment, where she travels the country to help two- and four-year institutions with general education, assessment, and accreditation. Williams is a consultant for the National Urban Alliance, mentoring and facilitating customized trainings for school districts around the country.

Dr. Natasha Jankowski, Higher Education & Assessment Consultant, N/A

Dr. Natasha Jankowski is the former Executive Director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and previously served as a research associate professor with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is co-author of the book Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education, as well as co-author of Degrees that Matter: Moving Higher Education to a Learning Systems Paradigm, and co-editor of Student-Focused Learning and Assessment: Involving Students in the Learning Process in Higher Education. A forthcoming book focuses on equity and assessment. Her areas of focus include assignment design, transparency, evidence-based storytelling, equity, mapping and alignment of learning, and all things assessment. Dr. Jankowski is the recipient of Kent State University’s Alumni Award and the Young Alumni Award from the College of Education at UIUC. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Kent State University, and a B.A. in philosophy from Illinois State University.

More discussion leaders joining! Check back soon!

Event Info & On-Demand Recording

Any pre-event information will be provided below. Any post-event information and the archived recording will be available within 48-hours following the event. This content is only available to AEFIS Academy Community Members.



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