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Democracy & Assessment Series—Your Voice Matters! Episode 3 Theory to Practice

AEFIS Academy Community Event


Dr. Joe Levy

Executive Director of Assessment and Accreditation

National Louis University

Dr. Keston Fulcher

Executive Director of Assessment

James Madison University

Cheryl Aschenbach


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges

Dr. Natasha Jankowski

Higher Education & Assessment Consultant


April 28, 2021 @ 2:00 PM 3:00 PM EDT


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 3

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

1. Discuss examples of democratically focused assignments that integrate learning outcomes that support engagement in democratic citizenship. 

2. Share examples of pedagogical approaches that support democratic learning outcome attainment.

3. Identify examples of learning experiences that support democratic learning outcome attainment.

Our Discussion Leaders

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

Dr. Joe Levy, Executive Director of Assessment and Accreditation, National Louis University

Dr. Joseph D. Levy, serves as the Executive Director of Assessment and Accreditation at National Louis University in Chicago, IL. Joe earned a BA in English from Baldwin-Wallace College, an MS in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University, and his Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from National Louis University. Joe is a member of the Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL) Board of Directors, co-creator and instructor for the Applying and Leading Assessment in Student Affairs open course, and endorsed speaker for the National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA). Author, presenter, trainer, and consultant, Joe enjoys leveraging his academic and student affairs experience from multiple institutional types to talk assessment, quality assurance, and institutional betterment.

Dr. Keston Fulcher, Executive Director of Assessment, James Madison University

Keston Fulcher is a Professor in the Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University. Keston also is the Executive Director of the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS). Keston ensures that CARS stays connected to the needs and priorities of the university, and sets the strategic direction for the Center. By fostering relationships between CARS and other units/organizations, both internal and external to JMU, Keston endeavors to help higher education transform from a "culture of assessment" to a "culture of learning improvement." His research interests focus on integrating assessment with learning improvement, meta-assessment, and assessment and ethical reasoning.

Cheryl Aschenbach, Secretary, Academic Senate for California Community Colleges

Cheryl Aschenbach currently serves as secretary for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC), where her work since June 2015 has focused on curriculum processes and standards, competency-based education (CBE), equity and diversity, minimum qualifications, career education, noncredit curriculum and instruction, basic skills, online education, open educational resources, incarcerated education, outcomes and assessment, and more. Cheryl is an English professor and past Academic Senate President at Lassen Community College in Susanville, CA. In the classroom, Aschenbach enjoys facilitating learning experiences that empower students and engage their individual and collective voices.

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.

Image Sources: Scantron.com & Pacific Standard



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