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“Democracy & Assessment Series- Your Voice Matters!” Episode 4: Future Opportunities

AEFIS Academy Community Event


Dr. Divya Bheda

Director of Education and Assessment


Joe Bandy

Asst Director/Affiliated Faculty

Vanderbilt University

Michael Seelig

IE Officer


Dr. Natasha Jankowski

Higher Education & Assessment Consultant


May 26, 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 Takeaway for Episode 4

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

1. Engage in discussion on: Where do we go from here?

2. Outline directions for future research and development within assessment and democracy. 

3. Discuss community and professional development needs to support assessment and democracy efforts. 

Our Discussion Leaders

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

Dr. Divya Bheda, Director of Education and Assessment, ExamSoft

Dr. Divya Bheda, she/her(s), is the Director of Education and Assessment at ExamSoft Worldwide LLC. She has over a decade of experience in leading program evaluations, assessments, and social justice training. She champions curricular innovation and andragogical/pedagogical excellence through assessment. Her work spans general education, administration, academic programs, certificates, and student services. She approaches data, strategic-planning, and decision-making using a formative, utilization-focused, equity-building lens. She is committed to advancing collaborative, transformative, and restorative learning in a safe space for professional accountability and growth for all higher education professionals. She has experience in online, and brick and mortar educational contexts building organizational responsiveness and catalyzing student success.

Joe Bandy, Asst Director/Affiliated Faculty, Vanderbilt University

Michael Seelig, IE Officer, CUNY

Dr. Michael Seelig is an Institutional Effectiveness Officer at Medgar Evers College, CUNY.  Michael began his career as a high school English teacher in California and, after earning his doctorate at the University of Southern California, worked in various state policy and central office roles across the country focusing on college readiness.  He made the transition to higher education to lead work that expanded partnership capacity between Medgar Evers College and the high schools of central Brooklyn in order to increase the math and English proficiency of incoming college students.   Michael currently focuses on planning, assessment, and building internal systems within the college to improve its capacity to be responsive to the needs of first generation and first time freshman and operate in a more streamlined manner.  His research interests lie at the intersection of K12 and college and how the policies and issues of K12 impact higher education. 

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 and ideas coming your way from community leaders across the country!

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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