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Life Preserver on Board— Rescuing Assessment Efforts When it’s Not Business as Usual

2021 HLC Annual Conference


Dr. Susan Donat

Director of Curriculum; Assessment Director of Assessment; Accreditation Liaison Officer

Messiah College

Dr. Kate Oswald Wilkins

Director of Assessment & Assistant Dean of General Education and Common Learning

Messiah College

Suzanne Carbonaro

Director of Academic Partnerships


April 8, 2021 @ 12:00 PM 1:00 PM EDT

Credit: Messiah University


The abrupt move to remote learning during the Spring 2020 semester caused assessment efforts at many institutions to founder. Messiah University’s streamlined assessment processes became a life-preserver for analyzing learning data and developing improvement plans. We share how we “shaped the path” (Heath & Heath, 2010) to create an automated assessment workflow. This enabled faculty and administrators to continue the essential elements of assessing learning despite the challenges of COVID. Our assessment plans, data collection, department analysis, and reporting is all contained in one cloud-based system. Additionally, we have an automated workflow to trigger dean review and departmental action needed. This automated workflow streamlines processes and communication to support effective, efficient decision-making (Staisloff, 2020). Having this structure in place prior to COVID-19 enabled data collection and review processes to continue despite the pandemic causing an impromptu remote Spring semester and a tenuous Fall semester.


Learning Outcome 1: Articulate assessment work flows throughout an academic year

Learning Outcome 2: Identify common obstacles for completion of annual work flow

Learning Outcome 3: Brainstorm ways to streamline assessment processes while facilitating faculty reflection and collaboration


Dr. Susan Donat, Director of Curriculum; Assessment Director of Assessment; Accreditation Liaison Officer, Messiah College

Susan Donat, Ph.D., is the Director of Curriculum; Assistant Director of Assessment; and Messiah University’s Accreditation Liaison Officer. She worked with multiple task forces as a change agent to develop new programs, revise institutional learning outcomes, create an adult general education program, and revise the institution’s guiding educational assumptions. Dr. Donat currently serves on multiple institutional committees including assessment, curriculum, general education, academic council, adult degree steering, and the COE Senate in addition to serving as a Middle States Peer Evaluator. She teaches graduate courses in Higher Education and in Business and Leadership. She enjoys presenting regularly at national conferences including IUPUI (2018, 2019), AALHE (2012-2021), Middle States (2018), Drexel’s Assessment Conference (2014, 2016-2021), and UPCEA/SOLAR (2020).

Dr. Kate Oswald Wilkins, Director of Assessment & Assistant Dean of General Education and Common Learning, Messiah College

  Dr. Kate Oswald Wilkins serves as the Director of Assessment and Assistant Dean of General Education at Messiah College. As Director of Assessment for the college, Dr. Oswald Wilkins chairs the assessment of student learning committee, coordinates institutional assessment efforts, and works with department chairs, program directors, and deans to improve assessment efforts. As Assistant Dean of General Education, she oversees the delivery and assessment of the general education curriculum for the undergraduate curriculum. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Bowling Green State University, and she has presented on assessment of student learning at Drexel’s Assessment Conference (2018, 2019), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2018), the Indiana University Assessment Institute (2018), AALHE (2016-2018), and AAC&U's conference on general education and assessment (2014).

Suzanne Carbonaro, Director of Academic Partnerships, AEFIS

Suzanne Carbonaro, M.Ed, MS, CE School Administrator, is the Director of Academic Partnerships at AEFIS. Suzanne has 27 years experience in higher education teaching, curriculum design, assessment and leadership. Most recently, Suzanne served as the Director of Assessment at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences where she designed the real-time assessment process for the newly implemented competency-driven doctor of pharmacy curriculum. She came to USciences from Rider University where she served as Director of Assessment and Strategic Partnerships at the College of Education. Here she redesigned their assessment process and managed over a million dollars in grants. Suzanne has led successful self-studies and re-accreditation efforts for the doctor of pharmacy and teacher and leader education programs. She is a proud member of the team who successfully received the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) 2019 Award for Excellence in Assessment. Suzanne was invited to present her research and development of Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs) to IMS Global at the 2018 Learning Analytics Summit, 2019 IMS Global Digital Credentials Summit and was a finalist for Learning Impact Awards at the Leadership Institute in May 2019. She received the USciences 2018 Founder’s Day Award for Innovation and has presented at AALHE (2018, 2019, 2020), Drexel Assessment Conference (2018, 2019, 2020), IUPUI (2018, 2019, 2020), AACP (2019) as well as regional assessment conferences, and the Competency-Based Education Network (2019, 2020).

Event Info & On-Demand Recording

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