James Madison University

Ph.D. student wins national award for assessment

PHOTO:Madison  Holzman

Madison Holzman, a student in the Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. program, was awarded the NASPA Excellence Silver Award for Assessment 101, an interactive workshop designed to increase assessment capacity across JMU’s campus. NASPA is one of two international student affairs organizations, with a mission to “be the principal source of leadership, scholarship, professional development, and advocacy for student affairs.” NASPA’s Excellence Awards serve to highlight innovative practices and individual contributions that address critical needs and transform higher education.

Each year, NASPA grants Excellence Awards in eleven student affairs functional areas. Assessment 101 was awarded the NASPA Excellence Silver Award in the area of Administrative, Assessment, IT, Fundraising, and Professional Development. Madison’s submission was titled Assessment 101: A program to build assessment capacity in student affairs.

Assessment 101 is a week-long assessment workshop designed to move student affairs staff, faculty, and graduate students from the novice to intermediate level in assessment. The workshop is purposefully aligned to follow JMU’s six-step assessment cycle. By design, Assessment 101 is interactive. Each day, participants interact in small groups of four or five, with a mix of student affairs, academic affairs, and graduate student participants. As supported by research in learning theory, the curriculum uses lecture-based teaching sparingly. Each day consists of 30% or less lecture-based material, with remaining time devoted to individual or group work. The interactive nature of Assessment 101 also promotes academic and student affairs cross-divisional collaboration.

Madison and then-Assessment & Measurement doctoral student Jessica Jacovidis developed the curriculum for Assessment 101 and first implemented the workshop in summer 2016. Since then, Assessment 101 has continued to grow, affecting nearly 100 faculty and staff on JMU’s campus.