Office of Academic Assessment
During the spring semester of the 2012-2013 school year, the Office of Academic Assessment will again sponsor a mini-grant program for assessment-related projects from academic departments and program areas from UNI. An overview of the program is provided below, with links to supporting information and forms. If additional information is needed, contact the Office of Academic Assessment by calling 273-2778.
Assessment of student learning is not a matter of reaching an end point, but rather an ongoing process of inquiry, development and improvement. Such a process requires commitment, as well as communication and collaboration within and between departments and program areas within the University. The Office of Academic Assessment Mini-Grant Program was created to provide support for assessment-related activities and reflects the mission of the Office of Academic Assessment and strategic goals of the University of Northern Iowa.
The mission of the Office of Academic Assessment is “to provide leadership for the planning and implementation of student outcomes assessment, academic program review and other procedures that support academic program improvement, student learning, and accreditation.”
Objectives from the 2010-2015 University Strategic Plan reflected in the mini-grant program include Goal 1, Objective 1, Provide a rigorous and relevant undergraduate educational experience that prepares students for the future; Goal 3. Provide rigorous and relevant graduate education that meets the needs of graduate students, the university, and the community; and Goal 7.01.S1, Implement consistent process improvement strategies across all university units.
The purposes of the assessment mini-grant program are:
•to enhance the culture of assessment on campus by encouraging conversation, collaboration, research and scholarship that focus on student learning;
•to support and encourage faculty involvement in the assessment of student learning and the application of assessment results for continuing improvement of programs and curricula; and
•to strengthen policies and procedures for assessment of student learning at UNI.
Grant awards up to $500 will be awarded during the 2012-2013 school year. Teams developing grant-funded projects are encouraged contact their department heads to see if funds would be available to supplement grant funding and/or to provide ongoing support after the conclusion of the grant funding period.
The grant application includes a section for the intended use of grant funding. Expenditures must be made by the end of the fiscal year. See Use of Mini-Grant Funds for a list of expenditures that can be covered by an assessment mini-grant. The application form includes a budget page for anticipated use of grant funding; a final expense report will be required at the conclusion of the grant-funded project.
Full-time faculty from academic departments at UNI may apply for grant funding. Although proposals may be submitted by an individual faculty member, preference in awarding funding will be given to projects from department or program-area assessment committees or other collaborative groups. Project teams may include student members.
The grant application provides a format for presenting the purposes, activities, and budget for the assessment-related project to be covered by grant funding. The department head and dean of the college for the group proposing the project will be required to e-mail the Director of Academic Assessment to indicate their awareness and approval of the project. See Applying for an Assessment Mini-Grant for more information.
Grant applications are to be submitted electronically and will be reviewed on a rolling basis during Spring 2013. Announcement of grant awards will be made within one week of receipt of the grant application.
Grant applications will be reviewed by members of the Student Outcomes Assessment Committee.
Criteria on which applications will be judged are included in the following list.
•Relationship of project to specific department assessment plans/needs
•Potential to support development with respect to student learning, program quality, and/or department/program assessment planning
•Clarity of purpose and intended outcomes
•Feasibility and specificity of the plan of action and related timelines
•Adequacy and defensibility of the budget related to project goals
•Articulation of a clearly defined strategy for disseminating and using project outcomes
The SOA Committee will use a rubric for review of mini-grant applications.
In addition to the criteria listed above, decisions about funding awards will also include the goal of sharing available grant funding with the broadest representation of colleges and departments. Thus, multiple awards to a single college or department may not be awarded, depending upon the number and quality of applications received.
Announcement of Awards
Decisions concerning grant applications will be communicated within one week of receipt during Spring 2013. Descriptions of projects receiving grant funding will be posted on the web page of the Office of Academic Assessment.
A final project report and a final expense report will be required for all funded projects. The final project report will be due no later than the start of classes in August5 2013 and will be made available from the Office of Academic Assessment web page. The final expense report will be due by the end of the fiscal year (mid-June 2013).
Grant recipients may also be asked to share the results of their project in a public forum on campus, particularly one open to the University community as a whole, e.g., at a workshop or a panel or poster presentation sponsored by the Office of Academic Assessment or other office/department.
Grant recipients are encouraged to consider sharing their project in a conference presentation or a journal article and to provide a copy of their presentation, article or other documentation to the Office of Academic Assessment.
There are many directions that projects funded by the Assessment Mini-Grant Program could take. See the list of Possible Mini-Grant Projects as a resource to begin thinking about projects that would benefit assessment and student learning in your department or program area. You may also want to check out the assessment planning resources available from the Academic Assessment web page and printed resources available from the Rod Library and from the Assessment Office Library.