On August 10, the Coulter Faculty Commons offered an interactive workshop for new faculty at the annual New Faculty Orientation, coordinated through the Office of the Provost.

The session, which included a look back at syllabi from the early 1990s, in addition to modern application, provided a historical and modern lens for thinking through changes to higher education assessment.

The session primarily focused on the application of S.M.A.R.T learning outcome writing.

Table Defining SMART Student Learning OutcomesTo elaborate, S.M.A.R.T. is

S – Specific. Evaluate the verbiage of the outcome…is it specific or generally stated? Does the entire sentence contain vague hints or clear intentions?

M – Measurable. Is the written verb in the SLO measurable or not measurable?

A – Achievable. Consider the time allotted for the activity the outcome aligns with. This is somewhat subjective but remember that a one-hour credit course implies two hours of outside student work. This may aid in developing and planning.

R – Relevance. The idea of relevance is one best discussed in a larger forum, but the CFC does provide faculty with some methods for identifying whether content is relevant. Some of this is our focus on Fink and integrated course design; some of this is provided through talking through issues related to alignment between instructional materials, learning activities, and assessment.

T – Timeliness. Does the course calendar indicate when the outcome will be achieved? Is it scheduled for the most appropriate time in the course? The CFC has a guide which helps faculty structure/scaffold their instruction content from beginning to end of term.

Contact Terry Pollard or Jeanine Irons in the CFC for more details on S.M.A.R.T. The session can be repeated for departments or provided in a different format.

The interactive method we used was well-received by faculty. Workshop evaluations revealed significant learning gains by faculty.