Transparent assessment, discourse provide valuable compass for future direction

Assessment is crucial to understanding where Geneseo stands, not only in comparison to other schools but as a respected and progressive higher education institution; an increased transparency within assessment and the conversation surrounding evaluation is even more important.

Last week's ASSESStivus, a day-long event dedicated to celebrating and sharing various departmental and nonacademic assessment practices, and the upcoming general education forum with new intended outcomes both indicate that we're moving the right direction as we recommit ourselves to sharing ideas across the campus.

An annual event like ASSESStivus provides for continuous collaboration of assessment practices between student life and academic affairs. What we learn outside of the classroom should be examined just as closely as the GPAs and essays we produce. ASSESStivus provides for an inclusive examination of our complete education and a new way to evaluate our progress.

It's also appropriate that we take another look at our General Education program; although it's respected as it currently stands, a modern viewpoint is necessary.

Keeping in mind the proposed learning outcomes - specialized and broad/integrative knowledge, intellectual and practical skills and high-impact experiences - we hope that the open forum and the reshaping of the General Education program will allow for practical changes within our academic system. What has changed since we implemented the General Education program 40 years ago, and what do we need to do to form to those changes?

In the midst of a shifting job market with ever-changing expectations for college graduates, not to mention loose-cannon attacks on the liberal arts education - see The Atlantic's "How Liberal Arts Colleges are Failing America" - Geneseo must now look ahead and take a stance on what our long-term goals are. We must keep track of our status as a respected and competitive college, one that provides its students with the tools to thrive in any environment.

With that, we applaud Geneseo both for its recent Middle States accreditation and for its form-fitting practices. Although the new wordmark has sparked divisive - and inevitable - controversy and a 1,000-signature petition, we don't foresee any petitions against goals focused on improved methods to keep us on the right path as a respected institution.

The transparency of both ASSESStivus and the upcoming forum provide for open communication and feedback directly from faculty, staff and students, all necessary as we reassess, re-evaluate and rethink.