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The office assesses and collects data from every population group in the University to highlight issues that affect them.

Pictured: (Seated, L-R) Gerunda B. Hughes and Michael B. Wallace; (Standing, L-R) Janine Harris and Ruth C. Franks

Photo by Michael Olajumoke

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The Office of Institutional Assessment and Evaluation Wants Your Feedback
By Michael Olajumoke

The Office of Institutional Assessment and Evaluation (OIAE) wants to hear from you. Staff members in the office are working diligently to help the University meet its mission, goals and objectives by carrying out assessments, evaluations and interviews and providing data for evidence-based decision-making for the University. OIAE, through systematic and continuous evaluation of the different segments of the University, develops strategies to help meet the long-term goals of the University.

“Any organization that has goals and objectives needs to have some kind of unit that serves as an assessment and evaluation unit,” said Gerunda B. Hughes, Ph.D., director of OIAE. “We are trying to cultivate a culture in which people will become engaged in assessment. Right now our response rates are low. We really need students, faculty and staff to respond because when you have low response rates, sometimes that calls into question the credibility of your results.”

OIAE, which reports to the Office of the Provost, became operational in February 2008. The office assesses and collects data from every population group in the University to highlight issues that affect them. By offering objectives and evidence-based data, OIAE aims to help improve the decision-making process in the University and, more importantly, to improve the experience of every group at Howard, especially the students. With the reaffirmation of the accreditation of the University looming in the next few months, the work of OIAE in monitoring the state of the institution as a whole is of vital importance.

“Another aspect of our work has to do with educating people to what assessment is, and why it is important for the University community to participate in assessment activities to improve institutional effectiveness,” said Assistant Director Michael B. Wallace, Ph.D.

“If you remain the same, you in effect get worse,” said Hughes. “What we do is a means to an end; it is a vehicle for making continuous improvement and for measuring institutional effectiveness. We don’t do this and give the information back to the offices that we assess and evaluate so it can sit on the shelf. We have every expectation that they will use it.”

The OIAE staff includes Hughes; Wallace, Ruth C. Franks, administrative assistant; Janine Harris, a graduate intern; and Kelly Watson, an undergraduate intern.

Watson says she is thrilled about what the office can accomplish. “As a graduating student it warms my spirit to know that there is an office that has been implemented to assess and evaluate the needs of students, and make things better,” she said.

 
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