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January 11, 2018

Assessment and Teaching Conference Aims to Connect Course Design, Outcomes

The 2018 Assessment and Teaching Conference, organized by the Office of the Provost, will feature Linda B. Nilson, director emerita of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation at Clemson University and author of “Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors.” She will speak on “Teaching to Attain the Assessments You’d Like to See.”

The Jan. 26 conference, set for 8:30 a.m. in the University Club, aims to foster discussions that improve the assessment process. Six breakout sessions include representatives from the undergraduate Pitt–Bradford campus, graduate-level Pittsburgh campus and the University Center for Teaching and Learning, who will share best practices from their experiences with teaching and assessment. This year’s conference will also feature a poster session for the first time.

“If we are going to continue to improve our classes, our faculty needs a broader set of tools to assess effectiveness and student learning,” noted Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. “This year’s assessment conference is an important opportunity to further develop and improve assessment practices within schools and departments. It will provide an exceptional opportunity to share new ideas so that we can continue to advance the latest and best learning strategies in our classrooms.”

Nilson’s keynote address will focus on the connection between the design and implementation of courses and student learning outcomes and assessments. It will highlight research on selecting, adapting and designing teaching methods that are among the most effective tools for preparing students to achieve the appropriate outcomes.

Conference Schedule

The 2018 conference will begin with breakfast and opening remarks from Beeson, along with an introduction of the keynote speaker by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Joseph McCarthy.

Breakout sessions begin at 10:45 a.m., with Steve Hardin, vice president and dean of academic affairs at Pitt–Bradford, leading the discussion on undergraduate program assessment in Ballroom B; Boryana Dobreva, director of academic programs for the College of General Studies, focusing on online classes and assessment in Conference Room A; and William T. Valenta, associate vice provost for professional programs and assistant dean of MBA and executive programs in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, speaking on graduate program assessment.

Following lunch (11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.) in Ballroom A, afternoon breakout sessions will include faculty panels on teaching large-enrollment courses for undergraduates (Ballroom B), teaching online (Conference Room A) and teaching with technology in graduate courses (Gold Room).

The closing and poster session will be held in Ballroom A, from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.

Faculty members interested in attending the conference can learn more and register online.


Marty Levine,, 412-758-4859


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