Mount Holyoke College applies a multifaceted and evolving approach to gather data on student success, engagement, learning and growth throughout their time at the College. In concert with the institutional learning goals, the College gathers verifiable information in a range of areas from program curricular practices and global awareness to internship experiences, post-graduation outcomes and the overall student experience as evidence of student achievement at Mount Holyoke College. The College uses a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative methods including student grades, patterns of performance, capstone portfolios and theses, awards and student and alumnae surveys to assess their overall impact of the Mount Holyoke College experience on student achievement and success. Tools such as surveys, focus groups, rubrics and electronic portfolios are all utilized across the College to gather assessment data.
The list below provides a sampling of some of the College's assessment initiatives. New and expanded assessment projects will be continually added and updated. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Assessment of Learning Advisory Board (ALAB)
The ALAB supports the assessment of student learning at the course, program, and institutional level. The Advisory Board includes faculty with assessment expertise from each of the academic divisions of the College. The ALAB provides academic programs with more access to resources and evidence of student learning in the College’s efforts to align institutional learning goals with department and course level learning goals.
Faculty Fellows Program
The Faculty Fellows program provides MHC faculty with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the literature on pedagogical innovation and best teaching practices, while also making an original contribution to the literature themselves. Fellows undertake a teaching-as-research project that will help the Fellow and other faculty better understand how a particular teaching approach, method, or tool can enhance undergraduate learning. Moreover, the Fellow will have the opportunity to develop, write, and workshop an original contribution to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Faculty Fellows also serve as leaders within the Teaching and Learning Initiative, fielding inquiries from interested colleagues.
First Year Seminar
First-Year Seminar is a required course for all new first-year, first-time students. These courses are small, discussion based and writing intensive seminars where students work with faculty to focus on the first learning goal of Mount Holyoke College's curriculum: the ability to think analytically and critically by questioning assumptions, evaluating evidence and articulating well-reasoned arguments. Speaking, Arguing, and Writing (SAW) mentors are also assigned to each seminar, and help mentor first-year, first-time students.
Global Learning Across the Curriculum
The Dorothy R. and Norman E. McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives anchors and drives comprehensive global education at Mount Holyoke. The McCulloch Center offers opportunities for students to work towards the College's learning goal to advance their global competencies, engage with cultural communities other than their own—and for faculty to incorporate more global perspectives into their teaching. Through study abroad, course support, scholars-in-residence, international research and internships, and programs to integrate international students into college life, the McCulloch Center collaborates with partners on and off campus to weave global education into the Mount Holyoke experience.
As part of the National Endowment for the Humanities Connections Program Grant, the McCulloch Center is designing ways to measure global learning across disciplines. The grant funds a pilot program, called the Historical Imagination in the Liberal Arts: Re-Thinking Inequality Through a Global-Local Lens, in which four linked courses will dig deeply into the historical context of inequality. The linking of the courses supports the program’s goal of bringing a humanities perspective into non-humanities subjects, such as economics and sociology. A group of faculty are working together with an outside assessment expert to develop a model to asses global learning across the disciplines.
The Peer-Led Undergraduate Mentoring System (PLUMS) workshops provide a place where students can actively and collaboratively engage with science and mathematics in a structured, supportive environment. The primary focus of the workshops is active learning—that students be doing and not just watching or listening. The second critical facet of the workshop program is collaboration and mentoring. Not only is working with others a critical skill in the workplace, but students feel more encouraged and supported when they are working in a room full of other students than when struggling alone in their rooms. The senior student mentors directly model what successful collaboration is about when they work together with faculty, other mentors, and the younger students. PLUMS workshops are not remedial, and are aimed at students from all levels. With PLUMS workshops available across various programs of study, the ideals of the program (working collaboratively, actively solving problems) are experienced as part of the fabric of studying science at Mount Holyoke College.
Quantitative Reasoning Assessment Project
The Chemistry and Biology departments are piloting a Quantitative Reasoning Assessment with STEM students taking introductory level courses. It is designed as a pre-post assessment, and students can volunteer to participate in the pilot. Pending an assessment of its use, the College is evaluating expanding this project to other departments and may make it required in the future.
The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE) conducts a number of surveys annually to gain information on various aspects of student life—and life after graduation—and to inform administrative decisions on campus. Taken individually, the surveys provide timely data on specific aspects of student life. When viewed together, the surveys provide a fairly complete and invaluable view of the student experience at Mount Holyoke and immediately after graduation.
Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI)
The Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI) serves as a resource for faculty at MHC, supporting teaching across a wide range of disciplines, styles, and methods. Resources provided by the TLI include assessment consults to help faculty clearly articulate learning goals, identify and gather evidence to measure how students are doing in terms of goals, review and improve an existing course, or design a new course. A consultation can consist of developing or revising department level goals, the process of curriculum mapping, provide course level assistance, or help putting together a plan for a department.