During the 2018-19 academic year (AY), Cal Poly conducted its evaluation of upper-division artifacts for information literacy. Collected during AY 2017-18, these reports — a mixture of group and individual efforts — represented work from five colleges. The departments that participated in these assessments were as follows:
- Communication Studies (College of Liberal Arts)
- Construction Management (College of Architecture and Environmental Design)
- Economics (Orfalea College of Business)
- Food Science and Nutrition (College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (College of Engineering)
While work was collected from Kinesiology (College of Science and Mathematics), we were unable to schedule an evaluation with that department.
Specifically, artifacts were collected from the following courses:
- COMS 419: Media Effects (listed as COMS 384 starting in the AY 2019-20 catalog)
- CM 462: Senior Project II
- ECON 464: Applied Senior Project
- FSN 416: Community Nutrition
- IME 482: Senior Design Project II
It is important to note that the artifacts from Food Science and Nutrition were from student groups, which was an important step in Cal Poly’s assessment practices, as this was the first time the university had assessed group work. Many programs, especially at the upper-division level, use group assignments as a way to provide meaningful Learn by Doing experiences and prepare workforce-ready graduates. This assessment was a bit more complex but remained true to the goal of assessing the evidence of authentic student learning.
Evaluations were scheduled across three days during winter quarter in 2019. In an effort to engage faculty and to develop a strong understanding of the competency, departments were paired together in an interdisciplinary manner:
- Construction Management with Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering;
- Communications with Economics;
- Food Science and Nutrition with Kinesiology. (While this pairing did not actually happen, there was a mixture of faculty from both the Food Science and Nutrition degree programs, which yielded a very positive outcome for that department.)
Additionally, college librarians, department heads and chairs, and associate deans from the colleges participated in these evaluations.
Overall, the structure of these evaluations led to an engaging assessment and to departmental ownership of the results. At the end of each session, faculty shared their observations related to their students’ learning; these conversations would last upwards of an hour, which shows the level of commitment by faculty and departments for improvement of curriculum and pedagogy. During summer quarter 2019, the complete information literacy report will be finalized and then shared with the university and each of the participating departments. During fall quarter 2019, each department will have the opportunity to consult with the Director of Academic Assessment and the appropriate college librarian to develop a plan for the improvement of students’ information literacy skills.