Teamwork, professional development, assessment. What links these concepts? The APUS assessment team recently attended the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Participating in this event as a group allowed us to build and enhance team connections and share daily feedback on new ideas, alternate processes and innovative methods and how we might apply those learnings to our ongoing initiatives at APUS. With our assessment initiatives in mind (e.g., rubric integration into our classrooms using iRubric, rebuilding and reshaping the university assessment committee, continuous improvement through triennial program reviews, and several others) we went forth to attend the daily sessions.
There are many benefits to seeking change for an individual or organization. Having a willingness to move from the status quo requires being aware of the need to adapt and remain relevant in an ever-changing society. This need to adapt and remain relevant in an ever-changing society became our challenge in shifting our Core Learning department’s culture to develop 21st-century practitioners. In short, our faculty needed to shift their legacy instructional practices to better anticipate and meet the corresponding needs of 21st-century learners by fostering those skills themselves, including creativity, analytic thinking, collaboration, communications and ethics, action, and accountability (Crockett, 2016). The award-winning APUS Group Coaching and Mentoring Framework (GCMF) became the strategy to affect that desired change.
As we have been training APUS faculty who will serve as mentors and subject matter experts in the new APUS Momentum competency-based education program, we have used the analogy of putting our students in the driver’s seat of their educational journey. And right there with them in the passenger seat is the faculty mentor, acting as navigator based on the student’s personalized learning map. Waiting in the ‘pit,’ by extension, is the “crew” of subject matter experts that will provide the student with all they need in order to gain the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to master the discipline competencies.
Assessment is a vital part of the core APUS mission and work in higher education. As such, our Assessment and Accreditation Department is a multifaceted group that facilitates Higher Learning Commission accreditation activities and all programmatic/specialty accreditation endeavors, as well as oversees assessment processes including curricular mapping and program review. Our 2016 goals collectively included the following: