When I think about that in this case, here's what I come up with. With no practicing assessment committee (it was appointed but never met last year):
- Faculty have felt little opportunity for real input into assessment
- The process has in fact, over the years, been dominated by non-faculty and non-academics.
- Many faculty members are unimpressed with the process. Substantive missteps have been frequent. Faculty members' assessments of assessment span the range from feeling insulted by the unprofessional and intellectually demeaning tone with which assessment has frequently been conveyed to serious criticism of the validity of the methods used in assessment and real concern about how it is consistently ignored or dismissed. And much in between.
- Faculty have been slow to adopt a culture and practice of assessment
- Our job is to get the institution to comply with WASC enough to get us re-certified]
Uh, I don't think so. The problem with assessment is not lack of faculty buy-in. Let's repeat that: THE PROBLEM WITH ASSESSMENT IS NOT FACULTY BUY-IN. The problem with assessment is (are):
- its methods are methodologically dubious
- its logic model (observation>analysis>change) is vague, rarely made explicit, and more wishful thinking than realistic
- it dishonestly or naively hides its political values behind a veil of "objective measurement"
- it is dominated by self-serving educational entrepreneurs who live off, not for, assessment
- it is evangelized in the absence of hard thinking about institutional inputs and outputs, the very things it purports to be sensitive to
- it enters the academy as a fait accompli, more based on conviction and belief than theory, analysis, and argument, and exempts itself from the critical examination and culture of evidence that it champions
It may even be that the resistance to change and feedback, the comfortable sinecures, and the arrogance that deflects all criticism may lie in the assessment industry itself. The rest is, as they say, projection.