Carnegie Mellon University

Program Assessment & Support

The new General Education program is complemented by a purposeful, data-driven assessment process that will evaluate the effectiveness of the General Education program in the short- and long-term.

We aim for program assessment that is transparent, objective, realistic, iterative, and supported by best practices. We promise to maintain student privacy and use what we’ve learned to continuously improve the student experience for all. All incoming Dietrich College students will have the opportunity to learn more about how we do this during the summer Canvas course that they complete prior to registration for the fall semester. 

It is important to note that program assessment is completely separate from the assessment process for individual courses and for specific faculty. Student grades and faculty evaluations will not be impacted by program assessment in any way. In fact, course-based data will not be collected or analyzed until after final grades for each General Education course are submitted.

Our program assessment utilizes institutional and college analytics, direct standardized measures, student artifacts, quantitative and qualitative data and student surveys to help us understand the degree to which students are reaching the designated learning outcomes across the Dietrich General Education program.

Program-level assessment is separate from processes related to course grades and faculty course evaluations. Program assessment is not intended to evaluate individual students or faculty. We are collecting artifacts from courses so that we can better understand and improve aggregate progress related to skill development within and across courses.

Artifacts for analysis will be identified by the course instructor in consultation with the assessment team. Course instructors will identify the primary learning areas and related outcomes that the course will be targeting and select the best examples of student progress in primary learning areas from existing activities or assignments.

Data points will be collected from five data sources (Institutional and college analytics, student surveys, student artifacts, direct and standardized measures, and feedback from our alumni). We will collect information through a variety of means, like surveys completed during the first year at CMU, activities that students will complete over the summer prior to matriculation, and focus groups. Artifacts from coursework might include group projects, individual papers, or team presentations, for example.

When course artifacts are collected for program assessment purposes, identifying information will be removed prior to data analysis whenever possible. When this is not possible (i.e., when the artifact is a video recording of a student presentation), data will be anonymized prior to any reporting or sharing within the community. We will uphold the intellectual property policy laid out by the University.

Only the program assessment committee and reviewers will have direct access to student artifacts. Committee members and reviewers are select faculty and staff in Dietrich College.

Data will be collected every semester, and a program assessment report will be generated every summer. Each year in the early fall, the assessment team will share an update on the state of the program, with an emphasis on the previous academic year relative to prior years.

Program Support

General Education Steering Committee

The Steering Committee provides constructive and timely feedback to enhance the General Education program. The committee meets weekly and is comprised of representatives from each of the 10 academic departments within Dietrich College and members of the Dean’s Office.

Faculty Representatives:

  • Zach Branson, Statistics & Data Science
  • John Chin, CMIST
  • Chante Cox-Boyd, Psychology
  • Ricky Law, History
  • Gang Liu, Languages, Cultures & Applied Linguistics
  • Raja Sooriamurthi, Information Systems
  • David Shumway, English
  • Joel Smith, Philosophy
  • Steve Spear, Economics

Dean’s Office Representatives:

  • Amy Burkert, Vice Provost for Education
  • Sharon Carver, Associate Dean for Educational Affairs
  • Joseph E. Devine, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies
  • Joanna Dickert, Assistant Dean of Educational Experience Assessment
  • Colleen Libertz, General Education Program Manager
  • Kelli Maxwell, Associate Dean for Student Success
  • Kim Piatt, Director of Experiential Learning
  • Richard Scheines, Bess Family Dean of Dietrich College
  • Nuria Ballesteros Soria, General Education Lecturer

Student Advisory Board

The Student Advisory Board partners with members of the General Education Steering Committee to share feedback and insights on their perceptions and experiences as current students. This feedback is used to inform decisions related to the growth and development of the General Education Program. The Student Advisory Board meets bi-weekly and is comprised of first-year and sophomore students from a variety of academic disciplines.

Dietrich College Council

The Dietrich College Council reviews and votes on all academic policy and curricular decisions for the College, including those related to the General Education Program. The College Council is made up of the dean, associate deans, department heads, faculty/staff representatives, and three student representatives: one graduate student and two undergraduate.