Beedie School senior lecturer, Kevin Stewart, says implementing learning outcomes and assessment in his faculty was challenging, “but we’ve been successful through ongoing faculty consultation.”

Beedie School leads LOA process

October 25, 2012
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The SFU community got a primer this summer from U.S. expert Kathi Ketcheson on the value of learning outcomes and assessment (LOA) and how it can be implemented effectively.

The topic is especially relevant to SFU, as the 2013-18 academic plan includes a call to “define learning outcomes for each course and program” to achieve a “high-quality student experience” and NWCCU accreditation requires clearly articulated learning outcomes.

Ketcheson, a Portland State University administrator and faculty member, addressed a wide range of issues, from the necessary conditions for good assessment to faculty concerns about academic freedom and increased workload. She also discussed how to define learning outcomes and encourage faculty participation.

But Kevin Stewart, a Beedie School of Business senior lecturer and member of the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Working Group, which invited Ketcheson, says you don’t have to look beyond his faculty to see LOA in action.

“The Beedie School already has established learning goals and objectives for all degree programs and concentrations,” says Stewart. “It’s been challenging, but we’ve been successful through ongoing faculty consultation and participation from all ranks.”

Beedie has worked hard to mitigate the concerns faculty members had early on about the perceptions of increased workloads and the freedom to teach courses they wanted to, says Stewart. “We’ve been successful because we’ve been collaborative,” he says.

“We said “Look, LOA is an opportunity for us as faculty members, not a hurdle. We already know you’re having great successes in your classroom teaching. LOA helps us to document that success, learn from it and improve it whenever we can.

“Let’s use LOA to improve our students’ learning by talking about our teaching, learning from each other, making sure we can agree on what our goals are for our students, and modeling best practices in both teaching and assessment.’”

Stewart says LOA is a key requirement of his faculty’s certification with the a global nonprofit Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which was recently renewed in large part due to its LOA progress in both its undergraduate and graduate programs.

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