Sigma Xi Statement - Wilson Crone

Wilson Crone, Hudson Valley Community College

I am a faculty member at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY, who teaches organismal biology and basic medical sciences. My interest in assessment ranges from those courses I am personally responsible for to curricula spanning the campus as part of a college reaccreditation effort. Given these differences in scale, I am trying to make assessment a continuous pattern of renewal not just for myself, but for many colleagues over a variety of disciplines. I teach courses ranging literally from anatomy to zoology. For most of these courses I am the only instructor involved, e.g., with an interdisciplinary on-line course in economic botany. Student evaluations, my discussions with colleagues on campus and in professional societies, and my sense of curricular demands lead to an informal, personal pattern of assessment for these solo efforts. In contrast, I am course coordinator for zoology classes that involve several sections and instructors. I am the one responsible for the course outline, text selection, and laboratory materials. The other faculty and I have informal discussions before, during, and after the semester to address what has happened, and how this fits in with overall curricular goals of the students, e.g., those continuing on in physical education. Three of the courses that I teach, a fall anatomy course, a spring physiology course, and a summer immunology course, are part of the Albany Medical College--Hudson Valley Community College Physician Assistant Program. Here, instead of the informal evaluation and assessment of courses that I mentioned above, the PA program has a strong, in-place structure of assessment that runs throughout the curriculum, as is required from accrediting agencies. Our PA Curriculum Committee examines data from each semester and makes adjustments in light of student outcomes. As an example, both senior students and faculty preceptors are able to report on background deficits they see while in clinical rotations, and give the basic science instructors like myself a sense of where to adjust. The above individual courses involve only the HVCC campus. In contrast to these, I am embarking this spring semester in a specialized, multi-campus effort of the Global Seminar, http://www.globalseminar.org. This course, based on a successful model of Cornell University, involves students here and abroad working together on environmental case studies email and videoconference. Assessment involving a variety of campuses (and time zones!) will be another challenge that will involve a consensus approach of the different faculty involved. In addition, for the next few years at HVCC, I will be involved in the Middle States Association reaccreditation effort. I am on a member of the overall steering committee and co-chair of a subcommittee dealing with several of the standards. A major theme throughout the Middle States elements and analyses is the term assessment. The level of assessment tools currently in place across our campus is spotty, and hence, I want to expand my understanding of assessment to strengthen its position. I hope that my personal experience with a variety of course formats will help in this process.