Our office collaborates with a number of departments on projects that assess academic and administrative programs, grants, and the student experience.
Some of Our Projects In Progress:
Bates Summer Scholars Program
Inaugurated in 2007, the Bates Summer Scholars Program (BSSP) is an accelerated introduction to the sciences and math at Bates College. Open to ten entering first-year students who demonstrate an interest in science and mathematics, the program seeks to build a community of science scholars from among a diverse group of incoming first-years, including first generation college students and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences at Bates. Evaluation of the Bates Summer Scholars Program is on-going and iterative, involving both quantitative and qualitative research.
Since 2005, Bates has been involved in the New England Consortium on Assessment and Student Learning (NECASL). With funding from the Teagle, Mellon, and Spencer foundations, the consortium of seven highly competitive liberal arts colleges (Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Middlebury, Smith, Trinity, and Wellesley) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) studies how students learn and how they make important decisions about their academic programs. In 2006-2007, the consortium launched a longitudinal panel study of thirty-six students at each college from the Class of 2010; using student-conducted interviews and surveys, the panel study followed this subset of students from their first college years and will check in with students one year after graduating. Preliminary results of this combined effort can be found on the NECASL website. Click here to visit the NECASL web site. As data collection nears its end, Bates specific results will become available.
Through two, two hour meetings with individual academic departments and programs, faculty articulate their goals for the graduate and for the thesis. Before a third meeting, faculty read three theses and then discuss the degree to which their goals are reflected in the theses. In subsequent meetings, faculty may use this information to make changes to their curriculum, and/or their thesis process. New to this assessment is the collection of qualitative data from thesis students (via interviews) about their experience. A work in progress, we have concluded that the opportunity to engage intellectually with faculty one on one is the greatest benefit for students. Thus far, faculty have revised their thesis proposal process, they have developed new courses, and they have enhanced oral presentation in their curriculum.
Bates College Imaging and Computing Center
The Bates College Imaging and computing Center (BCICC) promotes visual thinking and communication as a catalyst for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work. Since first opening in January 2007, the center’s resources have been highly popular with faculty and students associated with the physical sciences; less so in the social sciences and humanities. An October 2009 assessment focused on use and perception of the center by a broad sample of staff, faculty and students. Through interviews, surveys and study of archival materials, the assessment identified real (or perceived) barriers to usage; a plan of outreach and a logic model for measuring future progress toward meeting the center’s goals of greater interdisciplinary usage.