2022 Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment: Pre-Conference Workshops

In addition to attending the 2022 GEPA Conference, don't forget to register for pre-conference workshops! Virtual workshops will be held over four days (Tuesday, February 1, through Friday, February 4) during the week prior to the in-person conference. In-person workshops will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, February 10.

Virtual Pre-Conference Workshops (Tuesday, February 1 – Friday, February 4)

Separate registration and fee required ($95 members; $155 non-members); registration is limited, so register early. Please note: These virtual workshops take place the week before the in-person meeting in San Diego, California.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET

Workshop 1: Creating Better Assignments for Learning and Assessment: AAC&U's VALUE ADD Tools for Written Communication and Critical Thinking

A key finding from research resulting from AAC&U’s VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) Project is that what faculty ask students to do in class assignments strongly affects how well they do it. With that recognition in mind, AAC&U has created new Assignment Design and Diagnostic (ADD) Tools that are intended to help you and your colleagues create and/or revise assignments designed to produce student work which develops and accurately demonstrates their abilities targeting specific learning outcomes. During the first part of this session, participants will be provided with an overview of the literature underpinning these tools as well as an introduction to their components. Attendees will then be provided with sample critical thinking and written communication assignments to examine through the lens of the VALUE ADD Tools. Following this practice, attendees will be encouraged to share their own written communication and/or critical thinking assignments with peers. Using the VALUE ADD Tools, attendees will provide and receive feedback on the assignments they share. We will conclude by exploring insights regarding assignment design that emerged while using these tools.

C. Edward Watson
, Associate Vice President for Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation—AAC&U

Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm ET

Workshop 2: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Gen Ed Curricular Reform: Designing a Curricular Process that Builds Community, Deepens Learning, and Might Even Allow You to Sleep at Night

Okay, so you have few ideas about what a good liberal education program might look like. And you and your team are working well together, even that curmudgeon that your dean made you bring along. But honestly, once you get back to campus, how in the heck are you supposed get the rest of your faculty involved in a revision process that: (a) doesn’t lead to turf wars; (b) doesn’t revolve around ten-year old grievances; (c) is transparent; (d) is inclusive; and finally, (e) leads to thoughtful, productive conversations? In this workshop, we will collaboratively tackle these challenges and develop pragmatic, effective strategies for addressing them.

Paul Hanstedt
, Director of the Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning—Washington & Lee University

Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET

Workshop 3: Connecting Minds and Mindsets: How General Education Revision and Assessment Can Advance the Whole Student

At a time of remarkable change in the world, and particularly within higher education, there is a new urgency to articulate and assess what it means for colleges and universities to foster not only students’ cognitive development, but their personal, emotional, and social development, as well. To be effective, assessment of the whole student must go beyond the traditional scope of student affairs and into the innovative territory of linking curricular learning with students’ aptitudes, mindsets, and dispositions. There is perhaps no better curricular opportunity for such efforts than general education. Within this space, envisioning and assessing elements of students’ personal and social development (e.g., sense of purpose, agency, resilience, growth mindset, and belonging) can become intentional and foundational contributions of the curriculum, not just fringe benefits. This workshop will engage participants in discussions around the varied approaches for assessing students’ holistic learning and development and the curricular and co-curricular linkages that can provide anchors for assessment over time. productive conversations?

Ashley Finley
, Vice President for Research and Senior Advisor to the President—AAC&U

Thursday, February 3, 2022, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm ET

Workshop 4: Centering Ethics in ePortfolio Initiatives: Designing (or Revising) ePortfolio Programs with Digital Ethics in Mind

Participants will identify and plan steps for actively addressing ethical concerns within their local ePortfolio initiatives. The facilitators will share models of ePortfolio integration within general education programs, highlighting strategies for redressing ethical issues. In small, self-selected strategy groups, participants will map practical solutions, identify allies, and consider next steps to ensure their ePortfolio programs are ethically sound. We conclude by sharing the results of the mapping activities, crowdsourcing strategies, and considering timelines for implementation.Participants will identify and plan steps for actively addressing ethical concerns within their local ePortfolio initiatives. The facilitators will share models of ePortfolio integration within general education programs, highlighting strategies for redressing ethical issues. In small, self-selected strategy groups, participants will map practical solutions, identify allies, and consider next steps to ensure their ePortfolio programs are ethically sound. We conclude by sharing the results of the mapping activities, crowdsourcing strategies, and considering timelines for implementation.

Megan Haskins
, Faculty Developer of Integrative Learning and High Impact Practices—University of Denver; Megan Mize, Director of ePortfolios and Digital Initiatives—Old Dominion University, and Sarah Zurhellen, Assistant Director of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program—Appalachian State University

Thursday, February 3, 2022, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET

Workshop 5: Assessing the Unquanitifiable: Strategies for the "Hard-to-Measure" Disciplines

Strategies and approaches to the direct assessment of student learning in higher education programs vary widely across disciplines. This workshop focuses on strategies for assessing student learning in the “hard to measure” disciplines, such as those in which students demonstrate learning nonverbally, creatively, and other specialized contexts. We will address the psychometric components of reliability, validity, fairness, and equity as they apply in these specialized contexts. and as well as data collection methods and approaches to analysis, evaluation, and accreditation reporting.

Timothy S. Brophy
, Professor of Music Education and Director of Institutional Assessment—University of Florida

Friday, February 4, 2022, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm ET

Workshop 6: Let's Get Calibrated:Using VALUE Rubrics to Assess Learning

Using the Critical Thinking VALUE Rubric, participants will engage in calibration training during this session. Together, we will apply rubrics to samples of student work and discuss developing institutional-level data from the direct assessment of student learning outcomes. Calibration sessions are an excellent professional development activity designed to foster interdisciplinary and authentic dialogue and reflection focused on assessment and broad learning outcomes.

Jessica Chittum
, Director of Assessment and Pedagogical Innovation—AAC&U


In-Person Pre-Conference Workshops (Thursday, February 10)

Separate registration and fee required ($125 members; $195 non-members); registration is limited, so register early.

Thursday, February 10, 2022, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm PT

Workshop 7: VALUE Rubrics 101: If, When, Why, and How to Hack Them to Improve Student Learning

Rubrics are heralded as the answer to any number of assessment and accountability questions facing faculty and administrators today. This interactive session will empower participants to fully utilize rubrics on their campuses. The VALUE rubrics were developed to provide a collaborative, faculty-devised approach to assessing the quality of student learning for outcomes educators and employers said were essential for student success. The rubrics provide information that faculty and students can use to improve student learning and teaching effectiveness. Participants will gain exposure to rubric best practices and resources using the AAC&U VALUE rubrics; develop rubrics and/or rubric-related tools (such as a draft of a rubric customized for grading, course-based, and program assessment; a plan for engaging faculty in rubric calibration; or the development of a rubric “from scratch”); and return to their campuses primed to implement rubric strategies appropriate to their institutional context.

Kate Drezek McConnell
, Vice President for Curricular & Pedagogical Innovation, Executive Director of VALUE—AAC&U

Workshop 8: Nuts and Bolts of Institutional Assessment

This workshop will walk you through how to create an institutional assessment structure that is meaningful and manageable. The presenters will outline how to establish a culture of assessment through the creation of a deliberative structure and ongoing processes which facilitate faculty and staff involvement. Starting with backwards design, this workshop will help participants align Institutional Learning Outcomes with their mission and create an assessment committee composed of diverse faculty and staff representation. This committee will oversee the nuts and bolts of institutional assessment. This will include developing rubrics, establishing assessment liaisons, evaluating annual program assessment processes, creating an assessment hub, and hosting assignment design workshops and rubric scoring parties. Documents and templates will be shared.

Michele A. Starkey
, Associate Provost and Accreditation Liaison Officer, and Elizabeth Sturgeon, Professor of English—both at Mount Saint Mary's University Los Angeles

Workshop 9: Inspiring Change, Managing Expectations, & Making Things Happen: How to Lead a Successful (and Sane) Gen Ed Reform Process

Curricular reform generally and general education reform specifically can be politically and emotionally fraught. While much of the focus is on the desired end product – a vibrant new curriculum that excites students and faculty alike – the process of reform is the key difference between successful reform efforts and those that crash and burn. Those charged with leading gen ed reform face critical questions that they must answer: How do we engage the range of diverse constituencies in the reform process? What are the governance implications of the proposed change? What and how should we communicate with the campus as we move forward with the work of reform? What is the appropriate role for students in the reform process? Is our curriculum diverse and inclusive? This workshop will provide participants with a range of proven tools and strategies for leading a successful gen ed reform process.

Alison Chapman
, Professor and Department Chair of English—University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Bridget Trogden, Associate Professor, Department of Engineering & Science Education, Associate Dean for Engagement & General Education—Clemson University