Senators consider universitywide student learning outcomes

Meeting coverage

Senators will vote next month on a proposal to adopt four universitywide student learning outcomes to bring Iowa State in line with accreditation criteria. The outcomes, shared at the Jan. 21 Faculty Senate meeting, were introduced by the senate's outcomes assessment committee.

From a review of learning outcomes from each college, the committee identified four consistent measurements:

  • Communication
  • Information literacy
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Global citizenship

The universitywide outcomes do not replace those at the college level, and satisfy concerns found in the Higher Learning Commission's external accreditation review. Programs and departments can tailor the learning outcomes assessments to their needs.

"Our goal with this was to create overarching language where each college could identify a link to each objective,"  said committee chair Courtney Vengrin. "This should not directly impact any department-level outcomes. Many of these things are already happening at the college level."

If the proposal is approved, the Faculty Handbook section on student outcomes assessment must be updated. 

CELT workshop

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching director Sara Marcketti provided the senate with an update on the annual inclusive classroom workshops that began this month. Eleven percent of departments have completed training and more than 90% have scheduled it.


Andrea Wheeler, associate professor of architecture, was voted the next president-elect. She will take office in May, when current president Jonathan Sturm (music) passes the gavel to president-elect Carol Faber (graphic design).

Other business

  • Senators approved a resolution to bring faculty position responsibility statements into compliance with the Faculty Handbook. The resolution focused on removing words or statements that go beyond brief descriptions of responsibility areas.
  • Senators approved a master of arts in teaching history in the Graduate College. The program is a collaboration between the history department and School of Education.
  • The annual spring faculty conference has been postponed to next fall.