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Assessment Tools for Women's Studies Programs

The following discussion of assessment tools appropriate for Women's
Studies programs took place on WMST-L in October 2003.  For additional
WMST-L files available on the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 10:32:40 -0700
From: "Ellen M. Gil-Gomez" <egil AT CSUSB.EDU>
Subject: Looking for WS assessment materials
Hello, my very small Women's Studies minor program is looking for Women's
Studies specific assessment tools to consider how we can determine if our
program is meeting student need and interests.  I have looked at the
archive and don't see any specific materials there unless I'm looking in
the wrong place.  We are not making the argument of creating a department
at this point but rather trying to craft tools to evaluate our students
experiences with the program.  There is some specific interest in gaining
more insight with students' understanding amongst the issues/contexts of
women' s studies, gender studies, and lgbtq studies as well. . .

Anyway if anyone can send me specific tools that you've used with success
I'd be most grateful.  I'll be happy to send them back to the list if there
was interest.
Mil gracias, Ellen Gil-Gomez.

Dr. Ellen M. Gil-Gomez
Assistant Professor of English
California State University San Bernardino
San Bernardino, CA 92407
email: egil  AT  csusb.edu
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 09:14:10 -0400
From: Molly Dragiewicz <mdragiew AT BUCKNELL.EDU>
Subject: WMST assessment
2 books from NWSA/Association of American Colleges:

Students at the Center: Feminist Assessment, edited by Caryn McTighe Musil,
The courage to Question: Women's Studies and Student Learning, edited by
Caryn McTighe Musil, 1992

Both include assessment forms others have used.

ordering information is available here

Molly Dragiewicz
Women's Resource Center
Bucknell University
mdragiew  AT  bucknell.edu
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 07:12:12 -1000
From: Kathy Ferguson <kferguso AT HAWAII.EDU>
Subject: Re: Looking for WS assessment materials
University of Hawai`i has a medium sized program (8 faculty, 3 in joint
positions) with an undergrad and grad certificates and a major through
liberal studies.  We recently invented a program assessment process.
First, we said that our goal is that no WS student will ever begin a
paper with the phrase "since the dawn of time." But that didn't satisfy
the administration (plus we keep failing miserably to achieve that
goal). So we went with something a bit more conventional: when students
fill out their course evaluation forms in WS courses (including cross
listed courses taught in other departments) we ask them to also fill out
a WS assessment form, asking them to describe their experience in WS and
to reflect on what, if any affect WS courses have had on their academic
experiences and their lives. Also, individual faculty do telephone exit
interviews with the graduating seniors.  Both are useful sources of

Kathy Ferguson
Women's Studies
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 18:15:04 -0700
From: Ann Mussey <musseya AT PDX.EDU>
Subject: Re: Looking for WS assessment materials

We have been compelled by our administration to create and implement an
assessment plan for our department, along with all other departments
here at Portland State. We first established learning goals--which has
actually been useful in many ways I didn't anticipate (e.g. evaluating
courses outside the department that are acceptable for WS majors).
Course evaluations have been routine, but now we call this one of our
assessment "tools". We have also begun to do focus groups with majors on
specific learning goals. Last year, we asked one group to talk about
their understanding of the matrix of oppression, how they came to
understand this concept, what classes contributed, etc. We asked another
group to talk about their engagement with community organizations and
social change movements (civic engagement is an institutional goal.) We
also tried collecting written essays from carefully crafted assignments
in the intro and the final research class for seniors. Our plan was to
evaluate how well students understood the matrix of oppression,
presuming that seniors would have much more sophisticated knowledge. We
ran into a number of sticky issues. The assignments turned out to be
flawed, and evaluating 100 papers (using a rubric) is very time
consuming. Needless to say, we put this off til this year (and we
haven't started yet)!

Future initiatives include more focus groups and developing a survey for

Hope this helps. I have more to say, but I'm out of time! Let me know if
you have specific questions.

Ann Mussey
musseya  AT  pdx.edu
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 22:18:07 -0400
From: Luis Gutierrez <LTG1115 AT STARPOWER.NET>
Subject: Re: Looking for WS assessment materials

With regard to WS educational assessment materials, I would recommend
taking a look at the "Education Criteria for Performance Excellence"
published by the Baldrige National Quality Program.  It should be
possible to adapt these excellent guidelines for WS assessments.

Educational excellence criteria are defined in the following categories:

1 -- Leadership
2 -- Strategic Planning
3 -- Student, Stakeholder, and Market Focus
4 -- Measurements, Analysis, and Knowledge Management
5 -- Faculty and Staff Focus
6 -- Process Management
7 -- Organizational Performance Results

The package includes category and item descriptions, scoring system, and
scoring guidelines.  I was in Baldrige teams several times during the
1990s (in IBM), and it is difficult for me to imagine a better
assessment tool.  Do not use Baldrige though, unless you are really
serious about providing high quality education.  A Baldrige assessment
takes time and energy ... but if you are going to do an assessment, why
not use the best tool, and one that is widely recognized as such?

For more information, and to get the 2003 PDF:


If you want to communicate with the Baldrige office:

301-975-2036 or nqp  AT  nist.gov

If anyone has already adapted Baldrige-Education to WS, or even better,
done a Baldrige assessment for a WS program, please let me know!


Luis T. Gutierrez, PhD, PE
LTG1115  AT  starpower.net
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 10:30:20 -0400
From: Elisabeth Rose Gruner <egruner AT RICHMOND.EDU>
Subject: Re: Looking for WS assessment materials
My colleague Lucretia McCulley co-authored an article (with Patricia
Patterson) in Feminist Teacher (Volume 11, Issue 1)    1997: "An Instrument
for Feminist Assessment of Women's Studies Programs."  This article draws on
an instrument McCulley & Patterson developed for an assessment of our WS
program in 1996.

Elisabeth Rose Gruner
Women's Studies Coordinator
Associate Professor of English & Women's Studies
University of Richmond
Richmond VA 23173
egruner  AT  richmond.edu

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