For the third year, WSU will award grants for faculty/staff projects that assess undergraduate learning outcomes and use the results to improve teaching and curriculum. This year, however, applicants are asked to focus their projects specifically at the program and department levels.

Also new: The contact person and “answer man” for those with questions about the proposal process will be Tom Matthews, who recently was appointed to the new position of assistant vice provost for educational assessment. He can be reached at 335-4203 or tmatthews@wsu.edu. His office is in Smith CUE 503K.

Matthews said this year’s proposal process is designed to support academic programs and departments as they work to build programmatic consensus in support of coordinated student learning outcomes and measurement methods. In addition, the process encourages departments to develop decision criteria that can trigger efforts to improve instructional activity based on results of outcomes assessment. Faculty involvement in consensus building related to these activities is viewed as a crucial step in the process of developing successful instructional models at the programmatic level.

As assistant vice provost for educational assessment, Matthews will support and coordinate effective outcomes assessment activity at WSU. Initially, he will focus on helping implement effective student learning outcome systems at the college and departmental level. These systems will document successful instructional practices as well as guide efforts to improve instruction. His efforts are intended to support WSU’s strategic goal to “provide the best undergraduate experience at a research university,” as well as insure success with accreditation needs related to outcomes assessment.

The deadline for submitting proposals to Matthews under the Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Assessment Initiative is Nov. 15. Awards will be made by Dec. 10. A full report about the project/activity must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Education by Dec. 30, 2005.

Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Grants will be awarded from a funding pool of $200,000. They must be used by Dec. 30, 2005. Awards typically are less than $10,000.

More information on proposal format and funding priorities can be obtained from Matthews or online at http://oue.wsu.edu.