Edmonds Community College instructors receive state award

Kathleen Murphy (left) and Beth O’Donnell of Edmonds Community College have been selected to receive the 2013 Anna Sue McNeill Assessment, Teaching and Learning Award.

Edmonds Community College instructors Kathleen Murphy and Beth O’Donnell have been selected as recipients of the 2013 Anna Sue McNeill Assessment, Teaching and Learning Award.

The award recognizes contributions to assessment, teaching, and student learning at a public two- or four-year college in Washington State. To be eligible for an award, nominees must teach and/or be in a position to directly or indirectly affect student learning.

Since 2002, Murphy and O’Donnell have been co-chairs of Edmonds CC’s Institutional Assessment Plan, which outlines direct and indirect measures by which the college can systematically evaluate student achievement of learning outcomes at the course, program (i.e. degree and certificate) and institution levels.

“Kathy and Beth have been a high-performing team for several years,” said Marty Cavalluzzi, Executive Vice President for Instruction. “They have held steadfast to the vision of Edmonds Community College’s assessment needs. They stayed with it to fruition.”

Murphy started as a full-time English instructor at Edmonds CC in 1992 and is currently department chair. O’Donnell is head of the Hospitality and Tourism program, where she has taught since 1993. Murphy and O’Donnell have collaborated, for the past 15 years, on facilitating various levels of teaching and learning assessment at Edmonds CC.

Most recently, they have been involved in a $2 million Department of Education grant to improve assessment and access to data at Edmonds CC. As part of this initiative, they have focused on refining course-level learning objectives for more than 1,600 courses and program-level learning outcomes for each program (degree/certificate) that the college offers and publishing them in the online academic catalog (www.edcc.edu/catalog). Departments are using this year to gather data about how students are performing in their programs.

“Faculty will use that information to make informed decisions on what we are doing well and how we can improve,” O’Donnell said. “However, it’s not just about the numbers or the directly observable elements of teaching and learning. Rather, assessment can help us understand how to best direct resources toward strategies that enrich learning. For us, that is the heart of what we do.”

The awards will be presented May 2 during the 2013 Assessment, Teaching and Learning Conference in Spokane, Wash.

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