About Barbara E. Walvoord, Ph.D

Barbara E. Walvoord, Ph.D is a Professor Emerita at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. 

  • Coordinated Notre Dame’s self-study and re-accreditation visit by the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission, 2004. 
  • Have consulted or led workshops at more than 350 institutions of higher education throughout the U.S., on topics of assessment, teaching and learning, and writing across the curriculum. 
  • Founding director of four faculty-development programs at research and liberal arts institutions (Central College in Iowa, Loyola College in Maryland, University of Cincinnati, University of Notre Dame). Each program has won national recognition. 
  • 1987 Maryland English Teacher of the Year for Higher Education. 

Selected publications on assessment, teaching, and learning:

Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment. B. E. Walvoord and V. J. Anderson. 2nd ed. Jossey-Bass, 2009.

Assessment Clear and Simple: A Practical Guide for Institutions, Departments, and General Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

“New Modes of Productivity for Student Learning.” In J. E. King, E. L. Anderson, and M. E. Corrigan (eds.), Changing Student Attendance Patterns: Challenges for Policy and Practice. New Directions for Higher Education, no. 121. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

“Assessment in Accelerated Learning Programs: A Practical Guide.” In R. J. Wlodkowski and C. E. Kasworm (eds.), Accelerated Learning for Adults: The Promise and Practice of Intensive Educational Formats. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, no. 97. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Academic Departments: How They Work, How They Change. B. E. Walvoord, A. K. Carey, H. L. Smith, S. W. Soled, P. K. Way, and D. Zorn. ASHE ERIC Higher Education Reports, vol. 27, no. 8. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Thinking and Writing in College: A Naturalistic Study of Students in Four Disciplines. B. E. Walvoord and L. P. McCarthy, with contributions by V. J. Anderson, J. R. Breihan, S. M. Robison, and A. K. Sherman. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1991.

Selected Previous Campus Consultations

More than 300 institutions in the past decade, including all types of institutions both public and private, two-year through research universities, large and small, non-sectarian and faith-based. Names of institutions provided on request.

Workshop Description:

Assessment of Student Learning: Clear, Simple, Feasible, and Useful

In consulting, my goal is to help move the whole institution forward on assessment in a significant way. Thus I do not accept engagements for less than two days. My usual format is this:

Before my visit:

Intensive preparation in which we talk, I read material you send me, and we try to get me as familiar as possible with your situation and your needs.

My visit to campus:

The evening of my arrival: dinner with key assessment planners to get to know each other and to enhance my understanding of your institution.

Day 1 and Morning of Day 2: Some combination of the following:

  • Half-day workshop for faculty on grading and classroom assessment.

         Goal: to establish a strong base of grading and assessment in   

         classrooms. Issues addressed: how to make grading fair, time-

         efficient, and conducive to learning and how to use graded work for

         department assessment.

  • Half day workshop for department chairs/teams on departmental assessment.

         Goal: participants will emerge from the workshop with a written plan for

         assessment that is sensible, feasible, useful to the department for its

         own goals, and consonant with regional and professional accreditation

         guidelines. Issues addressed: how to establish learning goals, select

         measures, and use the information. How can the most ineffable goals

         (e.g. “originality”) be assessed? What are the dangers of assessment?

         What can assessment do for the department? What is the most basic,

         no-frills assessment plan?

  • 2-hour meeting with "general-education" or "Core" leaders about assessment.
  • Meetings with individual units such as instructional technology, library, or student affairs, about assessment in their areas.

Afternoon of Day 2: Final 2-hour meeting with academic administrators and key assessment leaders to discuss what we learned, what we accomplished, and how the institution can move forward.

Late afternoon of Day 2: I depart.

This format is not set in stone, so we can shape it to individual needs.