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Democratically Engaged Assessment, Part One: Reimagining Assessment for Public Scholarship

March 13, 2023, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm EDT

Assessment. The word sends shivers up the spine of even the most experienced scholars. Assessment is one of the most challenging, fraught, and effective endeavors that we deal with as public scholars, community engagement professionals, and change agents. But does assessment have to be so stressful? So inauthentic? Devoid of values? The quick answer: no!

Assessment can be so much more than ticking boxes, taking surveys, and statistics. It can be dynamic, engaging, authentic, and reaffirming. In this workshop, we will help participants reimagine their relationship with assessment and develop ways of centering an equity-based, inclusive, democratic assessment process in their work. These workshops will guide participants through a series of activities to reimagine their assessment work using the framework of democratically-engaged assessment (DEA) as a lens. Following a conceptual introduction and initial engagement with the framework, participants will examine their assessment practices and develop an action plan for their own work in a specific arena. Reflective exercises and collaborative activities will help participants surface their assumptions about the role of values in assessment, the values they enact through their assessment, tension points that arise across phases of assessment, and opportunities to negotiate tensions through the lens of DEA. In keeping with the tenets of the framework, participants will not only enhance their own work, but also will contribute to the ongoing and co-creative development of the DEA framework itself.

Part 1: Reimagining Assessment for Public Scholarship

Intention: This workshop will cover the basics of assessment, bust some myths, introduce some framings and tools, and explore examples of the spectrum of assessment.


Julia Metzker serves as director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education at the Evergreen State College. Julia received her first degree from the Evergreen State College, where she learned first-hand the value of a transformative liberal arts education. She obtained a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arizona and completed a postdoctoral appointment at the University of York in the United Kingdom. In her 10 years as a chemistry professor at Georgia College, she discovered the power of community-based learning to engage students in learning that matters. After serving as the inaugural director of community-based engaged learning at Georgia College she moved to Stetson University as the founding executive director for the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. During her journey of discovering herself as an educator, she was fortunate to find a cohort of like-minded university educators who co-founded the Innovative Course-building Group—a grass-roots social network for learning that supports teaching faculty and staff across disciplines. She believes in reimagining and reclaiming the democratic potential of assessment, work she champions as a member of Imagining America’s Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship (APPS) research group. She and her partner, Joe, raise chickens and bees in the Pacific Northwest.

Sarah Stanlick is an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative and Global Studies and the director of the Great Problems Seminar at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). She is also responsible for the delivery and support of global project-based learning through the Global Projects Program, and teaches social science research methods for students of all backgrounds and majors in preparation for the interactive qualifying project, a seven-week project with external sponsors. Her commitment to transformative and inclusive learning that engages students as active agents includes her regular participation in faculty learning communities at WPI and collaborative work to advance the integration of open educational resources and open pedagogical practices across the WPI curriculum. In addition to co-chairing the APPS collective with Julia, she serves as one of the co-directors of the Community-Based Global Learning Collaborative. Her priority for teaching, research, and service is to encourage and model engaged, active citizenship and help create conditions for all community members to be able to similarly engage. She splits time between Worcester and Hellertown, Pennsylvania (where her partner Michael works and lives with their spicy cat Miikka) and is an avid gardener, yoga practitioner, cook, and ice hockey fan.

This session is sponsored by Rackham’s Mellon Public Engagement and the Humanities program, and is open to all students on campus interested in the topic.

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We want to ensure full and equitable participation in our events. If an accommodation would promote your full participation in this event, please follow the registration link to indicate your accommodation requirements. Please let us know as soon as possible in order to have adequate time, preferably one week, to arrange for your requested accommodations or an effective alternative.


March 13, 2023
10:00 am to 1:00 pm EDT
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Workshop / Seminar
Michigan Union


Pond Room, Michigan Union
530 State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 United States
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