University Studies Assessment

University Studies gathers information on students’ learning and experiences in our courses in order to improve our practice and our students’ learning.

The tools and methods used to assess student learning are faculty driven and developed. We use surveys, small group discussions, and review of student and course portfolios in order to understand whether we are helping our students learn and succeed in the ways we intend.

University Studies' assessment practices have been recognized nationally. In 2010, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation awarded PSU the CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes, based in large part on the assessment practices in University Studies. In 2007, the Association of General and Liberal Studies recognized PSU with the Award for Improvement of General Education.

We use our assessment data and findings to understand and take action on:

Student Learning

All UNST courses relate to our learning goals. Our course evaluations, portfolios and work sample assessments all provide evidence of our students’ learning toward those goals:

  • Communication
  • Diversity of Human Experience
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Inquiry and Critical Thinking

Inquiry-based Learning Experiences

In UNST courses, students explore important questions related to real-world issues in collaboration with other students. Through surveys and small group discussions, we evaluate how well we are meeting our expectations for engaging classroom experiences, paying attention to:

  • Student satisfaction
  • Course pedagogical approaches
  • Experiences with ePortfolios

Student Success

As students are a part of the UNST program for almost ¼ of the time they will be enrolled at PSU, we take a special interest in their experience, using research to identify areas that may pose barriers to their success.We have studied:

  • Factors affecting freshman retention
  • Students' financial situation and concern



Our Assessment Plan describes the tools and methods we use at each level of our program.

Our Reports describe our findings and the actions we have taken based on those findings.

If you have any questions or comments about assessment in University Studies, please contact Rowanna Carpenter, Assessment Coordinator (