Assessment Awards

2009 CHEA Award for Institutional Progress in Student Learning Outcomes

In 2009, Northern Arizona University was the only four-year university nationwide receiving a Council for Higher Education Accreditation award for its commitment to student learning.

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The CHEA Award for Institutional Progress in Student Learning Outcomes provides recognition for NAU's success in student learning outcomes and using those outcomes to evaluate and improve programs.

“We are thrilled to receive this award reflecting the cumulative effort of faculty and staff who have embraced assessment as a key strategy for advancing the quality of our programs,” said Karen Pugliesi, NAU's vice provost for Academic Affairs.

Established in 2006 to recognize institutions exceptional in developing and applying evidence of student learning outcomes to improve educational quality, the award was given by a council committee of experts from higher education institutions who chose NAU from 32 applicants.

“I think our focus on integrating learning outcomes into strategic planning distinguished us from other applicants,” Pugliesi said.

The council praised NAU's academic programming that has been developed by measuring student learning outcomes. One of NAU's strategic plan goals is to focus on the quality of student learning. NAU has a Strategic Planning Council to monitor the university's progress in assessing student experiences.

Tom Paradis, director of academic assessment at NAU, who provided leadership in strengthening and assessing student programs, will accept the award during the 2009 CHEA annual conference, Jan. 26 through 29 in Washington, D.C. The council is covering Paradis' travel costs.

Generating a “culture of assessment” has been one of the greatest challenges facing colleges and universities nationwide, Paradis noted.

“I believe that we have been fortunate to enable a genuine campus culture among faculty, staff and administration that embraces the fundamental purpose of academic assessment,” he said. “Our focus is on what matters most to faculty and students—their curricula and internal and external opportunities for student achievement.”

Paradis said the University Assessment Committee, Faculty Development, the staff of the Office of Academic Assessment, academic leadership and supporting units such as E-Learning, Cline Library, Student Affairs and faculty are collaborating in the “ongoing role in improving our process for academic assessment at NAU.”

In addition to NAU, Delaware Technical & Community College also was awarded the 2009 CHEA Award for Institutional Progress in Student Learning Outcomes. For information about the council, go to

Seals of Assessment Excellence and Letters of Commendation for Assessment

The purposes of Northern Arizona University's assessment seals and letters are to 1) recognize academic programs for outstanding work in assessing student learning through meaningful assessment approaches and the application of assessment findings to document and/or enhance curriculum, learning design, and assessment practices, 2) encourage academic programs to showcase program-level achievements in student learning as well as innovations in curriculum, learning design, and academic assessment, and 3) promote promising practices in assessment and its application to learning design by sharing strategies and experiences across the disciplines.

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The Seal of Assessment Excellence

The Seal of Assessment Excellence recognizes outstanding work on all three assessment phases (Phase 1: Mission, Student Learning Outcomes, and Assessment Strategy, Phase 2: Data Collection, and Phase 3: Summary of Findings, Interpretations, and Recommendations) as evidenced by the Annual Assessment Report.Academic programs earning this recognition have carefully planned for assessment, including developing a program mission, student learning outcomes, and a curriculum map. Additionally, they have designed assessment measures and a strategy that facilitated answering an assessment question of importance to the program. Finally, they have included the majority, if not all, faculty members in developing and implementing the assessment strategy as well as discussing and using assessment results to make recommendations for changes to curriculum, learning design, and assessment.  Following best practices of assessment, these programs demonstrate the integral connection between curriculum, learning design, and assessment processes.

The nomination process for the Seal of Assessment Excellence is conducted jointly by the University Assessment Committee (UAC) and the Office of Curriculum, Learning Design, and Academic Assessment (OCLDAA). UAC members review annual assessment reports submitted during the academic year by using a detailed rubric that provides feedback to academic programs. In addition to providing feedback, UAC review teams identify programs to be considered for the Seal of Assessment Excellence based upon the distinguished ratings provided by UAC members across all three phases of their assessment reports. During the summer, OCLDAA staff review the rubric feedback and assessment reports for all programs recommended as possible seal recipients and determine which programs will receive a Seal of Assessment Excellence. At the first UAC meeting each fall, the UAC reviews the list of nominated programs, prior to seeking endorsement from the Provost and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Letter of Commendation for Assessment

The Letter of Commendation recognizes specific outstanding work in any of the three assessment phases. The letter might acknowledge, for example, academic programs that effectively used curriculum mapping for understanding and improving student learning, developed an innovative approach to assessment design, or made improvements in the use of assessment results over time.

Similar to the nomination process for Seals of Assessment Excellence, UAC review teams identify programs to be considered for a Letter of Commendation as they are reviewing Annual Assessment Reports.  During the summer, the OCLDAA staff reviews the rubric feedback for all recommended programs and compiles a list of possible recipients. Following endorsement by the Associate Vice Provost for Curriculum and Assessment, Letters of Commendation are sent to the academic programs early in the fall semester. 

Recognition of Seal and Letter Recipients

To recognize our Seal Recipients, the Seals of Assessment Excellence are presented at a celebration dinner during the fall semester. Additionally, an electronic seal is sent to the program for display on their program website. Finally, program annual assessment reports that have received the Seal of Assessment Excellence are specially designated on the OCLDAA website in the report archives so that program faculty campus-wide can easily find these outstanding reports and peruse them for assessment ideas.

Recipients of the Seal of Assessment Excellence or Letter of Commendation will be invited to participate in a variety of venues to share their assessment expertise with their colleagues.   As recognized leaders of assessment efforts, recipients will be invited to share their assessment experiences with colleagues at a Café Meeting (the Café meeting is an informal opportunity for faculty from an academic program to meet with UAC members and OCLDAA staff over coffee and talk about assessment). Recipients will also receive a special invitation to present their work and be recognized at the Spring NAU Assessment Fair.   

Assessment Awards Present and Past

Present Awards


Seal of Assessment Excellence


Geographic Sciences & Community Planning BS

Aligned mission, program student learning outcomes, and assessment measures to allow for the organization of assessment findings by outcomes and the identification of student learning strengths as well as areas for improvement 

Hotel and Restaurant Management BS and International Hospitality Management BS

Demonstrated excellence in all three phases of annual assessment reporting, particularly in terms of specific recommendations for curricular and assessment instrument improvements based on assessment results

Letter of Commendation for Assessment


Assistive Technology Graduate Certificate

Designed a clear, easy-to-understand curriculum map that will prompt faculty discussion of students’ experiences of learning objectives and courses


History/Social Studies BSEd

Created a mission statement that describes how the program will prepare future history/social studies secondary teachers and unique characteristics of the program as well as designed student learning outcomes that successfully blend knowledge, skills, and purpose for learning


Logistics and Supply Chain Management BAS

Intentionally designed and aligned a mission, student learning outcomes, and assessment strategy that will provide a foundation for data collection and use of assessment results for change


MS Clinical Speech-Language Pathology MS

Developed a clear, thorough assessment strategy that supports the use of assessment date for continuous improvement of the program


School of Nursing BS, MS, DNP

Integrated NAU student learning outcomes with accreditation standards as well as developed in-depth curriculum maps that specify how accreditation standards are addressed in courses

Letter of Commendation for Student Learning Outcomes

 College of Arts and Letters
  • Art Education BSEd
  • Interior design BS
  • Studio Arts BFA
  • Secondary Education – English BSED (Accreditation Standards)
  • Creative Writing MFA
  • English – Secondary Education MA (Accreditation Standards)
  • Modern Languages BA
  • Secondary Education – French BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Secondary Education – German BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Secondary Education – Spanish BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Spanish BA
  • Secondary Education – History and Social Studies BSEd
College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences
  • Secondary Education in the Sciences BSEd (Biology, Chemistry, General Science, Earth Science, Physics)
  • Secondary Education – Mathematics BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Chemistry BS
  • Environmental Sciences BS
  • Climate Science & Solutions MS
  • Forestry BSF (Accreditation Standards)
  • Mathematics Education (Accreditation Standards)
 College of Education
  • Educational Leadership – Principal K-12 MEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Counseling – School Counseling MEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Counseling MA (Accreditation Standards)
  • Career and Technical Education 90-30 BSEd
  • Career and Technical Education MEd
  • Educational Technology MEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Early Childhood Education BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Elementary Education BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Elementary and Special Education BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
 W.A. Franke College of Business
  • Accountancy BSAccy
  • Business Economics BSBA
  • Computer Information Systems BSBA
  • Management BSBA
 College of Health and Human Services
  • Clinical Speech-Language Pathology MS (Accreditation Standards)
  • Dental Hygiene BSDH (and Degree Completion Program)
  • Health Sciences – Allied Health degrees
  • Health Sciences – Fitness Wellness BS (Accreditation Standards)
  • Health Sciences – Physical Education BSEd (Accreditation Standards)
  • Nursing BSN (Accelerated Option and Option for Registered Nurses)
  • Nursing Practice DNP
  • Occupational Therapy OTC
  • Physician Assistant Studies; MPAS
 Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Applied Indigenous Studies BA & BS
  • Journalism BS
  • Visual Communication BFA (Accreditation Standards)
  • American Political Studies BS
  • International Affairs BA
  • Political Science BA, BS
  • Social Work BSW
  • Sociology BS
  • Sustainable Communities MA

Past Awards

2012 – 2013

Seals of Assessment Excellence

The Seal of Assessment Excellence recognizes outstanding work in all three assessment phases as evidenced by the Annual Assessment Report.

MEd and Certificate in Educational Technologies
  • Used assessment findings for continuous program improvement, including undertaking a research study of the validity and reliability of program performance assessments

BSE Mechanical Engineering
  • Used main assessment tools and secondary assessment processes to assess, reflect on, and improve program student learning

Bachelor of Social Work
  • Clearly and thoroughly presented assessment findings, interpretations, and recommendations organized by program competencies

Letters of Commendation

  •  The Letter of Commendation recognizes specific outstanding work in any of the three assessment phases.

BS Accountancy
  • Enabled meaningful faculty discussion and interpretation of assessment results by making clear links among program student learning outcomes, assessment measures, and standards  

Business Administration Bachelor Degrees - Yuma
  • Asked important assessment questions related to student learning outcomes in the degree programs, explained why the questions were important, and identified how faculty used assessment results to improve student learning 

BSE Civil Engineering and BSE Environmental Engineering
  • Recommended comprehensive improvements to curriculum, learning design, and assessment

MS Clinical Speech-Language Pathology
  • Used multiple assessment measures to look at the achievement of program student learning outcomes from a variety of perspectives

BS Computer Science
  • Clearly and thoroughly summarized assessment findings and linked recommendations for change to those findings
BS Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • Encouraged faculty ownership of assessment by providing opportunities for faculty training, discussion, and application of rubrics prior to piloting the rubrics in courses across the curriculum

BSBA Management
  • Generated new assessment questions based on assessment findings in order to continuously improve student learning in the program

BS in Nursing; MS in Nursing; DPV Doctor of Nursing
  • Designed student learning outcomes for all programs to move students along a continuum from novice to more expert levels of nursing practice
2010 - 2011 and 2011 - 2012

Seal of Excellence in Assessment

Franke College of Business Common Core Courses
Seal of Excellence in Student Learning and Curriculum Design
Dental Hygiene BSDH
Geographic Sciences and Community Planning BS
History BSEd
Mechanical Engineering BSE
Electronic Media and Film BS
Geology BS

Seal of Achievement in Assessment

Clinical Speech Pathology MS
Finance BSBA
Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology
Management BSBA
Mathematics and Statistics BSEd/BS/BS Extended
Spanish BA
Seal of Achievement in Student Learning and Curriculum Design
Special Education BSEd
Construction Management 
Engineering: Design 4 Practice 

2009 - 2010

Seal of Excellence in Assessment

Finance BSBA
Nursing BSN
Psychology BA/BS
Social Work BSW

Seal of Achievement in Assessment

Electronic Media and Film BS
Computer Information Systems BSBA
Business Economics BSBA
Forestry BS/MS/MF/PhD
Dental Hygiene Extended BSDH 
Community Health BS
Physical Ed. & School Health BSEd
Marketing BSBA
Spanish BA/BS
Spanish MAT
Physics BS

2008 - 2009

Seal of Excellence in Assessment

Geography BS
Assistive Technology Certificate
Nursing BSN
Athletic Training BS
Physical Therapy DPT
Psychology BA/BS
Social Work BSW
Theatre BA/BS
Theatre Studies BS                  

Seal of Achievement in Assessment

Accountancy BSACCY
Interior Design BS
Studio BFA
Secondary Art Education BSED
Business Economics BSBA
Dental Hygiene Extended BSDH
Finance BSBA
Community Health BS
Physical Ed. & School Health BSEd
Marketing BSBA
Spanish BA/BS
Spanish MAT
Sociology BA/BS
Applied Sociology BA/BS
Women’s and Gender Studies BA/BS

2007 - 2008

Seal of Excellence in Assessment

Environmental Engineering BSE
Educational Technology MEd
Electrical Engineering BSE
Nursing BSN
Athletic Training BS
Physical Therapy DPT
Social Work BSW

Seal of Achievement in Assessment

Accountancy BSACCY
Business Economics BSBA
Science Education BSEd
Dental Hygiene Extended BSDH
Educational Leadership Principal Certificate and Principal MED
Educational Technology Certificate Program
Applied Linguistics PHD
English Education BSEd
English Education MA/MEd
Finance BSBA
Geography BS
Health Education BSEd
Physical Education BSEd
Hotel & Restaurant Management BS
Humanities BA
Management BSBA
Mechanical Engineering BSE
Spanish – Secondary Education BSEd
Spanish BA/BS
French BA/BS
Spanish MAT
Political Science BA/BS
Sociology BA/BS
Applied Sociology BA/BS
Theatre BA/BS
Theatre Studies BA/BS
Women’s and Gender Studies BA/BS/Minor


Seal of Excellence in Assessment

Psychology BA/BS
Hotel and Restaurant Management BS
Athletic Training BS

Seal of Achievement in Assessment

Bachelor of Applied Science BAS
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies BAiLS
Accountancy BSACCY
Finance BSBA
Business Economics BSBA
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry All Degrees
Public Relations BS
Speech Communication BA/BS
Dental Hygiene BSDH
Counseling: Human Relations MEd
School Psychology + Certification MA
Spanish BA/BS
Nursing BSN
Department of Political Science All Undergraduate Degrees
Physical Therapy DPT
Sociology BA/BS
Applied Sociology BA/BS
Department of Teaching and Learning All Degrees
Women’s Studies BA/BS