University News University Marketing and Communications »

UW-Whitewater receives national award in Sustained Excellence in Assessment

September 08, 2020

Written by Kristine Zaballos | Photo by Craig Schreiner

2020 Sustained Excellence in Assessment Designation

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is one of just three colleges or universities in the U.S. — and the only Wisconsin institution — to be awarded the 2020 Sustained Excellence in Assessment Designation, an honor that reflects the university’s decades-long commitment to assessment.

Only nine colleges and universities have received the designation, which is awarded for those institutions that have maintained or evolved their integrated institution-level student learning outcomes assessment over a period of five or more years, since the award’s inception in 2016.

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation is the first national program of its kind designed to recognize exemplary colleges and universities that integrate assessment practices throughout the institution, provide evidence of student learning outcomes to stakeholders and use assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance. Evaluation for the designations includes a rigorous and systematic self-study and peer review by national assessment experts.

Joan Cook, interim associate vice chancellor of academic affairs and former director of academic assessment, noted, “This is truly an honor for UW-Whitewater, particularly the recognition as a Sustained Excellence Designee. The designation is the result of years of hard work and dedication on the part of faculty, students, staff and administrators across our campuses, as well as the support of others in the UW System. Our campus colleagues’ efforts fulfill the true intent of assessment of student learning — gathering useful information to continuously improve our programs and student outcomes.”

Students sit in the Memory Garden.

Academic assessment at UW-Whitewater is the process of gathering and analyzing information about student learning and using it to improve the learning process for all departments and academic programs. Cook worked with assessment fellows Amal Ibrahim, associate professor of communication, and Dan Baumgardt, associate professor of languages and literatures, and Interim Assessment Director Katy Casey to submit the comprehensive award application earlier this summer.

The EIA Designation Program, which was established in 2016, is an effort supported by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) and the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

For more information on the EIA designation and on assessment at UW-Whitewater, contact Joan Littlefield Cook, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor, at 262-472-1006 or