Behind the Scenes Look at the 2018 ATL Conference Theme

A few days ago, I woke up to an e-mail from a faculty member in the system that made me breathe a deep sigh of relief.

In the e-mail, this dedicated and passionate chemistry professor posed a question about the upcoming 2018 ATL Conference:

Centering Student Learning: Connecting Completions, Equity, and Guided Pathways

She wrote


“This theme is right on target!  Wow!  It’s like you crawled inside my head and plucked out professional development needs and community information sharing desires!”

Lest you think this post is purely self-congratulatory, I’d like to let you in on a little secret.  The night before, I had woken up around 2AM thinking panicked thoughts about the Call for Proposals I posted to this blog and to the ATLC listserv.

Thoughts like . . . Am I completely out of touch with your lived reality as a faculty member?  Have I mindlessly drank drunk the Kool-Aid?  Did I just create the most boring conference theme in history?     

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Free Webinar: Faculty Perspectives on Cultures of Assessment

AALHE is hosting a free webinar
Faculty Perspectives on Cultures of Assessment
Friday Oct 16, 2015 1:00 PM EDT
Register Now!

Through books, articles, and presentations, assessment scholars have advocated specific practices to gain faculty support and “buy in” for assessment. Tying assessment practices to tenure and promotions policies, engaging faculty in early and frequent dialogue, and developing assessments that are associated with what faculty value are a few examples of recommended efforts. However, very few studies have actually asked faculty what they believe about assessment and fundamental perspectives on their institution’s culture of assessment.

The Faculty Survey of Assessment Culture is a nation-wide, annual survey of faculty members’ perspectives on their institution’s cultures of assessment. The instrument is meant to explore the extent to which institutions exhibit elements of culture of compliance, fear, or generative support for assessment in faculty members’ perspectives.  Much has been learned about faculty perceptions and, through a parallel study of administrators, similarities and differences between administrators and faculty have been identified.

Join presenter Matthew Fuller of Sam Houston State University to learn more about the higher-order factors of a culture of assessment, leadership strategies for assessment that have been identified and measured through this five year research effort.

The survey identifies several factors

  • Faculty perceptions
  • Use of Data
  • Sharing Data
  • Compliance or Fear Factors
  • Normative Purposes of Assessment

Questions? Contact Catherine M. Wehlburg, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness at Texas Christian University, President-Elect, AALHE

First Year Composition (FYC) in 2020: English 101 as “Next Space”

Friday, October 23rd, 8:30 am to 2:30 pm
(just prior to the TYCA-PNW/PNWCA joint conference)
Spokane Falls Community College, Building 24, Room 307
kyanceySpecial Guest: Kathleen Blake Yancey

President Obama set an ambitious goal in his first State of the Union address when he said, “By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” In 2010, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) responded to President Obama and others of the “college completion agenda” by “pledging to increase student completion rates by 50 percent over the next decade.”  Since then, reform has been everywhere: in developmental education, in K-12 curriculum via the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessment, in placement practices, in definitions of college readiness, etc.  All of these reforms are aimed at moving more students more rapidly into English 101 and thus toward successful completion of degrees and certificates. English 101 has not been scrutinized at the state and national levels—yet.  But we believe that English 101 will be the “next space” for reform as the year 2020, now less than five years away, approaches.  How can we, as English instructors, literacy experts, teachers and program administrators, be proactive to shape and own our curricula and pedagogies and to assure our students are best served by these reforms? Come together with colleagues from your neighboring institutions and across the state to share ideas and develop strategies for determining what first-year composition will look like in the year 2020.


  • To leverage the moment: curricular reform at the national, state, and local levels
  • To contextualize the WPA Outcomes Statement
  • To map the complex geographies of English 101 across the state (via pre-gathered data)
  • To build relationships of trust and shared interest regionally and statewide

Invitation: Due to limited space, we ask that each of the 34 Washington Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) and Baccalaureate Institutions (BIs) send 1 representative from their English department to this event.  Sign up here.  Participants will receive a confirmation e-mail on Monday, October 5th, with parking information, directions, and other materials.

Waitlist: If you would like to send additional faculty members, please indicate on the Waitlist.  We will contact you after October 5th if space is available.

Registration Deadline: Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Cost: This event is free.  While SBCTC cannot reimburse for mileage, parking at Spokane Falls Community College will be paid for by the Assessment, Teaching, and Learning (ATL) department.  The event will include coffee service, a light breakfast, and lunch.

Questions: Andrea Reid, Spokane Community College; Jeffrey Klausman, Whatcom Community College, Jennifer Whetham, SBCTC

Bridge to College English (BCTE) Course Refinement & Development Meetings

Who Should Attend?bridge icon
Washington State higher education faculty and high school teachers who have been involved in some aspect of the Bridge to College English (BCTE) course design process or who have a keen interest in getting involved in college readiness and high school/college transition work.

What is a “B?”
October 8th, 2015, 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Talaris Conference Center, Seattle, WA
Students who earn a B grade in Bridge to College English (BCTE) are awarded placement into English 101 at all 34 of Washington’s Community and Technical Colleges. As a result, many inquiey questions have been raised regarding the “B.” What does B in the course denote? What does a B reflect in terms of a student’s skills and abilities? In this meeting, K-16 faculty will explore these questions and develop instructional and assessment materials to help answer these questions. Participants will examine key BTCE assessments, develop draft rubrics, and begin to develop a student profile for the “B” student.

Bridge to College English (BCTE) Teacher “Composition Toolbox”
November 5th, 2015, 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Talaris Conference Center, Seattle, WA
In an attempt to create a seamless K-16 experience for students, the Bridge to College English (BCTE) project has initiated powerful and groundbreaking partnerships that have connected the K-12 and higher education systems. To maintain and improve these connections, educators need to communicate their expectations for students and classroom practices. High school teachers have consistently asked a series of crucial questions of their higher education partners: What do student read in English 101? What types of assignments are they given? What types of writing assignments are they given? What does a successful English 101 essay look like? In this meeting, higher education faculty, with the crucial assistance of their high school colleagues, will gather sample readings, assessments, rubrics, classroom activities, and student essays to share with BTCE teachers statewide.

Register Now!
RSVP by email to Jackie Eppler-Clark.  In your e-mail, please indicate

  • which meeting/s you wish to attend
  • your institution
  • whether you will need lodging the night before the event/s (if you live more than 50 miles from the meeting site), and
  • any dietary restrictions: All lodging and travel costs associated with the events will be covered by SBCTC through the Core to College grant.

Note: All lodging and travel costs associated with the events will be covered by SBCTC through the Core to College grant.

Logistics: Jackie Eppler-Clark
Program Content: Dutch Henry, Jennifer Whetham, or Bill Moore

Outcomes Assessment: What’s All the Fuss?

Wordle: Assessment as LearningAs all good educators know, continual improvement does not happen without critical examination and reflection: therefore, for this year’s New Faculty Institute, I built in a formative assessment.

One of the responses that most moved me was this comment:

I think the biggest takeaway for me from this institute is realizing that good teaching is valued by the state system.  Maybe that’s weird to say, but this means a lot when it comes to finding ways to grow and develop as a teacher myself, knowing the commitment and support that exists for good practice.

These words warm my heart because I have known, for years, that the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges does indeed value good teaching.

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#NFI: Links to Materials

Participants Discuss Teaching We have now updated the SBCTC page for the New Faculty Institute.

When you visit the site, you can find links to specific handouts, PowerPoint Presentations, Prezi Presentations, and more.

Over the next few days, Jen will be posting more summaries of specific sessions, complete with pictures and links.

She posted the first one, a description of “Creating Connectivity with Canvas,” led by William S. Durden of Clark College, yesterday.  Feel free to comment with your insights and experiences!