Closing the Loop: More Than a Metaphor

March 3-5, 2014

Dr. Ray Van Dyke, Director of Academic Assessment at Virginia Tech, welcomes everyone to the Connections 2012 Conference.

The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

Attendees during one of the conference’s keynote addresses.


Attendees connect during the Student Learning Assessment: Maturing Approaches for Changing Expectations session.

Touring the beautiful Virginia Tech campus.

Susan Hatfield presenting her Keynote, It Takes a Village: Infrastructures That Support Understanding and Improvement of Student Learning.

Closing the Loop: More Than a Metaphor

The Connections 2014 Conference aims to add meaning to the metaphor, “Closing the Loop”. Too often, the final step of the assessment process gets less attention in the rush to complete one assessment project and move onto another. Connections 2014 will showcase sessions from institutions that have successfully utilized the assessment cycle to make well-informed, strategic decisions designed to improve student learning or the learning environment. Sessions will highlight excellent assessment work in a range of higher education contexts – 2- and 4-year institutions; publics and privates; academic, co-curricular, and administrative departments; and technology-enhanced environments. At the core of such diverse examples of assessment and evaluation will be a focus on best practices that enable colleges and universities to truly come full circle in the assessment cycle. Sessions will focus on:

• Fostering trust in the assessment process;
• Making sense of data in a decision-making context;
• Recognizing and addressing the challenges inherent to meaningful campus change;
• “Post-Change” success stories from individual programs; and
• Honest appraisals of “unintended consequences” of campus change.

Purposefully small in size, Connections 2014 is designed to help foster a community of practice that brings assessment-minded individuals together across geographic, disciplinary, and institutional boundaries. As always, it is the hope and expectation that conference attendees will engage and contribute their wisdom to the conversations taking place within each session, at each meal, and within each hallway interaction.

It is the primary goal of this first-of-its-kind partnership between Virginia Tech and WEAVE to demonstrate that if you do high-quality assessment work – from the design of your assessment strategies to the technology you employ to deliver your results – and stay true to and celebrate the teaching and learning taking place on campus, accountability demands almost satisfy themselves. In other words, the conference will provide participants with best practices for not only conducting authentic, learner-centered assessment, but also best practices for using technology to translate that work for regional and/or professional accreditation demands in such a way that even the most skeptical will find legitimate.


Registration will close on February 17th.