notes from group 2: piloting intersegmental portfolios

Co-Facilitators: Gail Evans, San Francisco State University and Bernie Day, Foothill College
Recorder: Lisa Maxfield, Compass Project Steering Committee

Session 1

Introductions – Name, position, and how you feel your position relates to the work we’re doing?  What makes you excited/passionate about it?

Dan Nannini
 Transfer advising
 How do we communicate whatever is created

Robert – student

Terri Eden
 Everything discussed is a passion; expert in transfer and facilitating graduation

 Outcomes-based assessment as well as transfer articulation

Terry Underwood
 Assessment expert; portfolios, in particular

 Program and GE assessment; WASC accreditation; STEM projects

Ed Nufher
 Faculty development as a passion; Assessment officer of the campus

 Passion – helping students understand the valuable skills of a liberal education; Creating curriculum that really does what we want

 We need to move beyond a lone-institution model; We fail to articulate a vision of our purpose to society, so there is no demand for it
Gail:  Intro TASK
 2-3 big ideas; our charge is on e-portfolios
 Possibility of using e-port to demonstrate student mastery of the outcomes; could be used in CCC and sent to CSUs to show completion of certain areas of GE
Our Notions about the single-most important idea heard at meeting, and the biggest problem we’ve heard

GREAT IDEAS:  We asked everyone to write down what they thought was the best/most exciting idea they heard from Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning sessions.
To combine GE with a thematic interdisciplinary minor that integrates the LEAP outcomes  (to be borrowed from Chico)

Peer mentors as a currently untapped important potential resource, specifically can be from a feeder community college to incoming students (to be borrowed from EVC – SJSU model); imagine if the peer mentors had knowledge of the outcomes themselves!  Thus, mentors become translators themselves of LEAP to students.  This work could even be in a course at the 4-year as an upper-div experience.

The power of affect in all this; Teaching students how to learn, using our content; Results of how students felt about something (pos vs neg) had to do with the instructors, advisers

Exciting that it is possible to identify sticking points (e.g., writing test), esp in transfer, roadblocks and whether they are contributing anything of real value


PROBLEMS The second question was for each person to name what he/she saw as the biggest problem/obstacle.

System from admission on is driven by selectivity (e.g., weeding out)

Misdesign of programs that are redundantly designed (particularly AA certificate programs at CCCs) so students in good faith take the first 2 years of GE, then get into a major and have to take more and more to meet the redundant requirements of major – (problem of CSU superseniors) – graduating based on units, but they don’t have the degree requirements

How to shed the idea that knowledge is only represented by a 3-unit seat-time course?

We have to get away from the distribution requirements we have inherited if we’re really going to move toward holistic outcomes

We need a system where portfolios evaluated at a campus is accepted by others in transfer, just as taking a 3-unit course used to;  So, artifacts in portfolio represent actual transfer credit (thus all CCCs and CSUs have to agree on learning outcomes)



View implementation as a matrix?  (I didn’t catch the explanation of this idea; it came from Carol)


To get a common set of learning outcomes for all CCCs and CSUs in areas A – E
Using our economic crisis to talk about facilitating transfer.
But our learning outcomes are based in dept and disciplinary boundaries that people are unwilling to share or even admit others are capable of teaching it.
How do we help students discover the relevance in a useful way?
Can we combine content learning with ways of knowing?



Wonderful ideas to improve transfer from CCCs to CSUs

Shift from content-driven (course-to-course) to outcome-driven model for transfer


Clear communication:

Courses would have to be coded for the outcomes they represent

  This would include an element of trust bet the CCCs and CSUs

  This would likely be included in portfolio artifacts

We must have more sharing of information across-campuses (like
counselors who work both at a CSU and a feeder CCC)

Inclusion of peer mentors as well to build communication networks
between CCCs and CSUs


Outcome-based portfolios is the mechanism to accomplish all this

 Agreed-upon outcomes across CCCs and CSUs
 Evaluation of portfolios would be acceptable from one institution to another

 Peer mentors modeled after the program at SJSU – between CCC and CSU.
Session 2


Asia (from Verizon)
 Keep informed about the trends of education

 Learning communities; faculty development

Sally Director of GE and FYE at CSU East Bay
 GE redesign team at Chico

 Director of UW Compass project; pilot partner with LEAP campaign


AAC&U convened a group at SF State to facilitate transfer from CCCs to CSUs using outcomes-based portfolios

Shift to outcomes-based model for transfer with whatever that model looks like, it is critical there is clear communication bet CCC and CSU, including a level of trust on evaluating student work in terms of meeting the outcomes and student participation in that communication (critical work of peer mentors who are in CSU but go back to the CCC they came from to bring along the next generation)

Peer mentoring is essential, and a thread that can help us do all of the things we want to accomplish.

An important detail – great idea to use portfolios to assess outcomes, but it will cost money for students or campuses to maintain e-portfolios

(potential solution – eFolio out of Minnesota will hold portfolios long-term;  Kevin Kelley from SF State knows a great deal about this)

We don’t make the purpose and value of GE obvious to our students or to our faculty; that should be the clear communication message
 Put outcomes on requirements list
 Put outcomes on syllabi

We need a commitment at all levels that GE is absolutely critical to the undergraduate degree programs

Finding GE on web sites is a chore!  Even for us.  So why would anyone else even try to find it?  And what message does that convey about value of GE.

Develop value and mission statement for the institution that is consistent with LEAP, so outcomes are reiterated in many places, and portfolio serves as an outgrowth of those central goals

The group kept reiterating the need to get FACULTY to understand the value of GE

 FTE model of how GE courses support programs / depts.

One power of outcomes is to provide true interdisciplinary courses (with fewer units)

This needs to come from a groundswell of faculty buy-in, not an unfunded mandate from the CO

There must be value-added to the faculty; system recognizes this work as valuable

There must be clear value-added to the students

We have to recognize that all of this will likely not happen in our lifetimes; we are building toward a long-term vision and set of goals

Faculty development will be essential and will have to be held at all institutions from a teaching-centered to learning-centered institution
Think about changing curriculum by having faculty discuss who is responsible for teaching what to make sure all outcomes are covered;  there must be discussion among faculty of how we should produce an integrated curriculum

Whatever is decided must be built into the reward structure for this work; outcomes-based portfolios would have to be part of the job and how faculty are evaluated (current evals reward good lecturers)


Final Challenge-
Are we really proposing anything truly new?  These ideas have been around for many decades.  The real question (regardless of mandate or lack thereof) is what does it take to change a campus, or academia more generally?

Response:  Campuses have been moving toward learning-centered institutions, but we need to do these things as a system (common learning outcomes) or we’re not going to be successful.  The system can provide a common language that helps us to communicate beyond our institutions. 

Let’s consider the power of accreditation.  How can accrediting forces work to move us toward outcomes-based assessment?

Session 3

Back to Task:

To review, we are unabashedly optimistic about outcomes-based portfolios.  We have consensus about the need for broadly defined outcomes for GE, creating competencies that cover the A-E areas (without necessarily mapping them onto A-E).

We will need to combat faculty workload demands, such that this work is part of the regular workload.

We understand that this change will be ongoing over several years.
To Do:

Common outcomes across CSUs and the CCCs.  We need to stop all the individual work of tweaking curriculum on each campus, and provide system outcomes.

Bring together all the baccalaureate goals that have been developed by the CSUs.  They are likely virtually the same, and all likely reflect the LEAP framework.

LEAP framework has to be translated into curricular practices. 

The culture shift is in how we “prove” the curriculum.  Not by syllabi, lecture notes, textbooks, but by showing what STUDENTS ARE DOING IN THE COURSE!!!!

Portfolios must be course-based, otherwise faculty and students won’t do it.  Hey, maybe we could shift this idea to the portfolios must be tied to CREDIT (whether or not it’s course-tied).

Credit could be course or challenge-based.  Challenge represents some kind of evidence or task the student completes to show competency.


How do we envision making this happen?

To get to outcomes-based process, bring CCC directly into partnership

CCCs must embrace LEAP too.  Does that mean CCCs and CSUs have a common GE?
Carol’s points:
1. Outcomes might not be demonstrated to a high level of competency in any number of units in GE alone.  Context of major and practice is essential to reaching the high level of mastery.
2. Knowledge area is first in LEAP to signal that you need extensive depth in some area to have broad knowledge in which to practice the LEAP skills.
Summary of our Sessions:

We propose that the CCCs and the CSU work together to develop shared Baccalaureate Goals and General Education requirements, including student learning outcomes.  As a first step, we ask that Ken put all of the current Bacc. Goals and learning outcomes on the GE Affinity website.  Carol Schneider offered to have one of her staff analyze all of those for commonalities and differences. The community colleges she we working in parallel to accomplish the same thing, and then we should bring the two groups together to develop common curriculum, goals and outcomes that will be shared by CCCs and CSUs.  No separate “AA GE.”  At this point, we could begin looking at using eFolios to evaluate transfer credit in terms of demonstrating students have met the GE outcomes.


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