Teagle Assessment Scholar Program


In 2006, with the generous support of the Teagle Foundation, the Center of Inquiry established the Teagle Assessment Scholar Program.

The Teagle Scholar Program identifies and develops people who have the knowledge, technical skills, social prowess, and political savvy necessary to help colleges and universities use evidence to strengthen the impact of liberal arts education for all students. Teagle Scholars support assessment both at their home institutions and at other colleges and universities across the country.    

Teagle Assessment Scholar Program Core Values

  • The Teagle Assessment Scholar Program is a philanthropic, service-oriented endeavor.
  • Teagle Assessment Scholars work to support the missions and students of the institutions with which they collaborate.
  • The Teagle Assessment Scholar Program is founded on the idea that colleges and universities can and should collaborate in their efforts to strengthen the impact of liberal arts education.
  • Teagle Assessment Scholars do not just consult; they also seek to build capacity at the campuses with which they work.
  • The success of the Teagle Assessment Scholar Program should be judged by the extent to which it helps institutions improve student learning.

What do Teagle Scholars do?

Teagle Scholars collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to use evidence to improve student learning by participating in site visits to institutions and by helping to facilitate multi-institution workshops. 

Most colleges and universities now routinely gather evidence on student learning. Unfortunately, this evidence does not readily lead to improved student learning. One reason for this is that institutional governance structures, reward systems, and faculty and staff incentive structures—which began their evolution decades ago—are neither organized for nor experienced with using evidence for change. Indeed, assessment evidence can often be viewed as subverting the explicit and implicit goals of these conservative structures.

Teagle Assessment Scholars help institutions become better at utilizing assessment evidence for change. They do so by not only working with the campus's assessment evidence but also developing an understanding of the processes and values that govern a campus, and then collaborating with staff, faculty, and students to find suitable campus pathways for using evidence for improving student learning.

The Teagle Assessment Scholar's approach

Using evidence for institutional improvement requires more than data skills; it requires a broad range of social, political, and humane skills necessary to promote change in complex organizations. Teagle Assessment Scholars work as applied anthropologists/political scientists/sociologists who focus on developing an understanding of a campus's culture, values, politics, governance structures, and history so that they can help a campus identify ways of using evidence to improve student learning.

Teagle Assessment Scholars immerse themselves in the campus's evidence on student learning and the teaching practices and conditions that promote student learning, and they then collaborate with campus constituencies to identify pathways consistent with campus culture, resources, and politics for using that evidence for change. The experience of the Teagle Assessment Scholars is that evidence about student learning will point to many different directions for improvement, but that only a subset of these are realistically possible. Teagle Assessment Scholars bring experience and perspectives that allow them to help campuses move from the possible to the doable.

Teagle Scholar work as service

We view the Center’s work and the work of the Teagle Scholars as a service to the national higher education community. Scholars work with a variety of institutions to help them use evidence to improve student learning, all within each institution’s unique mission, culture, and organization. Scholars have opportunities for professional development as a part of this, but the primary focus is on helping other institutions improve student learning, thereby strengthening liberal education nationally.

As a service program, Teagle Scholars volunteer their time to work with institutions—they often do not receive compensation for this work. When scholars are compensated for their work, the amounts are much less than typical consultant fees. Teagle Scholars believe that part of our professional identity in higher education is a willingness to help colleagues at our own and other institutions. We would prefer for an institution to spend its resources on activities to improve student learning, rather than paying expensive consulting fees for our work. Any fees that are collected from institutions with which Teagle Scholars collaborate are used to fund development activities for Teagle Scholars.

Who are the Scholars?

For a list of current Teagle Assessment Scholars, click here.

Questions about the Teagle Scholars or the program?

Email Kathy Wise.