Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ozarks Hosts Newsweek's Eleanor Clift

Eleanor Clift in Backpack Journalism
with Susan Edens
Well-known journalist Eleanor Clift was on campus last week as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, sponsored by the Walton Arts and Ideas Series. While at Ozarks, Clift delivered two public presentations; on Monday, Sep. 10, she spoke about the 2012 presidential campaign, and on Tuesday, Sep. 11, she was part of a panel that discussed end of life issues. RTV students shot both presentations and made them available on the university's Ustream channel.

Clift also spoke to Susan Edens' Backpack Journalism class on Wed., Sep. 12. She told the students what it takes to get and keep a White House press pass, and she discussed the current campaign coverage. She also told the students about her own career path, moving from a secretary for Newsweek to a reporter and columnist for the magazine. However, Clift also turned the table on the students and asked each of them to talk about their story assignments for the class.

"It was a one-time experience to interact with a figure directly plugged in to the field we spend class time studying about," said Corey Pintado. "It brought all the material we discuss to life with her insight and stories."

"I found Miss Clift's life story inspiring because she made it in journalism at a time when it was hard for a woman to get a job in that field," Kourtney Risher said. "She also didn't start with a background in journalism. It's amazing how successful she has become.

"She was also very cordial and is a great listener as well as a great speaker," Risher added.
Anaeli Rodas and Eleanor Clift

Cory Snyder said, "It was a great opportunity to hear about the experiences and perspective of a highly-regarded political journalist. It's not the kind of chance you always get."

KUOZ has posted both of Clift's public presentations to the university Ustream channel.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Assessment Day at Ozarks

Today was the semi-annual Assessment Day at Ozarks, on which we focus all our attention on the process of evaluating whether students are learning what we say we are teaching them.

The Communication department met with students this afternoon to administer a survey and report on last year's assessment results, followed by a viewing of the documentary "Mashed Media."

Part of the feedback loop for assessment is reporting results to interested constituencies. If you're interested, here's a brief run-down of the results of assessment of the Strategic Communication major for 2011-12.

Three assessment instruments were evaluated for last year: a career goal essay, the capstone exam, and the senior portfolio. Six career essays from the Strategic Communication Planning class were read and evaluated by an external evaluator. All the essays were judged to be either "Proficient" or "Highly Proficient" on the dimensions of goal-setting and planning to achieve the goal. Although the essays were judged to be weak on the dimension of career awareness, that may be a result of a mismatch between the Intended Student Outcome in the assessment plan and the assignment from the SCP class.

Nine seniors took the capstone exam, which covers terminology and concepts from the major's core classes. The average score on the exam was 80 percent, which was below the target score of 85 percent.

This year was the first year for the rotating assessment of the senior portfolios, which are now evaluated every three years. All the portfolios for the past three years were collected and a random sample of 10 portfolios were submitted to a PR professional with more than 10 years of experience in the field. The portfolios consisted of four items: a press release, a planning document, an example of promotional copy, and a recording of a presentation.  For each of the items, the majority of student work was judged to be either "Proficient" or "Highly Proficient"; press releases, 70 percent; planning documents, 60 percent; promotional copy, 80 percent, and presentations, 100 percent. The main weaknesses the evaluator noted were the need for more detail and additional information, especially in the press releases and planning documents; some errors in using AP style, and a few grammatical errors. However, the evaluator also was very complimentary of some of the documents and presentations.

The RTV assessment report is still in progress. We'll publish results from that report when they are available.