National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

NILOA Coaches

To advance and accelerate campus initiatives to enhance student learning, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and Lumina Foundation are pleased to offer a practical, useful resource to improve student learning and assessment processes and practices at your institution - NILOA Coaches.

NILOA is working with a group of Coaches who are available to help colleges and universities with their improvement efforts. Drawn from different types of institutions around the country, the Coaches are experienced faculty, administrators and staff who know first-hand about the utility and value of assessing student learning, and can assist with local-level implementation opportunities and challenges. Because they are knowledgeable about the various initiatives unfolding nationally around student learning, assignment design, assessment, and strategies for institutional change, the Coaches can encourage and support institutions at various stages of implementation.

NILOA Coaches are available for a one-day campus visit at no cost to the host institution. A Coach will be paired with the requesting institution based on a match of interests, intended outcomes, and expertise.

To learn more about the NILOA Coach initiative, please contact Katie Schultz, NILOA Project Manager, at

Sandra Bailey is professor of business management and the former director of academic excellence at Oregon Tech. During her seven-year tenure as director she guided the institution from an accountability focus to an improvement orientation coordinating assessment with curricular design and faculty professional development. At Oregon Tech she also led a task force in a comprehensive general education review using assessment results and the Degree Qualifications Profile to guide the redesign of general education. Oregon Tech’s new Essential Studies program is an integrated general education program with clear alignment to institutional student learning outcomes. Bailey served on the steering committee of the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Quality Student Learning (MSC), serves as a reviewer for the Excellence in Assessment designation, and was the Oregon state lead for AAC&U’s Faculty Collaboratives project. She has organized statewide faculty conferences in Oregon and facilitated assignment design workshops with faculty across the country. Areas of expertise: general education outcomes, assessment, and curricular design; assignment design; mapping curriculum and the student experience; and organizational change.

Dr. Laurie Dodge, Vice Chancellor Institutional Assessment & Planning and Vice Provost at Brandman University, served as a key leader in the building of Brandman’s undergraduate and graduate direct assessment competency-based education programs. In addition to her administrative work, Dr. Dodge has been a department chair, interim dean, director of assessment, and professor.

Dr. Dodge is the WASC Senior University and College Commission (WSCUC) Accreditation Liaison Officer for Brandman University and serves on the WSCUC Substantive Change Committee. At the national level, Dr. Dodge has participated in CBE related projects, Comprehensive Learner Record, QA Commons Essential Employability Qualities Certification, and Credential Engine (Higher Education Advisory Group).

Dr. Dodge has presented nationally and internationally on CBE and her expertise are in assessment, curriculum development, accreditation, and academic policy. She has extensive experience in WSCUC regional accreditation processes and approval for competency-based education, institutional re-accreditation, new colleges and universities seeking regional accreditation, and substantive change approval. She has also served on review teams for international institutions seeking WSCUC approval. Dr. Dodge works closely with faculty, deans, instructional designers, student affairs, and institutional research as part of her daily life at Brandman University.

Laurie co-authored a book titled “A Leader’s Guide to Competency-Based Education: From Inception to Implementation” (Bushway, Dodge, & Long, 2018). Dr. Dodge is the founding and Past President of the Board of Directors for the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN). In 2016, Dr. Laurie Dodge was named one of the “The Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by Washington Monthly. .

Tami Eggleston is professor of psychology and associate dean for institutional effectiveness at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill. She is the coordinator of the Teaching for Excellence (T4E) faculty-development program and is also a Higher Learning Commission (HLC) peer reviewer. Eggleston regularly presents at conferences and campuses on a variety of topics, including student learning outcomes, assessment tools and best practices, rubrics, data use, assessment-plan design, strategic planning, engaged teaching, technology use, general education revision, online and blended learning, and team building. In addition to these topics, Eggleston has had success helping institutions build consensus and deal with challenging endeavors. Her goals are to educate, engage, motivate, and inspire.

Laura M. Gambino is Vice President for the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). She previously served as associate dean for assessment and technology and professor of information technology at Guttman Community College (CUNY). In her role as associate dean, Gambino oversaw assessment of Guttman’s institutional student learning outcomes, periodic program reviews, and assessment of programs such as Summer Bridge, global learning, and academic support. Gambino, a leading ePortfolio practitioner and researcher, also oversaw the college’s institution-wide ePortfolio program, led the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) project, has presented nationally and internationally, and regularly serves as a consultant to higher education institutions. Areas of expertise: Gen Ed and Program Assessment, ePortfolio, Guided Pathways, and assignment design charrettes.

Paul Hanstedt is the Director of Pedagogical Innovation and the Teaching Collaborative at Roanoke College, where he led the revision of a campus-wide general education program, developed an innovative writing-across-the-curriculum program, and coordinated the implementation of the college’s e-portfolio system. He is the recipient of several teaching awards, received a Fulbright to aid general education curricular revision in Hong Kong, and is co-recipient of a FIPSE grant for sustainable faculty development. He is the author of several books on faculty and curricular development, including General Education Essentials and Creating Wicked Students.

Errin Heyman leads the Initiative for Advancing Leadership for and Visibility in Student Learning Outcomes Assessment at the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). She also an instructor in Park University’s Master in Education program, in addition to other consultant-based projects. Errin has served as the Dean of Educational Effectiveness at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, a multi-campus graduate institution, and was the founder of the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Assessment at West Coast University. She also spent multiple years at eCollege, a learning management system vendor, where she led the academic consulting and training team. Errin holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction; an MA in Teaching of Writing; and a BA in English Writing.

Joseph D. Levy serves as the Executive Director of Assessment and Accreditation at National Louis University in Chicago, IL. Joe earned his BA in English from Baldwin-Wallace College and his MS in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. Currently working on his doctorate in Higher Education Leadership at NLU, his research interests include promoting data-informed decision making and data use across campus. Joe is a member of the Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL) Board of Directors and co-teaches a recurring open course on leading student affairs assessment. With assessment experience at multiple institutional types, Joe is always happy to talk assessment practice and strategy. Areas of expertise: academic and student affairs/co-curricular assessment (including outcome articulation, curriculum mapping, assessment planning, method selection, reporting, and taking action); DQP utilization/adoption.

Dan McInerney is professor of history at Utah State University. He has been part of statewide DQP/Tuning work in Utah, serves as senior advisor on the American Historical Association’s Tuning Project, holds editorial positions with Liberal Education and the Tuning Journal for Higher Education, and has delivered presentations on the Degree Qualifications Profile and Tuning at conferences and campuses across the U.S. (as well as in the E.U., Brazil, and Japan). He holds a doctorate in American Studies-History from Purdue University.

Brad Mello is currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Communication Department at Saint Xavier University (SXU) in Chicago, IL. He served on the general education committee at both SXU and Trinity Washington University. Brad was on the team that produced the Oral Communication VALUE rubric. While serving as an Associate Director for Academic and Professional Affairs at the National Communication Association (NCA), he authored the grant that supported NCA’s student learning outcomes/DQP and tuning project. He also served as a team leader on that project. Brad recently completed peer reviewer training for the Higher Learning Commission. He received his BA and MA in Speech Communication from Penn State University and his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Oklahoma.

Stephanie Poczos is the associate dean of general education and pathways associate professor at National Louis University. She was one of the principle designers of the pathways program, which is an affordable and adaptive undergraduate program that provides comprehensive, personalized support for students of any socioeconomic status. The Pathways Program utilizes the Degree Qualifications Profile in 3 tracks of study with 35 customized competencies built and aligned inside of problem-based assessments in the courses. Stephanie has worked in many areas of NLU, most notably designing and implementing the B.A. in Applied Communications program. She has taught and developed courses at a variety of universities, including Charter Oak State College, which was one of the first colleges to utilize a competency-based learning model. Stephanie holds an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Iowa.

Nancy Quam-Wickham is Professor of History (and Chair Emerita, 2005-2015) at California State University-Long Beach, and has worked as a Senior Assessment Specialist at Washington State University. Prior to this, she was the editor of The History Teacher journal. She has participated in the American Historical Association’s Tuning project, the SSRC’s Measuring College Learning Project, and other initiatives. She has particular interests in program assessment, general education, assignment design, and in online education. She holds a bachelor's degree from San Francisco State University and a doctorate in history from the University of California-Berkeley.

Ruth C. Slotnick is the director of assessment at Bridgewater State University (BSU), the largest comprehensive state university in Southeastern Massachusetts offering 85 academic degree pathways. Two-thirds of the 9,000 undergraduates identify as students of color, low-income, and/or first-generation students, and over half have transferred from community colleges. Ruth oversees Core Curriculum assessment and assists faculty with program assessment. At the national level, Ruth serves as Interim Chair for the Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education Special Interest Group for the American Education Research Association and was a co-investigator on an AAC&U Quality Collaborative grant focusing on the alignment of student learning outcomes at two-and four-year institutions using the DQP the AAC&U LEAP VALUE rubrics. Ruth holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of South Florida and a M.Ed. in Art Education from Pennsylvania State University. Areas of expertise: institutional assessment, program-level assessment, alignment of outcomes between two-and four-year institutions, community college assessment, assignment design, and program review.

Laura Avitabile Wankel is the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives to the Senior Vice Provost for Educational Innovation at Northeastern University, where she previously served as Vice President for Student Affairs. Prior to Northeastern University, Dr. Wankel was at Seton Hall University where she served as Vice President for Student Affairs beginning in 1995. She has been an active member in NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education at both the regional and national level in a number of leadership positions including Regional Vice President, Executive Committee and Chair of the NASPA Board. Dr. Wankel has served in a consulting capacity to a number of education-related projects, including, Learn and Serve America and the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), NASPA, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and has worked on the Lumina Foundation Funded Comprehensive Student Record Project. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American History from SUNY Oneonta where she graduated magna cum laude, a M.Ed. from the University of South Carolina and an Ed.D. in higher education administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Ereka R. Williams, PhD is an Associate Dean in the College of Education at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville North Carolina. Dr. Williams was formerly the Chairperson of the Departments of Administration and Instructional Services and Curriculum and Instruction at North Carolina A & T State University where she was a tenured Associate Professor on the faculty for over 15 years. While there, she earned many distinctions including the University’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year 2013-2014 Award (College of Education), Interdisciplinary Research Team Award Nominee (2016) and Minority Scholar in Residence at Muskingum University. Dr. Williams collaborated with colleagues over the past 15 years to secure over $3.9 million dollars in external funding towards equity-aligned research initiatives. She also served in a host of scholarly service and leadership roles including co-chairing the HBCU Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile Pilot Project in Fall of 2012 at NCA&T before eventually publishing a manuscript on the experience with the Southern Association for Accreditation of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). She joined NILOA as a DQP Coach in 2014 and continues to serve in that role as an Assessment Coach at large. Her scholarship includes research, publications and international/national/regional presentations with a focus on teacher/school leadership and equity pedagogy.

The Coach is very knowledgeable on the topic of transparent assignment design and she is also very approachable. It was incredibly beneficial to have her come, support what we have been trying to teach our faculty, and offer a fresh new perspective. She was able to get faculty thinking about teaching and learning in a new way.

Feedback from a NILOA Coach Visit

Call for Proposals for
NILOA Coach Visits:

Complete a Coach request here. Priority proposals for coach visits during the Fall of 2019 are due by April 18.

View the NILOA Coach Application above to prepare your proposal, but please remember that submissions are only accepted through the online request form.