What is the assessment process at the Stillman School?
In 1997, the Stillman School at Seton Hall University implemented a new undergraduate business curriculum. The goals of that curriculum are twofold: to educate our students in the fundamental concepts of the disciplines of business and to develop our students in six key competencies needed for business professionals. These six competencies are change management, communications, critical thinking, ethics and social responsibility, teamwork, and technology. In order to ensure ourselves, our students and prospective employers that we are, in fact, meeting our two goals, the faculty have adopted a comprehensive assessment process. This process includes pre-assessment, a sophomore or senior assessment panel, and post-assessment.
What are the objectives and elements of the assessment process?
The objectives of the Stillman School undergraduate assessment are:
- To ensure that students are developing their mastery of the six competencies as well as their skills in the functional disciplines of business, and
- To improve the core curriculum continuously on the basis of feedback from the assessment process.
The assessment process consists of three phases:
- Sophomore Assessment Panels
- Senior Assessment Panels
In the first phase, pre-assessment, incoming freshmen take a vocabulary test on key terms associated with the five competencies. In the sophomore or senior assessment panels, students, working in teams, make presentations on topical business material to assessors. The assessors evaluate students' answers, as well as the quality of the team's delivery and the team's use of technology. Each student also completes two individual assignments: (1) a writing assignment and (2) a financial analysis using Excel.
Are students required to participate in assessment?
As a condition of graduation, students must participate in pre-assessment and in one of the two assessment panels. Students are randomly selected to participate in either the sophomore or senior assessment panel.
When do the assessment panels take place? How are students notified that they were selected to participate in an assessment panel?
Each academic year, approximately half of the sophomore class of business students are randomly selected to participate in the assessment panels. We notify the students who are selected in October. In November, they receive official notices of the specific dates and times of their panels. Generally, the Sophomore Assessment Panels take place in March of the following calendar year.
Each year, all Stillman School seniors who did not participate in the Sophomore Assessment Panels when they were sophomores, are required to participate in the Senior Assessment Panels. The seniors required to participate in the Senior Assessment receive notices of the specific dates and times of their assessment panels during the summer prior to the start of their senior year. Generally, Senior Assessment Panels take place in the month of November.
The dates for the panels for this academic year are posted in the links describing this year's Senior and Sophomore Assessment Panels within this website.
When do students receive the materials about which they will present? What tasks do they perform?
The Senior and Sophomore Assessment Panels include both teamwork and individual assignments. Approximately two months before the panels, students receive the names and e-mail addresses of fellow students who were assigned to be their team members on the panel (each team will consist of 4 to 6 students). They also receive the materials for the assessment session, including the case(s) that the teams will be required to present, case questions, and instructions for the individual exercises. On the assessment day, each team presents answers to the case questions before several business practitioners who evaluate its work. During the presentations, students are required to use technology to enhance the delivery of the material presented.
In addition to the team presentations, each student completes two individual assignments. One assignment requires the student to prepare a short business communication and the other assignment requires the student to prepare a financial analysis using Excel. Students also prepare a self-evaluation of their individual performances in the teams and evaluate the contributions of fellow team members. The assessment panels last approximately two and a half hours. About six weeks later, students receive feedback about their performance.
Who can serve as an assessor on the assessment panels?
Our assessors are business people - either active or retired. They have had experience in supervising people, working in teams, giving presentations and writing business reports and other communications. We select individuals who, while working, developed the business skills of their peers and subordinates and are also eager to help us develop the talents of future business professionals. As a basic prerequisite, our assessors must have completed an undergraduate college degree. Many of our assessors are Stillman or SHU alums.
Do assessors receive any specialized training?
Assessors receive the materials that are sent to the students, as well as an instructor's guide. They also receive observer sheets, to standardize the evaluation of student teams among the different assessors. New assessors are paired with experienced assessors who provide informal coaching on the assessor role and responsibilities.
Do assessors receive any remuneration for serving on a panel?
External assessors are an integral part of our assessment process, as our unique panels are one of the ways that we distinguish our business education from other universities in this area. As a not-for-profit institution, we have limited resources and cannot reimburse our assessors for the true value of their time. However, assessors receive an honorarium of $100.00 for each student panel that they evaluate.
How are the assessors assigned to panels? How many assessors do we generally have? Where do the assessment panels take place?
On the designated assessment days in November (Seniors) and February (Sophomores), the assessment panels run on Friday evening and the following Saturday morning. We match the assessors' availability and preferences with the times designated for the different panels. A buffet supper is provided on Friday, and breakfast is served on Saturday.
Generally, our objective is to maintain a pool of approximately 30 assessors.
The panels take place on the campus of Seton Hall University, in Jubilee Hall, the home of the Stillman School of Business.
Can the assessor ask the students questions during the panels?
We notify students that their work will be carefully evaluated, as would any team business presentation before a supervisor or business client. Thus, they should expect probing questions from the assessors and be able to respond succinctly and articulately. Among other competencies, we are trying to develop the students' communications skills. Therefore, we would like our assessors to challenge the students during their presentations.
Stillman faculty members may be present at the panels as observers but may not ask the students any questions.
Do assessors have to file any reports?
Once the student team has completed its presentations, the assessors give students their individual assignments (described earlier in this document). While the students are working on those assignments, the assessors complete the evaluation form and submit it to the Director of Assessment. This evaluation form consists of an appraisal form, where assessors rate the quality of the students' presentations on several dimensions and provide students with specific feedback.
If I would like to serve as an assessor, what should I do next?
You need to complete a brief reply form and mail it back to the Stillman School.
The form may be obtained from:
Ms. Carol Flynn, Administrative Assistant,
Stillman School of Business @ 973-275-2106
Any questions about the process can be directed to:
Dr. Leigh Onimus, Assistant Dean,
Stillman School of Business @ 973-313-6058