Widener Professor Stephen Kauffman Named Teagle Scholar

Dr. Stephen Kauffman, a resident of Devon, Pa. and an associate professor in the Center for Social Work Education at Widener University, has been selected to serve as a Teagle Assessment Scholar with the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts. In this role, Kauffman joins a team of more than 70 Teagle Scholars nationwide focused on using evidence to improve student learning.

Teagle Assessment Scholars work with the Center of Inquiry, based at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., to support assessment at dozens of colleges and universities each year. According to Charles Blaich, director of inquiries for the Center for Inquiry, one of the most important roles of Teagle Scholars is to quickly understand the mission, administrative structure, roadblocks, and traditions of the institutions they are working with and then develop a framework within which to apply their assessment expertise.

"Teagle Scholars then help each campus review and interpret data, design specific strategies to improve student learning, and aid in assessing whether the implemented strategies are having the desired impact," Blaich said. "Through this process, Teagle Scholars try to build lasting collaborative networks on each campus so that institutions can continue to make evidence-based improvements after the scholars leave."

For the past two years, Kauffman's research has focused on assessing the impact of Widener University's civic engagement efforts in the city of Chester, including the Widener Partnership Charter School, Widener Small Business Development Center, College Access Center of Delaware County, and numerous other initiatives. According to Dr. Brigitte Valesey, assistant provost for teaching, learning and assessment at Widener, it was that assessment based research that led to Kauffman's appointment as a Teagle Scholar.

Kauffman has also designed and implemented a large number of assessment and evaluation activities outside of the university and in the surrounding local communities. He is currently evaluating the effectiveness of a city-wide after school tutoring program that involves the assessment of student learning and parental and organizational activity. In addition, he evaluated two public housing programs, two community-wide sex abstinence programs, a lead abatement program, and an evaluation of the Chester Education Foundation.

Kauffman's appointment as a Teagle Scholar is for two years and is renewable. He will continue in his capacity as a Widener faculty member during his appointment.

A member of the Widener faculty since 1991, Kauffman hold a doctorate in social work from Bryn Mawr College, a master's in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. and a bachelor's degree in religious studies from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

The Teagle Assessment Scholars Program is funded by the Teagle Foundation, an influential national voice and a catalyst for change in higher education to improve undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences.

The Center of Inquiry coordinates the Wabash Study, a collaboration of 30 institutions designed to create a deliberative process for using evidence that an institution can build on for improvements in student learning.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,600 students. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.

 

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