Office of Assessment of Educational Effectiveness

Our goal for assessing educational effectiveness is to facilitate a cycle of continuous improvement of Teaching and Learning. The strategy for achieving the goals is multi-tiered. The main components are:

    • Alignment of learning outcomes at the assignment, course, program and institutional levels in order to conduct analysis of curricular strengths and weaknesses (often called Gap Analysis) using innovative methodology including the Curriculum Mapping Iniative tool.
    • Demonstrate student competency of learning outcomes by linking outcomes to evidence of student learning
    • Engage and support faculty in evidence-based assessment and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
    • Assessment activities aimed to improve student success


    SMU uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative data as indicators of engagement in a vibrant culture of assessment. They include:

    • Faculty Engaged in Assessment and Continuous Improvement of Teaching and Learning
      • 116 faculty studies on Improving Teaching with Technology
      • Learning Outcomes Aligned at the Assignment, Course, Program and Institutional Levels and displayed as music and insightful displays
      • Faculty collecting exemplars of excellence demonstrating learning outcomes and linking them to assignments
    • Policy Change

    Who is the Director of Assessment?

    Director of Assessment, Valerie Landau, collaborates with faculty and staff to develop innovative methods and tools that facilitate a cultural shift in which improving teaching and learning is an integral part of our core practice. Our accreditation agency WASC describes SMU’s transformation in building a culture of assessment as having “moved at mach speed to ramp up systems.

    Director of Assessment, Valerie LandauValerie Landau is the Director of Assessment at Samuel Merritt University. She graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a specialization in Technology, Innovation and Education. She is the author of two books, “Developing an Effective Online Course” and “The Engelbart Hypothesis: Dialogs with Douglas Engelbart”. 

    She is also organizing a multi-institutional repository of effective faculty-centric practices to spark innovation in assessment.

    Valerie Landau
    Director of Assessment
    3012 Summit Street, First Floor, C Wing
    Oakland, CA 94609



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