Office of Assessment of Educational Effectiveness

Assessment Strategies

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
    • 55 faculty studies on Improving Teaching with Technology presented at Symposium 2013-2014
    • Learning Outcomes Aligned at the Assignment, Course, Program and Institutional Levels
      • Faculty collecting evidence of student learning for teaching, program and institutional portfolios
  • Policy Change
    • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning included in definition of Scholarsip

Who is the Director of Assessment

Director of Assessment, Valerie Landau

Valerie 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 (1995). She is the author of two books, “Developing an Effective Online Course” and “The Engelbart Hypothesis: Dialogs with Douglas Engelbart.”

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.”

Recognition of SMU’s Assessment Improvement Process

Samuel Merritt University serves as model for other organizations seeking new pathways to assessment that meet the growing demand by students, faculty, and accreditors for a more flexible and effective approach to assessing student learning.

Accreditation Commendations

 <td "width:="" 200px""="">                                                          The following is an excerpt from the WASC Educational Effectiveness Team re-accreditation letter:


SMU has moved at mach speed to ramp up systems, now those systems must be sustained into the future.”

“The University is to be commended for its accomplishments in developing the Curriculum Mapping Initiative…This CMI interactive tool is the culmination of considerable foundational work across the University to document the intricate alignment of numerous and diverse course-level outcomes and program-level student learning outcomes with the institution-wide Core Learning Competencies.”

“The CMI has permitted the SMU faculty to engage in meaningful conversations and programmatic improvements related to the cohesion, structure and comprehensiveness of the curriculum… It has also promoted faculty agreement and understanding of program learning outcomes within programs, and consideration of inter-disciplinary curricular development across programs.”

Awards from Professional Organizations

SMU QSEN Award 2013

SMU School of Nursing Honored with QSEN Award
“During the [QSEN] team’s visit to the School of Nursing in April, they were extremely pleased with how the School of Nursing has integrated the QSEN standards into the clinical evaluations and course assignments.” Arlene Sargent, Associate Dean of Nursing stated.


Faculty award Best Poster at QSEN Forum

SMU faculty were awarded best poster in the category of Academic/Research at the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) National Forum, May 27-29 in Baltimore, Maryland. The poster, entitled  “Aligning QSEN Competencies with Student Learning Outcomes and Student Work? There's an App for That!” 

Article: SMU Faculty Awarded Best Poster Award








Photo: Margaret Rivero Early PhD at the QSEN Forum.

Award-winning poster by 
Nancy Haugen PhD., Associate Professor, Chair, Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Margaret Rivero Early PhD. Associate Professor, Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and Valerie Landau, Director of Assessment.  


Assessment Director, Valerie Landau, invited to People-Centered Internet at Stanford University October 2015.
People-Centered Internet

Seated organizers: Manu Bhardwaj, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State, Mei Lin Fung, Vint Cerf, Google Evangelist, Nagy Hanna, World Bank, Anil Srivastava, president Open Health Systems Laboratory, Ahmed Calvo, Medical Officer, US Department of Health and Human Services.

Indicators of a Culture of Assessment

Assessment Goals


Valerie Landau
Director of Assessment
3012 Summit Street, First Floor, C Wing
Oakland, CA 94609
510-869-6511 ext5358