RC 20/20

Learning Outcomes Assessment: Catalyzing Innovation in STEM Education to Effect Institutional Change

Kelly Wahl, Director of Statistical Analysis and Assessment Coordinator, University of California-Los Angeles

Erin Sanders, Director of the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (CEILS), University of California-Los Angeles

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Kelly Wahl

Kelly Wahl has conducted institutional research for over twenty years at institutions including large research-intensive public institutions (UCLA and the University of Massachusetts Amherst), medium-sized private institutions (Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University), and the largest urban community college system in the United States (the Los Angeles Community College District). He has participated on thirteen visiting teams for UCLA’s regional accreditor, the WASC Senior College and University Commission, most frequently serving as his team’s Assistant Chair. Among his special interests in institutional research are data mining studies of student information system data, institution-wide key performance measure identification and interpretation, and scale development using survey data. Recent publications include work appearing in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.


Erin Sanders

Erin Sanders O’Leary is an accomplished leader in the development and assessment of innovative strategies for undergraduate STEM education both in the classroom and laboratory. Dr. Sanders earned her B.S. in Chemistry from DePaul University in Chicago, IL in 1998 and her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from UCLA in 2005. Her research interests and experience span a variety of life sciences disciplines including molecular systematics of plastid genes in green algae, mechanisms of site-specific DNA recombination in bacteria, and composition studies of bio-energy relevant microbial communities. As a faculty member in UCLA’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (MIMG), Dr. Sanders pioneered the development of an innovative curriculum for MIMG undergraduates and coordinated the creation of new upper division courses that provide course-based research experiences (CUREs) and apprentice-based research experiences for all MIMG majors. Dr. Sanders is the author of a textbook for the microbiology CURE, has published on her assessment-informed curricular reform efforts, and is a recognized scholar in STEM education.

As the founding director of CEILS, Dr. Sanders works with the Associate Deans Blaire Van Valkenburgh and Albert Courey as well as the Faculty Advisory Committee to coordinate CEILS activities to meet the needs and interests of participating faculty in departments and interdisciplinary programs responsible for instruction of undergraduate courses in the Life and Physical Sciences. By conferring with CEILS participants, leadership, and cross-campus units, Dr. Sanders helps promote and support education and diversity initiatives that strengthen the teaching community at UCLA.