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Martha Sullivan, IDSA

Associate Professor of Practice & Chair, Industrial Design Program, Virginia Tech

Martha Sullivan is the Department Chair and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Industrial Design program at Virginia Tech. She teaches ceramics, industrial design laboratory, Summer Academy, and other interdisciplinary courses for the Creativity + Innovation Destination Area (C+I DA). Martha is a Co-Lead for the education initiatives in the C+I DA. She also serves on the steering committee for a new CAUS Living Learning Community Rhizome and is a Faculty Fellow in the Leadership and Social Change Residential College.

In 2013, Martha was awarded the University Certificate for Excellence in Outreach for an annual service-learning project titled Empty Bowls, and in 2010, she was awarded the College of Architecture and Urban Studies Excellence in Teaching Award. Martha has been a Visiting Scholar at Telemark University College in Notodden, Norway in 2013 and Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in Shanghai, China in 2017 and 2019. The latter resulted in a large-scale collaborative ceramic tile installation at Fudan University’s Children’s Hospital in Shanghai.

In 2006, Martha was chosen to receive the Gianninoto Graduate Scholarship from the Industrial Designers Society of America for her thesis work in Industrial Ceramics.

Martha is currently the President of the Blue Mountain School Board of Trustees, a progressive and contemplative school in Floyd, VA.

Assessment Strategy for Improving Student Learning Outcome Evaluations in Project-based Industrial Design Studio Courses

Education Symposium

Sept 14, 2022


9:20 AM - 10:00 AM

Co-presented with Elham Morshedzadeh, PhD, Assistant Professor, Industrial Design Program, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, University of Houston.

Industrial Design studios are inherently project-based, experiential-learning courses and therefore can be difficult to assess with methods traditionally used to measure student learning outcomes (SLO) in conventional lecture-based courses. In this workshop, we will explain the path that the Industrial Design faculty at Virginia Tech, in collaboration with the Office of Analytics and Institutional Effectiveness, took to design a new process for evaluating the effectiveness of the program's teaching strategies which involves students, faculty, administrators, and outside collaborators in a controlled event. Using our experience, we will ask attendees in groups of five to explore and discuss the student learning outcomes appropriate for ID programs, considering a possibly different future for ID education including various fields and focuses. Also, in a second discussion session, we will task each group to configure the best strategy to assess the selected SLO. We will provide some examples of qualitative and quantitative methods to help each group design methods of assessment.

Information gathered during assessments can help a program identify adjustments or needed changes to the curriculum to improve the expected learning outcomes for students. (Zlatkin- Troitschanskaia et al., 2016). But not all tools for assessment are compatible or effective for different teaching systems or without a clear assessment statement or plan. (Deardorff, 2014) After this session, participants will have gained awareness of student learning outcomes across different industrial design programs and fields of study. Participants will have the opportunity to articulate student learning outcomes that are important to their programs as well. Along with learning outcomes, possible assessment tools and methods that generate meaningful data in regards to designing or refining the program curriculum will be presented, discussed, and summarized for internalization by participants. Participants will have had the opportunity to reflect on their own program, develop a greater knowledge of work from peer institutions, and build network within higher education of folks implementing assessment strategies.




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