For Immediate Release
19 January 2011

Melissa Lamar
860.773.1407 (office)

Tunxis Receives National Recognition for Learning Outcomes Initiatives


Tunxis Community College has received national recognition for several projects associated with an approach it has implemented to assess student learning outcomes.

“We are honored to be among those colleges and universities nationally that are receiving acknowledgement for our work in evaluating student performance,” said Tunxis President Cathryn Addy, Ph.D. “By continually examining our curricula for its relevance to academic and workforce skills and measuring our students’ achievement, we are reinforcing what we have always been trying to help our students achieve in preparing for the challenges of a 21st century workplace.”

• Tunxis was one of 22 colleges nationally selected in December through a competitive process to participate in “Connect to Learning: ePortfolio, Engagement, and Student Success,” a project led by the Making Connections National Resource Center of LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) in collaboration with the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL). The proposal was chosen in part for its potential contribution to Connect to Learning’s effort to generate evidence-based models for a national learning assessment framework. Tunxis received a mini-grant of $20,000 to support participation and coordination of its project, which includes expanding the use of ePortfolio software and data it collects in a number of academic areas to increase student success and retention. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE)

• Tunxis is also one of 11 colleges from across the country featured in the book “Advancing Student Learning Outcomes in Community and Technical Colleges,” (Alverno College Institute) published in fall 2010. David England, Ed.D., dean of institutional effectiveness and outreach, and Steve Ersinghaus, professor of English, both part of the team at Tunxis that helped spearhead student learning outcomes assessment, wrote one of the book’s chapters entitled “The Design and Implementation of an Ability-Based Education System: Tunxis Community College.” The book was published to share assessment models and best practices with other higher education institutions that are starting to assess student learning outcomes. The 11 colleges in the book are among a group of 43 that participated in the national consortium “Innovation and Inquiry for Student Learning” funded by a grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education and coordinated by Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI.

• Tunxis was chosen as one of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment’s (NILOA) featured web sites for an online “Ability-Based Education” learning outcomes and assessment video the College produced. The video was chosen in the creativity category for its “innovative way of thinking about learning outcomes and the entertaining video introducing the concept to students,” NILOA wrote. The video can be viewed at

Tunxis began its Ability-Based Education learning outcomes assessment initiatives in 2005 with the help of a Title III Strengthening Institutions grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Faculty began identifying skills commonly agreed upon as critically important to success in the workplace, developed rubrics and assessments for the skills, and embedded them in the curriculum. The system continues to be improved as more information is collected. More information on the College’s learning assessment practices can be found at

Tunxis Community College, which first opened for classes in October 1970, is celebrating 40 years of education in the Farmington Valley and beyond. From fine arts, health, and technology to liberal arts & sciences programs, Tunxis offers over 60 associate’s degrees and certificates, providing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that prepare students for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs and employment in areas with industry need. Tunxis is located at the junction of Routes 6 and 177 in Farmington. Visit Tunxis on the Internet at