UAC Series on Addressing Bias and Racism in Assessment

About the Series

With funding from the 6+YOU Initiative and the Jesuit Foundation, The University Assessment Committee (UAC) established the Series on Addressing Bias and Racism in Assessment. The series is held virtually each academic year for the USF community and features USF faculty and staff presenters. The goals of the series are:

  • to raise awareness of the racism and bias that persist in assessment practices at institutions of higher education; 
  • to raise awareness of the racism and bias that persist in assessment practices at USF; and 
  • to help faculty and staff identify both implicit and explicit bias in assessment.

In fall 2022, the University Assessment Committee hosted the first series on Addressing Bias and Racism in Assessment with funding from the 6+YOU Initiative and the Jesuit Foundation.  Each session was offered twice. 

Jane Bleasdale, Assistant Professor, School of Education
Social Conscience and Responsibility: Teaching the Common Good
October 24, 12–1 p.m., October 27, 1–2 p.m. (virtually held on Zoom)

Description: How will you equitably assess students' learning? Dr. Bleasdale will focus on co-created pedagogy, including journaling and reflection, student choice, and activities to analyze how personal and social biases can distort the expression of many of our highest human values.  Recording (from October 27)Slides

Desiree Zerquera, Associate Professor, School of Education
Engaging Critical Quantitative Research in our Assessment Practice
November 3, 12–1 p.m., November 4, 1–2 p.m. (virtually held on Zoom)

Description: Critical quantitative research approaches provide promise in how we differently engage with quantitative data to better align our questions, analyses, and meaning-making with social justice. This workshop will show how principles and approaches from critical quantitative research can strengthen our assessment practice as we work to better support marginalized students on our campus and in our classrooms. Through hands-on examples, participants will leave with a toolkit and charge to better use quantitative assessment data in ways that enact our espoused values of social justice. Recording (from November 4)Slides 

Kahanu Salavea, Program Assistant, Office of Community Living
Hawaiian Protocols: the Assessment Process at the USF Food Pantry
November 9, 2–3 p.m., November 10, 2–3 p.m. (virtually held on Zoom)

Description: Data is collected within the relationships that we establish with those whom we are serving. Relationship building is an essential component in our assessment process since it has a direct impact on the quantity and quality of feedback that is received. In this session, we will discuss the ways that the USF Food Pantry has incorporated indigenous, Hawaiian protocols as a means of building trust with food insecure students and how those protocols have created a space where students feel like they can openly share about their experiences in accessing the pantry.  Recording (from November 10)Slides

Rhonda V Magee, Professor, School of Law
Joining the Inner and Outer Work of Addressing Bias and Racism in Assessment
November 14, 12–1 p.m., November 17, 12–1 p.m. (virtually held on Zoom)

Description: In this session, Professor Magee will open space for discussing the inner dimensions of the work of addressing bias and racism in assessment, and how that inner dimension intersects with the outer work. Participants will examine how mindfulness might support us in clarifying our values and developing the internal infrastructure -- emotional intelligence, social growth mindset, and collective resilience -- necessary for sustaining  the work of addressing bias and enacting equitable assessment policies and structures. Recording (from November 17)Slides

Funding from the Jesuit Foundation enabled the series to return in spring 2024 with a focus on antiracist approaches to grading. A reflective workshop and a faculty discussion panel were held.

Workshop: Reflection and Alignment: Language of Grading Policies

Tuesday, February 6 |11:45 am - 12:45 pm | Watch the Recording |Find Event Resource Slides & Padlet

Nicole Gonzales Howell, PhDHeadshot of Professor Nicole Gonzales Howell
Associate Professor, Rhetoric and Language, College of Arts and Sciences

Description: In this workshop, Professor Nicole Gonzales Howell will lead participants through a guided reflection process to evaluate whether a grading system reflects the values they hold dear. Professor Howell will offer some models as well as guide teachers toward developing both an attitude and a system that will promote student learning. For many faculty, grading is often the least favorite and most fraught part of teaching. However, grading also serves as the cornerstone of relationships with students. The pedagogical approach to a course, and the structure that it's built on, will determine how students see faculty and their values.


Although this workshop will address grading policies at the course level, faculty, staff, librarians, and administrators are encouraged to participate. Understanding our fraught relationship with grading and evaluation is imperative across higher education constituencies as we all tend to hold deeply personal relationships to grades and their role in learning.


Panel Discussion: Discussion Panel: Considerations for Antiracist Approaches to Grading

Thursday, February 22 | 11:45 am - 12:45 pm | Watch the Recording

Description: Outside of traditional grading, what are alternative approaches to evaluating student learning that are equitable and accurate? How might we motivate students toward academic success without the use of conventional grades? Join us for a discussion with USF faculty members who have reconsidered their grading approaches to effectively and equitably assess student learning while promoting just learning environments that reflect the University's mission and values.

Panel: Alark Joshi (Computer Science), Dhara Meghani (Clinical Psychology), Jerome Stewart (School of Management), and Julie Sullivan (Rhetoric and Language)

Contact the UAC About Participating in the Series

If you are interested in participating in the Series on Addressing Bias and Racism in Assessment or if you have ideas for future topics, please reach out to