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Executive Education Certificates

About the Certificate

The Executive Education Certificates are designed for higher education professionals looking to take their assessment, evaluation or research knowledge and skills to the next level.

  • Have you been asked to conduct an assessment project and need guidance on how to start?
  • Do you need to evaluate a program that is under scrutiny?
  • Do you want to pursue being a practitioner scholar and need to build or hone your research skills?

The Assessment in Higher Education Certificate (in a pilot format) starts February 2024. This program provides current higher education professionals knowledge, skills and coaching support to facilitate assessment in the workplace. Effectively assessing outcomes and program effectiveness is a critical skill in higher education today, and the Assessment Certificate is a convenient, cost-efficient, and expeditious way to build, expand or update assessment knowledge and skills.

Participants are introduced to the steps in the assessment cycle, including project planning, writing outcomes and objectives, gathering evidence, interpreting data, writing results, and taking action. In addition to learning how to facilitate assessment, participants receive personalized coaching on an assessment project of choice to be presented at the end of the series. Participants who do not present a project plan will participate in a reflective exercise.

Participants will earn a certificate by completing eight virtual synchronous seminars and two individual coaching sessions over five months. The series will start on Friday, February 9, and end on Friday, May 24, with seminars being scheduled the second and fourth Fridays of the month. One-hour coaching sessions will be scheduled individually. Participants who complete the Higher Education Assessment certificate will receive a certificate from the Higher Education and Policy Program at Northwestern University indicating successful completion.

Target Audiences

Higher education professionals who seek to increase assessment knowledge and skills, learn how others are facilitating assessment on their campuses, augment their understanding of assessment within the complex landscape of higher education, and receive individualized feedback on a specific assessment project, will find the Assessment in Higher Education Certificate is perfect for them!

  • Mid-level or Senior higher education professionals who have an advanced degree and seek expanded knowledge and skills in assessment, look to increase capacity to assess programs or wish to improve their professional abilities.
  • Entry-level higher education professionals who want to build capacity in conducting assessment to better understand program effectiveness and student learning. 
  • Cohorts of professionals from the same institution who seek expert training in assessment to support assessment efforts, projects or proposals on their own campus is encouraged.

Sign up for an Info Session

About the Instructors

The program will be facilitated by Ellen Meents-DeCaigny. Ellen has been an instructor in the Northwestern University Higher Education and Policy program for eight years and served as the former Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff in Student Affairs at DePaul University. At DePaul, she was responsible for divisional assessment efforts and supported university assessment efforts for 17 years. Other Higher Education and Policy instructors and experts in the field of assessment will also contribute to the program, which means participants will have the opportunity to learn from and receive feedback from these experts.

2024 Pilot Registration Fee No. of Seminars
Higher Education Assessment Certificate (non-credit) $5,400 (Part I and II) 8
The cost for the 2024 pilot program is $2,700 for each part, with the total cost of Higher Education Assessment Certificate at $5,400. Certificate students do not pay any other fees.


Assessment Series Part I (duration of each seminar)

Part I of the Assessment in Higher Education Certificate series focuses on understanding the role of assessment in higher education and core components to plan and execute quality assessment. Choosing a relevant project focus and developing a comprehensive assessment plan is the focus of the second seminar. Next, a foundation for conducting quality assessment is measurable outcomes and objectives, which is the focus on the third seminar. The series wraps up with a focus on selecting methods that fit outcomes and objectives, in a way that is ethical, equitable and practical and an individual coaching session to check-in and get feedback on a proposed assessment plan.

  • Introduction and Developing a Plan/Project Focus (3 hours)
  • Writing Outcomes/Objectives (2.5 hours)
  • Methods/Data Equity (2.5 hours)
  • Coaching Session (1 hour)

Assessment Series Part II (duration of each seminar)

Part II of the Assessment in Higher Education Certificate series focuses on implementation of an assessment project. The first two seminars focus on method options, both how to effectively collect data and how to analyze data. A coaching session will be included to discuss methods and answer questions related to individual participant projects, followed by a seminar on communicating and visualizing results. During the last seminar in the series, participants will be able to present a project plan, project results, or participate in a reflective exercise on learning and takeaways from the assessment series.

  • Qualitative Methods and Analysis (2.5 hours)
  • Quantitative Methods and Analysis (2.5 hours)
  • Coaching Sessions (1 hour)
  • Communicating and Visualizing Results (2.5 hours)
  • Culminating/Reflection Seminar (2 hours

Contact Higher Education Administration and Policy

Our staff is available to provide in-person assistance Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Remote office hours are Friday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 

Phone Number 


Physical Address 
1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 7-300 
Evanston, IL 60208 
Northwestern University