Mondays with Matt

Welcome, welcome, Gentle Readers! Here at Victoria College’s Center for Academic and Professional Excellence (CAPE), we’re exploring the brave new world (for us at least) of the blog.

Once a week, on the same day, one of us will post something or other that we found to be of interest and academic value. I’ll be posting every Monday, and I’ve titled my chats with you Mondays with Matt.

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, and hopefully also give a sense of what the Monday flavour might be.

My name is Matt Wiley. I’m an associate professor of mathematics at Victoria College and also serve as director of our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). While it may be the rare individual who gets excited hearing phrases like “reaffirmation of accreditation,” “Department of Education,” or even “Southern Association of College’s Commission on Colleges,” I have to admit I have found some very fascinating things in this world!

Nevertheless, academically, my heart and mind are always with my very first interests of mathematics and computer science. These days, “applied mathematician” or even “data scientist” might be the terms for such people, and they’re true enough. I’ll share with my readers what I’ve shared with my students: I am always passionately curious and perpetually inquisitive. I also like to tell stories in my classes because I think we, as humans, relate better to stories than to random facts.

Thus, every week this term, I’ll do my best to tell what I hope is an interesting story. It may relate more directly to academics, although you’ll find we wander into wonderings that are perhaps more akin to professional development.

For this first round of posts, my goal is explore a single narrative that has four dimensions. I want to explore genuine assessment –not the dodgy methods we read about in story books and pick up on the sly at shady off-venue meetings near conferences. I mean genuine, legitimate assessment. For assessment to be done right, to be done well, I suggest it should be: 1) performed with some level of statistical accuracy and legitimacy, 2) measure both what should be measured as well as what is required to be measured, 3) provide discernible levels and stages of student competency and success, and 4)allow for easy comparison and contrast between new results with old results. This comparison process should be, as stated earlier, legitimate.

Every good story has to start Somewhere, even if it is about Something Else. Our story is about successful students. Our story is about effectively and easily using data to make the best possible decisions. Needs must though that we start somewhere. And, our tale will begin in truth next week with some easy data analytics.



Matt Wiley is a tenured, associate professor of mathematics with awards in both mathematics education and honour student engagement. He earned an assortment of degrees in computer science, business, and pure mathematics from the University of California and Texas A&M systems. He is the director of quality enhancement at Victoria College, assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment program to enhance institutional performance outcomes. A programmer, a published author, a mathematician, and a transformational leader, Matt has always melded his passion for writing with his joy of logical problem solving and data science. From the boardroom to the classroom, he enjoys finding dynamic ways to partner with interdisciplinary and diverse teams to make complex ideas and projects understandable and solvable.

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