Jo Michelle Beld

Professor of Political Science and Director of Evaluation and Assessment
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN  55057; 507-786-3910

Jo Beld is a Professor of Political Science and Director of Evaluation and Assessment at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  She is in her eleventh year leading St. Olaf’s program of “mission-driven, meaningful, and manageable” assessment. Under Jo’s leadership, the St. Olaf assessment program received a 2010 Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  St. Olaf’s assessment work is also featured on the website of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Through active partnerships with a wide array of faculty and staff, Jo has led several multi-campus projects developing assessment instruments and using assessment to strengthen student learning.   Currently, she is a member of the National Advisory Board for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), and the assessment director for an inter-institutional project funded by the National Science Foundation that aims to strengthen undergraduate education, research, and public awareness about arctic ecosystems and the impact of global climate change.  Jo has facilitated workshops and made presentations on assessing student learning in higher education at a wide array of regional and national conferences and as a consultant to individual institutions.  She is a regular presenter and workshop facilitator at AAC&U meetings, a consulting faculty member in AAC&U’s Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments, and a contributor to AAC&U’s Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) initiative.  

Jo received her undergraduate degree from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota and completed her Ph.D. at Yale University. Her teaching and research specializations include American politics, public policy, ethics, and social science research methods.  In addition to her work in assessment, Jo has provided leadership for St. Olaf’s programs in general education, faculty development, tenure and promotion policies, and the protection of human subjects.

updated January 2013