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Startup offers faculty performance assessment application

Launched while she was at Purdue University, Professor Monica Cox’s startup has developed a more valid, consistent and unbiased faculty performance assessment platform for use in the classroom. The app could allow a more accurate and timely evaluation of merit-based incentives like promotions.

Monica F. Cox, professor and chair of the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University and an adjunct associate professor in Purdue’s School of Engineering Education, founded the company STEMinent LLC to commercialize her technology.

STEMinent was the recipient of an Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund First-Tier Black Award and received $20,000 in 2015. The company has also been awarded a collaborative proposal with Ohio State and Purdue for the Innovation Corps Program from the National Science Foundation.

Cox said there is a need for a more effective assessment tool for faculty performance that is reliable and accepted across the board.

“When instructors are observed by a third party usually there are inconsistencies, bias or, if it’s not being done in real time, discrepancies can come up after the fact,” she said. “Administrators at universities need timely, validated instructor feedback so they are able to connect the feedback to promotions and other merit-based incentives for their instructors.”

STEMinent provides an online assessment and data collection platform for evaluators to collect data from direct observation of faculty in classrooms or via videos.

“STEMinent’s solution allows an observer to input data as soon as it’s observed. It is then analyzed directly within the system, and a profile of that instructor is produced,” Cox said. “The profiles can be accessed by administrators and instructors after the observation. It’s really a one-stop-shop of data collection, analysis and interpretation.”

Cox said the platform is easy to use and provides minimal disruption in the classroom, resulting in more accurate instructor profiles.

“There are a lot of different tools out there for evaluation of faculty in universities,” she added. "The educational framework within the tool, which can accurately analyze data and produce instructor profiles, is really what makes this product unique and provides an advantage over the others.”

Copyright used by STEMinent LLC has been licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.

Cox said STEMinent is a success story on how to work across universities.

“It’s great to see that although I’m now a Purdue adjunct faculty and working at The Ohio State University, I’m still able to work with entrepreneurs in the Purdue community to further develop the company. Ohio State has been so supportive in my entrepreneurial endeavors as well, so it’s been much easier to establish the company in both locations,” she said. “Working across universities and the industry is an important factor to this type of company and technology, so I think we’ve been able to show that it can be done.”

Ohio State’s Department of Engineering Education was officially established in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Cox was announced as chair of the new department.

Content contributed by Purdue Research Foundation