Research Foundation News

August 31, 2016

Purdue-affiliated startup develops more unbiased, effective faculty performance assessment tool

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind; COLUMBUS, Ohio. – A Purdue-affiliated startup has developed a more valid, consistent and unbiased educational assessment online platform to assess faculty performance in the classroom in real time. The technology could allow a more accurate and valid evaluation of merit-based incentives like promotions.

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

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 that collects 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 then 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.

“Observers doing the assessing will be the ones interacting with this platform and administrators will benefit from the end product, making it easier for them to make decisions about the performance of faculty members,” she said. “It’s a really seamless platform that allows the observer to be as minimally disruptive to the normal classroom environment as possible and, thus, get a more accurate profile of each instructor.”

Cox said although there are variations of the same technology on the market, STEMinent’s platform has unique aspects.

“There are a lot of different tools out there for evaluation of faculty in universities. Our tool, however, incorporates up-to-date technology while providing a validating and reliable feedback aspect,” she said. “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. The company is a member of the Purdue Startup Class of 2016. Purdue has 27 startups based on Purdue intellectual property that were launched in the 2016 fiscal year.

STEMinent was the recipient of an Elevate Ventures 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. The company is also a client of the Purdue Foundry, a startup accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, and worked with several entrepreneurs in residence to help start the company.             

Trademarked under STEMinent’s umbrella, Cox also offers specialized consulting services through the brand Prepared to be a Pioneer and maintains a blog of the same name.

In 2011 Cox became the first African-American female professor to earn tenure in Purdue’s College of Engineering, and through personal and professional challenges and success, wanted to share her knowledge with those who need it.

“After earning tenure, I vowed to serve as a mentor and consultant to others who were thinking about entering an environment where they would be the first or the only,” Cox said. “Prepared to be a Pioneer was born out of that vow. I provide virtual mentoring in professional development or more related to faculty development, and share a toolkit for being successful professionally and personally.”

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

“The educational assessment technology STEMinent offers, although started at Purdue, is applicable to many schools around the nation. 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.”

For information on other Purdue intellectual property ready for licensing and commercialization, visit http://www.otc-prf.org. For more information about available leadership positions, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit http://www.purduefoundry.com.

About STEMinent LLC

STEMinent LLC is an educational assessment company that provides students and educators with an effective online platform to assess faculty performance in the classroom using a valid, consistent and unbiased standard in real time following the end of a class session. STEMinent is also home to the brand Prepared to Be a Pioneer, which offers specialized consulting services and a blog.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at innovation@prf.org.

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Hillary Henry, 765-588-3586, hkhenry@prf.org

Source:   Monica Cox, cox.1192@osu.edu


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