Undergraduate Academic Affairs

July 23, 2018

Sean Gehrke named director of the Office of Educational Assessment

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Photo of Sean GehrkeUndergraduate Academic Affairs is thrilled to announce Sean Gehrke as the new director of the Office of Educational Assessment (OEA). Gehrke brings more than 15 years of experience as an administrator, researcher and leader in higher education. In his new role, Gehrke, along with his colleagues in OEA, will lead the charge in assessing the effectiveness of the University of Washington’s educational outcomes.

“I’m excited to have an opportunity to work with a diverse team focused on different aspects of assessment and evaluation to advance the mission of UW,” explains Gehrke. “This is a dream position for me at this point in my career ­— using my experience in student affairs and institutional research, as well as my training as a researcher, I get to focus on helping faculty and staff improve their work through rigorous and meaningful assessment.”

At the UW, Gehrke will focus on providing campus leadership with guidance on assessing the University’s work toward achieving its educational outcomes, as well as providing leadership for several key areas integral to evaluation and assessment on campus. In his past two roles, Gehrke served as the primary consultant to campus administrators, faculty and staff, helping inform decision-making, advance strategic initiatives and improve the institution’s educational practices.

“In this time of innovation and change at the UW, it is important to think well about the role of assessment and evaluation, as well as a campus-wide vision for the Office of Educational Assessment,” says Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Ed Taylor. “Sean brings the right blend of experience, deep knowledge and skill, and a broad lens on assessment in a university, and we’re delighted to welcome him to the UW.”

Gehrke is excited to join a vibrant academic culture focused on student learning and inquiry. On top of starting his dream job, he and his wife are big UW volleyball fans and look forward to introducing their baby to the sport as members of the UW’s community.

Prior to joining the UW, Gehrke served as the director of institutional research at Everett Community College (EvCC). There, he leveraged his expertise in higher education, advanced quantitative methods, survey research, outcomes-based assessment and complementary training in mixed-methods research and social network analysis to guide campus leadership in making data-informed decisions to best serve the student body. He also led work to assess EvCC’s progress toward achieving equitable outcomes among its students and employees. Both at EvCC and in a previous role, he conducted studies to identify predictors of retention and graduation and examine students’ experience with funding and financial aid. This work resulted in the institutions developing strategies to facilitate student success and empowering stakeholders to focus their work toward achieving equity for all members of the campus community.

Gehrke actively publishes in peer-reviewed journals and presents at national conferences on a variety of topics, including outcomes-based assessment and faculty engagement with STEM education reform efforts. Prior to his position at Everett Community College, Gehrke served as the director of institutional planning, research and assessment at Lewis-Clark State College, researcher at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and associate director of Residence Life and Housing at Whitman College. He earned his Ph.D. in urban education policy from the University of Southern California, his M.Ed. in counseling and personnel services from the University of Maryland College Park, and his B.A. in psychology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

About the Office of Educational Assessment
The Office of Educational Assessment, a program in Undergraduate Academic Affairs, improves educational practice through assessment of teaching and learning and through evaluation and support of educational programs and services. The Office of Educational Assessment provides a variety of assessment services to the UW campus and external agencies including course evaluations, classroom test scoring, test administration, program evaluation, survey research and assessment of undergraduate learning.