Winter 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 1
Finding the right niche
Center for Testing helps students and community
Ken Harding, above, director of campus and community testing, is reflected in a one-way mirror while timing a client taking a career placement test. Below, the Center also administers IQ tests to children.
After 60 years of serving the campus and surrounding community, the Center for Testing continues to be a hub of productive outreach. Created in 1948 by the late CHET ZEBELL ’48 MA ’50, the center initially focused on helping GI Bill veterans with their educational and vocational planning. Today its scope is far reaching, and DR. DIANE RIGLEY ’75 MA ’76, director of division research and testing, is a strong proponent of getting the word out to alumni and the community.
“Alumni might be unaware that we offer services that they could still use,” says Rigley, a 28-year employee of the center. “We conduct personnel-oriented testing for businesses, governmental units, and nonprofit organizations and boards. We do ‘distance testing’ online or through the mail for out-of-town groups. We can develop tests specifically for an organization’s needs. We also provide educational and vocational guidance for adults who may be considering a career change.”
Adds Ken Harding, director of campus and community testing, “We have been the best-kept secret in terms of business testing. We’ve been word-of-mouth, but we are working hard to change that perception.”
The center has two primary criteria for helping employers to better understand their job candidates: assessing an employee’s interests and work style, while measuring the employee’s abilities. The bottom line is how will an employee fit in the company and be successful. A sampling of clients includes CEFCU, the City of Peoria, and the Federal Companies, as well as the campus police force.
Primary campus clients include students in the Academic Exploration Program, referrals from faculty for students interested in clarifying career paths, and the Division of Student Affairs for compiling and analyzing student survey data. Along with Rigley and Harding, SHERRY WINKLE ’93 MA ’97, assistant director of campus and community testing, works one-on-one with students and has been an instructor for the AEP 100 Student Planning Seminar and EHS 120 freshman year course each fall.
“We hold a mirror up for our students to see how their interests and values correspond with the life they want to lead. We are a service with great resources,” says Winkle.
The Center for Testing has been located for the past four years on Bradley Avenue near University Hall at the southeast corner of campus, a convenient location for both campus and business clientele. From January through April, the center conducts testing for gifted children in Peoria School District 150 and administers IQ tests year-round for parents who are curious about their child’s performance level. Office manager Brenda Ruck, a Bradley staffer of 18 years, noted that parents appreciate the center’s location on the edge of campus for picking up their children.
The center is also a designated official professional development provider for the Illinois State Board of Education and offers a correspondence course on personality testing for professional development credit (CPDU) for teachers anywhere in the state. College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing, which can enhance the speed of graduation and cut costs from a college degree by offering course credit, is also available.
Visit bradley.edu/eddev/testing for more information on services offered by the Center for Testing.