Prior literature discusses how conflicting beliefs regarding assessment, competing workloads, and a lack of formal assessment resources may contribute to faculty reluctance to engage with formal assessment processes. There is a gap in research on exploring assessment leader-faculty relationships through the lens of Leader-Member Exchange Theory and how that may affect participation in formal assessment processes. To address this gap, the researcher implemented a qualitative, phenomenological study to interview faculty about their lived experiences in working with formal assessment processes and interacting with assessment leaders. The goal was to discover emerging thematic categories regarding faculty perceptions of formal assessment processes and working relationships with assessment leaders that inform strategies for addressing resistance to formal assessment. The sample consisted of 13 faculty members representing 3 divisions within a private accredited institution of higher education in California. Interview transcripts were redacted and qualitatively coded through a priori and emergent approaches. The results showed that faculty participants were knowledgeable about formal assessment processes, though there was a learning curve in understanding assessment-related tasks and disproportionate opportunities for participation. Participants also displayed awareness of whether assessment work reflected a culture of student learning or a culture of compliance; emphasis was placed on framing the benefits of assessment for not only student learning but also performance at the programmatic or institutional levels. Lastly, participants indicated that they trusted their assessment leaders through moments of conflict and resistance; tensions were instead directed toward the nature of formal assessment processes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Accreditation (Education)—Education, Higher; Universities and colleges—Faculty; Educators—Education; Higher—California

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Jennifer Miyake-Trapp