University Testing Center deemed essential, earns national recognition

While the majority of Colorado State University faculty and staff have been teaching and working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Testing Center has been deemed an essential service. Since mid-May, 680 CSU students and community members have taken exams required for college credit or professional licenses at the center on campus.

UTC has also received Test Center Certification from the National College Testing Association, in recognition of its high test administration standards and for providing excellent service to the community. The five-year certification, which can be renewed with continued compliance with national standards, was developed to guide post-secondary test centers in the delivery of quality programs, and those centers achieving it are leaders in exemplary practices that set a high bar for others.

Paula Rodriguez, director of UTC, said the staff began the application process for certification in December, but did not receive word that it had been granted until July.

“I am so proud of our team,” she said. “The national recognition of the University Testing Center reflects the quality of our staff and the level of professionalism that we strive for with every customer interaction. I couldn’t be more thrilled with our achievement!”

COVID-19 protocols followed

Once the University pivoted to all-remote learning and teaching after Spring Break, Rodriguez said she and the center’s three other non-student staff members began modifying operations to follow CDC and county health department guidelines.

University Testing Center staff

The University Testing Center staff following COVID-19 requirements, clockwise from tope left: Cally Stockton, customer service specialist, behind the clear protective curtain at the front desk; Mary Schroeder, administrative assistant; Amanda Farmer, coordinator, in her office; and Director Paula Rodriguez by testing stations. 

That includes adding a clear plastic curtain in front of the check-in desk, following a revised work schedule that has no more than two staffers in the office at any time, self-reporting temperatures every day, and frequent hand-washing, masks and gloves for everyone. Testers are seated 6 feet apart and the registration calendars for both internal and external candidates were reduced to abide by social distancing requirements.

Test-takers must also wear masks while in either testing location in the General Services Building.

“Most of the testers have been wonderful, but a few have wanted to buck the rules,” Rodriguez said. “We simply say: No mask, no test.”

The testing facilities were always cleaned between each exam, but Rodriguez said staff now uses CDC approved disinfectants for the process.

Rodriguez said all the extra precautions are worth it.

“It just feels good to help our community members who need special certifications to keep or gain new employment,” she said. “And our students really appreciate that we are here for them. We are so grateful that we could reopen with the Central Administration’s support.”

For more information about the numerous testing services provided by the University Testing Center, call (970) 491-6498 or go to the UTC website.