January 2013

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We need your help!

The Campus-Wide Assessment Committee is re-structuring, and it needs your input. Please take a moment to review the plans for re-organization, detailed below. Then let us know what you think about them.

The idea is to make CWAC more responsive to the faculty’s needs for timely and competent feedback on their assessment plans and annual reports. The committee thinks that in its present configuration, it will never be able to do that. But with its re-structuring plan, CWAC expects to provide better service adapted to the needs and concerns of the faculty.

In addition to the discussion of the reorganization of CWAC, I would also like for us to consider conducting a self-assessment of the institution's student learning outcomes. This self-assessment would be based on the publication, "Assuring Quality: An Institutional Self-Assessment Tool for Excellent Practices in Student Learning Outcomes Assessment" produced by the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability.

This self-assessment will involve forming a team to review the current assessment activities occurring on and off-campus (academic and co-curricular). I anticipate the team's involvement would last most of the spring semester. Please review this summary "Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability in Higher Education" for more information about what’s involved and what outcome we can expect from the process.

We look forward to your response to our plans on our first quarterly issue of Assessment Showcase for 2013. From now on, we will be sending out our e-newsletter just four times a year instead of every month.

Many thanks and a very happy new year to you. 

Jim Allen
Associate Provost for Academic Programs

 


Highlight

Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) Restructuring Plan

restructuringTo provide academic programs with timely feedback on both their assessment plans and annual reports, the Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) plans to restructure. We would appreciate your reviewing the proposed restructuring document Proposed Changes CWAC and providing us with feedback at CWAC Changes survey.

The following is provided to help you better understand the rationale for the restructuring.

Campus-Wide Assessment Committee has the following Operating Statement:

Current

The assessment process is faculty owned. Assessment plans for the various academic programs are generated by the faculty and are used for degree-specific accreditation and program review. Assessment policy is set by the Associate Provost for Academic Programs along with the advice of the Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) in accordance with the mandates from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the North Central Association, and the Provost. The committee consists of one member from each of the colleges and schools and one member each from the faculty elected bodies (Faculty Senate and Graduate Council).


In reviewing its current Operating Statement, CWAC felt it was too vague and not a true representation of the committee’s structure and mission. So after it compared what CWACs at comparable institutions are doing, the committee drafted the following statement instead:

Proposed Campus-Wide Assessment Committee Mission Statement:

Proposed

The Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) is charged with encouraging, supporting and guiding the growth of outcome-based student learning outcomes assessment practices at SIU Carbondale. It serves as an executive body, reporting to the Provost on assessment on- and off-campus. The Committee works with the Office of Assessment and Program Review (OAPR) to promote the assessment of student learning outcomes in both academic and co-curricular programs. While assessment plans and the reports drawn from them are generated by faculty and staff for program-specific accreditation and review, the CWAC advises on assessment policy as set by the Associate Provost for Academic Programs (APAP), in accordance with the mandates from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Higher Learning Commission, and the Provost.

The Committee is chaired by the APAP. It consists of one member from each of the colleges and schools and one member appointed by the faculty elected bodies (Faculty Senate and Graduate Council).  Appointments to the Committee shall normally be for three-years; reappointment is permitted.  All members of the Committee vote.


The process of rewriting CWAC’s operating statement required several meetings to discuss. The result was also a new list of duties and goals:

Proposed Duties and Goals:

The Committee:

  • supports the mission of the university by providing guidance, coordination, and support for the on-going assessment of institutional effectiveness;
  • serves as leaders in support of a culture of transformative inquiry by coordinating and communicating assessment strategies for the university;
  • develops and implements a university-wide, ongoing, and sustainable assessment plan;
  • provides an annual report to the Provost documenting strengths and weaknesses of the university’s overall efforts in assessment and institutional effectiveness;
  • establishes internal submission deadlines for initial and final submission of assessment results, reports, and plans;
  • works with the OAPR and the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) to coordinate training for assessment coordinators, faculty, and other appropriate groups;
  • encourages innovative approaches or best practices in assessment of student learning and provides guidance for student outcomes assessment;
  • makes recommendations to the Provost concerning assessment policy, procedures, and effective integration/linkage of learning outcomes assessment with accreditation, program review, strategic planning, budgeting, and resource allocation;
  • develops guidelines to promote effective integration of assessment practices at course, program, and college levels to help achieve the university’s mission and strategic goals;
  • oversees and reviews the work of the sub-committees, and meets with each of them at least once a semester.


Currently, CWAC members assist in the review of assessment plans and annual assessment reports for all academic programs. During the review of CWAC’s current structure, committee members had concerns about the level of expertise needed to provide accurate feedback. Academic programs need better feedback and suggestions to make improvements.

For example, a faculty member with expertise in another field might be reviewing an assessment plan for microbiology.  While s/he would feel comfortable providing the program feedback on whether or not the Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) are written correctly, that same colleague member with no science background would not feel comfortable judging  whether or not the SLOs are accurate, measurable and realistic.

The committee suggested making better use of the existing program coordinators who 
work with the faculty and staff to prepare the assessment plans and annual assessment reports. The CWAC recommended creating teams in the colleges that would be responsible for reviewing the plans and reports. The following mission statement and duties are suggested for the college-level teams:

Intra-College Collaboration Teams (ICCT Sub-Committees) Operating Statement and Duties:

Proposed Sub-Committee:

Each College shall have its own Intra-College Collaboration Team (ICCT Sub-Committee), consisting of at least one faculty member from every academic unit in the College, as assigned by the appropriate Dean. These ICCT Sub-Committees are responsible primarily for the assessment of learning in undergraduate degree programs.

Post-baccalaureate programs shall have their own ICCT Sub-Committee, consisting of at least one faculty member from each College and professional School, as assigned by the Deans of the Graduate School, the School of Law, and the School of Medicine, respectively.  This Team shall oversee assessment at the graduate and professional degree level.

Colleges and Schools, which already have committees overseeing assessment activities, may proceed according to their operating papers on such activities instead of appointing ICCT Sub-Committees per se.

These Teams (and committees) shall oversee the timely completion of the Assessment Plan Template for new degree programs (or when changes occur in approved assessment plans) and the annual Assessment Report Template. The ICCT (and committees) shall also work with their faculty to review the results of annual Assessment Reports and in creating or making changes to Assessment Plans.

In effect, the Teams (and committees) will work collaboratively with the OAPR, the CWAC, and the ACCSLT to oversee the university’s assessment plans and to support uniform assessment practices and procedures.

Each Team (or committee):

  • reviews and evaluates the assessment results, reports, and plans in its College  or School;
  • provides feedback to the assessment coordinator in each program and, where applicable, ensures that programs are meeting accreditation/certification criteria with respect to assessment;
  • submits all approved Assessment Plans and annual Assessment Reports, with the Team Review Rubric, to the OAPR; it also reports a summary to the CWAC;
  • works with the Assessment of Co-Curricular Student Learning Team (ACCSLT) to ensure that co-curricular activities are incorporated into curricular learning, as appropriate; 
  • works with the OAPR and CTE to coordinate training for staff, directors, and other appropriate groups;
  • meets with the APAP at least once a semester.


To ensure that all aspects of student learning are properly assessed, the CWAC recommends the creation of a sub-committee that would be responsible for assessing co-curricular activities. The following operating statement and duties are proposed for this new sub-committee.

Assessment of Co-Curricular Student Learning Team (ACCSLT Sub-Committee) Mission Statement and Duties:

Proposed Sub-Committee:

The Assessment of Co-Curricular Student Learning Team (ACCSLT) works collaboratively with the Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) and the Intra-College Collaboration Teams (ICCT, see below). It ensures that the value of assessment for informing and improving curricula and student learning is integral to university culture. The ACCSLT is responsible for reviewing and approving co-curricular assessment plans and providing feedback to the relevant programs. The team will work collaboratively with CWAC and ICCT to oversee the university’s the development and updating of assessment plans and to apply uniform assessment practices and procedures.

Appointed by the Associate Provost for Academic Programs (APAP), in consultation with the Dean of Students and the CWAC, the team consists of one member from each division and/or unit. Appointments to the team shall normally be for three-years; reappointment is permitted.  All members of the team are voting members. The Chairperson of the team shall be elected by members of the ACCSLT.  The Chairperson’s term in office shall be one year, but may stand for re-election any number of times thereafter.

The Team:

  • reviews and evaluates the division or unit results, reports, and plans; and provides feedback to the assessment coordinators and directors to enhance their programs and, where applicable, ensure they are fulfilling accreditation/certification requirements;
  • submits all approved Assessment Plans and annual Assessment Reports, with the Team Review Rubric, to the OAPR; it also reports a summary to the ICCT and the CWAC;
  • works with the Intra-College Collaboration Teams (ICCT) to ensure that co-curricular activities are incorporated into curricular learning, as appropriate; 
  • works with the OAPR and CTE to coordinate training for staff, directors, and other appropriate groups;
  • meets with APAP at least once a semester.


For more information about what comparable institutions are doing, check out the links below:

http://oeas.ucf.edu/doc/UACAssessmentProcess021312.pdf
http://www.utoledo.edu/offices/provost/main/assessment/committees/Index.html
http://www.umkc.edu/provost/academic-assessment/committee.asp

We would greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions by entering them on the CWAC Changes survey regarding the proposed restructuring document Proposed Changes CWAC. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

Sharon Walters, PhD
Assessment and Program Review


You Should Know...

New Leadership logo

This month’s newsletter from the New Leaders Alliance for Excellence in Student Learning and Accountability (a leading national advocate of assessment) provides a summary of the initiatives that have occurred within the organization. Click here: New Leadership Alliance December Newsletter to read the article.

NILOA

The January 2013 newsletter from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) contains a timely and interesting Occasional Paper, “The Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP): Implications for Assessment.”  The newsletter and website contain a wealth of information regarding assessment and transparency.


Bragging Rights

Have you heard?

Industrial Design Students

The Industrial Design Students won the 2nd Annual Fusion Exhibition Bragging Rights Cup in St. Louis for the second year in a row! This was just one of the School of Art and Design’s accomplishments this year that is worth bragging about. Be sure to review their outstanding Student Exhibitions & Accomplishments.

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Does your department or college have something related to assessment or program review it would like to brag about?  If yes, please e-mail and let us know.


Upcoming Spotlights

Check out the Summer Assessment Showcase newsletter where we will provide you with details about the many assessment activities scheduled for the fall 2013 semester.


Clipart image of question markQuestions?


Each quarter we will present what we believe to be practical information regarding assessment practices. However, because we believe assessment works best when feedback is sought, we encourage you to submit any questions regarding any aspect of the assessment process (i.e., at the course level, department level, college level, etc.) to us at assess@siu.edu. We will attempt to answer these questions in the following quarterly's newsletter and post them on our website under FAQs.