Spring 2013

Main Content

 The Spring semester has been an amazing flurry of activity. One source of this busyness was the site visit of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) April 22-23. Needless to say, the HLC team wanted to know what we’ve been doing to promote student learning.

This quarter’s issue of Assessment Showcase is devoted to our brief report to the HLC, the university’s accrediting body. The report summarizes just the last three years of assessment on campus because that’s all the site team was tasked to review. The summary also recognizes our participation in the HLC’s Assessment Academy, which has its own reporting requirements.

So, below, you can read a good overview of our work together. It’s amazing to see how much we have accomplished since the last HLC site visit in March 2010. Take a look to see for yourself.

You’ll be happy to note that your involvement mattered. The latest site visit team gave us high marks for engaging colleagues across campus. We will have the team’s official evaluation in another month. Faculty will be among the first to know what recommendations the HLC team will make to help us improve student learning. Most likely they will be asking us to “close the loop” more concertedly than we are doing now.

Meanwhile, the HLC has given us a solid affirmation of our assessment efforts. I believe the word they used was “amazing.” Yes, that is correct. Thank you all you do to ensure the quality of student learning at SIUC.

Jim Allen
Associate Provost for Academic Programs


The Assessment of Student Learning at Southern Illinois University Carbondale Since March 2010

Office of Assessment and Program Review(since Spring 2010):door In response to the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) Assurance Report of March 2010, the University created an Office and appointed a full-time Director of Assessment and Program Review reporting directly to the Provost. The following July, this Office also hired a full-time Assistant Director, who works closely with the Director, now the Associate Provost for Academic Programs (APAP). The APAP was appointed in December 2011 to oversee program quality, including the coordination of the following assessment activities.

Assessment and Program Review webpage(since Spring 2010):
This vital resource for faculty and staff has been frequently updated since its inception, but its focus remains on the assessment of learning outcomes and the review process of degree pro-grams to promote better student learning, as mandated by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and supported by the HLC. Unless otherwise noted, more information about the items listed below can be found on this site: http://assessment.siu.edu.

Participation in the HLC’s Assessment Academy(Fall 2009-Fall 2013):
HLC logo
The University’s goal to create a more comprehensive culture of transformative inquiry in student learning began with defining and measuring the outcomes of the Saluki First Year (SFY), the University’s first-year experience administered by the University College. The resulting data have been used to modify the College’s ongoing learning activities, including the SFY success seminar. See also http://www.universitycollege.siu.edu/academics/index.html.

Electronic newsletter, “Assessment Showcase” (since August 2011): newsletter
Issued monthly until July 2012, this quarterly e-newsletter has informed the campus community of many notable achievements in the assessment of student learning by exemplary SIU programs. Bragging rights include accreditation re-affirmations (e.g., ABET in Engineering, 2010; AACSB in Business, 2011; and NCATE in Teacher Education, 2012), on-campus assessment work-shops (led by Doug Eder, SIU Edwardsville, in 2010 and 2011; Nathan Lindsay and Drew Berger-son, UM Kansas City, in 2012), and updates on the HLC’s Assessment Academy.

Participation in the Voluntary System of Accountability (since Fall 2011):
The Office of Assessment and Program Review administered the ETS Proficiency Profile to freshmen as part of the University’s commitment to the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA). We are now testing seniors in order to develop value-added comparisons, whose data are to be uploaded onto the College Portrait website: www.collegeportraits.org/IL/SIU.

Participation in New Leadership Alliance on Student Learning & Accountability (since Fall 2011):
new leadership logoThis organization and its goals are more focused on student learning and its assessment than the VSA. The University has therefore committed itself to setting ambitious targets under the auspices of the New Leadership Alliance. For more information about this national initiative and its activities, see www.newleadershipalliance.org.

Writing across the Curriculum initiative(Fall 2012-Spring 2013):
The Office of Assessment and Program Review has pilot-tested a modified AAC&U Written Communication rubric for the major assignments in writing-intensive courses taught in the College of Liberal Arts this Spring. The results of these assessments are expected in June 2013.

Assessment plans, reports, and rubrics standardized (Spring 2013):
The University’s participation in the HLC’s Assessment Academy has led to the creation of a standard “template” for programs to submit assessment plans and annual reports.plan template The plans and/or reports for ninety percent of all academic programs have been posted on the Assessment and Program Review webpage. The rubrics, which are used by the Campus-Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) to respond to these documents, have also been standardized. By Fall 2013, it is expected that all of these documents will be available on a SharePoint database hosted by a dedicated server to facilitate the submission, review, and exchange of assessment plans and reports and the posting of course and program learning outcomes. The first step toward posting outcomes began this Spring with all course syllabi now available on department or college webpages.

Campus-Wide Assessment Committee restructured (Spring 2013):
For years, each academic program had an assessment coordinator, who was responsible for preparing and submitting assessment plans and annual reports for CWAC. The response was very limited, even after developing a rubric to facilitate the feedback to programs. Consequently, the University’s involvement in the Assessment Academy resulted in the restructuring of CWAC to make it more responsive to the need for timely and competent comment on revised assessment plans and annual reports. For the first time CWAC will oversee College-Wide Assessment Committees, as well as a university-wide co-curricular assessment team, to support more effectively faculty and staff assessment activities.

Tablet initiative/Mobile Dawg (Summer 2013 onward):

Dell Latitude 10 TabletThe University has joined this Educause and Internet2 initiative to provide each first-year student this Fall a Dell Latitude 10 tablet loaded with e-textbooks and Pearson online laboratory products in English composition, college algebra, and the SFY success seminar. The analytics features to the Pearson products and the University’s learning management system, Desire2Learn, will enable programs to assess student learning in real time for more effective instruction and over-time for curricular revision. Preliminary results are expected in Spring 2014. For more information, see http://news.siu.edu/2013/01/012313cjm13009.html.

University Core Curriculum assessment (Fall 2012 onward):
With the approval of the Faculty Senate in Fall 2012, the University’s general education program, the UCC, has adopted the AAC&U’s LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes. The Core Curriculum Executive Council, in consultation with UCC instructors, will create indicators and rubrics to measure student learning for each outcome. Beta-testing in the Foundation Skills courses is expected to start in Spring 2013. For more on this process, see www.aacu.org/leap.

You Should Know...


The March 2013 newsletter from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) contains a timely and interesting Viewpoint, “Embedded Assessment and Evidence-Based Curriculum Mapping: The Promise of Learning Analytics.”  The newsletter and website contain a wealth of information regarding assessment and transparency.

Bragging Rights

Have you heard?


The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team earned two national titles. Because of their win, SIU Carbondale became one of only six universities ever to win both national titles in a single year. This is the seventh year SIU has won a national title. This is worth bragging about.

national honor roll logoFor the sixth consecutive year, SIU Carbondale earned a spot on the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The award honors SIU students, faculty and staff for their commitment to community service, service learning and civic engagement.

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.