Wayne State Accelerates Assessment of Student Learning
Wayne State College has a long history of commitment to continual assessment of its programs and the successes of its students and professors. The college demonstrates this commitment through participation in the Academic Quality Improvement Program, a new process for accreditation developed by the Higher Learning Commission as an alternative to the self-study/comprehensive visit cycle of accreditation.
Participation in the Academic Quality Improvement Project encourages an institution to use the AQIP Quality Criteria to systematically examine how it is increasing its effectiveness in educating its students and accomplishing its other key purposes, and how it is managing and improving the many other processes that allow it to pursue these primary goals.
The college created an Office of Assessment in 2007 to provide another key component to continued improvement of the college’s teaching and learning environment. Continuous quality improvement is a way of approaching subsistence at Wayne State College. As a learning organization, there are countless opportunities for improving all that we do in helping students learn.
WSC Joins Assessment Academy
Wayne State College was accepted into the Academy for Assessment of Student Learning sponsored by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) on Sept. 19, 2007. The Academy for Assessment of Student Learning offers HLC member institutions a four-year sequence of events and interactions that are focused on student learning, targeted at accelerating and advancing efforts to assess and improve student learning, and designed to build institution-wide commitment to assessment of student learning.
Commitment to Assessment
A seven member team from Wayne State College attended the Academy Roundtable, Feb. 20-22, in Lisle, Ill. The team members were selected based upon their service to the General Education Committee and/or to provide representation from each of the four schools. The team members who attended were Dr. James O’Donnell, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities; Sue Sydow, Director of Assessment; Dr. Patricia Arneson, Professor of Business; Dr. Gwen Jensen, Associate Professor of Communication Arts; Dr. Keith Willis, Professor and Department Chair for Counseling and Special Education; Dr. Tamara Worner, Associate Professor of Physical Sciences and Mathematics; and Phyllis Spethman, Director of Field Experience and Teacher Certification. Dr. Arneson and Sue Sydow also attended the Academy Information and Planning Workshop held Jan. 10-11, in Lisle.
During the four-year academy commitment, team members will be working in cooperation with HLC mentors and cohort institutions from across the nation to develop a program assessment plan for the new general education program. The team will create an action portfolio during the four-year commitment focused on assessing and documenting student learning in relationship to intended outcomes, engaging stakeholders in analyzing assessment data on student learning, and engaging stakeholders and the institution in taking action based on the analysis to confirm or improve student learning. This action portfolio will be mentored through an electronic network where the plan will receive mentoring, critique and validation through annual progress analyses by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, optional events and intervention strategies may be implemented, such as on-campus consultation, on-campus conversation facilitation, visits to good practice sites, etc.
The Academy for Assessment of Student Learning team will work cooperatively with the General Education Committee and the Assessment Oversight Committee to assess, evaluate and implement the action portfolio. The Academy for Assessment of Student Learning team members are focused on accelerating and advancing efforts to assess and improve student learning and willing to assist in building an institution-wide commitment to assessment of student learning at Wayne State College.
WSC Best Practices
Dr. Robert McCue, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Academy for Assessment of Student Learning team members from WSC will attend the Higher Learning Commission's annual meeting April 11-14 in Chicago. During the conference, Dr. McCue and Sue Sydow will be attending an Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Colloquium and the Academy for Assessment of Student Learning team members will be involved in a "Learning Exchange and Showcase" with time provided to work with a HLC assessment mentor.
More than 4,000 administrators and faculty from a wide variety of higher education institutions throughout its 19-state region attended the 2007 Annual Meeting. Wayne State College will participate in AQIP’s first poster fair during the AQIP Colloquium on April 12. The HLC hopes that the posters displayed will inspire those at the AQIP Colloquium to appreciate both the potential and the achievements of the continuous improvement efforts described on the posters.
Wayne State ’s poster demonstrates how Wayne State College confronted the challenge of implementing an institutional, systematic method of program assessment; explains the college’s all-campus assessment retreat and Academy for Assessment of Student Learning involvement; and charts how data flows through the institution as it is used to cultivate a culture of assessment.
The Wayne State College poster was created and designed through the efforts of Sue Sydow, Director of Assessment; Trudy Muir, Graphic Design Artist; and Edmund Elfers, Director of the Technology Resource Center. The poster can be accessed at http://www.wsc.edu/assessment/forms/aqip_poster_3-08.pdf.