Getting the Word Out

One big problem I see on campus is that everybody hasn’t heard the same message about assessment. Between trying to learn TracDat, figuring out the General Education assessment plan, looking at program goals and student learning outcomes, and everything else SACSCOC related, some people I talk to are – not surprisingly – frustrated and confused. What should we be doing? Why are we doing these things? What does SACSCOC expect from us?

SACSCOC expects (in their standard 3.3.1) for institutions like us to report on how they measure institutional effectiveness. Institutional effectiveness is a significant movement in higher education that uses outcomes assessment to improve the university’s programs and to enhance student learning. According to Nichols and Nichols (2000) it has four basic components:

  • a statement of institutional mission and goals
  • identification of intended program, departmental and institutional outcomes or results
  • effective assessment of the accomplishment of the outcomes or results
  • use of the assessment results to improve the program, department and institution

Institutional effectiveness has been embraced by regional accreditation agencies like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as well as some disciplinary accrediting agencies.

We need to do a better job about communicating information, especially about assessment, to everyone on campus to help prepare for our SACSCOC review and beyond. If you have any ideas or strategies to help communicate better to everyone on campus, would you write and give me suggestions? Thanks for your thoughts! Georgie Donovan (donovangl [at] appstate [dot] edu)