While many strides have been made on our campus, we are still moving from a culture of compliance to a culture that embraces assessment and its use for educational improvement. One of the greatest challenges has been overcoming the myth that learning outcomes assessment is entirely separate from classroom practices; some faculty and staff believe assessment is more work with no reward or compensation. The LAO has worked hard to help the campus debunk that myth and to demonstrate embedded, authentic assessments that are part of regular classroom practices and that also provide useful data. As a result of that outreach, more and more disciplines have engaged in the process and taken strides in using SLO data to create dialogue and make decisions.
The Program Review and Viability Committee worked closely with the Learning Assessment Coordinator to develop a Program Review Self-Evaluation (PRS-E) that creates meaningful links between assessment data and allocation of resources. Although this link has been a part of the campus dialogue for some time through Annual Update Plans and also fueled the creation of Programs of Study, many faculty and staff will gain a full understanding of the linkage when the PRS-E process begins in Spring 2013.
The GE/ILO process has revealed the most about the campus belief in using outcomes data to support decisions. It has been the most instrumental in showing the campus community that they have many of the same questions and concerns about students. The Opening Day presentation and subsequent discussions have engaged the campus in reconsidering what the needs of students are and how best to meet them. These discussions have fed into the plan to carry out the objectives of the Educational Master Plan, the need for values that guide the Enrollment Management Committee, and the design of a First Year Completion program.
With the concerted efforts to improve the student experience and increase student success, outcomes and assessments are a regular part of our campus dialogue, but acclimating faculty and staff in the best way to document that dialogue has been problematic given some of the limitations of TracDat. We continually strive to improve that documentation so that as we move forward, we have a clear record of the best practices that effectively reach our students.