Purpose: One of the summary findings from the Academic Program Review and Planning process completed in the fiscal year 2014-15 was that there was a high variability in the quality of assessment of program student learning outcomes. To move this forward, the University Assessment Steering Committee (UASC) created a new template for the dean’s report on assessment. This report requested information from each program to further probe the quality of the assessment of program student learning outcomes. This was requested as part of the continuous program improvement process that all programs need to follow to improve overall quality as well as meet Higher Learning Commission criteria.
Tools: A cover letter and template were sent out to the deans, associate deans, chairs, directors and academic officers to request that each program (to include all majors, minors, certificate, masters or doctorate) complete the template and to share one student learning outcome that has gone the furthest through the assessment cycle.
Justification: This was a new report format and was to encompass the years July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2015 for each program. The intent was to build upon and supplement the information gathered in the Academic Program Review and Planning process that was completed in 2014-15. The UASC intentionally determined a need to gather data at the programmatic level, to better understand the extent to which WMU is actively engaged in the assessment of student learning process, and sought to meet this need through the information gleaned in the Deans’ Reports on Assessment of Student Learning.
Process: The members of the University Assessment Steering Committee set up four sub-committees to review the reports, prepare feedback and a compose a response letter to each college. The subcommittees were instructed to provide ‘sandwich’ style feedback to share constructive comments ‘sandwiched’ or surrounded by positive comments. The sub-committees received the reports in December 2015, reviewed them and prepared their feedback reports during the spring semester 2016. In May 2016, each dean received a cover letter along with the feedback report for their college as well as an overall feedback report for each of the programs that were submitted.
Future Intent: During the 2016-17 academic year, the UASC is working to provide more educational resources on assessment and providing assistance and help to those who requested it via the comments section of the 2015-16 Deans’ Reports on Assessment.