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3.3 Institutional Effectiveness

Comprehensive Standard:

3.3.1.1 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: educational programs, to include student learning outcomes. (Institutional Effectiveness)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

Assessment is well-integrated into the daily operations of the University of West Georgia. In the case of academic programs, each program coordinator works with the program faculty to assure the assessment process is complete. The first step in this process is for a program coordinator to work with the program faculty to identify student learning outcomes for academic programs. The second step is to identify the assessment point and artifact (assessment tool) for each learning outcome in the academic program assessing the extent to which it achieves these outcomes. Step three follows, which is to identify and implement improvements based on analysis of the results. Evidence of steps one, two, and three are included in the UWG Assessment Summary – August 2013 [1].

These steps provide evidence that the University of West Georgia is in compliance with SACS principle 3.3.1 by the following:

1) Identifying expected outcomes

2) Assessing the extent to which it achieves these outcomes

3) Providing evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results.

All locations at which a student can earn more than 50% of an academic credential are represented, including online. Student learning outcomes are consistent within each degree program across all locations and modes of delivery.

The academic units who administer granting of academic credentials comprise: the Richards College of Business [2]; the College of Education [3]; the College of Arts and Humanities [4]; the College of Social Sciences [5]; the College of Science and Mathematics [6]; and the School of Nursing [7]. Additionally, areas of the Honors College and Transdisciplinary Programs, and Extended Learning provide support for students and faculty in each unit mentioned above. All academic units are under the direction of the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Faculty members and coordinators of each program determine appropriate student learning outcomes for their specific programs. It should be noted here that, in accordance with the SACS “Distance and Corresponding Education” [8], the online programs offered at UWG are also included into the assessment process.

The University of West Georgia collaborative programs (the Georgia WebMBA and eCore) each have an embedded assessment system. Reports for each program are available, and provide evidence of compliance for all three elements of this principle (for WebMBA: Georgia WebMBA Assurance of Learning, Fall 2012 [9]; for eCore: eCore Factbook 2012, p.57-84 [10]).

Comprehensive Program Review

In addition to annual assessment of student learning outcomes by program, the Institution has established a comprehensive program review process. Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) [11] includes data on student learning, but also includes other factors associated with program effectiveness. CPR is intended to serve as the catalyst for systematic and thoughtful evaluation of an academic program by its faculty. It is distinctly different from annual assessments of student learning. CPR evaluates the long-term history and establishes long-term plans for an academic program. This review focuses on three characteristics of an academic program: quality, viability, and productivity. These characteristics are defined by the department or college submitting the report but are guided by the mission and initiatives of the University and Board of Regents.

Each academic program is required to engage in Comprehensive Program Review at least once every seven years. Programs that do not measure well against the review characteristics (as determined by the Program Faculty, Department Chair, Dean, Senate, Provost, or President) are subject to review at least every three years. Links to the program review schedule and the history of the program review process are on the website of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The results of the CPR, as well as the annual data on student learning outcomes, are used in the departmental planning process. Comprehensive Program Reviews provide information on the long term history and long term plans of the program, while student learning outcome data allow programs to make more immediate and specific adjustments.

The process of institutionalizing continuous and systematic feedback is and will always be evolving. However, a key element of this process is the identification by unit or program faculty of its mission, objectives, and strategies as part of the overall University mission and goals.  These are to serve as the foundation for assessing progress and for interpreting data collected on student outcomes, through Comprehensive Program Review, and from additional sources to make decisions for classroom and program improvements. It is also aligned with a university-wide process for institutional effectiveness that ensures intentional and transparent budgeting and decision-making in a continual effort to enhance student learning.

In addition to the assessment process mentioned above, the report for Core Requirement 2.5 provides a discussion on institutional effectiveness in general, the report for Federal Requirement 4.1 discusses student achievement, and the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1 discusses assessment of learning outcomes for core curriculum courses.

These assessment processes apply to all academic programs regardless of mode or location of delivery (on-campus, off-campus, or online).

Supporting Documentation: