Millersville University, Faculty Senate
Academic Outcomes Assessment Committee

To: Department Chairs, Faculty and Program/Unit Staff
Involved in Outcomes Assessment Effort
From: Sam Casselberry, Acting
Associate Provost for Academic Administration
Date: October 27, 1997
Re: Supplement to Academic Outcomes Assessment Timeline

As a follow-up to the Academic Outcomes Assessment Workshops held earlier this month, this memo contains a revised timeline offered in response to questions raised at the workshops. This memo also addresses several additional questions/concerns expressed by the participants, either on the evaluation sheets or at the workshop.

First, and most importantly, it is necessary to reiterate that outcomes assessment activities are intended for program improvement, not evaluation of programs or individual faculty. Specific outcomes are identified and measured in order to discover possible areas for program improvement. As the workshop leader, Dr. Nichols, pointed out, departments must set programmatic goals at a reasonably high level in order to achieve the maximum value from assessment activities. Thus, it is fully expected that departments will not always achieve the intended outcomes during the initial assessment. It is the use of the results of the assessment activities to improve the academic program that is the goal of the outcomes assessment process.

Second, there was some discussion regarding the responsibility of assessing "interdepartmental" programs (specifically, all BSE programs in which the content is in either the school of science and mathematics or the school of humanities and social sciences). There will need to be cooperation in the assessment of these and other programs involving faculty from the two schools or departments. A series of discussions will take place shortly to address the procedural details of this cooperation for BSE programs.

There are also the questions of what constitutes a separate program and which programs within a department need to be assessed during the initial cycle. There is no formula that answers these questions for each department and each set of programs (options). What constitutes a program for assessment purposes, or which programs need to be assessed during any given cycle, should be discussed with your school dean. It is important to keep in mind, however, that each department will have a much larger list of intended outcomes (the long list) than will be assessed during any given year (the short list). Consequently, some aspects of some programs may not be assessed for several years.

Finally, I want to remind you of several resources that are available to assist departments in the assessment process.
  1. There are funds available to support departmental assessment activities from a SSHE Grant for Outcomes Assessment (contact Drs. Jill Henke, Colleen Stameshkin or Cheryl Desmond) and from the Associate Provost for Academic Administration.
  2. The members of the Academic Outcomes Assessment Committee are diligently working to develop the expertise to be able to act as a resource to departments as they move through the assessment process.
  3. Please note that departments in Group 1 are probably several assessment steps ahead of departments in Group 2 and, therefore, can also act as resource aids.
  4. Enclosed with this memo is a copy of the "Dozen Questions to Consider When Reviewing Effectiveness Plans" (also available as the last two pages of the October 9, 1997, Workshop publication). These questions were not part of the materials distributed during the Spring 1997 workshop.
  5. We have just received a diskette from Dr. Nichols containing the "Assessment Record Book forms A, B, C"in Word and WordPerfect. If you would like a copy of the diskette, please contact Judy Lintner, ext.3599 or jlintner@marauder. See enclosures for a paper copy of the forms


Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

  1. Please consult the five-column model in your Workshop manual or the copies attached to this memo.
  2. Members of the Academic Outcomes Assessment Committee will review departmental assessment plans and then have their reviews critiqued by Dr. Nichols to help the committee gain increased familiarity with and consistency in providing assessment assistance.
enclosures: Five-Column Academic Outcomes Assessment Model Assessment Planning Timeline - 1997-2000 (originally distributed 5/30/97)
List of departments/units in Groups 1, 2, and 3
Assessment Record Book forms A, B and C

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