Assessment at UDC: A Short History and Current Activities
At UDC, institution-wide assessment is grounded in continuous improvement efforts that have consistently used an assessment cycle designed for programs and units across the institution—complete with templates and reporting processes. Stretching back to 2006-2007, a cadre of Assessment Fellows at UDC served as initiating champions of outcomes assessment, to help the institutional community understand how programs were working and to determine where they were “contributing to student growth and development” (Banta and Palomba, 2015: pp. 9-10). In 2012, the University Assessment Council (UAC), led by the Office of the Provost, developed an assessment handbook—which was augmented in 2016, renamed the Firebird Guide to Assessment, and is in its third iteration. In 2014, the university acquired Tk20, which is being administered by the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning (IRAP). Tk20 is used to collect faculty teaching, scholarship, and service activities; course evaluations; and unit- and program-level assessment plans, reports, and mapping documents. In 2018, UDC hired a Director of Institutional Assessment and Outcomes, under the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (OPIE), who coordinates institution-wide assessment efforts and collaborates with the Office of the Chief Academic Officer (OCAO) on assessment in Academic Affairs. And in 2019, UDC secured a Qualtrics license to provide the university community with a premier survey platform—for streamlined survey practices and procedures, integration of data, reduction of survey fatigue, and attentiveness to privacy and security issues. In addition, assessment leaders across UDC have facilitated (and continue to facilitate) workshops for faculty, staff, and administrators—including OCAO professional development opportunities at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters and workshops throughout the academic year.
The UAC—a council of faculty, staff, and administrators who are also assessment specialists at UDC, currently meets monthly during the academic year. The UAC councils the Office of Institutional Assessment and Outcomes and the Office of the CAO on policies, practices, and procedures that best serve UDC in its institution-wide assessment efforts. See this link for a list of current UAC members and the full list of council objectives. The Office of the CAO – via UDC’s Assistant Chief Academic Officer – provides oversight of strategic planning and assessment related to educational effectiveness and student learning outcomes in Academic Affairs. The Office of Institutional Assessment and Outcomes coordinates and provides feedback on institution-wide data collection, analysis, plans, and reports for continuous improvement. These two offices collaborate on assessment efforts in Academic Affairs and (as UAC Co-Chairs) participate in an Assessment Leadership Committee alongside the Executive Director of OPIE, one representative from Academic Affairs, and one representative from Student Development and Success, Operations, or Administration. Finally, the Director of Institutional Assessment and Outcomes develops an annual assessment report at the end of each fiscal year—on behalf of OPIE and for the President and Board of Trustees.