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The Role of Assessment of Student Learning in Program Review
The annual assessments of student learning play an important role in the program review process, which is undertaken every 8 years by each department. The Provost's website contains the current version of the Program Review Guidelines. The role of the assessment is emphasized in several sections, including Section 4 (on program effectiveness) and Section 7 (the guidelines for integration of program review into planning). A suggested timeline emphasizes the role of continual assessment of student learning leading up to program review, with time for the department to synthesize those results and reflect upon its strengths and weaknesses.
Discussions surrounding assessment are also embedded in the program review itself. As part of the process, external reviewers are asked to comment specifically on a program's assessment methods and findings in their reports. This provides departments with a more comparative view of their assessment practices and findings. This feedback, along with the action plan from the department, is shared with the Director of Assessment.
As programs develop their action plans following program review, they have the opportunity to engage with a school-level Associate Dean or Director who supports assessment for that school. Additionally, the Dean's and Provost's staff are involved in meetings with each department to review findings and recommendations that emerge from the department's self-study, including those related to assessment. These meetings provide another source of input as programs may move to refine their mission, goals and objectives, curriculum alignment matrices, and assessment plans. The Director of Assessment is also available for consultation. Any changes to assessment plans including goals, learning outcomes, and the curriculum matrix are submitted to the UAC. The Director of Assessment, in conjunction with the University Assessment Committee, then provides feedback on these.