How Beedie Faculty are leading learning outcomes

Jul 06, 2012

On June 28, Dr. Kathi A. Ketcheson, Director of Institutional Research and Planning at Portland State University, presented PSU’s approach to learning outcomes and assessment. PSU is an NWCCU (Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities) accredited university and SFU is currently in candidacy status for NWCCU accreditation. The process for establishing learning outcomes is under the purview of the Vice-President Academic and the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Working Group. Dr. Ketcheson’s presentation provided some insight into the process of defining learning outcomes.

At a program level, Ketcheson indicated that learning outcomes and assessments are meant to be a measure of student success. These measurements help program coordinators and faculty learn whether students are able to demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills they are expected to gain from each program. As part of our AACSB accreditation, the Beedie School of Business has established learning goals and objectives for all degree programs and concentrations. Learning outcomes assessment is an on-going process and each semester data is collected and reviewed. Learning outcomes and assessment helps the faculty maintain AACSB accreditation, helps in the continuous improvement of our programs, and will be part of our contribution to the NWCCU accreditation and University Academic Plan.

Ketcheson proposed that learning outcomes must be faculty-led, because faculty are actively engaged in a key aspect of the process. They teach the courses, they interact with the students, and they build the syllabus. Faculty are the ones who can assess what is working and areas of key importance for improvement. Continuous improvement of learning is a collaborative effort upon which the success of instruction depends and all Faculty and instructors share in the responsibility for student learning.

The faculty in the Beedie School have already become engaged in the process of learning outcomes and assessment. At a Program level, in our Faculty, there are Area Coordinators, Course Coordinators, and Program Directors who have assisted in the establishment of learning goals and objectives for each of our degree programs and identifying in which courses to assess them. From these pieces of information, rubrics are developed for use in assessment. The Assurance of Learning Committees (graduate & undergraduate) act as points of contact to review collected data, improve processes and make recommendations to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the Graduate Program Committee.

It is clear that all of our instructors participate in using the assessment tools in Assurance of Learning identified courses, which contribute to our process of continuous improvement. These learning outcomes assessment tools can then be used to reinforce and improve educational practices that facilitate learning and better the education of our students. Ketcheson indicated that setting out and accomplishing these types of goals could serve to assist our University faculties and departments to accomplish the next steps in NWCCU accreditation and the University’s current Academic Plan.

To learn more about Learning Outcomes and Assessment as it relates to SFU’s academic plan and the NWCCU accreditation, please visit:

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