North Central Self Study
Chapter 6: Criterion Four
The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen
its educational effectiveness
The University of Nebraska at Kearney utilizes both internal and external assessment processes, including needs assessment and strategic planning, to accomplish desired outcomes. The Board of Regents, University President, Chancellor, faculty, professional staff and students participate in the assessment process.
While the UNK assessment model has changed since the last NCA visit, there is now in place a new model that has the support of all academic units and top institutional leaders. Steps have been taken to institutionalize the assessment process so that a change in the persons involved will not result in a significant change in the institution's vision of assessment. For example, the SVCAA and Chancellor have created the positions of Assessment Director and Assessment Coordinator and the Faculty Senate Assessment committee will become an Administrative standing committee.
A remaining concern in this regard is that a culture of assessment still needs to be instilled. To develop faculty ownership there is a need for professional development that will result in a shared understanding of what constitutes reliable assessment and the best use of assessment results. As assessment data prove useful for program changes, we fully expect faculty ownership to develop.
Strategic Planning and Assessment
Using the University Of Nebraska Strategic Framework (2000-2004) and the University of Nebraska at Kearney Strategic Plan, the Strategic Planning Committee created an Assessment Strategic Plan in October, 2001. Initiatives in the Assessment Strategic Plan included:
- systematically assessing student learning
- developing a system to assess student development outside of the classroom and the quality of the extra-curricular experience in general
- annually benchmarking against external and internal measures
- utilizing assessment data in strategic planning
As part of strategic planning, multiple forms of measurement are used to provide an overall picture of progress toward achievement of goals. Forms of measurement include: student satisfaction surveys, capstone courses, capstone experiences/internship, portfolios, recital/performance/showing, alumni tracking, surveys, external experts, comprehensive examinations, exit interviews, and standardized testing. Assessment Plans and Reports for 1993-2000 are available at http://aaunk.unk.edu/asmt/. Changes to the Strategic Planning effort are listed in Chapter 5 as is the progress toward the 1995 - 2005 Strategic Plan specific to departments and programs. Assessment plans are posted at http://aaunk.unk.edu/asmt/dptAsmt/DptAsmt.asp.
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education currently accredit the University. In addition, during the last review period the following programs have gone through and have successfully received accreditation:
- American Chemical Society Approved List of Programs (Chemistry),
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (Speech-Language Pathology),
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (Athletic Training),
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (Counseling),
- Council on Social Work Education (Social Work),
- National Association of Industrial Technology (Construction Management, Industrial Distribution, Telecommunications Management),
- National Association of Schools of Music (Music),
- National Association of School Psychologists (School Psychology),
- Nebraska Department of Education (Teacher Education)
Academic Program Review
Academic Program Reviews occur every five years for each academic department and program. The review team includes and external member who serves as chair and internal members, and files a comprehensive report covering program achievements and needs. The department chair then writes a response to the report indicating methods by which future positive change will be implemented. This process directly involves the appropriate dean(s) and the SVCAA, and has resulted in improvements that have varied in magnitude across departments.