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Using Quality Benchmarks for Assessing and Developing Undergraduate Programs

ISBN: 978-0-470-40556-7
384 pages
December 2010, Jossey-Bass
Using Quality Benchmarks for Assessing and Developing Undergraduate Programs (0470405562) cover image


Assessing student learning effectively has become a priority in higher education. Faculty and administrators must demonstrate to various constituencies and stakeholders that their programs are effective and that there is correlation between teaching and learning. This book uses selected performance criteria?benchmarks?to assist undergraduate programs to define their educational missions and goals as well as to document their effectiveness. It helps faculty and administrators use benchmarks not only to assess outcomes of student learning, but to program assessment, evaluate student learning, create meaningful faculty scholarship, ensure quality teaching, and forge connection to the community.
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Peggy Maki

Preface xi

About the Authors xvii

1 The Need for Quality Benchmarks in Undergraduate Programs 1


2 The View from the Top: Checking the Climate and the Leadership of a Program 25

3 First Things First: Attending to Assessment Issues, Accountability, and Accreditation 46
with George B. Ellenberg, Claudia J. Stanny, Eman El-Sheikh

4 The New Architecture of Learning Design: Focusing on Student Learning Outcomes 71

5 Evaluating Curricula 92

6 Student Development: Solving the Great Puzzle 120

7 Constructively Evaluating Faculty Characteristics 148

8 Back to Basics: Program Resources 183

9 The Art, Science, and Craft of Administrative Support 208


10 Benchmarking Quality in Challenging Contexts: The Arts, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Programs 233
Jane S. Halonen with Gregory W. Lanier

11 Special Issues in Benchmarking in the Natural Sciences 257

12 Conducting a Self-Study 272

13 Serving Our Students and Our Institutions 296

Appendix A Using Benchmarking to Serve as an External Reviewer 307

Appendix B Sources of Data 318

Appendix C Assessment Materials for the Arts 322

Appendix D Disciplinary Accrediting Organizations for Bachelor’s Degree Programs Currently Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation 331

References 334

Index 357

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Author Information

Dana S. Dunn is a professor of psychology and director of the Learning in Common Curriculum at Moravian College. The author or editor of numerous books, he serves on the editorial boards of several journals.

Maureen A. McCarthy is a professor of psychology at Kennesaw State University. She previously served as the associate executive director for the Office of Precollege and Undergraduate Programs at the American Psychological Association.

Suzanne C. Baker is a professor of psychology at James Madison University, where she also serves as assistant department head in psychology. She has authored several book chapters and articles on teaching.

Jane S. Halonen is professor of psychology and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of West Florida. She is the author of Your Guide to College Success.

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“This welcome volume provides discipline-friendly, carefully crafted frameworks for focusing faculty and staff on the dimensions that matter to student learning and institutional effectiveness.” —George D. Kuh, Chancellor's Professor and director, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research

“A welcome contrast to narrow, mechanical views of assessment, this volume provides a comprehensive model for academic program improvement. Readers will find a powerful framework, flexible tools, and a human touch that brings the whole process to life.” —Pat Hutchings, former vice president, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

“Comprehensive in its scope, detailed in its research and analysis, practical in its examples and recommendations, this book provides a refreshingly developmental approach to program assessment and improvement.” —Timothy Riordan, associate provost, Alverno College

“This is a holistic reference that can guide academic leaders in program improvement in an organic fashion…. It provides a sound template with specific exemplars for examining undergraduate programs along many dimensions. It will prompt readers to gauge their programs based on the benchmarks and to consider other sources of evidence and activities to document and refine outcomes. This is a resource readers will refer to for a range of purposes, including institutional and program accreditation, internal studies, and other assessment endeavors.” —Marv Noltze, information manager at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, a partner institution in the AAC&U Quality Collaboratives initiative, in eAIR Resource Reviews

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