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Using Quality Benchmarks for Assessing and Developing Undergraduate Programs

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Using Quality Benchmarks for Assessing and Developing Undergraduate Programs

Dana S. Dunn, Maureen A. McCarthy, Suzanne C. Baker, Jane S. Halonen, Peggy Maki (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-470-89247-3 December 2010 Jossey-Bass 384 Pages

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Using Quality Benchmarks for Assessing and Developing Undergraduate Programs

Using Quality Benchmarks for Assessing and Developing Undergraduate Programs introduces selected performance criteria—benchmarks—to assist undergraduate programs in defining their educational goals and documenting their effectiveness.

The book explores the attributes of undergraduate programs by focusing on educationally related activities in eight domains: program climate; assessment, accountability, and accreditation issues; student learning outcomes; student development; curriculum; faculty characteristics; program resources; and administrative support. Further, it conceptualizes a continuum of performance for each attribute in each of the domains to characterize underdeveloped, developing, effective, and distinguished achievement for undergraduate programs.

The goal of the book is to encourage individual departments at various types of institutions to evaluate what they currently do well while identifying areas for refinement or future growth. When benchmarks reveal that a program is underdeveloped, faculty and administrators can plan for how they can best direct subsequent efforts and resources to improve a program's performance and ability to serve students.

Emphasizing formative assessment over summative or punitive evaluation, the benchmarks in this book are designed to improve program quality, encourage more effective program reviews, and help optimally functioning programs compete more successfully for resources. Using performance benchmarks to identify areas of program strength can, in turn, be used to recruit and retain students, seek funding via grants or alumni support, and enhance the perceived rating of an institution.

Foreword ix
Peggy Maki

Preface xi

About the Authors xvii

1 The Need for Quality Benchmarks in Undergraduate Programs 1

Part One: Benchmarking For Eight Key Program Domains 23

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

Part Two: Benchmarking In Practice 231

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