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Departmental Assessment

The Provost asks departments to make explicit their plans to assess student learning. The major aims of an explicit assessment plan are to specify the expectations for student learning, to regularly examine meaningful evidence to evaluate student achievement and progress, and using this evidence to develop and implement a plan to improve opportunities for students learning. Department chairs and program directors are asked to coordinate the development and implementation of their department’s or unit’s assessment plan.

Essential Components of an Academic Department Assessment Plan

A complete assessment plan includes all of the following components:

  • A departmental mission statement—a statement that identifies the purpose and aims of the academic program/department;
  • A statement of key student learning outcomes—a description of the knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes that students should be able to demonstrate upon graduating from a program or institution;
  • A list identifying the program courses and activities that provide students learning opportunities to achieve each expected student learning outcome (also known as a curriculum map);
  • A statement specifying the student learning outcome(s) that will be assessed for the year, and a plan for gathering evidence to assess the outcome;
  • A summary of the department’s conclusions based upon the data from the assessment activity and what, if any, improvements are suggested by the evidence.

Departmental student learning goals are not an essential component of a department’s assessment plan and are optional.

Annual Assessment Report Template

Forms are due on May 22 and should be submitted to Hilary Link, Acting Vice Provost. Drop forms at 110 Milbank Hall.

Grant for Curricular Improvement

Faculty may request up to $500 to cover expenses directly related to curricular revisions based on the results of the department’s annual assessment report. Funds from this grant may cover the costs of course materials, student assistants, typing, copying, or travel. Faculty interested in applying for this award should submit (1) a short description of the curricular project to be undertaken, (2) an itemized budget, and (3) a letter of support from the Department Chair. Applications should be submitted to Hilary Link, Acting Vice Provost. Drop forms at 110 Milbank Hall. Applications are due May 16 and are accepted only after receipt of the Year-End Assessment Report.

More information is available in Appendix M of the Chair's Manual.