May 5, 1999
To: Plymouth State College Faculty
From: Wavell Fogleman, Chair, Assessment Taskforce
Subject: Report on Activities of the Assessment Taskforce
Goal XI of the Plymouth State College Strategic Plan (Establish a Highly Integrated, Comprehensive College-Wide Assessment Program) called for the appointment of a task force to:
inventory current PSC assessment activities;
investigate best practices in assessment;
review model college-wide assessment programs at institutions comparable to PSC;
solicit PSC faculty and staff input in identifying PSC specific learning outcomes;
develop and recommend an administrative structure for operations of the assessment program
President Wharton has appointed Professors Benoit, Cucina, Fogleman, Kulig, LeBlanc, McNeil, Moniz, and Reitsma to that task force and we have been working over this spring toward the above goals. We have requested that each department provide us with a list of assessment activities they are undertaking and we have received, to date, responses from seven academic departments plus the Registrar, Dean of Student Affairs and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. We have also received responses from eight of the fifteenAcomparable institutions@ which were contacted. Most all have clear comprehensive programs in place.
Members of the task force have benefited from a NEASC workshop on outcomes assessment held at PSC on March 12, 1999. It is abundantly clear that our accreditation agency expects us to be assessing the effectiveness of our institution in meeting its mission and the stated purposes of its various programs. They furthermore expect us to show evidence that information gathered in the assessment process is being used to improve the effectiveness of the institution.
The major reason for my standing before you today is to alert you to your role in the work of the task force. The task force members are developing an initial list of learning outcomes which we believe should be assessed. We encourage any of you who have ideas to submit them to us. We will be formally submitting our list for your reactions in September. Please note that we are not initially worrying about whether or not the outcomes can be assessed; that is another problem to be addressed later.
Based on your reactions in the fall, the task force plans to submit a recommended structure for future college-wide assessment activities at the December Faculty Meeting. After time has been allowed for objective discussion of the recommended structure, we hope to ask the faculty to agree on an assessment plan at the April 2000 faculty meeting.
Whether you agree with the assessment notion or not, accreditation requires it. Our strategic plan commits us to strengthening our academic focus. We cannot strengthen our programs if we do not even know how successful they are or where their weaknesses are. We cannot assume that our worthy inputs are resulting in student accomplishments without some assessment.
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