This summary outlines how assessment of student learning outcomes (SLO’s) is organized and implemented at Johnson & Wales University. The university’s approach to managing outcomes and assessment has been faculty driven and supported by academic administration for more than a decade. The University Outcomes Assessment Committee (UOAC) works to assure that improvements to outcomes and assessment are organized and ongoing.
UOAC consists of faculty members from each school, college and campus at the university, as well as representatives from Institutional Research, Experiential Education & Career Services, Student Affairs and Library Services. The committee operates under the authority of the University Provost’s Office, functions according to an approved set of bylaws, and is chaired by the Director of Outcomes Assessment. Under UOAC is a permanent standing committee, the Academic Outcomes Assessment Standing Committee (AOASC) which focuses exclusively on academic program assessment. This standing committee also includes representation from each college, school and campus and is chaired by the Director of Outcomes Assessment and an elected faculty vice chair. This organizational structure has proven effective at streamlining communication, achieving institution-wide consistency in policy and practice and efficient targeting of resources to advance outcomes and assessment improvement initiatives.
UOAC has adopted a tiered approach to outcomes based on the definitions of outcomes and assessment proposed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Outcomes exist at the university, college/school and the program level. They are tiered in the sense that each level of outcomes feeds into the other. Program outcomes are tied to college or school outcomes, and college or school outcomes are tied to university outcomes. University outcomes, in turn, are linked directly to the university mission. Co-curricular outcomes are have been established for Career Development and Student Affairs following a similar format. This approach was intentional to assure that strong linkages were in place from individual courses through to the university mission.
There are three university outcomes that reflect the mission, purposes and core values of the institution:Professional CompetenceGraduates will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to succeed in their chosen profession.Foundation for Lifelong Learning Graduates will demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for lifelong learning, including competence in communication, critical and creative thinking, quantitative and scientific reasoning, and the ability to evaluate, integrate, and apply knowledge from multiple perspectives when making decisions and solving problems.Global and Community CitizenshipGraduates will demonstrate the necessary skills, including an awareness of ethical responsibility and cultural and global diversity, to live and work collaboratively as contributing members of society.