Outcomes Assessment & Program Review

Outcomes Assessment

Outcomes Assessment at Johnson & Wales University is overseen by the director of Outcomes Assessment, within the Office of the Provost. The director works closely with deans, program leads and faculty to ensure the outcomes assessment process is integrated, intentional and reflective of best practices for teaching, learning and assessment.

Faculty have a substantive role in outcomes assessment at Johnson & Wales University through the University Outcomes Assessment Committee (UOAC). The committee membership consists of faculty members from each school, college and campus at the university, as well as representatives from Institutional Research, Experiential Education & Career Services, Information Technology, Student Affairs, the International Center, 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 called 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.

Johnson & Wales University 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 and at the program level. Each college/school has adopted an outcomes purpose statement that serves as a “bridge” between the broad nature of the university outcomes and the specific nature of the programmatic outcomes. The programmatic outcomes “pass through” the outcomes purpose statement as they are mapped to the university’s outcomes. University outcomes, in turn, are linked directly to the university mission.

Outcomes have been established for non-degree granting area of the university including Experiential Education, Student Affairs, Global Learning, and Information Literacy, 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 3 university outcomes that reflect the mission, purposes and core values of the institution:

Professional Competence

Graduates 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 Citizenship

Graduates 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.

Academic Program Review Process

As guided by 2017: The Centennial Plan, Johnson & Wales University is committed to strengthen itself through continuous improvement of academic programs and accountability for student learning. At the heart of the university’s vision is the goal of providing “ambitious, purposeful students with the foundation to flourish personally and professionally.”

This critical objective is accomplished, in part, through the university’s Academic Program Review process. The Academic Program Review examines program quality and identifies opportunities for improvement in a time of increased emphasis on accountability and assessment. The process is faculty driven and provides collegial time to reflect on an existing program so as to refine and enhance program offerings to meet the evolving needs of students and the expectations of their employers.

Existing programs are reviewed on a 7-year cycle; new programs are initially reviewed after the first class has graduated. The 7-year review cycle is discussed with each dean.

Self-Study Report

Program leadership and faculty spend 4-6 months preparing a comprehensive written self-study report that formatively assesses the program against established criteria. The report is submitted to the Provost’s Office.

On-Site Review by External Team

  • Names of potential team members who are not affiliated with Johnson & Wales University are submitted by program leadership and faculty and approved by the director of Institutional Effectiveness.
  • Each review is chaired by an academic leader in the program under review and an industry representative.
  • On-site review visit dates are established by the program leadership and the Provost’s Office.
  • The Provost’s Office invites the external team and confirms availability to participate in the on-site review.
  • The Provost’s Office sends the self-study report and appendices to team members prior to the visit.
  • An on-site review is conducted at each campus where the degree program is offered.

External Review Team Report

  • The external team chair coordinates completion and submission of a comprehensive report with recommendations to the Provost’s Office.
  • The report is sent to program leadership for faculty discussion and their response to recommendations.

Program Action Plan

Based on the program self-study report and the external report and recommendations, program leadership and faculty develop a formal, written 6-year Program Action Plan that outlines goals and measurable steps that evidence changes planned in response to program review findings. When a program is reviewed at multiple sites, faculty work together to develop a consensus response to common recommendations; site-specific recommendations are addressed at the individual campus.

The Program Action Plan is submitted to the Provost’s Office for approval. The document is discussed annually to determine progress toward intended goals and possible changes to the plan.


For more information, call Institutional Effectiveness at 401-598-2028.

15 students for every 1 faculty member and a 96.8% career outcomes rate