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University of Illinois Springfield

Institutional Accreditation University of Illinois Springfield

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UIS Quality Initiative Project

The Value of Engagement in Baccalaureate Learning

UIS Accreditation Conference Poster

A poster containing information about UIS’ Quality Initiative Project was displayed at the HLC Annual Conference on April 13, 2014. Click to enlarge.

Project Description

The focus of the UIS project is to assess student learning in two categories in the Engaged Citizenship (ECCE) core of the UIS General Education Curriculum. The two categories are Global Awareness and U.S. Communities. Our overarching goal is to create an effective and sustainable assessment process for General Education that has widespread support from faculty and staff in both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. The immediate goal will be to develop and implement a pilot assessment project that is viable and that will serve as a meaningful foundation for further assessment work according to the overarching plan. The campus intends to capitalize on the strength of its campus committees and on new methods for assessing civic engagement, including co-curricular transcripts. Faculty development and faculty participation will be crucial to success.

Research Questions

  1. Do our learning outcomes match our learning goals? (Are students learning what we wanted them to learn when we created the curriculum?)
  2. What is the value-added for the ECCE curriculum? (How are students better or different when they leave the institution?)
  3. Is there a difference in the learning that happens when students take ECCE in departmental or college courses vs. when students take ECCE outside the home department or college?

Methodology

  • Gather student work products from Global Awareness and U.S. Communities courses
  • Analyze student work using rubrics developed and modified from AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics
  • Consult relevant campus governance committees on the research design, including the General Education Council, the Council on the Assessment of Student Learning, and the Undergraduate Council
  • Encourage faculty participation in the analysis through a Collaborative Research Faculty Program that will prompt faculty to publish in the area of the scholarship of teaching and learning

Impact

  • Measuring student learning in our engagement curriculum will provide important information for improving student learning.
  • Faculty will have evidence about the successes and challenges of general education course work for encouraging life-long learning and engaged citizenship
  • The project will allow UIS to strengthen the curriculum, celebrate what is working well, and make changes in those areas where students could further strengthen core skills
  • The information that comes from the assessment process will make the curriculum more responsive to the needs of the student body, thus insuring its long-term viability
  • Through the project, UIS intends to develop a viable overall assessment approach for the general education curriculum and an initial project plan to support a continuous process of improving learning

For more information about the Quality Initiative, please contact Karen Moranski at kmora1@uis.edu.