Institutional Outcomes Assessment

Policy Number: I.15
Policy Level: Operating Policy

Originally Issued: June 9, 2014
Revised:  March 9, 2016
Revised:  August 10, 2016

Policy Owner: President
Policy Implementation: Vice Presidents

I.     Policy Statement and Purpose

This policy establishes that Athens State University will implement assessment and review processes that authentically measure the work of the institution toward achieving its mission.  All academic programs and administrative support units within the University have an impact on institutional effectiveness and as such, all units will participate in these review processes.

The University is committed to planning, assessment, and continuous improvement by implementing a cyclical and participative process that meets the institutional effectiveness and assessment standards required of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), and other applicable accrediting or regulatory organizations.

The President will receive a comprehensive report annually that details the assessment processes, outcomes, action plans and program improvements along with recommendations that will be instrumental in planning and continuous improvements at the University.

II.   Definitions

Institutional Effectiveness: The measurement of the institutions performance against established mission, goals and outcomes, and the use of assessment findings to exert change aimed at continuous improvement.

Institutional assessment:  A systematic, collaborative, and ongoing effort by administration, faculty and staff to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the University’s academic programs and administrative,    and student support areas toward the achievement of its mission, vision, and goals.

Assessment Process:   The systematic set of steps used in the formulation and measurement of outcomes/goals through the collection, analysis and use of institutional data related to student learning (degree programs) and organizational performance (administrative support units).  Results will be used to address gaps and reflect achievements so that modifications can be made in the delivery of instruction and support services to meet the overall goal of continuous improvement. The provisions, requirements, documentation, and schedule for assessment of all academic programs and support units are contained in the Institutional Outcomes Assessment Procedures and Guidelines accompanying document.

Continuous Improvement: Systematic implementation of data-driven strategies to exert change in instructional programs and administrative support organizations conducive to optimal institutional effectiveness.

Assessment Cycle:  Schedules and deadlines of assessment activities to ensure that all academic programs and administrative support services are reviewed in a systematic and timely manner.

III. Roles and Responsibilities

The President will delegate authority and responsibility for managing the assessment process to the Administrative Council with oversight by the Executive Assessment Committee.  The President has the ultimate authority and responsibility for ensuring that assessment activities are completed, that assessment findings are reported to the Board of Trustees, and that assessment findings are used to improve institutional quality and effectiveness.

Administrative Council:  As a standing committee of the University, the members represent all academic and administrative areas of the University.  The Administrative Council will be responsible for working with their respective areas to complete annual assessment plans, gather and analyze data against stated goals/outcomes, and provide reports based on assessment outcomes.

Executive Assessment Committee (EAC):  The role of the Executive Assessment Committee is to provide oversight and expert assistance with campus-wide assessment and program review activities and coordinate planning and reporting deadlines. The Executive Assessment Committee will also review and evaluate assessment documents, support individuals and programs in the development of assessment tools, and assist with writing the comprehensive assessment and program review report to be submitted to the President annually.

The Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Director of Institutional Research and Assessment Services, the Director of the Library, the Accreditation Liaison and all College Deans will be standing members of the Executive Assessment Committee.  In addition, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs will appoint, every three years, at least one assessment coordinator from the following areas:

  • At least one faculty member from each of the three Colleges
  • Financial Affairs (Auxiliary Services, Business Office, HR, Physical Plant, Security)
  • Enrollment and Student Services (Financial Aid, Admissions, Career Center, Counseling, Student Activities, Student Success Center, Veteran’s Affairs)
  • University Advancement (Alumni Affairs, Development, Foundation, Public Relations and Marketing)
  • Information Technology (IT and Academic Technology Services)

Assessment Coordinators: The role of assessment coordinators is to coordinate all assessment   activities within their respective organizational areas, in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA): OIRA’s role is to coordinate, validate, and document assessment activities taking place at the unit level, to provide technical assistance and support in the development and formulation of assessment methodology, as well as to conduct surveys and studies and provide data of institutional scope.  OIRA oversees the Assessment Management Online System (AMOS).  Upon submission of all assessment documentation by academic programs and administrative units, and in coordination with the EAC, OIRA reviews assessment plans and reports for compliance.

IV.  Responsibility for this Operating Policy

Policy Owner
As part of the initial approval of this policy by the President and subsequent to the original dissemination of the policy, the President remains the policy owner for the ongoing evaluation, review, and approval of this policy.  Subsequent reviews and revisions to this policy must be in accordance with approved operating policy procedures and processes.

This policy will be reviewed every two years or more frequently as needed.

Responsibility for Policy Implementation
The President has assigned the joint responsibility of implementing this policy to all Vice Presidents.