Assessment at Whittier is meant to provide departments and programs an opportunity to engage in a comprehensive analysis of student learning.
Regular reviews of academic programs (department or interdisciplinary program) are an essential element of ensuring that the academic programs at Whittier College are vital, current, effective, and challenging. Every academic program should undergo a full review at least every five years. Self-studies are intended to be comprehensive and thoughtful summaries of the current programs, its recent history, and its future plans in the context of the discipline. In order to broaden campus-wide understanding of various programs and facilitate academic planning on a broad scale, self-studies will be submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), and the Assessment Committee of the faculty who are charged to perform an Internal Review.
Each department/program has a mission statement and learning outcomes specific to their discipline as well as to our liberal education program. Departments/programs are also asked to complete a Curricular Map and Long-term Assessment Plan in year two of the assessment cycle. The curricular map provides a visual of where and to what extent each of the department’s/program’s learning outcomes are being addressed. In years three thru five, departments are asked to submit yearly assessment plans and reports (assessing at least one of their learning outcomes or an implicit/explicit curriculum) so that at the end of the cycle multiple outcomes/curriculums have been assessed.
Such factors as planned leaves and sabbaticals, scheduled accreditation visits, and distribution among the academic divisions will be considered in scheduling reviews. This schedule does not, however, mean that departments are to assess their work and make changes only as part of formal reviews. The formal review should rather be seen as analogous to FPC’s periodic reviews of individual faculty; the self-study, like the professional growth plan, should be an articulation and summary of a continuous process. Assessment of student learning should be an important part of every review.
The major components of the review cycle include:
Year 1: Fall Semester: Self-Study & Selection of External Reviewer (Letters to External Reviewer sent by Dean of Faculty); Spring Semester: Visit by External Reviewer, Internal and External Review Reports
Year 2: “Closing the Loop” The findings and recommendations of the self-study are reviewed in the context of resource allocations decisions. The product of these discussions is a Memorandum of Understanding negotiated with the Dean of the Faculty. A second task is to develop an Action Plan for program improvement and a Long-term Assessment Plan for the next three years.
Year 3: Assessment of one learning outcome OR a component of the implicit or explicit curriculum.
Year 4: Assessment of one learning outcome OR a component of the implicit or explicit curriculum.
Year 5: Assessment of one learning outcome OR a component of the implicit or explicit curriculum.