A Framework for Institutional Assessment
Philosophy of Assessment
At Wilmington University, the student focus has been clearly and consistently communicated and widely reinforced. Assessment within the University community is linked to all elements of student service. Colleges assess student learning outcomes, student satisfaction with their academic experience, and instructional effectiveness. Those departments and units with direct student contact such as Advising, Library and Career Services assess student response to the services they provide. Departments and units without direct student contact, such as Human Resources/Employee Relations, Payroll, and Financial Affairs assess their contributions to fulfilling the University mission and maintaining essential University commitments to such things as integrity in employment and effective stewardship. Assessment is a core component of the University’s culture of focusing on excellence in all we do.
In 2009, a framework for assessment, (Proof Positive)3, was articulated to emphasize assessment in three major areas: workplace, departmental policies and processes, and students at every stage of their life cycle at the University. Data collected from potential and current students and alumni enable the University to evaluate its efforts and to make needed changes in the student life cycle. Various aspects of the university as a place to work are evaluated in order to recruit and retain the best faculty, administrators, and staff. All departments assess their processes, productivity, cost effectiveness, and policies in a spirit of continuous improvement.
Assessment generates a variety of qualitative and quantitative data that can serve as a catalyst for continuous improvement in the delivery of services to the many constituencies of Wilmington University. Assessment is a driving feature of the institutional climate and brings about improvements at all levels within the organization.
The assessment framework is based on the following seven principles:
- Assessment should be a systemic, ongoing process that involves gathering, interpreting, and using information for continuous improvement.
- Assessment should focus on the total range of academic programs, services, and processes that contribute to the intellectual, professional, and personal development of students, as well as institutional integrity, leadership and governance, institutional resources, resource allocation and institutional renewal.
- Assessment, whether mandated by an external body for accreditation or self-initiated, should be considered for institutional renewal, improvement, and resource allocation.
- Assessment outcomes from Divisions/Departments/Units should be integrated into both the Strategic and Operating Planning processes.
- The use of a variety of assessment procedures should be encouraged, permitting the exercise of professional judgment as to the appropriate methods of assessment.
- Assessment procedures should be regularly evaluated through peer review and discussion as to their usefulness for fostering continuous improvement.
- Assessment should be shaped and guided by faculty, students, and staff, with the Office of Institutional Research providing support for University-wide renewal and improvement.