Academic Affairs Outcomes Assessment

The mission of Wilmington University is rooted firmly in building exemplary and innovative academic programs within the context of a student-centered learning environment. Faculty, staff, and administration at Wilmington University genuinely care about their students which is expressed in a number of ways including individual attention to students, small class size, mentoring of new students, and flexible course delivery models. Further, “excellence in teaching” and “relevance of the curriculum” are viewed as foundational criteria for excellent student service. It is in this spirit that we routinely assess our academic programs to determine the extent to which learning has occurred and student educational needs have been met.

Outcomes assessment of student learning may be defined as ongoing process of:

  • Establishing clear, measurable expected outcomes for student learning.
  • Ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve those outcomes.
  • Systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations.
  • Using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning. (Suskie, 2018, p. 8)

The process of outcomes assessment of student learning at Wilmington University is embraced in the documents below.

  • The Academic Affairs Outcomes Assessment Plan is the guiding document for academic assessment and is further defined in a unit plan produced by each college.
  • Central to each unit plan is an academic program map which contains specifics including benchmarks, assessment tools, and timelines.
  • Essential to this process is the use of results which are reported annually at our Outcomes Assessment Summit.
  • Additional documents for faculty and staff reference can be found on the Wilmington University Employee Intranet (employee access only).

Source: Suskie, L. (2018). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (3rd ed.). Jossey-Bass.

College- and Area-Specific Outcomes Assessment

Student learning outcomes, as reported at the University level, relate to the achievement of the graduation and academic program competencies. In addition, the faculty of each undergraduate and graduate academic program has developed maps which guide the respective assessment process. This mapping identifies the linkage of graduation competencies, program competencies, course objectives, and assessment measures. In conjunction with the maps, templates have been developed by faculty as a reporting mechanism and typically define the scheduled assessment activity, benchmarks, annual levels of performance, and specific decisions or actions taken (“closing the loop”) to improve student learning. Annually, the college-specific outcomes plans, and the academic program-specific outcomes maps are reviewed and updated.

College-Specific Plans

Each academic college has a college-specific assessment plan rooted in the Academic Affairs Outcomes Assessment Plan. Academic programs with external accreditation may expand their assessment plan to account for additional standards of measure.

Evidence of Student Learning

“Closing the Loop” is the fourth step in the teaching-learning-assessment cycle (Suskie, 2018, p. 8). Evidence of student learning is utilized to review achievement of the student’s success or, if warranted, revise what does not seem to be working.

Annually, Academic Affairs gathers to report on a year’s worth of activity related to student learning evidence, share best practice toward student learning and teaching effectiveness, and highlight opportunities for improvement in the student learning experience.

Retention and Graduation Rate

Data collected for retention and graduation rates includes the rates of student retention from the first to second year of study (note: students who completed their degree program within one academic year are counted positively in the retention rates for colleges as to not skew the data negatively since they did not need to return for a second year). This data is collected on degree seeking students who began in the fall term of a given academic year.  Degree Seeking indicates that students have declared an associate, bachelor, master, or doctoral degree. 

Students at the undergraduate level are grouped by incoming transfer credits. On average, 72-75% of incoming undergraduate students have prior college experience.

Certification and Licensure Pass Rates

  • College of Education and Liberal Arts

    • Praxis II Examination Pass Rates, reportedly annually in March
    • Benchmark: 100% of our graduates must pass the PRAXIS II prior to participating in student teaching and earning their degree. This includes undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation candidates.
      • 2022-2023 (available March 2023)
      • 2021-2022 = 100%
      • 2020-2021 = 100%
      • 2019-2020 = 100%
      • 2018-2019 = 100%
  • College of Health Professions and Natural Sciences

    • Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Pass Rate reported by calendar year in March 2023
      • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) = 94% compared to national 74%
      • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) = 100% compared to national 85.9%
    • Post-Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Pass Rate reported by calendar year in March 2023
      • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) = 100% compared to national 74%
      • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) = unable to report (low n)
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Pass Rate reported by calendar year in March 2023
      • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) = 100%
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Certification Pass Rate
      • Wilmington CMCH passing rate in 2023 77.78% compared to national 80.59%
        • In April of 2023, the NCE was administered to nine (9) students of the cohort graduating in May of 2023. 7 out of 9 passed.
      • Wilmington CMCH passing rate in 2022 90.48% compared to national 70.67%
      • Wilmington CMCH passing rate in 2021 96.30% compared to national 81.67%
      • Wilmington CMCH passing rate in 2020 96.15% compared to national 81%

Academic Program Review

At Wilmington University, Program Review is a crucial component of the outcomes assessment process. The following criteria serve as our “purpose” behind conducting a program review: (1) Improve programs; (2) Demonstrate responsiveness to constituencies; (3) Provide information for decision making (e.g., allocation of resources, program revision and discontinuation); and (4) Formally report outcomes assessment of student learning activities.

Phase 1 of the process seeks an annual review (“snapshot”) of indicators to gauge current academic program health. All programs complete a One-Year Snapshot of internal indictors (enrollment, retention, graduation rates, mission alignment) and external indicators (current market demand, competitive landscape, program life cycle). After the data is gathered and analyzed, a determination is made, and each program is placed into one of four categories: INVEST in additional resources as needed, MAINTAIN at current resource levels, MONITOR as there are some emerging concerns, or EVALUATE for possible redesign or elimination.

Phase 2 reports are completed every three years for all programs that do not report to external accrediting agencies. The third-year report is a full program review requiring a more comprehensive set of data to be gathered and analyzed. Once again, if the program in question is required to submit an annual report to the State or to a national accrediting body, that external report takes the place of the Wilmington University year three process.

Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Quality Scorecard

The OLC Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs provides benchmarks and standards to help you evaluate your online learning programs. Wilmington University elected to participate and submit to the third-party, independent review through the OLC. Our online academic programs will be evaluated against metrics and quality indicators in key categories including: Institutional Support, Technology Support. Course Development / Instructional Design, Course Structure, Teaching & Learning, Social and Student Engagement, Faculty Support, Student Support and Evaluations & Assessment. Our Quality Scorecard Self-Review was submitted to the OLC in January 2024.