Department and Program Assessment and Review Overview

This academic year marks the beginning of the second cycle of department and program self-evaluations. The schedule of evaluations is attached and appropriate department and program chairs will be contacted to begin the process in the late spring before the scheduled evaluation year. Note that your participation as a faculty member may be necessary not only through your department and programs but also through other committees supporting the general education curriculum of the college.

A copy of the policy statement for department and program assessment and review is attached. Note that department and program assessment consists of two different activities, the assessment of student learning and the evaluation of the department or program. The assessment of student learning is an annual activity and the evaluation of the department or program occurs once during a seven-year cycle of evaluations.

For those programs that participated in the first cycle of evaluations, this second cycle should be a very similar process with one exception. One major emphasis of this cycle should be the evaluation and revision of the student learning assessment plan to assure that the annual process is useful and manageable. For those programs that have not participated in a previous self-evaluation, a major emphasis should be the development of an annual plan for assessing student learning. Chairs should also note that the College’s Statement of Purpose may have been revised after your previous self-evaluation. The North Central accreditation criteria have recently been revised and attention should be given to the third and fourth guidelines that speak specifically to departments and programs. Copies of both the College’s Statement of Purpose and the North Central criteria are attached.

As described in the attached policy statement, the review process has the following three components:

  • The self-evaluation narrative,
  • The consultant’s visit and report,
  • The department or program response to the consultant’s report.

The content of the narrative is described in the policy attachment from theFaculty Handbook. The narrative and all attachments should be combined into a single electronic document in either MS Word or pdf format. For departments and curricular programs, the self-evaluation narrative should be completed in the fall semester with the consultant’s visit and the response completed during the spring semester. General education programs should complete the self-evaluation narrative in the spring semester and the consultant’s visit and response in the following fall semester. Special programs may follow either schedule as approved by the Provost.

The selection of the consultant is a crucial part of the evaluation process and chairs are urged to confer with all members of the department or program. Final selection should be made in consultation with the appropriate Area Chair, the Associate Provost and the Provost. In addition to expertise relative to your discipline or program, you should consider the following qualifications:

  • Experience with annual plans for assessing student learning;
  • Extensive experience as a faculty member in a small, undergraduate liberal arts environment;
  • Recent experience with the North Central or Southern re-accreditation process;
  • Experience with experiential learning in the discipline;
  • Previous experience as a consultant.

In preparation for the visit, the following items should be collected and sent to the consultant:

  • Self-evaluation narrative,
  • Annual plan for assessing student learning
  • Hendrix Catalog
  • Guide to Academic Planning
  • Odyssey Program Guide
  • Admission viewbook
  • Curriculum vitae of personnel
  • Recent enrollment data
  • Course syllabi
  • Other data collected for assessing student learning

The consultant should spend 1 ½ to 2 days on campus. Atypical schedule for the visit is attached. The consultant’s vita and the visit schedule should be sent to faculty and administration participating in the visit. The consultant should be prepared for a concluding meeting during which a preliminary summary of the visit should be given. A formal written report to the chair and Associate Provost should be received within two or three weeks of the visit.

The consultant will be paid a $750 stipend and travel expenses will be reimbursed. The stipend will not be paid until the report has been received by Academic Affairs. The chair should monitor travel expenses so that the total expenses (including meals during the visit) stay within an additional $750. The chair will need the consultant’s mailing address and social security number in advance before any payments can be made. The appropriate area or building administrative assistant should help develop the schedule and Amanda Hurd can help with reimbursements and stipend payment.

Once the department’s response has been written, the original narrative, the consultant’s report, the response, and any changes in the assessment plan should be sent to the Associate Provost. Soon afterwards a final meeting with the department or program and the Committee on Faculty will be scheduled to reach a common understanding of the outcomes of the evaluation. The materials will be added to the assessment files in Academic Affairs and a summary will be included in the Provost’s annual report.