DUQUESNE'S FOUNDATION FOR ASSESSMENT
Assessment at Duquesne University reflects its complex identity as a research/high doctoral university as well as its identity as a great American Catholic university rooted in the Spiritan tradition. Duquesne's mission, values, and strategic plan provide the foundation for the university-wide assessment plan. The Strategic Plan 2010-2015 defines ten overarching goals which serve as an expression of its core values. Its commitment to meaningful assessment is explicitly found in Goal VIII "ASSESSMENT will be coordinated University-wide and used as a means of planning." Through assessment the University is able to document its progress for achieving its mission and values as embodied in the remaining goals of the strategic plan.
ASSESSMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Assessment provides Duquesne with the opportunity to document its accomplishments, celebrate its successes, demonstrate good stewardship, and develop as a university. It is an essential element of peer review by regional and specialized accreditation bodies. It demonstrates accountability to the University's key stakeholders and, most importantly, to those generations of students who have made Duquesne a great school.
Duquesne has adopted a developmental model for implementing, improving, and sustaining its assessment processes throughout the University. Assessment activities are coordinated by the Associate Provost/Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. The University has implemented a comprehensive assessment plan that was developed in consultation with key committees and was approved by the Academic Council and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Faculty and staff members with expertise in assessment serve as peer consultants to colleagues throughout the University. Their work is coordinated through two committees: the Academic Learning Outcomes Assessment committee (ALOA) and the Student Life Assessment Team (SLAT). ALOA and SLAT meet regularly to coordinate their work and to share important findings. They worked together to develop the "Undergraduate Alumni Survey" which is conducted annually.
Since 2008 many additional resources have been committed to supporting assessment. These include an assessment website, a dedicated budget to support assessment activities including mini-grants for faculty, financial support to support Academic Program Reviews, the purchase of WEAVEonline assessment software to document academic assessment, the purchase of StudentVoice software to document student life assessment, the purchase of SEDONA software to report faculty scholarship, and workshop opportunities for faculty and staff members. These resources are in addition to the significant expenditures made in the schools to meet specialized accreditation standards. The Associate Provost/AAVP hosts an annual lunch meeting for all faculty and staff members who are involved with assessment on campus in order to update the University community about assessment activities and to recognize their important contributions.
Duquesne's approach to institutional effectiveness is rooted in its commitment to "serving God by serving students." This commitment is reflected through the thoughtful stewardship of all University resources entrusted to it, including human, physical, and financial resources.
An Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) serves as an advisory group to the Associate Provost/AAVP on issues related to assessment processes across the University. It is comprised of representatives of all University executive divisions: Academic Affairs, Advancement, General Counsel, Management and Business, Mission and Identity, Office of the President, Student Life, and representatives from the Academic Learning Outcomes Assessment committee and the Student Life Assessment Team.
Every major unit manager within each executive division of the University completes an annual report which assesses progress on annual operating goals and describes linkages to the University strategic plan and mission. The executive officers serve as the strategic planning implementation team. Through the annual reporting process they are able to align annual operating goals with the University's strategic plan and to ensure that assessment results are linked to the planning and budgeting processes.
The University assesses its progress through various means including:
- Dashboard indicators for finance, budget, and enrollment, including admission, retention and graduation rates.
- Regular review of faculty and staff performance.
- Annual reports.
- Specialized accreditation and external review processes.
- Benchmarking with various types of peer groups.
ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING
Assessment of Student Learning reflects a holistic approach to student development at Duquesne. All student learning outcomes, in Academic Affairs and Student Life, are related to and derived from the University mission through the Dimensions of a Duquesne Education which serve as an organizing framework for assessment by linking the University mission statement to student learning outcomes. The Dimensions focus on five areas: understanding and knowledge; intellectual inquiry and communication; ethical, moral and spiritual development; diversity and global mindedness; and leadership and service.
The academic learning outcomes assessment committee (ALOA) promotes assessment planning and development for academic student learning outcomes. The core curriculum, a central distinguishing experience for all undergraduate students at Duquesne, is assessed at the University level. Academic programs, including all undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, are assessed at the School level. Departmental and program faculty within each discipline develop, implement and review all assessment plans and outcomes; they then share their findings through their annual reports which describe how the faculty will use them for improving student learning and academic programs.
Using multiple methodologies, including qualitative and quantitative measures, student learning outcomes are documented by Academic Affairs and the Schools through various means including:
- Assessment reports: each academic program submits an annual assessment report on student learning outcomes documenting assessment results as well as any resulting changes in curriculum, pedagogy, or resource allocation.
- Annual summary assessment reports: key stakeholders receive information for every academic program.
- Academic Program Reviews (APR): every academic program participates in an APR at least once every 7 years with self-studies and external reviewers, either following university guidelines or through external specialized accreditation bodies.
- Alumni/ae surveys: all academic programs are required to conduct alumni assessment, either independently or by participating in the University's annual undergraduate and graduate/professional student surveys.
The Student Life Assessment Team (SLAT) advances the strategic plan of Duquesne University by coordinating the assessment initiatives of the Division of Student Life. SLAT facilitates the development of a comprehensive assessment process for Student life programs, services, and facilities. SLAT supports the Division of Student Life's dedication to student success in co-curricular learning, in accordance with the Dimensions of a Duquesne Education. SLAT prepares an annual report which reflects the work of each of its major areas and provides information including:
- Assessment Highlights.
- Assessment Actions.
- Department Highlights.
- Department Goals
There are many resources for assessment at Duquesne provided through our website. If you need additional information please contact:
Dr. Alexandra Gregory
|Dr. Laurel Willinaham-McLain
Rebecca Jamrozik Mickler
|Alia Purtorino Clevenger
2012 Undergraduate Alumni Survey
Undergraduate alumni reported that their experience at Duquesne improved the following characteristics and faculties either "very much" or "somewhat."
- Appreciation for diverse cultures: 85%
- Civic engagement: 71%
- Critical thinking skills: 93%
- Development of a spirit of service: 70%
- Development of faith and spiritual values: 65%
- Interpersonal communication skills: 92%
- Leadership skills: 90%
- Life management skills: 83%
- Respect for the dignity of all persons: 87%
- Teamwork skills: 91%
- Understanding of social justice issues: 70%
- Understanding of moral and ethical issues: 85%
- Academic Program Review Guidelines
- Self study completed in AY 09/10 - Professional Studies BS
- Self studies completed in AY 10/11 - Theology Department BA, MA, PhD
- Self studies completed in AY 11/12 - Communication & Rhetorical Studies Department BA, MA, PhD; English BA, Theatre Arts BA; Computer Science BA/BS; Psychology BA; Leadership MS
- Academic Program Review Schedule
- Assessment Process - Student Learning Outcomes
- Alumni Survey Process
- Core Curriculum Assessment Plan 2009-2013
- Academic Affairs Survey Archive
- National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (resource page)