Short Course: “What? I Have to Lead a Program Assessment?!?”


“What? I Have to Lead a Program Assessment?!?” Leading Your Department or Program Assessment Process for Regional Accreditation
Jennifer M. Jensen and Sean A. McKitrick

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This program is co-lead by two political scientists; one serves as her university’s accreditation liaison officer, and the other serves as a vice president of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, one of the regional accrediting bodies. The first part of this program will present information: defining assessment, explaining the particular urgency of assessment in the current educational climate, and presenting current expectations of institutions and accreditors. The second part of this program will provide opportunities for participants to develop assessment tools that they can use for program assessment at their home institutions, as well participate in a mock review of a political science department’s assessment efforts. This program is especially well suited for chairs, program directors and other faculty members who are new to assessment and who seek information and tools in advance of the start of a program assessment process. Though the program will be especially useful for participants at institutions that belong to the Middle States Commission, the program will be general enough to be useful for faculty at institutions affiliated with other regional accrediting bodies. The program outline is as follows: 1) Why do we need assessment? a) The political — the national oversight and accreditation climate b) The practical — what are the sorts of things your accreditor, and likely your institution, will want from your department? 2) What is assessment? a) Explaining the basics b) The importance of “closing the loop” 3) What are current expectations for program assessment? a) Course assessment and program assessment b) How your assessment fits with college/university learning outcomes c) The role of institutional mission in assessment 4) Selecting assessment tools a) External (purchased) assessment tools b) Direct versus indirect assessment c) Portfolios, rubrics and curriculum maps 5) Mapping courses to program learning outcomes (hands-on exercise) 6) Playing the program evaluator: a political science assessment review simulation (hands-on exercise).

**All Short Courses will take place on Wednesday, August 31 at the APSA 2016 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.