Over the summer, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) reaffirmed WSU’s institutional accreditation; an acknowledgement that we, as a university, continue to meet or exceed criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. NWCCU also commended WSU’s work in assessment, especially the assessment of the learning outcomes of the UCORE general education requirements.
As noted in the Year Seven Peer-Evaluation Report, the peer evaluating team complimented WSU for our:
- “clear articulation of learning goals for undergraduate education and a structure in UCORE, which reinforces those goals with a clear developmental pathway through General Education with a well-defined beginning and end. This conceptual and actual framework is strengthened and supported throughout descriptions, learning outcomes, review and approval processes, and issues at the center of each category of courses.”
- “clear structure of vision, assessment, and integration of General Education. The combination of the UCORE Handbook, the various websites related to General Education and its specific components, and assessment plans reiterate this consistent message, set of goals and vision. Assessment plans for learning outcomes are tied to approval processes, reviews and to the stated learning goals of the institution.”
In addition, WSU’s 2013 recommendation about the need to strengthen faculty responsibility to foster and assess student achievement of learning outcomes was successfully resolved, with the peer evaluating team noting that “faculty participation is particularly robust in the assessment of the UCORE (general education) learning outcomes.” Similarly, our 2013 recommendation that online students and courses be systematically included in assessment was also resolved, with a note to continue attention in this area.
WSU-wide planning for the next cycle of the Strategic Plan has begun to take shape, and we recognize that UCORE assessment activities will continue to play a role in fulfilling the metrics by which we measure our progress as a university. New NWCCU recommendations that will impact UCORE assessment planning and priorities moving forward, including the need to:
- Include student learning outcomes achievement data in WSU’s Strategic Plan metrics under Core Theme 2
- Improve the availability and use of data which can be disaggregated to identify differences among campuses and learning modalities
The UCORE Committee and Subcommittee for Assessment wish to extend a “thank you” to each and every individual who contributes to assessment-related initiatives within WSU’s diverse array of colleges, schools, departments, and programs including general education. From the leadership who help oversee efforts and provide infrastructure, to faculty and instructors who give their time and energy to evaluate student work and use results to improve courses and serve students, we recognize the care, time and effort that goes into quality teaching and assessment. Your work supports students and quality undergraduate education at WSU.