New AQIP Action Projects In Progress
Northern is working on three 2009-10 action projects as part of its continuing commitment to the Academic Quality Improvement Program: evaluating the effectiveness of the laptop computer program on student recruitment; evaluating the same program's impact on student learning; and managing the goals/priorities identified in the Road Map to 2015 strategic plan.
Ten years ago, NMU implemented a laptop program as part of the Teaching, Learning and Communication (TLC) initiative. Because one of the framing themes of the Road Map to 2015—information technologies—suggests the laptop culture has placed NMU “far ahead of and distinct from our competitors … increasing the capacity and quality of NMU,” one action project will provide a means to determine if the goal of enhancing student recruitment has been met.
The TLC initiative was also designed to create a learning environment that embraced technology to enhance student access, promote independent learners and encourage greater student-faculty communication and collaboration. Another action project will provide a means to evaluate progress toward that goal on an ongoing basis.
“When our AQIP quality checkup visitors came to campus in March of 2009, they were very impressed with the program, but repeatedly asked if we had conducted an outcomes assessment of the initiative,” said Cindy Prosen (Academic Affairs). “We had conducted some student satisfaction measures regarding the success of the program. But we had not developed an ongoing evaluation process to gauge its success nor a comprehensive program review of the impact of the program on student learning. This project will define an evaluation process that can be used for the TLC initiative in the future and can be adapted for use in other university-wide initiatives. It will also provide the university with data to determine if the outcomes of the program support this initial goal.”
The final action project for this year builds on one completed in 2008-09, when benchmarks were established for the Road Map to 2015. The current project will create a process by which Road Map benchmarks are developed into objectives that define specific, measurable outcomes, with a timetable for achieving those outcomes. The process will then be implemented to determine its efficacy.
The NMU Board of Trustees received an update on the projects this week. Results will be presented to the President’s Council at the end of the academic year or over the summer, with reports to the campus community scheduled in August. The Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) provides an alternative process through which already-accredited institutions can maintain accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.