Outcomes assessment is an important activity that is sponsored by Academic Affairs. All units on campus submit assessment reports on an annual basis. The academic departments assess student learning, while the service departments assess departmental improvement activities.
Assessment of student learning is of vital importance to the Higher Learning Commission, NMU’s institutional accrediting body. On a national level, assessment has recently shifted from focusing on effective teaching to student learning. Academic departments use a variety of methods to assess student learning including capstone courses, portfolios, major field exams, theses and surveys.
Assessment of continuous improvement within the service departments is based on the general philosophy that NMU is a good institution that is constantly getting better. Departments are asked to identify processes to improve each year, while in the succeeding year, they collect data relevant to that process, and then use those data to drive improvements in the unit. Service departments have a June deadline, while academic departments have an October deadline.
Each department’s outcomes assessment report is measured against a common assessment rubric using a scale adopted from AQIP (SS, S, O, OO). Feedback comments, per academic program and service department, are a brief analysis of each strength (S) and opportunity for improvement (O). Departments use the feedback to strengthen their activities and reports for subsequent years.
Academic department reports are evaluated by members of the Academic Cabinet. Service department reports are evaluated by seven-person team with cross-campus representation. Members of this team are available for consultation about assessment reports and activities throughout the year. Contact Dr. Cynthia Prosen, the associate provost for Academic Affairs for Assessment Committee membership. Details about how to complete the outcomes assessment plan and the scoring rubric are located on the NMU Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Web site under About AQIP.
A description of NMU’s commitment to evaluation, and its assessment results, are presented in our AQIP Systems Portfolio (PDF), which documents important systems, processes and data relevant to our institutional accreditation efforts.