Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rio Salado Earns Excellence in Assessment Award!

Rio Salado Class of 2017 Excellence in Assessment Team
Rio Salado was named as one of just five members of the 2017 class of Excellence in Assessment designees, a national program aimed at recognizing universities conducting a comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes as a means to drive internal improvement and advance student success.

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program – the first national designation of its kind – spotlights institutions successfully integrating assessment practices across campus, providing evidence of student learning outcomes, and using assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance.

President Bustamante
“We are honored by this acknowledgment which recognizes the ongoing commitment and contributions our faculty and staff have made to measure and improve student learning outcomes,” said Rio Salado President Chris Bustamante.

“Creating a culture of evidence is a priority at Rio Salado,” said Bustamante. “Student assessments provide critical data that help us customize learning, identify trends, troubleshoot issues and discover new opportunities to continually improve the way we serve students,” said Bustamante.

Rio Salado College has worked diligently to foster a culture of assessment and analysis for more than 20 years.

VPAA Kate Smith
“We have worked to refine, align and integrate our Total Quality Management Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) strategy throughout the college,” said Rio Salado Vice President of Academic Affairs Kate Smith. “We have developed a model that facilitates intentional collaboration between full-time and adjunct faculty in relation to assessment of student learning. For students, we offer our Student Learning Outcomes Work Lab (OWL), which helps facilitate mastery of its five college-level learning outcomes,” said Smith.

The sponsors of the EIA program are the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), a public college and university transparency initiative led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), in partnership with the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) and the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

The designation was created to acknowledge on a national level the important work colleges and universities are doing through comprehensive assessment activities and to highlight those practices so other institutions can draw upon them for their own efforts. As part of the application process, colleges and universities were asked not just to detail the specific assessment activities they’ve undertaken, but also the reason why such efforts are a priority for them. The designees needed to demonstrate how aligned processes, building from classroom-based assessment, foster a coherent, collaborative approach to assessing student learning.

poster featuring logos of the 5 winning institutions

“The Excellence in Assessment Designation is the first national, jointly sponsored designation to recognize institutions moving assessment of student learning from a compliance exercise to one of meaningful engagement. It highlights the use of evidence of student learning across the entirety of the university setting, involving a variety of stakeholders. Institutions receiving the designation have proved themselves to be truly excellent in their efforts to advance campus processes and use of evidence, serving as exemplars to others for engaging in comprehensive assessment leading to advanced student success,” said Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director.

The EIA Designations are directly linked to NILOA’s Transparency Framework, and are the first national program designed to recognize institutions engaging in intentional campus-wide assessment. The evaluation process for the designation included a rigorous and systematic self-study and peer review by faculty members and staff who are assessment experts, and include feedback that enables campuses to improve their effectiveness and sharing of best practices. Accredited, degree-granting institutions working to implement and sustain comprehensive use of assessment of student learning outcomes are eligible to receive the designations. The application period for the 2018 class of designees will open in November. More information on the EIA Designation web page.

Rio Salado team pictured above. Back row (left to right): Languages Faculty Chair Angela Felix, Communications Faculty Chair Julie Cober, English, Creative Writing, and New Media Studies Faculty Chair Jennifer K. Shantz, Associate Dean, Institutional Research Dustin Maroney and Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness Zach Lewis. Front row (left to right): Library Services Faculty Chair Hazel M. Davis, Vice President of Academic Affairs Kate Smith and Reading and ESL Faculty Chair Rosslyn Knight.