Cal Poly Pomona’s educational quality, assessment and improvement, at a programmatic level and an institutional level, were at the forefront of a WSCUC Town Hall Meeting. The WSCUC reaccreditation process requires universities to reflect on their academic quality and raise questions that require data-driven responses.
The May 2 presentation and discussion centered on using data to measure student learning, interpreting the data and using that information to improve the academic experience.
A panel of faculty speakers shared two essays, which are part of the accreditation self-study, that address these topics and invited the audience of about 120 faculty and staff to provide feedback and comments. Essay 4 on Educational Quality is an overview of how the university documents and supports its core value of academic excellence. Essay 6 on Quality Assurance and Improvement is about cultivating an assessment infrastructure and using the information for continuous improvement.
“We need to show that we are addressing the core competencies and to show that the core competencies are related to the learning outcomes we set at our institution,” said Erika DeJonge, chair of Essay 4 and associate professor of psychology. “In our essay, we’re talking about how they’re related to general education. Also, to provide evidence that students are developing these core competencies as they progress through college.”
Prescribed by WSCUC, the core competencies are skills that students should gain in their undergraduate education. They are: oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning and information literacy.
After the presentations, faculty and staff formed smaller groups to discuss how assessment and student learning relate to their individual units or programs, and they weighed these questions:
- How do you think assessment data can inform us about student learning?
- How can we make assessment more useful within your program/unit?
- How can we increase faculty and staff engagement in assessment of student learning?
- What would help you to make on-going assessment more doable?
At the start of the town hall, Provost Sylvia A. Alva compared the WSCUC accreditation process to a journey through a winding road that began a year ago.
“The WSCUC reaccreditation process is an opportunity to reflect, to boldly articulate our polytechnic approach to student learning and success, and to envision the future. What will students know and be able to do because they have earned a degree from an inclusive polytechnic university?” Alva said.
The Town Hall was a collegial space to update the campus on the accreditation process and work together to develop plans to further a campus culture of evidence.
WSCUC (or WASC Senior College and University Commission) is the accrediting organization that conducts regular reviews to ensure quality education, continuous improvement and the institutions’ commitment to serving students and the public good. With Cal Poly Pomona’s 10-year review scheduled for fall 2019, faculty and staff began the WSCUC accreditation process in winter quarter 2017.
To learn more about accreditation and to read the essays, visit the WSCUC website.