Assessment Initiatives - The University of Tulsa
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Assessment Initiatives

Continuous Improvement Philosophy

The University of Tulsa is committed to continuous improvement in all its functions. Continuous improvement of student learning through the curriculum is a faculty- and data-driven process. University administrators provides resources to carry out curricular and co-curricular assessment activities; however, faculty steer the curriculum and student learning assessment process. From faculty engagement in assessment, teaching and learning improvement strategies emerge, which lead to higher levels of student achievement. Assessment is also done at the college and academic department levels, measuring the increasingly focused missions of these smaller units. The goal is to ensure that at every level the mission of the University is achieved and to find ways to continually improve the curriculum, teaching, and student achievement.

Continuous Improvement Plan

The University of Tulsa is committed to a culture of continuous improvement through the process of university assessment. The TU plan of Continuous Improvement occurs with regularity and constancy. Strategies for improvement are guided by evidence and aligned with the University mission. The institution evaluates university functions to determine how well we are achieving our stated mission. The TU commitment to continuous improvement ensures the implementation of assessment processes that evaluate student learning, educational programs, co-curricular services and engagement activities. The Continuous Improvement Plan shows the university processes for continuous improvement for assessment of the Tulsa Curriculum Program, annual program assessment, academic program reviews and co-curricular learning activities.

Learning Outcomes

Institutional Learning Outcomes are University goals that align with mission. Academic programs, the Tulsa Curriculum Program, and co-curricular learning activities
are aligned and assessed to ensure achievement. This important work was the product of the University Assessment Committee and approved by Deans’ Council.

Institutional learning outcomes (ILOs), program learning outcomes (PLOs), and student learning outcomes for individual courses (SLOs) are used to establish institution, program, and course level student goals. To guide faculty in the development and continued improvement of learning outcomes, the University Assessment Committee developed Guidelines for Writing Differentiated Learning Outcomes. Use of the guidelines helps ensure that the institution maintains appropriate distinctions between learning outcomes for doctoral, master, bachelor, and certificate programs.

Tulsa Curriculum

The Tulsa Curriculum assessment process evaluates student achievement of the Tulsa Curriculum Outcomes in Block and Core Courses through foundational and comprehensive course assignments using a common Course Assessment Report. The Tulsa Curriculum is a university framework developed by faculty to advance broad knowledge and intellectual concepts, which the University believes every college student should acquire. The faculty assess the Tulsa Curriculum student learning outcomes annually during the fall and spring semesters.

Annual Program Review

The University of Tulsa demonstrates, through its ongoing assessment initiatives, a commitment to educational achievement and improvement of student learning.

Institutional and program level methods focus on student attainment of The University of Tulsa mission. Institutional learning outcomes are measured at the college, program, and course level.

The Annual Program Review process is a faculty-driven initiative that measures attainment of program learning outcomes for undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. The Annual Program Assessment Report provides evidence that The University of Tulsa is satisfying its mission, using information gained each academic year to evaluate the effectiveness of its academic programs and improvement of student learning. The review process also provides faculty with an opportunity to make programmatic and curriculum changes.

Academic Program Reviews

All academic programs undergo an academic program review. Academic reviews involve all academic and certificate programs. Programs are reviewed every seven years with a one-year follow up. Program reviews are met through an internal academic review process conducted by academic departments, colleges, Academic Review Committee, and Office of the Provost. Programs are reviewed by an internal peer review committee and an external peer reviewer. Academic Reviews provide a mechanism for faculty to evaluate the quality, progress, and status of an academic program on a continuing basis through the feedback loop.

Co-Curricular Assessment

The University of Tulsa has a rich co-curricular environment that supports student learning and is assessed by direct and indirect measures. Co-curricular and student services programs are actively engaged in assessment and focus on the advancement of student learning through campus activities and services which contribute to the educational experience while supporting the University mission. Co-curricular learning activities are aligned with Institutional Learning Outcomes, creating a bridge between academic and student affairs. Co-curricular programming includes activities from the Division of Student Affairs, student clubs and organizations, fraternities and sororities, residence life, multicultural programming, community engagement, service learning, and the Department of Athletics.

Institutional Outcome Assessment

The University of Tulsa institutional assessment initiative, Institutional Outcome Assessment, uses direct assessment of students’ abilities to measure the accomplishment of institutional learning objectives. The following methods give feedback of student performance at multiple levels in various ways across the curriculum:

  • The National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE) and Faculty Survey on Student Engagement (FSSE) obtain experiential and perception information from freshmen, seniors, and the faculty who teach both groups.
  • Student confidentiality is ensured by presenting test results in aggregate and by removing all identifiers from course-embedded artifacts prior to review.

Student Evaluations

Students are provided opportunities to give direct feedback to faculty about learning experiences at the course level through the end-of-semester course evaluations.

Results of these activities are analyzed for trends and evidence of student growth and proficiency. Results are compared with national cohorts. Student confidentiality is maintained by removing identifiers from artifacts prior to analyzing data and presenting results to stakeholders. Collectively, these assessment activities provide faculty with a comprehensive picture of what is working well for students and faculty and areas where opportunities for improvement exist.


For questions, please contact Monica Varner, Ph.D., Executive Director of University Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, at 918-631-3263,