Continuous Improvement Philosophy
The University of Tulsa is committed to continuous improvement in all of its functions. Continuous improvement of student learning through the curriculum is a faculty- and data-driven process. University administrators provide assistance and 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.
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, so as 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 Academic Continuous Improvement Process diagram shows the university processes for continuous improvement for assessment of the Tulsa Curriculum, annual assessments, periodic program reviews and co-curricular learning activities. The Accountability Plan is a visualization of faculty, staff, and administrative academic assessment responsibilities.
Institutional Learning Outcomes are measurable University goals that align with the mission. Academic programs, Tulsa Curriculum, 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 and University Curriculum Committee.
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 will help ensure that the institution maintains appropriate distinctions between learning outcomes for doctoral, master, bachelor, and certificate programs. As an institution, we have used the mission statement as de facto ILOs. Some of these are difficult to measure and so Institutional Learning Outcomes have recently been extracted from the TU mission statement and modified so that each of the outcomes is measurable. This important work was the product of the University Assessment Committee and approved by Deans’ Council and the University Curriculum Committee.
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. In summer 2018, the Tulsa Curriculum Review Committee was formed and charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the Tulsa Curriculum. The committee will provide its recommendations in fall 2019 for implementation in fall 2021. To lay the assessment foundation for their work, TU conducted a course embedded assessment review of the Tulsa Curriculum through a Student Learning Pilot Study. In fall 2018, faculty teaching in the Tulsa Curriculum Program finalized the Tulsa Curriculum Learning Outcomes.
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 professional 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 improve the student learning. The review process also provides faculty with an opportunity to make programmatic and curriculum changes.
All degree programs undergo comprehensive review. Law school reviews are guided by the American Bar Association (ABA) and their ABA accreditation. Graduate program review processes are described in the Graduate Program Review Guidelines. The newly formed Provost Program Review Committee has been charged with ensuring that TU’s academic programs enhance student learning and align with the University’s strategic priorities. This standing committee is tasked with evaluating all academic programs in all colleges at TU across a number of dimensions.
The comprehensive undergraduate program review process involves all undergraduate academic programs to record and demonstrate achievement of program outcomes, student learning, retention, and degree completion. Programs are reviewed on a rotating basis. The requirement may be met either through external comprehensive program reviews conducted by specialized accreditation agencies or internal comprehensive program reviews conducted by college committees. Comprehensive undergraduate program reviews provide a mechanism for faculty and administration to evaluate the effectiveness, progress, and status of an academic program on a continuing basis through the feedback loop.
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.
The University of Tulsa institutional assessment initiative, the Mission Statement Assessment Project (MSAP), uses direct assessments of students’ abilities to measure the accomplishment of institutional learning objectives. The following methods give feedback of student performance at multiple levels and 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.
- 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.
- HEIghtenTM scores are obtained from a standardized exam that is administered to students at the beginning and end of their undergraduate tenures.
- Student confidentiality is ensured by presenting test results in aggregate and by removing all identifiers from course-embedded artifacts prior to review.
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., Director of Assessment, at 918-631-3263, firstname.lastname@example.org.