Working with faculty, staff, and students, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness facilitates campus-wide processes for Continuous Quality Improvement in the areas of Assessment, Accreditation, Institutional Research and Strategic Planning to support Rio’s mission. The core functions of the office are to:
- Collect, analyze, present and disseminate data to pertinent audiences;
- Counsel departments on design and methodology related to research projects;
- Serve as a resource in the area of student learning outcomes assessment;
- Support enrollment through research projects on retention, attrition, and success;
- Facilitate program review, accreditation, and strategic/unit planning processes;
- Monitor and report student satisfaction, needs, and outcomes; and
- Ensure the institution meets state, regional and federal reporting requirements.
Purpose and Overview
“Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development.” Palomba & Banta, Assessment Essentials, 1999
The purpose of program assessment is to define a program’s learning outcomes, collect and analyze evidence to determine the extent to which students are meeting these outcomes, and to use the results for program improvement.
According to Mary J. Allen in Assessing General Education Programs, “…assessment is not an end in itself but always a means to one of two desirable ends: (a) improvement of the individual or program performance or (b) confirmation of the existing practice” Allen, Assessing General Education Programs, 2006. At Rio, Program Representatives (PR), with the participation of program faculty members, assess their programs annually and submit reports to the Assessment and Student Learning Committee (ASLC). The outcome of this assessment is a program’s improvement of its curricula and/or pedagogy.
The purpose of program review is to assure high quality programs, to determine the viability of programs, and to determine the best and most appropriate use of the program’s educational resources. The outcome of this review is a Memorandum of Understanding articulating a program’s commitment to particular adjustments and the University’s commitment to particular resources.
Rio reviews programs on a seven-year cycle. The Provost’s Cabinet distributes programs across the seven-year program review cycle.
The Program Review Committee (PRC) is an ad-hoc committee formed specifically to complete Program Review, and includes the Program Representative, program faculty, the chair and dean of the program, and representatives from the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA). Each program under review will form a committee for conducting that program’s review. Although some individuals (the Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness (APIE), the OAA, and the deans) may serve on multiple PRCs, each PRC is only responsible for its own program’s review. Upon completion of the review, the PRC will dissolve.