academic programs May 16, 2018

Weight Management for Universities: Evaluating Academic Bloat

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Historically, new academic programs have often been introduced by several mechanisms. An energetic faculty member is inspired to create a new major, a donor bequest stipulates the development of an interdisciplinary institute, a president mandates a “visionary” curriculum, or a dean or provost responds to a sudden market opportunity.



Academic program assessment May 19, 2017

How to Lead Assessment in Your Unit

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Being in charge of assessment within one’s unit involves more than measuring student learning outcomes. It’s about leading cultural change, a process that is best undertaken in collaboration with those who know the discipline, program, and students best—the faculty and staff. Linda Neavel Dickens, director of institutional accreditation and program assessment at The University of Texas at Austin, offers advice on how to lead this collaborative process.


New Academic Programs in Lean Financial Times May 3, 2017

New Academic Programs in Lean Financial Times: Process Revisited and Lessons Learned

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In lean financial times, colleges and universities need to ask themselves whether to take a conservative approach to new program development or to scan aggressively for growth markets, seeking opportunities to invest in the future. In the case of University of Mount Union (UMU), we took a more aggressive approach toward investing in the future, and the investments are paying off.


Putting Assessment in Its Place April 21, 2017

Putting Assessment in Its Place

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What can you do with four minutes?

You can close the report and check the clock, update your to-do list, sort through your mail, or respond to a minor e-mail query. There are many important tasks you can do in four minutes. And if you don’t do them now, you’ll just have to find another four minutes later. Of course, none of this matters if you have plenty of time and too little to do, but most institutions have finite resources and must be deliberate in how they use them. Program assessment presents a special challenge to resource allocation, requiring a similarly deliberate approach.


moving beyond majors January 10, 2017

Moving Beyond Majors

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As I sat looking at data for the newly enrolled students in our incoming class, comparing it with institutional and national SAT data, I wondered, is the concept of a major becoming obsolete? Our colleges and universities are built around them. For generations, faculty have been training in one discipline with a distinct identity. Curricula have been designed to make the student’s major the most prominent piece of his or her educational pathway. Even on the admissions side, the first question we ask in a typical interaction is, “What major do you want to study?”