Proposal for the Establishment of a Student Learning Outcomes Team and Implementation Process

Submitted by
The Student Learning Outcomes Steering Committee

Pat Bower, Chair
Professor, Learning Assistance Center

Steve Woodyard
Director, Career Placement Services
Jemma Blake-Judd
Curriculum Liaison, Academic Senate
Professor, English, Literature
Margaret Teske
Coordinator, ESL Instruction/Assessment
Charis Louie
Professor, Psychology/Education
Terri Faraone
Department Chair,
Family & Consumer Sciences
Robertson Wellen
President, Academic Senate
Professor, Theater

Proposal

Background:

The Student Learning Outcomes process is a means to determine what students know, think, feel or do as a result of a given learning experience. In this process, the outcomes are determined by the members of a particular department, program, or unit. Assessment of the outcomes allows them to discover if the students are, in fact, learning what they are expected to learn. The use of assessment results stimulates discussion and directs activities that can improve instructional delivery and/or support systems.

Both internal and external mandates support the move to SLOs-based assessment. The college's mission to provide “quality learning opportunities” to its students is the overriding impetus. Legislative initiatives such as Partnership for Excellence (PFE) demonstrate the government's interest in colleges' documentation of their accomplishments. Finally, the accrediting agency for California Community Colleges (ACCJC) has elected to use SLOs as an integral part of its accrediting standards.

Introduction:

The Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) Steering Committee was formed in late 2003 to evaluate SLOs processes and procedures, and to recommend a systematic approach to implement Student Learning Outcomes assessment at Mt. SAC . This proposal is the committee's formal recommendation.

A transformational change is necessary to ensure that the entire campus community begins to assess student learning. This transformation will require a consistent, coherent plan and a unified effort. Currently, a variety of outcomes models are utilized across the campus, many with excellent results. However, for all areas of campus to work towards the same goal effectively, a common vocabulary and standard of practice must be established.

This proposal is predicated on three assumptions:

  1. The administration and Board of Trustees are committed to the implementation of SLOs and support institutional changes necessary for that implementation.
  2. The faculty and classified staff will drive the campus-wide implementation of the SLOs process, which will involve all departments, programs, and units.
  3. Appropriate funding will be allocated for both the team and the implementation processes.

Overview of the Implementation Process:

A successful transition to the use of the SLOs process at Mt. SAC requires a structured plan for both training and support. To meet this goal, the Steering Committee proposes that an SLOs Implementation Team be established.

•  The coordinator will be responsible for supervising the campus wide training and implementation efforts, particularly as they apply to curriculum issues, the Program Review process, and accreditation reports.

•  The four facilitators will conduct the initial departmental/unit training, which will lead to the creation and utilization of SLOs. There will be a faculty or classified facilitator with reassigned time from each of four areas: academic, vocational, Student Services, and support services.
(The committee is aware that reassigned time for classified personnel is unusual, but deem it essential for this process.)

•  The Educational Assessment Officer will provide guidance and expertise regarding selection of assessment tools and analysis of resulting data.

This six-member team will work with the President's Advisory Council (PAC). PAC will be responsible for developing institutional outcomes and participating in the campus-wide implementation of the SLOs process.
(See attached Role and Duty Table)

To ensure that the implementation process begins August 2004, the team should be hired, assembled and trained by early July 2004 . Training will be conducted by Institutional Effectiveness Associates, Dr. James Nichols and Dr. Karen Nichols, in a two-day campus training session. The SLOs Implementation Team will then create a campus training process, and train PAC members. The department/unit training sessions will be scheduled through the Fall semester, 2004.

All training will be based on the Five Column Model created by Institutional Effectiveness Associates. This is a pragmatic and accessible assessment model that should be the standard for reporting SLOs at Mt. SAC .

Implementation will begin gradually with small group training in the departments, units, and programs. The facilitators will meet with the members of each of the areas to assist in clarifying the process and developing outcomes and assessments that are appropriate to their areas. As more area members are trained and have begun the SLOs process, cross-campus forums will be held to allow for a celebration of successes and exchange of ideas. Further training and workshops will continue to be offered.

The implementation process is expected to span four years. The initial phase of implementation is to be completed by the end of the second year when all departments, units, and programs on campus will have participated in training and at least one full year of the process will have been completed. The succeeding two years will involve the refinement and evaluation of the SLOs processes, the development of an effective warehousing system, and the complete integration of SLOs into campus processes. (See attached SLOs Implementation Timeline)

Support for Implementation

The timely allocation of necessary funding is critical to the implementation process. Reassigned time and the hiring of an assessment officer and support staff are essential to this project. Additionally, funding for development and disbursement of training materials must be available.

The hiring and assembly of the Team must begin immediately in order to build on the SLOs-focused Flex Day presentations and the new Program Review SLOs option. In addition, the team will need the summer months to create the process that will be in place beginning August 2004.

Since the SLOs Implementation Team will be working closely with Staff and Organizational Learning, locating the team in the Learning Technology Center (LTC) is a logical step, which will be advantageous to the process. The Educational Assessment Officer should also share office space with the Team, although he/she will report to the Research and Institutional Effectiveness Office as well.