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Assurance of Learning

January 2012 | by Professor Allison Ambrose, PhD

In today's higher education environment, where the public is demanding more and more accountability from higher education institutions, the College of Business is pleased to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Because of this accreditation, we must demonstrate compliance with the ACBSP's accreditation standards and criteria, which allows us to reveal our commitment to continuous improvement in providing a quality business education to our students.

The ACBSP standards and criteria draw heavily from the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Performance Excellence in Education criteria. These standards include Leadership, Strategic Planning, Student and Stakeholder Focus, Measurement and Analysis of Student Learning and Performance, Faculty and Staff Focus, and Educational and Business Process Management. In demonstrating compliance with these standards, our attention is drawn to key quality dimensions such as sound strategic planning focusing on key constituents and measurement of student learning and performance.

For instance, our recent strategic plan has guided us in developing and carrying out actions to assure that we meet our strategic initiatives and advance our mission. One particular accomplishment deriving from this plan, which also aligns with the accreditation standards, was our re-casting of our overarching learning outcomes for all our undergraduate students. These Common Learning Outcomes capture the competencies that we expect our undergraduate majors to have upon graduation and include skills and abilities in the areas of communication, problem solving, values-based reasoning, and global awareness.

In the coming year, we will be enhancing our procedures for being able to accurately and consistently assess these outcomes. These procedures will allow us to collect information that informs us on how well the students are achieving the stated outcomes. We will then be able to use the assessment results to improve our programs and courses. Upon completion of this work, the College will not only be able to demonstrate to the ACBSP that we have sound assessment practices, but most importantly, we will be confident that what we gather from these practices will allow us to continually improve on how we educate our students.

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