Arkansas Tech’s College of Business recently implemented a new assessment process. This process helps the college meet the standards for assurance of learning as required by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the accreditor for the college. A key feature of this new process was the development of rubrics by the COB faculty to assess the primary learning objectives of the college.
Dr. Hunter and Dr. Huang attended two AACSB seminars focused solely on the assurance of learning process. As a result of this training and because the college revised its mission and vision statement in Spring 2018, the learning goals and related objectives were revised by the curriculum/AOL committee to ensure the goals were consistent with the mission and were then submitted to the COB faculty for its approval. At a faculty meeting in September 2018, the undergraduate business faculty were divided into groups to develop appropriate rubrics for each of the relevant learning goals. Each group began the process by asking each group member to list as many items as possible on individual “sticky” notes that they felt should be considered for the rubric. After that step was completed, the group collected all notes relating to a single topic (for example, correct punctuation for the writing rubric); then, the group developed subheadings and assigned the various ideas to a subheading. Dr. Hunter then created a rough draft of each rubric that was analyzed, discussed, and revised by the COB’s curriculum/AOL committee. Once the committee approved the rubrics, they were distributed to the entire COB faculty. After some additional discussion and minor revisions, the rubrics were approved by the COB faculty. The graduate rubrics were developed by the graduate faculty using the same process.
The College of Business undergraduate faculty developed goals/objectives and then the related rubrics to assess oral communications, written communications, ethics, technology, and professionalism. The graduate faculty created goals/objectives and then rubrics to assess ethics, oral and written communications, and technology. The decision was made to implement the assessment plan gradually. The COB began by using the ethics and oral communications (UG) and Technology (G) rubrics at the end of the Fall 2018 semester; during Spring 2019, data was collected using the written and oral communications rubrics (UG) and the ethics and oral communications rubrics (G). In Fall 2019, the COB used the professionalism, written, and oral communications rubrics (UG) and the written communication rubric (G) to collect data.
Findings and Interventions:
With the introduction of the rubrics, it was found that the students consistently struggled with two items on the oral communications rubric at both the formative and summative level for undergraduates and the summative level for graduate students. The first issue was the students failed to use a significant portion of the allotted time or ran over their allotted time. The second finding was that students did not comply with the mandated dress code (regardless of whether it was professional dress or business casual). When students were told to dress business casual, business professional, etc. they had trouble grasping exactly what that meant. The first intervention made was to purchase large clocks/timers for the students. This allowed for them to see exactly how long their presentation had been and adjust their speed to either reach the minimum or not exceed the maximum amount of time. The second intervention was the coordination of the “Dress for Success” luncheon held by the College of Business. Faculty, staff, and 86 students attended the luncheon in business professional clothing to learn about office dress wear. The luncheon featured several speakers as well as a representative from Modern Woodman Financial, Matt Ward. It was used to demonstrate appropriate interview, business professional, and business casual dress. Using both the clock and Dress for Success interventions, the COB reassessed these objectives during the Fall 2019 semester and found that the students scored significantly better on the rubrics in both the timing and appropriate dress objectives.
The College of Business will use the following assessment schedule over the next five years. The five undergraduate and four graduate objectives will continue to be assessed using rubrics and the resulting data will be analyzed to ensure continuous improvement within the college. The following assessment schedules allow the COB to “close the loop” two and one-half times within each five year accreditation cycle.
Summer Bruch, Associate Professor, took over the leadership of the Art Department as Department Head in the fall of 2018. As a significant function in keeping the department on track, Ms. Bruch uses a combination of tools to complete the assessment process and to stay up to date from year to year. Summer uses Weave to break down student learning in each degree program throughout the Art department. Each project within Weave lists current learning outcomes, measures, expectations, and the findings/results. Summer believes staying current with assessment makes the accreditation process manageable. She also uses QuestionPro for informal evaluation in the form of senior exit surveys along with an alumni survey. Since Arkansas Tech has a university-wide QuestionPro account, the price was right.
“When we have programs with rapid growth, like Game and Interactive Media, current assessment materials make it easier to allocate resources.”
Since taking over the leadership of the Department of Art, Summer has implemented an effective assessment practice to stay current and continuously take action to improve every aspect of the student learning in the Department of Art.