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Structuring Program Assessment To Yield Useful Information For Che Faculty

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Advisory Boards & Program Assessment

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1033.1 - 8.1033.34

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Paper Authors

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Teresa Cutright

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Helen Qammar

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3413

Structuring Program Assessment to Yield Useful Information for ChE Faculty

H. Qammar and T. Cutright Department of Chemical Engineering / Department of Civil Engineering The University of Akron


Since ABET accreditation requires comprehensive program evaluation with outcomes assessment, many faculty view assessment as solely for accreditation. Common problems such as poor faculty participation, non-sustainable efforts, and overly cumbersome processes have been reported even for “ abet successes”. Assessment can yield substantial benefits but only if the process is specifically structured to minimize problems and maximize benefits. The overriding goal, namely improvements in student learning as defined by program outcomes, is well known. However there are two critical faculty needs that are often overlooked. Faculty need to have the time to implement the assessment activities and they must believe the results. We feel this places conditions on the process such that the assessment activities must be the same as those used to determine course grades and the faculty must define both what and how to measure.

Given these constraints, the focus of this paper is how to structure assessment to be beneficial to faculty. The structure should provide for continuous quality improvement essential for effective teaching and lead to satisfying the pertinent ABET criteria. This paper will provide a brief description our process and demonstrate how each step relates to faculty needs. A brief discussion will be provided for each aspect that identifies what the department does or does not have to do. This enables a department to purposefully limit activities and still obtain an effective program assessment. The idea is to create valuable information at each step somewhat analogous to value stream mapping from the quality discipline. An estimate of the time and effort required by individual faculty will also be provided. We describe the rapid implementation of the approach by the civil engineering department to demonstrate the adaptability of our process.

Overview of the Process

As with most assessment programs, the University of Akron uses a three-tiered structure. The first tier is the information needed by the faculty to improve course content, pedagogy, and student learning. The second tier is the information needed by the program to identify strengths and weaknesses and allow for continuous improvement. The third tier includes those efforts that create information primarily for accreditation purposes or verification: documentation, improving instruments, data mining, etc. These elements are well known and will not be elaborated on in this paper.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Cutright, T., & Qammar, H. (2003, June), Structuring Program Assessment To Yield Useful Information For Che Faculty Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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