Samford’s model of assessment was developed and implemented in 2016. Samford’s academic and administrative units are expected to participate in ongoing outcomes assessment and reporting. This process supports continuous improvement and improved decision-making, as well as regional accreditation and requirements for the assessment of student learning. Samford employs an annual assessment schedule, and all degree programs and administrative units report assessment plans and findings on an annual basis. Regardless of a unit’s Academic Program Review or external accreditation schedule, annual assessment reporting is a university-wide activity required of all degree programs and administrative units.
Academic programs and certain certificate programs are required to identify student learning outcomes, and map those outcomes to the institutional learning outcomes. Academic programs assess two student learning outcomes per year and two program goals per year. These are reported in the Taskstream Accountability Management System
All administrative and student and academic support areas are required to identify goals and assess outcomes in support of the University’s Strategic Plan. These goals focus on improvements and projects that will contribute to the university’s ability to achieve its strategic goals, and for moving toward improvement in the unit’s operations.
Documents and support for student learning outcomes, program goals, measures and assessments are located in Taskstream workspaces and within the Institutional Assessment Training Course.
Academic Program Review (APR)
APR and annual assessment are complementary processes. Programs should use the same learning outcomes, measures, and findings for each process. All academic programs are reviewed once every seven years, with an ongoing action planning process that spans two years.
Assessment and Accreditation Council
The Samford University Assessment and Accreditation Council (SUAAC) is established to serve as an advisory body on assessment and institutional effectiveness in support of the work of administrative and academic support units. This council also provides guidance to the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment & Effectiveness (OIRAE) and helps coordinate data collection and reporting across divisions. The council is comprised of a representative from each of Samford University’s divisions, schools, Center for Teaching and Learning and Samford On-line. The Council is currently chaired by the Assistant Provost for Assessment and Accreditation and meets monthly.
All degree programs must enter the following into Taskstream AMS by October 15th each year.
Standing Requirements including a mission and vision statement, student learning outcomes and program goals.
Assessment Plan must include two student learning outcomes and two program goals with descriptions of measures and benchmarks. Substantiating evidence may include the actual assessment tool or an assignment.
Assessment Findings must include at least one finding per measure aligned to the outcomes and goals. A summary of the findings, results and recommendations based on the data within the findings, and documented use of the data reviewed. Any substantiating evidence can be uploaded to support the findings and use of data.
Administrative and Student and Academic Support Units
All identified administrative offices must enter the following into Taskstream on October 15th of each year:
Operational Plans include goals or outcomes, actions related to each outcome, and a description of the acceptable measure of success.
Status Updates include a status of the actions, next steps to achieve the selected outcome, and description of the data used for decision-making. Substantiating evidence may be uploaded to support the status update.
Review of Annual Assessments is conducted by the members of the University Assessment and Accreditation Council and the Operational Data Stewards Council. All annual assessments, both academic and operational are assessed using a valid and reliable rubric.
The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment produces an executive report in May of each year, Demonstrating Accountability and Transparency in Assessment (DATA Report). This report provides the Executive Leadership team with a summary of each of the annual assessment reports as an overall glimpse of achievements at the program and operational unit level.
Faculty undergo annual performance reviews. An overview of the process is described in the Samford University Faculty Handbook and Part-Time Faculty Manual. Staff also undergo annual performance reviews. Information and processes related to these reviews are highlighted on the Human Resources Management Performance Appraisal website.