Reinhardt University SACSCOC Compliance Certification

3.3.1.3 Institutional Effectiveness: Academic and Student Support Services

The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: (Institutional effectiveness)

3.3.1.3 Academic and student support services

Judgment check box Compliance

 

Narrative

This narrative focuses on assessment activities of major academic and student support units in the following divisions: Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Finance Administration, Enrollment Management, and Athletics.  Academic Affairs units include the Library, Center for Student Success, Academic Support Office, Office of Graduate Studies, Registrar’s Office, and Information Technology.  Student Affairs units include Career Services, Dining Services, Counseling Services, Residence Life, Student Minister, Public Safety, and Student Activities.  Enrollment Management units include Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate and Professional Admissions, and Student Financial Aid.  Finance and Administration include Dining Services and the Bookstore. The Athletics assessments are conducted at the divisional level only. All academic and student support units that are required to submit annually an assessment report are highlighted in the organizational chart. [1]

Unit Assessment Reporting Process

Academic and student support services units report on assessment activities on an annual basis. At the end of each academic or fiscal year, unit directors submit a report of their unit assessment activities and use of assessment results for the unit to their Vice-President and to the Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE). A diagram describing these units’ planning, assessment, and budgeting process is included in the supporting documentation. [2] The assessment reporting guidelines along with an evaluation rubric are posted on the OIRE assessment site within EagleWeb. [3]  The OIRE Director assists units plan and execute meaningful assessment and consults with academic and students support services units on a regular basis. Specifically, the Director uses an evaluation rubric to provide feedback on unit objectives, assessment methods, and other elements of the report.  [5] The Director also holds periodic assessment workshops with the directors of academic support, student support, and administrative support services. [67]

Assessment results are used in making budget decisions, thus closing the assessment and budget loop to assure continuous improvement. Units are asked to connect any additional budget requests to action items identified in the assessment reports. Divisional vice presidents review the assessment reports from their units in accordance with annual IE and budget cycles.  See the diagram for AES Institutional Effectiveness Planning, Assessment, and Budgeting Cycle. [2] The sample annual budget instructions and sample unit budget template illustrate the integration of planning, assessment, and budgeting in administrative support units. [8, 9]

Table 3.3.1.3-1 provides links to the assessment reports completed by the academic and student support services over the past three academic years. Specific examples of how Reinhardt academic and student support services units identify expected outcomes, assess attainment of those outcomes, and make improvement based on analysis of results, are provided following this table.

Table 3.3.1.3.-1

Assessment Reports Completed by Academic and Student Support Services

Division Unit 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Academic Affairs Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center Report Report Report
Center for Student Success Report Report Report
Academic Support Office Report Report Report
Office of Graduate Studies Report Report Report
Registrar Report Report Report
Information Technology Report Report
Funk Heritage Center Report Report Report
Falany Performing Arts Center Report Report Report
Student Affairs Student Activities Report Report Report
Counseling Report Report Report
Health Services Report Report Report
Vocational and Career Services Report Report Report
Public Safety Report Report Report
Residence Life Report Report Report
Campus Minister Report
Enrollment Management Admissions Report Report Report
Student Financial Aid Report Report Report
Professional Studies & Graduate Admissions Report Report Report
Finance & Administration Bookstore Report
Dining Services Report

Note: The Bookstore and Dining Services started their assessment efforts in 2016-17.

Academic and Student Support Services Outcomes

All academic and student support services units have clearly articulated unit-level outcomes that are appropriate to the nature of a liberal arts institution and in support of Reinhardt’s mission to educate the whole person by developing the intellectual, social, personal, vocational, spiritual  and physical dimensions of its students.  Starting with the 2016-17 assessment cycle, which marked the launch of a new strategic plan, the unit outcomes/objectives are aligned to the divisional strategic objectives [10] and to the University strategic objectives. [11]  See example of assessment report (page 3) illustrating the alignment of unit, division, and university objectives. [12]

Most of the academic and student support services maintain their outcomes across multiple assessment cycles. At the same time, revisions to the unit-level outcome statements are encouraged provided that a) the current outcome was achieved and the new statements b) link to the mission of the university and c) link to the mission of the unit.  Examples of outcome statements from Reinhardt academic and students support services units, as articulated in the previous three assessment cycles, are presented below. Outcomes for each academic and student support unit are included in the assessment reports listed above in Table 3.3.1.3-1.

Table 3.3.1.3 -2

Examples of Outcomes in Academic and Support Services

Unit Example of Outcomes
Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center Students will learn information literacy skills that will enhance classroom learning experiences as well as provide skills necessary for lifelong employment and leisure information needs.

 

Center for Student Success Students who attend study groups sponsored by the CSS will find the experience positive and helpful in attaining better grades.
Academic Support Office ASO students will be aware of and use assistive technology software and electronic books available in ASO/other sites in RU.

 

Funk Heritage Center The teachers who bring student groups to the Georgia History Timeline and Pioneer Days will be highly satisfied with the Center’s programming
Registrar The Registrar’s Office will respond to requests for academic transcripts, enrollment verifications, and other correspondence to third parties as needed in a reasonable time period.
Counseling Continue to develop protocols and intervention strategies for struggling students.
Residence Life On campus occupancy will see an annual increase in both the fall and spring semesters.

Academic and Student Support Services Measures

Academic and student support services employ a variety of measures to assess unit-level outcomes. The most common measures across units include student satisfaction surveys and year-to-year comparisons of key metrics that measure volume, effectiveness, and efficiency. Units are prompted in the assessment report template to indicate the types of measures employed. Examples of how academic and student support services measure attainment of outcomes are discussed below in Table 3.3.1.3 -3. The outcomes for each unit can be found in the assessment reports listed in Table 3.3.1.3-1.

Table 3.3.1.3 -3

Examples of Assessment Measures Employed by Academic and Support Services

Unit Example of Assessment Measures
Academic Support Office Each year, the ASO measures student satisfaction their services using a standard evaluation form. In 2015-16, the office exceeded the target measure of an increase of 10% in usage rate for assistive technology over the previous year. Compared to the previous year, there was a significant increase in the use of testing accommodations. According to the ASO satisfaction survey, 100% compared to 85% from previous year used testing accommodations.
Center for Student Success Each tutor fills out a tutoring report, and on that report the tutee assesses the session and the tutor. The goal for the 2015-16 academic year was to have 70% of the students tutored responding positively (a rating of 3 or 4) when asked how beneficial the session was. Eighty-three percent of the students who filled out the survey gave the highest praise (4) for the session; 6% gave the tutors a 3.
Office of Graduate Studies In Fall 2015, OGS developed website portal/link for library resources. In spring 2016, OGS conducted a survey of graduate faculty and graduate students to assess satisfaction with the library services. The achievement target for the two surveys was as follows: 1) 80% or more of the graduate students and instructors will be “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the ease of use of library resources for research, and 2) 80% or more of the graduate instructors will be “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with student research skills. The Graduate Student Survey revealed that only 51% of the students surveyed were aware of this link and used it.  15% were not aware of the link.  Of those who used it, 44% found it useful but 11% found it difficult to follow. The overall impression was 85% were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the new website. In addition, the graduate faculty survey results indicate that 100% of the faculty were “satisfied” with the research help from the website, although 80% found that the student research was about the same as past years in quality.
Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center Each year the Library reviews usage statistics for library resources and library facilities. In 2015-16 the achievement target was to increase usage of library resources and facilities each by 5% annually. The hourly headcount for 2015-16 was 56,297 compared to 50,394 in 2014-15 – an increase of almost 12%. The total number of resources accessed (online searches and circulation of physical items) was 757,990 compared to 650,910 in 2014-15 – a 16% increase. Access to full-text articles in GALILEO databases almost doubled from 73,730 in 2014-15 to 140,453 in 2015-16 – a 90% increase.

Academic and Student Support Services Assessment-Driven Improvements

Examples of program improvements based on assessment results are presented below in Table 3.3.1.3-4.  For a comprehensive review of changes in each unit, see the assessment reports listed in Table 3.3.1.3-1.

Table 3.3.1.3 -4

Examples of Improvements Made by Academic and Support Services

Unit Example of Improvements
Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center With the goal of increasing usage, one of the key assessment methods used by the Library is a review of usage statistics for library resources and library facilities. The reported hourly headcount for 2015-16 was 56,297 compared to 50,394 in 2014-15, representing an increase of almost 12%. The total number of resources accessed (online searches and circulation of physical items) was 757,990 compared to 650,910 in 2014-15 – a 16% increase. Access to full-text articles in GALILEO databases almost doubled from 73,730 in 2014-15 to 140,453 in 2015-16 – a 90% increase.  While use of electronic resources continues to skyrocket each year, the Library staff were pleasantly surprised by the large increase in the hourly headcount. Students continue to need computers and study spaces and the large increase in the use of the library facilities confirms this fact.  Based on these findings, the Library Director recommended that the budget continue to be allocated to weigh heavily on electronic resources over print ones. He also recommended surveying students in Fall 2016 to understand how they use the facility and what additional services and resources are needed.
Academic Support Office In 2014-15 ASO identified areas of improvement in the ASO Student Satisfaction Survey. Some of the services rendered in ASO were reviewed and suggestions made in the survey were put in place to improve those services. The ASO Director visited some other colleges in the area to learn how services are rendered.  Lessons learned during these visits were implemented at RU.
Office of Graduate Studies One of the objectives of the office was to increase graduate students’ understanding of the library resources available to them. To this end, a new Graduate Studies website portal/link to the library resources was developed during the fall semester of 2015.  In spring 2016, OGS conducted a survey for graduate faculty and graduate students to assess awareness of the library link. Only 51% of the students surveyed were aware of this link and used it.  15% were not aware of the link.   Of those who used it, 44% found it useful but 11% found it difficult to follow. In the open-ended suggestions, a common theme was the need for orientation to the websites.  As a result of this assessment, the Director of Graduate Studies recommended that the professional librarians meet with each new graduate class for a 45-minute library orientation session.
Career Services A needs assessment is conducted every year by Career Services as part of the annual Student Life Survey conducted by the Associate Dean of Students. Out of 118 responses to the Student Life Survey in Spring 2016: 70% were interested in Resumes; 45% in Grad School Apps; 38% in Cover Letters, and 30 % in Job Identification.  48% thought Internships are Very Important. As a result, the Director increase individual consultation to an average of 48 meetings a month with students and alumni focused on resume creation and job/internship searches and applications.  She also expanded number of Internships and coordinated with faculty. Thirty-five percent of the seniors (83 of 239) engaged in an internship or a practicum; the corresponding number for juniors was 5% (12 of 244).
Student Activities Results from the Student Life Survey were showing that the achievement Target for one of the assessment measures could not be met. Specifically, the Office of Student Activities aimed to reach an annual targeted goal of 85% or higher (on a scale of 100%) for Very Satisfied and Satisfied with the Selection of Student Activities as indicated on the Student Life Survey. In 2014-15 the Office requested a increase in student fees in order to expand programming. The 2015-2016 academic year was the first full academic year with the increased student activities fee. With this fee increase, the Office of Student Activities was able to increase the quantity and types of opportunities available to students.  Survey results from 2015-16 indicated that satisfaction with the selection of student activities increased from 82% in the previous year to 86%.
Residence Life Attendance at all Residence Life programs is tracked with attendance sheets and all programs are tabulated at the conclusion of the year. The Office’s goal is to have a total attendance of 1500, which would reflect each resident attending at least two programs. To increase attendance, in 2015-2016 Resident Assistants were allocated funds differently for programming from previous years and the Office implemented more floor based programming.  The quality of programs with poor attendance was also reviewed for improvement or consideration for no longer executing. In 2015-16, the Residence Life Office held a total of 143 programs which translated to a total attendance of 1827 which equals nearly 2.5 programs per resident.

Conclusion

In summary, Reinhardt University has identified expected outcomes for its academic and student support services, assessed the achievement of its outcomes, and provided evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results.

Supporting Documents

[1] Reinhardt University Organizational Chart

[2] AES Unit Planning, Assessment and Budgeting Process

[3] Guidelines for AES Assessment Reports

[4] Screenshot of OIRE AES Assessment Site in EagleWeb

[5] AES Assessment Report Rubric Example

[6| AES Assessment Workshop June 16 2015

[7] AES Assessment Workshop May 19 2016

[8] RU Budget Instructions

[9] RU Budget Template Sample

[10] Reinhardt University Divisional Strategy Maps

[11] Reinhardt University Strategic Objectives

[12] Example of Alignment of Unit Objectives with RU and Division Objectives