Subject: DEVELOPMENT, MAINTENANCE & ASSESSMENT OF COURSES/PROGRAMS
THE DEVELOPMENT, MAINTENANCE, AND ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL COURSES AND PROGRAMS
Two educational principles are important to Amberton University: (1) the institution seeks to develop educational courses and programs that are relevant, that have clear educational objectives, and that are sufficiently explicit to be assessable; and (2) the institution seeks to be reasonably sure that individuals who complete courses or programs have adequate competency in the discipline taught. Thus, in order to assure quality in its educational offerings and to maintain a stability that can be assessed, the institution has initiated a systematic development and control program.
The faculty of Amberton University has the responsibility for establishing, reviewing, and assessing the curriculum of the University. New programs will require the approval of the Administrative Council and, perhaps, based upon the significance of the program, Board of Trustees approval and approval from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. However, no academic program may be introduced without the direct input and approval of the Amberton University faculty.
DEVELOPMENT PROCEDURES FOR NEW COURSES OR PROGRAMS
I. Before a new course or degree program is introduced by Amberton University, it must be demonstrated that the course or degree:
A. has clear educational objectives that are sufficiently explicit to be assessable and would be acceptable if independently examined by recognized professionals.
B. applies performance criteria that, when met, reasonably assure that individuals who complete the course or program have adequate competency in the area for which they have been trained.
C. The new course/program should include a reasonable infusion of technology that enables students to implement contemporary technology skills into everyday life.
II. Major criteria to be considered in planning a new degree.
A. Is the program consistent with institutional strengths, role, and purpose?
B. Has the need for the program been demonstrated?
C. Is there an adequate pool of students to justify the program?
D. Have the additional needs and costs for faculty, facilities, equipment, and library resources required to achieve or maintain quality been determined?
E. Are the available resources adequate for developing and maintaining the program without depriving existing programs of needed support?
F. Do existing programs have the quality to provide an adequate base for development of an advanced level program?
G. Has the relationship of the program to existing ones in the institution been fully explored?
H. Is there an adequate faculty of sufficient scholarly stature and experience available?
I. Are the admissions policies clear and appropriate to the program?
J. Are adequate funds available for the support of graduate students?
K. Does the administrative structure provide for coordination or direction of the graduate program with the assistance of a faculty committee or council?
L. Has the curriculum been carefully developed in reference to the specific goals and learning outcomes of the program?
M. Have adequate assessment measures been identified to assure graduates have/will attained the learning outcomes?
N. Are the opportunities for research, field experience, or internship adequate in quality and number?
O. Does the program have sufficient structure to assure its distinctive character, while remaining sufficiently flexible to meet the particular needs of individuals with varying goals and backgrounds?
P. Is the program generally consonant with standards and models existing in other institutions of quality? Is the rationale for innovative patterns clear, and are provisions for evaluation included in the plan?
III. New course development procedures.
A. Major criteria to be considered in planning a new course.
1. Is the course consistent with institutional strengths, role, and purpose?
2. Has the need for the course been justified?
3. Are the available resources adequate for developing the course?
4. Has the relationship of the course to existing ones in the institution been found compatible?
5. Is there available and adequate faculty of sufficient scholarly stature and experience to teach the course?
6. Has the curriculum been carefully developed in reference to the specific objectives of the course?
B. Minimum information required for proposing a new course.
1. A list of the major competencies to be learned.
2. A course outline must be developed.
3. A course bibliography, including required reference materials, periodicals, shelf-books, and online resources that are currently available or should be available in the Amberton University library; other suggested outside readings; and text (if required).
4. Justification for the course must be made (follow the outline provided in New Course Development Procedures).
C. Procedures for introducing a new course.
1. Faculty developing the new course must submit the proposal to the appropriate academic division coordinator(s).
2. The division coordinator(s) convene a faculty committee comprised of the faculty who have direct oversight of the degree(s) impacted by the new course and any faculty academically qualified to teach the course. This committee must review the proposal and determine whether to recommend the offering to the division coordinator(s) as "experimental."
3. Upon action by the faculty committee, the division coordinator(s) submit the proposal to the Chief Academic Officer along with the faculty committee’s recommendation to offer the course.
4. Upon approval from the President, the Chief Academic Officer may then offer the course as “experimental.” However, within one year of its introduction, the course must be presented to the Faculty Council for review and final consideration.
COURSE MASTER FILE
Once a course has been approved by the Faculty Council, the Chief Academic Officer will maintain a Course Master File. The Course Master File will be reviewed by an instructor prior to the course being taught, and the instructor will update the Course Master File with all handouts, outlines, tests, projects, bibliographies, etc., he/she provided to students while teaching the course. The Course Master File will include the following items:
I. Major course competencies (clearly identified objectives or bodies of knowledge to be earned by the student).
II. Course outlines, study guides, and all support materials for each time the course was taught.
III. Bibliographies covering each time the course was taught.
IV. Tests/projects required of students each time the course was taught.
V. Special handouts provided to students each time the course was taught.
VI. Any assessment instruments used (rubrics, etc.) each time the course was taught.
At least once every five years (more often if course evaluations merit) the Faculty Council will re-evaluate each course by reviewing major course competencies, course outlines, bibliographies, tests, etc., to determine the relevance and quality of the course. Consideration will be given both to student evaluations of the course each time it was offered and graduate evaluations of programs. All evaluations will be directed toward upgrading the course and/or determining whether or not the course should be continued.
Once the competencies for a course have been defined, the University will select the most qualified individual available at the institution to teach the course.
ASSESSING TEACHING, COURSES, AND PROGRAMS
I. Assessing Teaching
A. Specific Assessment: Prior to the conclusion of each session, students will be asked to assess the teaching capability of the instructor. The information, provided anonymously by students, will be placed in a computer data base that will allow a longitudinal study of the specific instructor relative to every course taught.
B. General Assessment: During each session, graduating students will complete a questionnaire which focuses on specific questions relative to the overall teaching performance of the institution, adequacy of library resources, and university services. Results will be tabulated and placed in a computerized data base for longitudinal studies.
II. Assessing Courses and Programs
A. Specific Assessment: Prior to the conclusion of each session, anonymous student evaluations concerning course relevance and quality of course competencies will be tabulated and stored in computer based data systems. The information will allow the institution to have longitudinal studies relative to the quality of courses as viewed by students.
B. General Assessment: During each session, students graduating from the institution will be asked to evaluate the quality of programs, and the information will be computerized into a data base system for longitudinal studies.