This Week's Message
As usual, we have hit the ground running and already find ourselves well into the fall term. This week you'll find two short pieces from me (Mark Salisbury). First, in the next few paragraphs I'll review and update you on the HLC's Quality Initiative that we will be proposing in the next month or two. Second, in my column/blog (I suppose you could call it a "clog" or "blolumn"), I share some of what we can learn from the 2012 senior survey responses to our series of advising questions. As always, I hope this will spark a thought or two as you interact with your colleagues and students.
The HLC Quality Initiative is designed to get institutions in the habit of engaging in perpetual introspection, assessment, and ultimately, improvement. However, HLC explicitly says that it "is intended to allow institutions to take risks, aim high, and if so be it, learn from only partial success or even failure" (The Open Pathway for Reaffirmation of Accreditation, p. 10). In the first all-faculty meeting of the term, the faculty affirmed that advising would be the focus of our Quality Initiative during the next two and a half years given the compressed timeframe and pre and post assessment that this initiative will require. Thus, in the next month we will submit a proposal to the HLC that will outline the focus and nature of our effort. Upon their approval - sometime in the late fall or early winter months - we will officially commence to improve our efforts under this new HLC process.
We should begin by determining the best way to engage in a collaborative, inclusive process that is transparent and purposeful. While we are already convening an Advising Working Group this year, we would like to create a process that allows us to elicit a wide range of voices. Those voices will be important as we review the data that we have already collected. I would expect several chances to discuss these findings in the spring of 2013.
During the 2013-14 academic year, we need to identify and implement changes based upon our discussions as well as determine whether we need to craft additional mechanisms to assess our progress. Finally, we will need to examine our next set of data - gathered at the end of the 2013-14 academic year - and write a final report to be submitted to the HLC during the second half of the 2014-15 academic year.
This is a rough overview of our HLC Quality Initiative process between now and the time at which we must submit a final accreditation report in the spring of 2015. I would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, complaints, frustrations, epiphanies, and other degrees of cleverness related to advising as this project moves forward. Be sure to check out this week's Delicious Ambiguity post for our most recent senior survey findings on the way our students experience our current advising efforts.