The team suggested that we need “to reaffirm the contributions of the staff at all levels” and help them feel informed about the decisions that affect their lives. Communication between the college's central administrators and other on-campus constituencies has increased with the new administration via a daily electronic newsletter ( AND ... Augustana News Daily ) and the Faculty Newsletter. Other initiatives include perfect attendance awards, employee appreciation days and the annual Jaeke Awards for achievements within each employee group. The administration surveyed hourly staff in January 2006 to gather input on its general concerns and preferences with respect to benefits and other matters. The president has incorporated the professional staff in college planning, and staff members now receive time off during the day to attend presidential briefings, forums and question sessions.
The visiting team was concerned that “the assessment plan and its implementation are not up to the high standards of the rest of the institution.” They highlighted concerns in three areas (the role of the Assessment Review Committee (ARC), assessment of general education, and departmental assessment plans) and required a progress report on implementation of the assessment plan. The college acted immediately to respond and the implementation report submitted in 1998 was favorably received by the NCA. The ARC has met regularly to plan assessment activities and to review departmental reports. Continued general education outcomes assessment has been instrumental in shaping the new AGES curriculum. The Augustana Learning Initiative (ALI) will deepen our understanding of student achievement, as will our efforts to assess the value-added by liberal education with a consortium of six liberal arts colleges funded by the Teagle Foundation. All departments have ongoing assessment programs, and have collected data related to their effectiveness.
With respect to assessment the visiting team's suggested that we consider implementing "periodic reviews (five to seven year intervals) of all academic departments”. Beginning in 1997 departments were required to justify, in writing, all staffing changes in terms of the college and departmental mission and assessment plans. The college is committted to full formal reviews of every academic program on a regular rotation beginning with two of our largest departments (business administration and education) in 2005-06. The review process entails a self study by the department and substantial outside review. The first round of reviews will be complete by 2012, at which time a second generation will commence.
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