The University of California, Merced, has been awarded the 2012 Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes.
“The CHEA award affirms UC Merced’s mission as a student-centered research university by formally recognizing the exceptional commitment of faculty, administrators and staff to the shared goal of advancing our students’ academic success,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Keith Alley. “The concept of learning outcomes is embedded in the campus’ culture, and it’s an honor for UC Merced to receive this national recognition.”
Since the campus opened its doors in 2005, it has remained focused on establishing student learning outcomes across all undergraduate programs, along with annual assessment plans and an infrastructure to encourage and monitor periodic assessment.
In its application, UC Merced said it has benefited from the creation of a Senate-Administration Council on Assessment that oversees continuing attention to program assessment, including co-curricular and administrative programs. Program-based Faculty Assessment Organizers have led to evidence-based improvements in instruction.
Undergraduates participate in the assessment process through an innovative program ― Students Assessing Teaching and Learning. Additionally, graduate students are employed through a grant-funded program to conduct classroom or program assessment and disseminate results.
The CHEA Award was established in 2005 to recognize institutions that have been exceptional in developing and applying evidence of student learning outcomes to improve higher education quality and accountability. Rather than just providing a record of what students have been taught, student learning outcomes establish what students should be able to do as a result of instruction.
A committee selected from higher education institutions, accrediting organizations and the public judged the entries on the basis of four award criteria: articulation and evidence of outcomes; success with regard to outcomes; information to the public about outcomes; and use of outcomes for educational improvement.
CHEA received 47 applications for this year’s award and recognized UC Merced, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Rio Salado College in Arizona.
”The award committee was strongly impressed with the strength and creativity of the work of these institutions,” CHEA President Judith Eaton said. “They provide excellent examples of effective approaches to the use of student learning outcomes.”
The awards will be presented at the 2012 CHEA Annual Conference on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.