SACS Principles of Accreditation
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Section II: COC Core Requirement

2.5 The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that incorporate a systematic review of programs and services that

(a) results in continuing improvement and

(b) demonstrates that the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.



JUDGMENT OF COMPLIANCE

Partial Compliance.

NARRATIVE/JUSTIFICATION FOR JUDGMENT OF COMPLIANCE

Texas A&M International University engages in university-wide planning and evaluation processes that are integrated and continuous as well as based on the Institutional Mission.

A Strategic Plan Committee representative of all Texas A&M International University entities was appointed by the President.  This group developed the internal process and time line for completing the University's Agency Strategic Plan 2001-2005. The Strategic Plan Committee reviewed and prioritized the agency goals and the strategies and various measures. The process allowed all members of the University Community to review the document on the University web site.  Suggestions and comments were welcomed and incorporated, when appropriate.

The foundation of the Agency Strategic Plan 2001-2005 was The Texas A&M University System Integrative Plan, developed in consultation with all members of the System.  The Integrative Plan is intended to "focus planning efforts, guide decision making, and establish indicators for assessing the quality and direction" of the work of the System as a whole and the members in particular. 

The six azimuths included in the Integrative Plan have served as a guide for accomplishing the goals included in Agency Strategic Plan 2001-2005 and are in line with the Institutional Mission.  These are: (1) Foster collaboration among system institutions; (2) Provide educational access and excellence and nurture educational success; (3) Increase the value of our academic programs; (4) Increase the value of our scholarship and research; (5) Serve Texas and beyond: Anticipate and solve critical problems; and (6) Enhance acquisition of resources and maximize their effective use.

The Strategic Planning process serves to identify the goals and priorities which must be addressed to fulfill the Institutional Mission.  Continued support from the State of Texas, The Texas A&M University System and external funding sources enable the University to increase its role in teaching, research, and public service to benefit the people of South Texas and the State. Planning and evaluation initiatives currently underway at the University include revision of the Institutional Mission and the Agency Strategic Plan (FY 2006-2010).

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness was officially established as an independent department of the University in Fall 2000. Prior to implementation, institutional effectiveness had been a duty assigned to another department’s function. Unfortunately, because of tremendous change and growth of the University, there were not enough opportunities to dedicate a concerted effort to implementation of a uniform system of broad-based outcomes assessment for all programs and services.

With establishment of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, an inventory of all assessment procedures on campus was conducted. While the University was involved in a large number of assessment processes across campus, there was a wide discrepancy among departments in the amount and quality of assessment being conducted. A comprehensive, unified assessment program was implemented for all degree programs and administrative and educational support units. After the Office of Institutional Effectiveness researched and reviewed several assessment models, consultants were invited to campus to assist with training of faculty and staff and implementation of a uniform reporting system. A timeline for assessment implementation was prepared and presented to the University community. All University entities participated in the implementation process. (Assessment Implementation Plan Timeline)

In July 2002, the University Assessment Committee (UAC) was established and charged with reviewing the assessment plans, outcomes, and measurements of each program and department. The UAC assists the colleges/school and departments to initiate their plans and use the assessment process effectively. The UAC is composed of faculty and administrators representing all colleges/school and divisions of the institution. UAC Charter Members served from July 2002 to September 2003. Current members began their terms in September 2003. Membership is staggered and rotated on a two-year cycle to allow opportunities for other faculty and administrators to participate and learn about the assessment process. The UAC meets regularly during the fall and spring semesters and on an as-needed basis during the summer to review and discuss all issues pertinent to the University assessment process. (UAC Minutes)

At the beginning of the academic year, all academic departments meet and review their educational programs. Faculty members of each department lead the assessment efforts in their areas. In a similar fashion, all administrative and educational support units review and revise their assessment procedures. All assessment plans are in line with the institutional mission as well as the college/school and department unit mission.

The University, through the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, provides resources for assessment of programs. Resources are provided in a variety of formats such as: the purchase and processing of standardized exams and surveys; assistance with the cost of mailing and collection of departmental surveys and questionnaires; and the development and collection of locally developed surveys. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness works in conjunction with the research staff of the Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs to develop surveys and process the data for University departments.

Some of the major assessment initiatives for academic programs include the use of standardized examinations, such as:

Area Concentration Achievement Tests (ACAT)
Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP)
California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST)
Health Education Systems Incorporated Exit Exam (HESI)
Major Field Tests from Educational Testing Service (ETS)
National League for Nursing Mobility Profile II Exams (NLN)

NOTE: Results of these exams are used to quantify results in the academic Assessment Reports.

In addition, resources and services are provided to assist administrative and educational support units with nationally recognized as well as local surveys such as (Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Online Survey Summaries):

National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE)
ACT Student Opinion Survey
Finance and Administration Division Service Quality Survey
Graduating Student Survey
Locally Developed Department Surveys

Through the combined efforts of the UAC, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and all academic and department units, the University has established a comprehensive and continuous planning process. Each degree program and administrative and educational support unit evaluates its performance outcomes and uses those outcomes for continuous improvement.

Assessment of academic programs is conducted every semester with the results being used to improve the programs in the following semester. Examples of this process include:

  • In nursing, concern about the effect of changing national standards on pass rates for the nursing licensure examination (NCLEX-RN) resulted in nursing faculty raising the standard for passing on the HESI exit examination.
  • In psychology, the Senior Practicum (PSYC 4321) was modified to include five mini-workshops that address deficiencies in subject knowledge areas for the ACAT exam.
  • All undergraduate degree programs in the College of Education were reconfigured using the new Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES).
  • In response to lower than expected results on a graduate comprehensive examination given by the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, the courses in accounting ethics and taxation have been revised for content and coverage.

Each administrative and educational support unit conducts assessments on an annual basis with results used to improve services. Examples of this process include:

  • The Office of Human Resources implemented an automated time-keeping system for vacation and sick leave to alleviate the record-keeping burden on employees.
  • To improve accessibility and visibility of police officers, the University Police Department purchased patrol bikes and golf carts to promote access in all areas of the campus.
  • In response to high demand for library orientation and training in the use of databases, the Texas A&M International University Killam Library instituted and published a schedule of orientation sessions at the start of each semester.

All academic, administrative and educational support unit assessment reports may be found on the Office of Institutional Effectiveness web page. (Assessment Reports)

Establishing the current mode of uniform assessment has been challenging, and although it is uneven in some areas, the strong support of the University community and the education and training provided by the UAC and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, provide for a steadily maturing, collegial process.

Plans for Compliance
The University’s planning and evaluation processes are constantly undergoing change, in keeping with a rapidly growing institution, an increasing number of degree programs, and administrative reorganizations. Due to growth, both in student enrollment and in facilities, each semester has presented a different designation of academic and administrative departments. For this reason, assessment documents may have the name of a department represented differently from one semester to the next. The University expects this pattern of continued growth and expansion to continue.

Although the evaluation reports of programs and departments indicate a sincere effort at establishing and maintaining an evaluation and program improvement plan, University faculty and staff are just now becoming familiar and comfortable with the process. The broad representation on the University Assessment Committee has been integral in the transition from resistance to active participation. However, in many instances the application of evaluation results to effect change is still not fully implemented.

At present, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness is researching the implementation of a web-based assessment reporting system that will allow for enhanced accessibility and make the process more user-friendly. A pilot program will be established for Spring 2005.





SUPPORT DOCUMENTATION


SOURCE

LOCATION/Special Instructions

Institutional Mission http://www.tamiu.edu/general.shtml#mission

Agency Strategic Plan 2001-2005

http://www.tamiu.edu/strategic_plan.pdf Adobe Acrobat File

Strategic Plan Committee http://www.tamiu.edu/archives/StrategicPlanCommittee2000.pdf Adobe Acrobat File
The Texas A&M University System Integrative Plan http://tamusystem.tamu.edu/documents/pdfs/intplan/
integrativeplan.pdf
Adobe Acrobat File
Office of Institutional Effectiveness http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ie/
Assessment Implementation Plan Timeline http://www.tamiu.edu/archives/assessmenttimeline.pdf Adobe Acrobat File
University Assessment Committee, Charter Members http://www.tamiu.edu/archives/uac-2002.pdf Adobe Acrobat File
University Assessment Committee, Current Members http://www.tamiu.edu/archives/uac-2003.pdf Adobe Acrobat File
University Assessment Committee, Meeting Minutes http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ie/uac/ Adobe Acrobat File
Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/avpaa/
Assessment Reports http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ie/assessment.shtml
Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Online Survey Summaries http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ie/surveys.shtml


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