B5: Enhance program assessment for all University divisions and academic and co-curricular programs

Periodic program reviews are a helpful mechanism to ensure the health of all academic and cocurricular programs. Such reviews require programs to define their goals and provide evidence of their success. The involvement of an independent reviewer, whether from outside or inside the University, will provide a broader context for the self-review as well as support for resources needed by a disciplinary or interdisciplinary program. In addition to the written reports submitted annually, we will allocate additional resources to conduct periodic in-depth reviews on an appropriate cycle to ensure that all programs are evaluated regularly under these enhanced guidelines. Our intention is to incorporate the results from such reviews in future decision making.

Since the adoption of the Trinity Tomorrow Strategic Plan, the University has taken steps to enhance program assessment and review. The following steps were taken during the 2017 – 2018 academic year:

  • All of Trinity’s academic programs underwent a concerted effort to identify student learning outcomes as part of the University’s ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). As a result, the University’s program goals have never been more robust and we are well positioned to collect, review, and incorporate data into future decision-making toward our goal of continual improvement.
  • In January 2018, Dr. Deneese Jones, Vice President for Academic Affairs, presented a proposal for program reviews to Department Chairs for their consideration and feedback. She is currently working with Chairs to formalize this process and develop a program review calendar.
  • The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Student Life devised and carried out an internal process to review the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success, the Center for International Engagement, and the Student Success Center. As part of this process, Trinity engaged external consultants from the Stamats Group to help Center Directors develop Business Plans to guide the future planning and resource requests. Lessons from this pilot process will inform future program reviews for academic departments and programs.
  • The University has appointed Kara Larkan-Skinner, Ed.D., to the new role of Executive Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. This redefined position will help the university develop a process for conducting program reviews.

AVP Mike Soto speaks with faculty

Program Review Launches in Fall 2019

Academic Affairs prepares departments and programs for data-driven self-study, external reviews

Periodic academic program review provides several benefits to a University: By taking stock of a program and planning for the future, departments and interdisciplinary programs are better positioned to set collective priorities and develop action plans that ensure student success. So, in spring 2019, Academic Affairs appointed a task force to develop guidelines for departments and interdisciplinary program assessment. 

Working with the support of the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, the University will implement a program review cycle in Fall 2019. The task force determined that program reviews will:

  • include a data-driven self-study, including information about departmental personnel, curriculum, students, facilities, budget and equipment; 
  • incorporate the perspectives of two external reviews from a comparable institution; and
  • enable a department or program to summarize the results of the review and action steps for the future.

By implementing this important process and ensuring that all academic departments and interdisciplinary majors are reviewed once every five years, Trinity University stands to benefit considerably. “By welcoming the fresh perspectives of external reviewers, Trinity’s excellent academic programs will be better able to identify their strengths and to remain ready to face future challenges,” says Deneese L. Jones, vice president for Academic Affairs. “We only stand to get better.”