Department and Program Assessment and Review

(revised from the "new" Faculty Handbook)

Each academic department, academic program, and special program of the College has developed a plan for the academic assessment of students. Quasi-departmental agencies responsible for collegiate center and learning domain requirements and the library also participate. The assessment of student academic achievement by departments is an integral part of a larger system of departmental and program evaluations. Student assessment is an annual activity in each department, oriented toward gathering outcomes data to be used with other information in the department’s self-evaluation that is to occur once in every seven-year cycle. Each plan is on file in the assessment program file in the academic affairs office. Each is structured in accord with the principles stated below.

Assessment instruments

Every academic department assesses the academic achievements of students through some combination of the following means:

  • graded course examinations;
  • required papers;
  • research projects;
  • juried recitals or performances;
  • Senior Seminars;
  • presentation of papers or projects at state, regional, or national meetings;
  • Capstone Experiences and Comprehensive examinations;
  • laboratory and fieldwork experiences;
  • internships;
  • student evaluations.

The use and weighting of each of these elements vary from department to department according to the nature of the disciplines. However, the Committee on Faculty monitors every department plan for consistency with campus-wide practices and for the assurance of multiple measures of student performance. Solitary reliance upon graded course examinations or projects and upon internally generated comprehensive examinations is not acceptable. External review of examinations, assignments, syllabi, and overall curricular structure and offerings by consultants from similar institutions will be typical components of departmental assessment plans. Every department will also have available to it the GRE scores of its majors and the record, as compiled by the Office of Career Development, of its majors in securing placement in graduate school and employment.

The Statement of Purpose

The assessment of student academic achievement reflects and is governed by this statement, and it is cited here as the basis for the assessment of the College's success in educating students. To the degree that the graduate has realized this statement, the College has attained success. Measurements of the degree of such success will be used, through systematic procedures and policies stated below, in the continual improvement of the College's programs.

Hendrix College, a private, undergraduate institution of the liberal arts related to the United Methodist Church, offers distinguished academic programs in a residential, coeducational setting. As a collegiate community, Hendrix is dedicated to the cultivation of whole persons through the transmission of knowledge, the refinement of intellect, the development of character, and the encouragement of a concern for worthy values. In these ways Hendrix prepares its graduates for lives of service and fulfillment in their communities and the world.

Toward the accomplishment of this purpose, the College offers curricular and co-curricular programs affording students the opportunity

  • To investigate and appreciate the richly diverse cultural, intellectual, and linguistic traditions shaping the contemporary world;
  • To examine critically and understand the intellectual traditions woven into the history of Western thought;
  • To develop skill and effectiveness in the use of language, the analysis of information, and the communication of knowledge;
  • To explore and connect the content and methods of the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences;
  • To participate in depth in a specific field of study, acquiring a body of knowledge appropriate to that discipline, putting to use its methods for the discovery of new knowledge, appreciating its historical development, and grasping its implications for the broader culture.

Hendrix thereby intends to cultivate among students:

  • Enduring intellectual curiosity and love of knowledge; aesthetic sensibilities and delight in beauty;
  • Powers of ethical deliberation and empathy for others; discernment of the social, spiritual, and ecological needs of our time;
  • A sense of responsibility for leadership and service in response to those needs; and
  • Recreational dispositions complementing a full flourishing of the human potential.

Assessment Content

Departmental and program assessment plans are conceptually connected to the aims in the Statement of Purpose in the following way. Each department and program is responsible for determining (where applicable) its role in satisfying aim #5: the development of knowledge in the major field of study. Departmental minors will also be assessed in a similar way. The department's success in providing students the means of satisfying aim #5 is to be construed as a primary criterion in its self-evaluation. Second, each department (where applicable) is responsible for evaluating its success in providing the means for students to meet aims #1 - #4 as they relate to the College's Collegiate Center, Learning Domain, and Capacities curricular requirements. Further, every department is responsible for addressing aims #6 - #9, all of which relate directly to the College's broad aims as a liberal arts institution. This requirement pertains to all agencies of the College, whether academic departments or not, in their self-evaluations.

Report on Self-Evaluation

Each department and program will conduct a self-evaluation once every seven years. The Provost, in consultation with the Committee on Faculty, will set the schedule for self-evaluation and initiate the process annually with the selected departments and programs. The report has three parts: an initial self-evaluation narrative, a consultant’s report and response, and a departmental final response. The final full report comprising all three parts is given to the Committee on Faculty and is kept on file in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Narrative

The initial self-evaluation narrative should describe the following:

  • The character of the discipline and the place of its content and methodology in liberal arts study;
  • The character of the department and its approach to the presentation of the discipline at Hendrix;
  • The aims of the department for the general student and the major;
  • Offerings and the typical path or paths of study for the general student and the major, and the connection between departmental aims and offerings;
  • Typical teaching and learning activities in and out of the classroom, and the connection between departmental aims and these activities;
  • The connection between the program, and the mission of the College with respect to liberal learning;
  • A commentary on the role of the department in implementing the Aims of Hendrix College;
  • The outcomes of the program, together with supporting documentation specifying the methods used to reach conclusions about these outcomes;
  • A description of and commentary on the human, budgetary, and other resources available to the department;
  • The results of the department's self-evaluation and the plans for addressing problems or needs that have been identified.

A subsequent self-evaluation narrative should describe the following:

  • Updated information from the previous self-evaluation narrative highlighting any changes in the goals, character, approach, staffing, funding, and offerings of the department or program.
  • Discussion of the resolution or continuance of any issues raised in the previous evaluation.
  • Evaluation of and recommended revisions to the student learning assessment plan including plans for integrating assessment into the planning progress.

Consultant’s Report

The report of the department’s external consultant should contain an evaluation of the material included in the self-evaluation narrative and a verification of the narrative in light of the site visit, together with recommendations and suggestions for improvement. The report should also contain a specific evaluation of the student learning assessment plan.

Departmental Response

The response by the department to the consultant’s report should address the consultant’s recommendations and suggestions. The department should state the results of the department’s self-evaluation and the plans for addressing problems or needs that have been identified. This should include an articulation of the goals for program enhancements and strategies to achieve them over the next seven years. The response should also contain a copy of the final version of the student learning assessment plan.

Hendrix College Statement of Purpose

Hendrix College, a private, undergraduate institution of the liberal arts related to the United Methodist Church, offers distinguished academic programs in a residential, coeducational setting. As a collegiate community, Hendrix is dedicated to the cultivation of whole persons through the transmission of knowledge, the refinement of intellect, the development of character, and the encouragement of a concern for worthy values. In these ways Hendrix prepares its graduates for lives of service and fulfillment in their communities and the world.

Toward the accomplishment of this purpose, the College offers curricular and co-curricular programs affording students the opportunity

  • to investigate and appreciate the richly diverse cultural, intellectual, and linguistic traditions shaping the contemporary world;
  • to examine critically and understand the intellectual traditions woven into the history of Western thought;
  • to develop skill and effectiveness in the use of language, the analysis of information, and the communication of knowledge;
  • to explore and connect the content and methods of the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences;
  • to participate in depth in a specific field of study, acquiring a body of knowledge appropriate to that discipline, putting to use its methods for the discovery of new knowledge, appreciating its historical development, and grasping its implications for the broader culture.

Hendrix thereby intends to cultivate among students:

  • enduring intellectual curiosity and love of knowledge;
  • aesthetic sensibilities and delight in beauty;
  • powers of ethical deliberation and empathy for others;
  • discernment of the social, spiritual, and ecological needs of our time;
  • a sense of responsibility for leadership and service in response to those needs; and
  • recreational dispositions complementing a full flourishing of the human potential.