Institutional Effectiveness

Introduction

The College of Coastal Georgia is committed to ongoing, integrated and institution-wide planning and evaluation and is implementing assessment systems to ensure outstanding performance, especially in the areas of General Education, Educational Programs, Support Services, and Academic Schools. The College is formulating a continuous improvement process designed to increase its overall institutional effectiveness – from the development of baccalaureate degree programs, to the hiring of new faculty, to the establishment of new procedures of assessment and strategic planning.

Institutional effectiveness at the College is defined as the integrated, systematic, explicit, and documented processes of measuring performance against the College mission for purposes of continuous improvement of academic programs, administrative services, and educational services offered by the College.

General Education Learning Outcomes Assessment

The College of Coastal Georgia has designed its curriculum to provide both a traditional liberal arts foundation and preparation for successful transition into either the upper level courses of its baccalaureate programs or to transfer to another baccalaureate degree granting institution. The College has a substantial general education core.

CCGA adheres to the new guidelines and policies set forth by the USG regarding core curriculum courses required for all students. In brief, six areas (A-F) are designated in which each student must take a requisite number of hours to graduate or transfer from the CCGA – see Table 1. The rationale for the areas encompasses a broad academic base on which to build major specific courses.

Every USG institution is required to have a core curriculum of precisely 42 semester hours and an Area F of precisely 18 hours. All students must meet the core requirements of the institutions from which they receive their degrees.

Table 1: USG Areas A-F
Area Area Name Description Hours Required
A1 Communication Courses that address learning outcomes in writing in English 6 hours
A2 Quantitative Courses that address learning outcomes in quantitative reasoning 3 hours
B Institutional Options Courses that address general education learning outcomes of the institution’s choosing 4 hours
C Humanities, Fine Arts, and Ethics Courses that address learning outcomes in humanities, fine arts, and ethics 6 hours
D Natural Science, Mathematics, and Technology Courses that address learning outcomes in the natural sciences, mathematics, and technology 11 hours
E Social Sciences Courses that address learning outcomes in the social sciences 12 hours
F Lower-Division Major Requirements Lower division courses required by the degree program and courses that are prerequisites to major courses at higher levels 18 hours

For additional General Education Core Curriculum Information, click here.

Educational Programs

The College of Coastal Georgia has an ongoing review process based on learning outcomes for all baccalaureate and career associate degree programs. Outcomes specific to educational programs are identified through both internal and external institutional effectiveness processes.

For baccalaureate degree programs, the College engages in a biennial planning and evaluation process, utilizing one full year to gather and evaluate assessment data and another full year to write the assessment plan and, with input from departmental faculty, make recommendations for improvements in student learning and teaching effectiveness. This assessment process is especially beneficial given the infancy of the baccalaureate degree programs.

All career associate degrees hold program-based accreditation. The specialized accreditation process for each of these programs – Clinical Laboratory Technology, Hospitality Management, Nursing, and Radiologic Science – requires faculty to gather and analyze program data to demonstrate achievement of educational program outcomes.

Additionally, internal assessments are performed by each area on an annual basis to assess the extent of outcome achievement and identify appropriate programmatic changes to curriculum, methodology, technology, or learning environment based on the findings.

Each assessment of student learning outcomes at the program level identifies (a) linkage between program and College mission, (b) intended student learning outcomes, (c) means of assessment and criteria for success, (d) summary of data collected, and (e) the use of results. Both baccalaureate and career associate degree programs organize their internal assessments on a standard educational program assessment template. The expected student learning outcomes for graduates apply to all students, regardless of classroom delivery method or program.


Support Services

Each administrative and educational support services unit creates an annual Unit Assessment Plan (UAP) to facilitate more meaningful and strategic evidence of institutional effectiveness in an effort to more tightly align the College's strategic goals (institutional expected outcomes ) with unit goals (expected outcomes at the level of programs and services).

The unit assessment plan is configured in a five-column rubric format. Each column is dedicated to a major component of the assessment process and is intended to assist units in documenting the outcomes assessment process and the development and analysis of the outcomes' assessment itself. More specifically, unit assessment plans follow this standardized format to ensure planning uniformity:

Column 1: Goals – list the unit's goals and describe how they contribute to building a strong and distinctive unit within the context of the College's expected outcomes, aligning unit goals with corresponding annual strategic goal(s)

Column 2: Outcomes – identify the student learning and/or administrative outcomes needed to carry out the unit's core services or functions effectively

Column 3: Measures – identify the evaluations and assessments to be used to verify progress toward goal/outcome objective attainment

Column 4: Findings – interpret the results and findings from evaluations and assessments and discuss the extent to which the unit's expected outcomes for its goals and plans have been achieved over the past year

Column 5: Action Plan – Use of Data – discuss the improvements that will be made in the quality and effectiveness of the unit that contribute to the College's advancement and success in achieving its expected outcomes

The academic year 2012-2013 schedule for unit assessment plans follows:
Columns to be Completed
Columns 1-3
Columns 4
Columns 5
Deadline
September 28, 2012
May 3, 2013
June 3, 2013
The OIE assists the College in the gathering and analysis of information in an effort to provide data that informs decision makers regarding assessment activities. Activities include the development and execution of web-based and/or paper surveys to faculty, staff and students. Additionally, an institutional Fact Book containing various charts of demographic data is also available to the College community.

The Committee on Institutional Effectiveness is charged with making recommendations for the evaluation of the research, planning and institutional effectiveness functions of the College and with studying, reviewing and making recommendations relating to the College's Mission and purpose statements and its long-range plan. This committee recommends measurable outcomes so that progress can be monitored and serves as a liaison with campus stakeholders for continuous assessment. As an advisory body, the committee recommends changes in College goals and/or priorities.

At the end of each academic year, all administrative and educational support units submit assessment plan updates to the OIE. Looking at goals from the previous year and the strategies used for their attainment, each unit focuses on an assessment of whether or not the goal was achieved and/or led to improvement, the impact of the improvement activity on the targeted goal or objective/outcome, and future implications based on the results of the improvement activity, possibly including changes in instruction, assessment, support and policies or a reaffirmation that current ones are best. This analysis and discussion closes the loop and provides a springboard for planning the activities for the next cycle.

This continuous assessment process enables each unit to evaluate its current and future goals and needs and plan strategies to better serve its students and clients. Continuous improvement builds on existing efforts and brings about meaningful change to ensure that student and client needs are being met.


Academic Schools

Much like administrative and educational support services unit plans, the four academic Schools develop annual assessment plans that are linked back to institutional strategic goals. This process ensures that planning and evaluation are occurring in an ongoing fashion and that the results are used to effect change. The mission of the College drives the strategic plan, which is supported by its academic schools and administrative and educational units.


Comprehensive Program Review

Complementing the centralized, continuous and institutional-wide unit-based assessment process are the periodic assessments of expected outcome of undergraduate programs. Each academic department must undergo a continuous cycle of comprehensive program reviews as mandated by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. These seven-year comprehensive reviews assess the strengths and weaknesses of academic degree programs based on a comprehensive set of quality and productivity indicators. Program review has been a powerful tool in assessing expected outcomes and academic decision making.

Additionally, a number of degree programs at the College are accredited by regional or national accrediting agencies. Each of these units is accountable to its accrediting board for an identified period. When that period elapses, those units must undergo performance reviews and evaluations to maintain accreditation. The College maintains a list of programs holding accredited status.

Please refer questions regarding assessment reviews to either Dr. Phil Mason or Dr. Jim Lynch.