Assessment and the University Mission
Assessment of university programs, whether in academics or student affairs, is intended to assure that the institution appropriately mobilizes its resources to carry out its mission and core themes. This requires several things: a university-wide understanding of the mission of the institution, clear objectives intentionally designed to accomplish that mission, effective means of assessing the degree to which the university’s programs achieve those objectives, and the university’s commitment to the changes and reforms required by that assessment. The more clearly the university identifies the alignment between the mission and the efforts to measure its own success in carrying out that mission, the more effective that institution can be in preparing leaders that can meet the needs of their community, region, nation, and the world.
Assessment, according to Linda Suskie, is “the ongoing process of establishing clear,
measurable expected outcomes of student learning; ensuring that students have sufficient
opportunities to achieve those outcomes; systematic gathering, analyzing, and interpreting
evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations; [and] using
the resulting information to understand and improve student learning.”
Suskie, Linda, Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide, 2nd edition (San Francisco, Jossy-Bass, 2009, p. 4)
For information on how assessment is conducted for academic programs, the Assessment Cycle provides a blueprint. A number of Assessment Resources are available for additional information and tools to use. Frequently Asked Questions are offered for further insight.