Feedback from Academic
Conference Discussion Groups
Discussion Session E: Task
Following is a compilation of all feedback
received through the discussion groups at the Academic Conference
during Session E, Task Force #3. This is a summary of comments
received from nearly twenty separate groups, so there are some
inconsistencies and contradictions, particularly in "tone"
or "voice". The comments have been grouped by topic
since many groups discussed different issues than the questions
posed to them.
Some overall themes/concerns:
- Concern about a "top down"
system and distrust of many proposals
- Concern about workload, and many comments
about the unfairness of PSSI's/ pay for performance
- Many concerns that assessment instruments
would drive the curriculum, or that some would merely "teach
to the test."
- Some concerns about particular words
or phrases used that seemed too market-oriented or value-laden.
- The idea of report cards is useful-can
have positive and negative consequences.
- Danger is in that report cards lead to
simplistic way of looking at things. It should be a means to an
end. We must know what the outcomes are. There must be rewards
and not just punishment,
- Communication has been a problem. We need
to be open and accountable. Report cards may be a starting point
in addressing this problem.
- Sometimes resources are taken from one
college and put into another to reward enrollment. Report cards
could be misused and some departments could wither away.
- Each campus should have clearly defined
outcomes and present a portfolio on what they do.
- Report cards can help explain what we are
doing, and help with public relations.
- We don't have a set of rules that say how
resources should be allocated. Same problem with PSSI's. We don't
trust the administration and the legislature with this information.
- All report cards should be public at all
levels, including for the Chancellor.
- We must know who the report cards are for
and what their purpose is.
- While targeting report cards for constituents
is important, sometimes they may want the "wrong" information.
Example: legislators may only be interested in FTES.
- The importance of making sure the public
supports the CSU was stressed.
- There should be systemwide guidelines for
what to report to the legislature from the Chancellor/system,
but each campus should decide what to include in the detailed
report to the public.
- Information submitted to the public should
not be the information upon which resource allocation is based.
- Report cards can give us the freedom to
put out the kind of information we want to put out.
- Report cards could have significant resource
- How do you explain to the public that a
professor teaches two days a week?
- There is a fear that report cards simplify
what we do.
- Provision must be made for workload acknowledgment
- Campuses appropriately use a variety of
assessment mechanisms (portfolios, tests, interviews)
- There are costs associated with updating
self-instructional materials and assessment instruments.
- The fit with administrative and student
support services may be awkward.
- If we give faculty the same workload credit
for assessed learning as we do for "taught" learning,
we will have a public relations problem.
- Appeal of assessment decisions could become
very time-consuming and costly.
- The feasibility of assessment strategies
may differ by discipline.
- Some expressed the view that a program
should be so many units of value added instead of achieving
a fixed standard.
- Some centralization of the mechanisms for
awarding credit may be considered.
- Should there be special charges for assessing
out of a course?
- We have been assessing all along. This
is a significant part of our jobs as educators.
Assessment Instruments/ measures
of learning outcomes
- Student outcomes measures should have multiple
indicators at various benchmarks, i.e. linking connections among
the curriculum: writing requirement in each course.
- Link assessment to the reasons why we assess
(for feedback to the program, for institutional accreditation,
for public relations)
- Cogently tie assessment measures to resources
- Identify workforce/employer needs to design
some assessment indicators
- There is a need for specific objectives
- Not everything can be assessed
- Some outcomes measures could be: grades,
standardized tests, portfolio, student self-assessment, discipline
originated measures, exit interviews, state regulated competencies
- Faculty self-assessment is also important
(PSSI's are unfair and divisive)
- The difference between the imposition
of assessment and the creation of assessment was discussed.
- There was a concern expressed about the
perceived attempts to have learning organized into discrete modules
through which students could self-pace without class participation
in order to save time and get more students through the system
- When to assess: unable to complete discussion
but some indication that multiple points of assessing student
proficiencies is needed.
- Need for benchmarks across campuses within
disciplines in order to be fair to students.
- Students react positively when expectations
Competency-Based Admission Requirements
- One group expressed strong support for
a competency based admission requirement (such as the Golden State
- Any competency-based admissions "exam"
should include an essay, open-ended questions, demonstrated writing
skills, a variety of questions, etc. It should be comprehensive
- The CSU must help K-12 to prepare students
effectively to pass the exam through outreach programs and joint
work with faculty from both segments. It is important that they
do not just "teach to the test."
- Strong support for the idea that the CCC
should be doing the majority of remedial preparation, not the
- Another group had concerns about the effect
of competency-based admissions on access, particularly for underserved
communities. This could lead to further stratification of society,
with the community colleges doing the "real" work of
- There appears to be a contradiction in
the support for decentralization and the support for centralized,
Specialized and Regional Accreditation
- Specialized accreditation is necessary
for many of our academic programs, and when they are sought they
should be built into the regional accreditation process
- General agreement that the evaluative process
should be more mission driven where outcome assessment is an integral
and significant part of the process.
- There was some concern about over-emphasis
on outcomes sliding into "the ends justify the means"
- WASC does/should play a significant role
in providing a check and balance to our internal evaluations,
and providing public assurance about quality.
- General support for the recommendations
in the task force report on academic audits and using outcomes
- Program review can be valuable to departments,
universities, and the system.
- Reviews need to be external. They need
to be carefully selected
- Can be an excellent opportunity for self-assessment,
goal-setting, reaching consensus on definitions of quality or
- Follow-up is absolutely necessary. This
may include understandings with deans or VP's, review by Academic
Senate Committees, and tied to resources which reward successful
ones and nurture those which need the additional assistance.
- Program reviews may be too frequent.
- The current program review process is not
very valuable because there are neither rewards nor punishments
for outcomes. Generally the group agreed that there needs to be
incentives for being honest if we want people to really use the
process to address problems.
- If programs are being assessed by outside
accreditation bodies they should not also be required to do program
review, or should be required to do only those aspects of program
review that augment what other reviews provide.
- Ongoing assessment is much more desirable
than periodic evaluation.
- Much of the data departments need or should
look at in doing a self-study should be routinely collected by
other support offices, but it is important for departments to
have input into surveys sent to these offices.
- There are important public relations reasons
not to share all weaknesses too broadly.
- Higher level administrators need to take
program review seriously or not require it.
- Program review tends to be too narrow and
not have the opportunity to determine if the department has enough
campus support services (physical plant, technology, etc.)
- Many campuses do not know how to do program
review and outcomes assessment in meaningful ways. They need training
- Annual reports should be linked to unit
and school. University strategic plans. These are more important
on-going assessments than program review.
- When faculty sit down to look at their
major curriculum we should encourage them to also look at GE and
how GE goals do or don't support major goals.
- Combine program review with outcomes assessment
for more and better information.
Relationship between Program Review
- Accountability can't be something else
to do. "Supplant not supplement" is a useful idea.
- The data collected for program review may
be used for the Accountability Report Cards
- There may be standardized tools (ETS program
self-study) that may help both program review and accountability.
However, such standardized tests must take into account socio-economic
- It must be remembered that the motivation
for program review, WASC and accountability are different. Program
review is designed for internal audiences with the goal of helping
a program develop and achieve excellence, even though a part of
it is self-promotion.
- The systemwide use of program review could
facilitate and promote the development of regional collaborative
endeavors. However, central administration shouldn't dictate such
efforts. Meetings of the chairs of departments across the system
could be helpful.
Assessment and Program Evaluation
- How do you determine who makes a difference
as a faculty members?
- There are many intangibles that are qualitative
rather than quantitative.
- We must assess the very long term effects
of teaching on our students
- The development of goals should occur on
the local level.
- All stakeholders (faculty, students, alumni,
employers) should have a role in developing goals.
- All courses may not have external goals
that are relevant.
Presidents/ MPP Evaluations
- All evaluation processes need to be better
explained to faculty.
- The criteria for evaluation processes need
to be objective, confidential, and fully explained to faculty.
- The president needs to respond to the faculty
in regard to the evaluation assessment.
- Campus constituents need to know what has
happened to their input.
- Increased "outcomes" assessment
with focus on "small things" as well as "big things."
- Evaluate the administration as well as
- Presidents and senior management team encouraged
to have annual evaluation outside the normal timeline of system
evaluation or what they have done for the year.
- COLA's should be equivalent for management
- Presidents and senior management team members
should develop annual and multi-year activity/development plans.
- Should be more of an emphasis on performance
criteria rather than on a perceived "popularity contest"
- One group was divided on the level of confidentiality
that should be granted to presidential/MPP evaluations. The need
to balance confidentiality with the constituency's "right
to know" was debated, but not resolved.
- Needs to be more of a focus on the whole
management team, not just the individual.
- It was suggested that PSSI logic for compensation
be applied to presidents and MPP
- Post-tenure review needs to be strengthened.
PTR should be based on a professional development plan/ work plan
created by the faculty members with consent of colleagues. Evaluation
by colleagues with possible "outsiders" to keep the
process honest should result in a reward from PSSI moneys for
successful accomplishment of plan.
- Majority in one group supports step increases
bonus approach. Consensus opposes current "PSSI by presidential
Demonstrating CSU's contributions
to the State
- Need for more effort put into fundraising
- We should communicate the community service
done by faculty and students.
- Advertise the number of government officials
who have CSU degrees
- Forgivable loads to undergraduates who
- Report the number of professionals educated
by CSU campuses
- Hire professionals to do public relations,
report cards, or fundraising. Don't require faculty to do it.
- Legislative days on campuses
- Campuses are reluctant to provide information
to the chancellor's office. A bottom-up approach would be best.
- Cultural contributions to the community
need to be emphasized.
- Use the Internet
- Advertise positions in academic societies
held by CSU faculty.
- Encourage the task force to show the relationship
between prison spending and educational spending. This will help
to show that spending is a choice.
- There is a belief that the Chancellor's
PSSI initiative will destroy our efforts to be prepared for Tidal
Wave II. PSSI's are divisive, and make more demands on