Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Evaluating the Processes and Procedures Used in the Assessment of Learning and Continuous Improvement in an AACSB Environment

Systematically implementing and maintaining outcomes assessment and continuous improvement processes in post-secondary academic programs is a challenging task. Since the mid-1980s, public policy and accreditation body demands for assessing the effectiveness of higher education have grown steadily. Regional and specialized accrediting organizations have moved from examining solely the quality and quantity of academic inputs, to demanding evidence of both processes to assess and improve the learning experience, and proof of the quality of student learning. The principal focus has shifted to the assuring of the continuous improvement of the learning experience. Supporting this trend is a growing number of States, which have used outcomes assessment programs to evaluate state-supported institutions of higher education. Whether faced with loss of public finding or contemplating a loss of public support and reputation as a result of failure to obtain or maintain accreditation, institutions of higher education are seriously engaged in outcomes assessment and continuous improvement activities. Regional and specialized accreditation requirements for accountability play a significant role in program evaluation and outcomes assessment. AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, requires each business school to articulate a mission suited to its environment and stakeholders and to create continuous improvement processes to ensure its attainment (AACSB, 1994) linked to assurance of learning standards (AACSB, 2003). Perceived as the next step, the assurance of learning standards dictates that a program develops learning goals that are derived from or consistent with the school's mission. AACSB is an international organization, therefore, the requirements for the assuring of learning process is a global educational issue. This paper will document and analyze the development and implementation of processes at Rowan University William G. Rohrer College of Business within the context of the requirements and initiatives of AACSB and regional accrediting groups. The William G. Rohrer College holds specialized accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) and the regional accreditation of Middle States Commission of Higher Education and has developed an academic program review process for outcomes assessment and continuous improvement utilizing qualitative and quantitative data. The study includes a qualitative review for the COB program review process and accreditation standards. The collection of survey and focus group data from questions distributed to the stakeholders of the process who included faculty, administrators, advisory boards, and students. The survey, focus group, and document review findings led to a number of recommendations for refining and improving the COB academic program review process. The recommendations include addressing specific assessment instruments and investigating means by which to further engage all the stakeholders in the process.