Assessment of Student Learning



Advising

SPRING, 2000

 

Phase I.

Unit Mission/Goal(s)

Please state your unit’s mission/goal(s):

The Advising Office manages the advising system. UMM advising policy, approved by the Campus Assembly in 1980, places the responsibility for advising with faculty advisers in the disciplines. The Advising Office assigns advisees, prepares and distributes advising folders, and provides relevant advising information to students and faculty. Advising staff are responsible for determining summer registration advising groups and for providing advising materials. At the beginning of winter and spring quarters, the Advising Office and Scholastic Committee cooperate in notifying individual students of their academic progress status.

Please describe how your unit mission/goal(s) relate to the institutional mission

The UMM Bulletin states, "Academic advising by faculty is considered an integral part of UMM’s central mission." UMM’s undergraduate program prides itself on the special relationship possible between students and faculty. The advising relationship personalizes our mission.

 

Student Learning Objectives/Expected Outcomes

Learning Objective 1.

To manage the system that places students with advisers and makes changes in adviser assignments (this includes temporary advising assignments during summer registration)

Expected Outcome 1.

Information about adviser loads will be shared with the college administration.

 

Learning Objective 2.

To maintain quarterly contact with students about their advising assignments

Expected Outcome 2.

All UMM students will be placed with advisers and informed of their responsibilities.

Learning Objective 3.

To provide students with academic information to enable them to monitor their progress

Expected Outcome 3.

Students well be given the materials they need to determine whether they are in good academic standing.

Learning Objective 4.

To familiarize faculty with their responsibilities as advisers through information sessions and individual contact

Expected Outcome 4.

Learning Objective 5.

To routinely provide faculty with materials, such as advising folders, lists of current advisees, advisees’ transcripts, and notices of advisees in academic difficulty, so that they can effectively carry out their advising roles

Expected Outcome 5.

Faculty will be given, on a regular basis, the materials they need in order to carry out their advising roles.

Learning Objective 6.

Short term objective: To provide students and faculty with advising information about the move to semesters

Expected Outcome 6.

Short term: Students and faculty will have the academic information they need to make course choices during the change to semesters.

Assessment Methods & Tools

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 1.

Internal studies of the accuracy of the tracking of adviser assignments

Outcome 1

Starting Date for the Implementation:

Quarterly

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

Quarterly - The move to semesters has impacted Advising staff ability to generate quarterly reports. Entering data is much more labor-intensive, because each entry must be made into four systems.

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 2.

Alumni follow-up surveys, which provide retrospective insight into graduates’ advising experiences

Outcome 2

Starting Date for the Implementation:

2000, 2004, 2008, etc.

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

2000, 2004, 2008, etc.

 

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 3.

Proposed: Selective interviews with incoming and experienced advisers about the strengths and weaknesses of the current advising program with their suggestions for improvement

Outcome 3

Starting Date for the Implementation:

1997-98

Focus interviews with senior faculty were held on March 3 and with less experienced advisors on February 25, 1999. Interviews were held with the Minority Student Program staff in mid April.

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

2000

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 4.

Proposed: Selective interviews with enrolled students, including those who have not chosen a major, as a basis for developing a qualitative evaluation tool to assess the advising experience

Outcome 4

Starting Date for the Implementation:

1997-99

Focus interview with freshmen and some upper class students were held on April 13, 18, & 20, 1999. Comments from all groups were woven into the Advising report.

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

2000

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 5.

Proposed: Development of a questionnaire to assess the advising experience of all enrolled students. This may be free standing or incorporated into other assessment tools

Outcome 5

Starting Date for the Implementation:

2000

An e-mail questionnaire was developed by the Advising staff in spring 1999 based on earlier questionnaires, national materials, criteria in UMM's advising proposals, and through consultation with the Scholastic Committee. All students were invited by e-mail to respond to the questionnaire. Results are posted in the 1999 Advising Report. A total of 459 students at all class levels responded.

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

2000

 

Phase II.

Use of Observed Outcomes and Possible Actions

Please comment on the possible use of the findings of your assessment plan.

In responding to this question you may want to consider the following issues; How would the results of the assessment be communicated to faculty in your own and other disciplines? How could the results be used to improve the student learning and programs? How could the results produce input to other related processes (e.g., academic and nonacademic planning, curriculum review)? How could the results of the assessment change your unit’s mission/goal(s)? With which other units would you like to share the results of your assessment?

1) Information to point direction to further development of advising support systems, such as faculty training and creation/distribution of advising materials

2) An overview from students and their advisers about what works and what isn’t working under our current system

3) Propose changes in the system as appropriate

Incorporated in NCA Advising Report

Follow-up through Advising Sub-committee

The Implementation Needs

Please comment on the information and assistance necessary for the successful implementation of your assessment process.

In responding to this question you may want to consider issues like; What are the other units (e.g., other disciplines, programs, administrators and/or committees) that should produce input for the successful completion of your assessment cycle? What type of input do you need from other units? What should be the function of the Assessment of Student Learning Committee and Coordinator to increase the effectiveness of your unit’s assessment process? What type of support might your unit need for the planning and application of your assessment cycle?

UMM has an advising policy in place that encourages developmental advising. Most advisers and advisees take their roles seriously; some do not. The success of advising is at the individual adviser/advisee level. Because advising has not been assessed at this level, we need a mandate to do it, more information from students and faculty about what needs doing, and extensive consultation about what kind of advising assessment is appropriate for this campus. The campus-wide assessment effort legitimizes the goal and this method for strengthening the advising system. All of these groups were consulted in preparing the NCA Advising Report.

The form of the advising questionnaire will emerge after faculty and enrolled students have been interviewed and the results have been studied and discussed. Whether the assessment instrument will be free standing or whether the questionnaire will be incorporated as parts of related assessments will be determined. A free standing individual assessment could range from a senior year anonymous assessment to a student assessment following the course evaluation model. Or, alternately, advising could be assessed with the major and general education. There are 3 questionnaires: (1) Advising as found in the Quality of Life Questionnaire; (2) the same questionnaires standing free, both in Spring 1999; (3) an adapted version of that questionnaire to all freshmen in December 1999.

Those persons / groups involved in monitoring or contributing to advising will be involved in the development of a tool to assess advising. They include: the Academic Dean, who oversees advising; the Scholastic Committee, which formulates advising policy; the Division Chairs, who act as an informal committee to oversee advising loads; faculty advisers, who do the advising; students who are advised; the Assessment Task Force, which monitors assessment; and staff of the Advising Office, who manage the advising system.

A faculty sub-committee was appointed to take up the recommendations in the NCA Advising Report, beginning with providing feedback to advisers. The sub-committee is considering a two-pronged approach: (1) an anonymous questionnaire during the first year

(2) a more detailed signed questionnaire at the end of the junior year, perhaps to the application for the degree. Yet to be determined are what questions to use, who will collect them, and how they will be used.

Phase III.

Application: Observed Outcomes

Please comment on your findings of the implementation of the assessment methods and tools.

In responding to this question you may want to summarize your findings, provide data that supports your interpretations, discuss the validity of your results, and suggest ways of improving the methods and tools that you have used.

A faculty committee is studying the results of the December questionnaire.

 

 

Actions Taken

Please comment on the actions that you have taken or are planning to take based on your findings.

In responding to this question you may want to consider the following issues; What other units were involved with the actions that you have taken? What was the impact of the actions that you have taken on the students’ learning? What other structures do you propose to increase the success of your actions?

A faculty sub-committee was appointed to take up the recommendations in the NCA Advising study, beginning with providing feedback to advisers. The sub-committee may recommend a two-pronged approach to the evaluation of advising: an anonymous questionnaire during the first year and a more detailed questionnaire at the end of the junior year, perhaps tied to the application for the degree.

1. The e-mail questionnaire on the quality of student life distributed in spring 1999 was critiqued for its appropriateness for freshmen. E.g., a question more appropriate to upper class students was eliminated. The revise questionnaire was distributed as part of the regular course examining system. The results have been tabulated and will be studied by the sub-committee. There were 370 respondents, all of them freshmen.

2. A second in-depth questionnaire is being drafted this semester by the sub-committee; the current intent is to distribute it to juniors as part of the application for graduation. Specific criteria suggested by the National Association of Academic Advising will be selected for their fit with UMM's developmental criteria, found in the 1975 Advising proposal.

A plan to evaluate advising will find both advocated and detractors. The sub-committee will need to decide not only what questions to use but also who will collect then, who will see them, and how they will be used. If a proposal is drafted by the sub-committee, it will be discussed widely in its formative stages.