The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is once again in the throes of collecting Exit Interview data as we approach graduation. These faculty/administrator-led interviews allow us to hear directly from the best source of information about our programs – the student.
The Office of Assessment (OA) is currently collecting graduate student exit interview data for the 5th consecutive year. As this program has transitioned from a pilot to a yearly occurrence, the OA continues to work with faculty to conduct meaningful and deep interviews of students within our college that have finished their MS or PhD in any one of our graduate programs. Along with the long-standing PharmD Exit Interview process, the OA and Committee on Assessment and Outcomes takes pride in being able to provide qualitative student-generated data back to program directors and departments, so that change can be made within programs. We often hear that this information informs our yearly assessment matrix process, as programs monitor their learning goals and outcomes. Real change starts with data collection, and these interviews allow us to work toward closing the loop.
This year’s PharmD Exit Interview will kick off on March 3rd.
The Office of Assessment is utilizing the Summer of 2016 to upgrade software and hardware and train faculty in new testing modalities. Recently, the Office completed a hardware and software upgrade to the college’s scantron station. While the hardware upgrade will allow for a more efficient process of grading, the software upgrade of ParScore will allow for more robust data analysis and a heightened experience for faculty utilizing the Office to grade their multiple choice examinations. Data integrity will be enhanced as well, as the new software and hardware combination will allow for an easier backup of data and smoother migrations if necessary in the future.
At the same time, the Office has embarked on the ExamSoft User Development Initiative. This initiative consists of monthly workshops given by the Office of Assessment for faculty interested in ExamSoft. Ms. Carla Hernandez presented on June 28th to a group of faculty, training them in many faculty basics of the ExamSoft portal. This presentation was well received, and will be followed by the continuation of monthly workshops, including another in August. Faculty that attended (as well as all others that have previously used ExamSoft) are now being surveyed on their attitude toward ExamSoft and computer-based testing as a whole. As the Office continues to assist the college in this important initiative, we plan on continuing to train students as well. The Office is planning on assisting faculty in mock examinations and training sessions to new student users in Fall 2016.
With our PharmD Self-Study report now complete and transparency of the utmost importance, we have opened the final report up to all of our stakeholders. Students, alumni and preceptors were sent the final report via DropBox, attached to a bitly link (the Dean sent the report directly to the College’s faculty). Bitly is a web-based link management platform that allows users to shorten URLs for easier sharing of web-based information. A very nice feature of bitly is the ability to track the number of clicks a specific link has received. Within the first two hours, we saw that over 275 clicks of the PharmD Self-Study had been made via bitly! This is an exciting tracking method that has allowed us to confirm that our outreach initiatives are actually reaching our audience. We intend to continue utilizing this type of tracking in the future, as we work toward ever-increasing transparency.
The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences continues toward the completion of a self-study document geared toward ACPE and reaccreditation of our PharmD program. The Steering Committee completed work this week on the latest round of edits, which included clarification of documentation and appendices. Yesterday, the report was moved into the hands of Faculty Council for review and approval. This document and its appendices have been uploaded to the shared Faculty Council Drive for easy access, and transparency. Over the course of the next few weeks, the faculty will review this massive document, making comments, and suggesting edits to the College’s response to the standards. Once these edits are incorporated, the Steering Committee will provide the report to the upper administration of the University for final approval, before sending it to ACPE. Our site visit will take place in the Spring.
Check out the Assessment Blog’s newest page addition – ‘Accreditation’. This page will serve as a framework for updates of each program’s accreditation status. Below is what’s been posted there today. Check this page frequently, as it will be updated as ‘all things accreditation’ progress for our programs.
Since we have been regularly providing progress updates on the PharmD program’s accreditation self-study, we wanted to update the College community on the status of our other programs as well. Aside from Pharmacy, the College houses four other accredited programs: Masters in Public Health, Physician Assistant, Radiologic Sciences and Clinical Laboratory Sciences.
- The College’s Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). The program was last accredited in April, 2012, for a period of 5 years. The CLS program must next submit a self-study in April 2016 with a site visit in the fall of the same year.
- The Radiologic Sciences program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Initial accreditation was received on 01/01/1968. The last site visit occurred in October, 2012. The continuing accreditation status of the program was last considered at the September 24th, 2013 meeting of the JRCERT. The program was evaluated and awarded accreditation for a period of eight years – the maximum duration that may be awarded by the JRCERT in this category. An interim report is required next, with a projected date for submission of the Fourth Quarter of 2016. Based on the interim report, the JRCERT will determine if the accreditation award of 8 years will be maintained or reduced and the continuing accreditation process expedited. If the accreditation award is maintained, the next site visit is tentatively scheduled for the Fourth Quarter of 2020.
- ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission for Physician Assistants) accredits Physician Assistant programs. The SJU PA program was first accredited in 1995, with the most recent accreditation visit occurring in 2013. At that time, the program received the maximum accreditation years (7 yrs). The next review will be in 2020.
- The College’s Masters in Public Health (MPH) program will be initiating the CEPH accreditation process in 2016.
The Assessment team continuously monitors and tracks accreditation activities in the College, and looks forward to bringing updates to the College community in the coming months.
The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ assessment team was recently invited to present at a Middle States workshop in Philadelphia. In this ‘assessment-expert’ role, our team presented on some assessment basics, but also ideas and best practices that we believe are working well and functioning as the cornerstones of our process. By describing goals, outcomes, measures and findings in detail, specifically related to higher education, we were able to convey our ideal ‘first-steps’ for assessment:
We believe that the first key in earning your ‘assessment sea legs’ is identifying programmatic goals. Without a clear understanding of what your goals are for various programs, it is impossible to come up with an assessment plan that can measure and track important items accurately and efficiently. Once these goals have been created, expected learning outcomes can be written. Finally, these goals and outcomes may be mapped to the curriculum, to allow for better assessment practices and increased ability to find measurable items for specific outcomes. By setting this up strategically and in a concise manner, our team has been able to keep a close eye on each of our program’s individual attainment of goals and outcomes.
Another important idea that we discussed in this presentation, was the importance of ongoing assessment research, which drives the ‘creative’ assessment process and helps us as assessment professionals uncover meaningful data and create new methods. A heightened focus on research also helps faculty and assessment groups comes together for collaboration on data analysis, fostering a push toward new teaching and learning paradigms, helping build a stronger relationship between faculty and assessment administrators.
Ultimately, these ideas all help us reach ever closer to the achievement of a full and complete culture of assessment.
If you would like to see the slides that we presented at the Middle States workshop, do not hesitate to reach out to either myself or Dr. Marc Gillespie.