It has been a very busy summer for the Steering Committee and the chairs of the self-study. There have been several meetings since the Spring semester, and a great deal of progress has been made with the self-study report. The chairs of individual committees completed their narratives and presented them to the Steering Committee so additional edits could be made. A major challenge was cutting down the narratives to fit within the 10,000 character limit. A checklist was recently compiled that highlights outstanding items that must be collected. The remaining documentation has been organized and anything outstanding has been accounted for. All information is continuously being updated in the online AAMS system. The chairs of the Steering Committee are currently making the final edits of the self-study report. There is a Faculty Council meeting scheduled for October where the full report will be presented and faculty will have the opportunity to offer suggestions. A forum will also take place in September where students are encouraged to participate. The goal is to include all stakeholders in this process. A mock site visit is scheduled for December so potential issues can be identified and corrected prior to the official site visit in April.
Category Archives: Practice
The Spring semester has come to a close but the self-study process will continue throughout the summer. There will be several Steering Committee meetings scheduled for June, July and August. The members of individual committees have completed the second draft of their self-study narratives. A great deal of the necessary documentation has also been compiled. Each committee chair has presented their report to the Steering Committee and this information is currently being uploaded to the online database, AAMS. The next step will involve the Steering Committee putting together the full self-study report for faculty approval. The faculty will review and revise this draft prior to the final submission to ACPE. There are nine months left until the ACPE site visit but a great deal of progress has already been made.
The Office of Assessment held its Assessment Workshop for Class of 2016 Physician Assistant students at the Bartilucci Center on April 27th, 2015. A Pre-Assessment Workshop Survey showed that 50% of students were aware of the assessment process and that 66% of students are willing to participate in assessment. A total 17% of students were aware the College had an Office of Assessment. Dr. Marc Gillespie introduced the audience to assessment & its structure within the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, examples of assessment within their program, and the importance of stakeholder involvement. Students were encouraged to take part in the assessment process, not only during their time here at St. John’s University, but also, as alumni following graduation. It was stressed that student feedback aids in identifying meaningful issues that require attention, which can influence their current instruction, as well as, mold the program for future cohorts.
Following the Assessment Workshop, a Post-Assessment Workshop Survey was administered and received a 32% response rate, an increase from the 9% response rate yielded in the Pre-Assessment Workshop Survey. Compared to the previous responses, 77% percent are now aware of the assessment process in the college following the Assessment Workshop whereas 68% are now willing to participate in assessment. 82% of students are now aware of the College’s Office of Assessment.
Student feedback suggested holding the workshop earlier in the year. The Office of Assessment is now scheduled to present its Assessment Workshop for the incoming cohort at the Fall 2015 PA didactic orientation. Student feedback also demonstrated their interest in the assessment process, as they are more interested in staying informed as to purposes behind surveys, as well as, any changes that may have occurred as a result of their survey responses and feedback. Student feedback remains an invaluable resource and we will continue to count on their participation to help shape the success of the College’s programs.
The self-study process for the College of Pharmacy is in full-swing! The Steering Committee will be meeting throughout the Spring semester. Individual committees are continuing to compile their documentation and write their individual narratives to be used in the creation of the self-study report. A representative from each committee has been assigned a specific meeting where they will present their report. The Committee on Internal and External Facilities, the Committee on Assessment and Outcomes, the Committee on Faculty Affairs, and the Committee on Library and Learning Resources have recently presented.
A luncheon was held in December with a group of invited students to share their input in the self-study process. There was a large turnout with approximately 35 PharmD students in attendance. The students provided a great deal of useful feedback that will be distributed to the Steering Committee. This information will be used in the self-study process as including all stakeholders is a priority.
The Office of Assessment routinely assists in faculty-led research projects, specifically in terms of data collection and analysis. A good example is our recently published article, “A Survey of Pharmacists in Academia of the Current Practice of Estimation of Kidney Function for Antimicrobial Dosing in Adults”. By assisting with faculty-driven projects, the assessment team continues its own scholarship, while providing essential assistance to stakeholders as they continue important research in their fields. Each publication and research project helps us to fine-tune our own skills, and push the assessment process forward. Our office is becoming more and more necessary in these special projects.
It is important to think of research and assessment as entities that work hand-in-hand. So much of what we do on a daily basis truly falls into the research category. We are always looking at new ways to measure our goals and outcomes – new ways to drive student success. Assessment is an encompassing area that does not stop with simple data collection. Continuous quality improvement is what our assessment goals are geared toward, and research ultimately lends itself to the same goal in many ways. Assessment folks tend to be researchers; it is important to think of us as such.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) is holding its annual meeting in Washington DC and we are here. As we listened to the plenary talks and met other folks in higher ed, I wondered if it was as apparent to others as it is to us why our assessment team is here?
As an assessment group we spend a lot of our time thinking of ways to link the fantastic work of our faculty and students to measurable outcomes. The work that it takes to define what is to be measured, how it will be measured, and how it will be fed back into improving the educational environment or back to the student is far more taxing than the actual measuring itself once we have a plan. As a group we work with all of our stakeholders to determine what plan is best for our students and faculty. While we do that, we look to see how we can feed these results back into the loop to assure our accrediting body that we are doing what we set out to achieve.
At the institutional level, MSCHE is that accrediting body, and like many higher education accrediting bodies, it is made of higher education faculty and administrators. In short: it is us. Middle States is rolling out new standards and unsurprisingly those standards reflect many of its stakeholders aspirations and challenges for higher education. As a faculty member working in the trenches, splitting time between research, teaching, and scholarship it is a challenge to take the time to measure how that effort contributes to the good that higher education provides. It is difficult to see what society expects from higher education institutions and how they are reacting to our work. Taking the time to listen to the accrediting body that credits us as a degree granting institution and meeting with other stakeholders, provides a moment for faculty to pause and reflect on where higher education is today and where it may be going.
As I listened to the talks and the crowd, I thought about how important it is for faculty to reflect upon the mission of their institution, but also their own goals as a teacher, scholar, and educator. If we are to have an impact in a meaningful way, we must take time to think carefully as to what we can reasonably achieve and what society wants and expects of us.
So why should faculty attend an annual accreditor’s meeting?
As I listened to one of the talks a speaker paused for a second and noted that faculty should be able to describe what the standards are. The standards? “Those esoteric rules and chains that we are held to”, I thought. And then it struck me that, yes, we really should be able to. In fact if the standards are any good, they should aim to quantify the very characteristics that drew us to higher education in the first place. The standards serve as a description of the good that a degree can provide to a student and the good that an institution can provide to society.