Community of Practice for Advancing Learning Outcomes Visibility

Fall Convening was a Success!

November 17, 2017, Mills College, Oakland CA

We are excited to announce the second Community of Practice Convening took place, where we were honored to have Linda Suskie as keynote speaker and mentor!

Linda is well-known in the assessment field, and she is also one of our CoP mentors. She is an internationally recognized consultant, writer, speaker, and educator on assessment and accreditation and a former vice president at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Her book Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide is one of the best-selling books on assessment in higher education. Her latest book is Five Dimensions of Quality: A Common Sense Guide to Accreditation and Accountability.

Mentors and institutional representatives also had a chance to further connect on the projects and teams offered updates on the projects.

Teams and mentors are working on progress reports of their projects as we wind up "Phase I." Next year will focus on honing the projects and preparing for curration of good practices and resources.

Our next Convening will be on April 24th, the day before the ARC begins, in Burlingame, CA. More details will come as we get closer to that date!

Project Updates

Project work is underway with teams and mentors—Click Here to Read About the Projects

Meet the Mentors

 

Additional Information - Community of Practice

Nationally, the call for visibility of student learning is in the spotlight (see NILOA’s May 2016 policy statement Why Documenting Student Learning Matters). As a regional accreditor, WSCUC seeks to help assure various stakeholders in higher education (policy makers, parents, the general public, and students themselves) that higher education institutions in the region are delivering on their promises to students regarding learning outcomes. Institutions cannot do this effectively without making students’ learning visible.

With funding from Lumina Foundation over a three-year period, WSCUC will develop and facilitate a Community of Practice (CoP) comprised of WSCUC institutions in order to increase leadership for and institutional capacity in learning outcomes assessment visibility. Institutions, through their participation, will receive consulting and network support in the process of implementing organizational projects.

The knowledge, strategies, and approaches generated from institutional projects associated with the CoP will result in a rich collection of institutional and accreditation process resources, including exemplars and learning guides, for the WSCUC region – and nationally – around aligning and assessing student learning outcomes per the 2013 Handbook of Accreditation, visibility of evidence, and using evidence for improvement.

The intended outcomes of the project are:

Outcome 1: Learning Outcomes Capacity-Building: To further develop WSCUC’s regional capacity and national leadership in providing evidence of student learning as one crucial component of student achievement. The key focus here will be on using learning outcomes assessment results to support authentic student learning and/or institutional improvement per the 2013 Handbook of Accreditation.

Outcome 2: Improved Learning Outcomes Visibility: To support WSCUC institutions in making good evidence of student learning more visible and accessible to a general public and various stakeholders.

Outcome 3: Quality Assurance/Accreditation Resource Development, Curation, and Dissemination: To develop a curated collection of accreditation process resources, including exemplars and learning guides, for the WSCUC region -- and nationally -- around aligning and assessing student learning outcomes per the Standards or Accreditation, the visibility of evidence, and using evidence for improvement.

See also: Why Documenting Student Learning Matters: http://www.learningoutcomesassessment.org/documents/NILOA_policy_statement.pdf

    Through the Community of Practice, WSCUC will curate and disseminate a collection of institutional learning outcomes assessment and accreditation resources to further support the requirements of the 2013 Handbook of Accreditation, including:

    • Guidelines/resources for institutions regarding actionable learning outcomes assessment data collection and analysis models aligned to 21st century higher educational opportunities;
    • Guidelines/resources for institutions regarding making evidence of student learning/learning outcomes assessment results visible;
    • A curated collection of institutional resources, samples, and exemplars;
    • Guidelines/resources for peer review committees, teams, and the Commission for evaluating institutional reports vis-à-vis the 2013 Handbook requirements;
    • White papers or other contributions to national initiatives in this area, including presentations at national conferences and contributions to the NILOA assessment resource library.

      Institutions have identified projects that are focused on student learning assessment and making learning results visible, and may relate to areas such as:

      • Assessment of one or more of the WSCUCs’ Five Core Competencies
      • Assuring degree quality
      • General education assessment
      • Departmental or programmatic assessment efforts
      • Co-curricular assessment
      • Developing campus infrastructure for sustainable assessment processes
      • Quality and rigor of graduate-level education
      • Developing a faculty (or administrative) development program around learning assessment and visibility
      • “Closing the Loop” initiatives
      • Making assessment processes meaningful and visible to a variety of internal and external stakeholders
      • Including students in assessment processes
      • Developing processes/policies that demonstrate evidence that supports institutional commitment to sustained best practices around student learning assessment

      WSCUC sought a diverse representation of institutions in creating the Community of Practice in terms of institutional type (public, private, non-profit, for-profit, faith-based, comprehensive, single-focus, etc.).

      • Institutions need to be in candidacy status or accredited by WSCUC.
      • Institutions need to identify a committed institutional team to participate, consisting of at least two people, at least one of which must be a faculty member.

      Institutions participating will commit to:

      • Creating and implementing a student learning assessment visibility project to developed, implemented, and shared within the Community of Practice;
      • Experimenting with adopting or adapting existing frameworks, models, and resources to promote alignment and coordination of work across institutions;
      • Sharing strategies, resources, and examples broadly within and outside of the WSCUC community;
      • Interacting regularly in virtual Community of Practice discussions and activities.

      “A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wegner-Traynor). Additionally, [a Community] of Practice revolves around:

      The domain: members are brought together by a learning need they share (whether this shared learning need is explicit or not and whether learning is the motivation for their coming together or a by-product of it)

      The community: their collective learning becomes a bond among them over time (experienced in various ways and thus not a source of homogeneity)

      The practice: their interactions produce resources that affect their practice (whether they engage in actual practice together or separately).

      (from: http://wenger-trayner.com/resources/what-is-a-community-of-practice/)

      The CoP is housed within a Blackboard online course site; participants will be divided into smaller groups for discussions or resource-sharing based primarily on institutional project topics. The exact size of each small group will depend upon the number of participants and institutions working on similar topics; the entire CoP will not exceed participants from 15-30 institutions at any given time.