STANDARD 2: Achieving Educational Objectives Through Core Functions

Criteria for Review (CFR) under WSCUC

Note: Guidelines are in parentheses following definitions for each CFR, evidence for each CFR are listed as bullet points.

STANDARD 2: Achieving Educational Objectives Through Core Functions

The institution achieves its purposes and attains its educational objectives at the institutional and program level through the core functions of teaching and learning, scholarship and creative activity, and support for student learning and success. The institution demonstrates that these core functions are performed effectively by evaluating valid and reliable evidence of learning and by supporting the success of every student.

2.1      The institution’s educational programs are appropriate in content, standards of performance, rigor, and nomenclature for the degree level awarded, regardless of mode of delivery. They are staffed by sufficient numbers of faculty qualified for the type and level of curriculum offered. X 3.1

(The content, length, and standards of the institution’s academic programs conform to recognized disciplinary or professional standards and are subject to peer review)

2.2     All degrees – undergraduate and graduate – awarded by the institution are clearly defined in terms of entry-level requirements and levels of student achievement necessary for graduation that represent more than simply an accumulation of courses or credits. The institution has both a coherent philosophy, expressive of its mission, which guides the meaning of its degrees and processes that ensure the quality and integrity of its degrees. X 3.1 – 3.3, 4.3, 4.4

2.2a  Baccalaureate programs engage students in an integrated course of study of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare them for work, citizenship, and life-long learning. These programs ensure the development of core competencies including, but not limited to, written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, and critical thinking. In addition, baccalaureate programs actively foster creativity, innovation, an appreciation for diversity, ethical and civic responsibility, civic engagement, and the ability to work with others. Baccalaureate programs also ensure breadth for all students in cultural and aesthetic, social and political, and scientific and technical knowledge expected of educated persons. Undergraduate degrees include significant in-depth study in a given area of knowledge (typically described in terms of a program or major). X3.1 – 3.3

(The institution has a program of General Education that is integrated throughout the curriculum, including at the upper division level, together with significant in-depth study in a given area of knowledge typically described in terms of a program or major.)

2.2b  The institution’s graduate programs establish clearly stated   objectives differentiated from and more advanced than undergraduate programs in terms of admissions, curricula, standards of performance, and student learning outcomes. Graduate programs foster students’ active engagement with the literature of the field and create a culture that promotes the importance of scholarship and/or professional practice. Ordinarily, a baccalaureate degree is required for admission to a graduate program. X 3.1 – 3.3

(Institutions offering graduate-level programs employ, at least, one full-time faculty member for each graduate degree program offered and have a preponderance of the faculty holding the relevant terminal degree in the discipline. Institutions demonstrate that there is a sufficient number of faculty members to exert collective responsibility for the development and evaluation of the curricula, academic policies, and teaching and mentoring of students.)

    • See evidence cited for 2.2a

2.3     Baccalaureate programs engage students in an integrated course of study of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare them for work, citizenship, and life-long learning. These programs ensure the development of core competencies including, but not limited to, written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, and critical thinking. In addition, baccalaureate programs actively foster creativity, innovation, an appreciation for diversity, ethical and civic responsibility, civic engagement, and the ability to work with others. Baccalaureate programs also ensure breadth for all students in cultural and aesthetic, social and political, and scientific and technical knowledge expected of educated persons. Undergraduate degrees include significant in-depth study in a given area of knowledge (typically described in terms of a program or major). X3.1 – 3.3

(The institution is responsible for ensuring that out-of-class learning experiences, such as clinical work, service learning, and internships which receive credit, are adequately resourced, well developed, and subject to appropriate oversight.)

2.4     The institution’s student learning outcomes and standards of performance are developed by faculty and widely shared among faculty, students, staff, and (where appropriate) external stakeholders. The institution’s faculty take collective responsibility for establishing appropriate standards of performance and demonstrating through assessment the achievement of these standards. X 4.3 – 4.4

(Student learning outcomes are reflected in course syllabi.)

While the University does not host a larger policy on requirements for syllabi, there are a number of support services that recommend including learning outcomes in syllabi:

    • The Faculty Congress hosts a Syllabus Template, which outlines a number of elements that should be included, including the Purpose of the course and it’s function in GE or in the Major, and “three to five measurable learning goals or objectives of the course (including one or more consistent with GE/program/department student learning outcomes)”
    • Distance Learning hosts a number of resources, including the Online Course Syllabus Template that asks teachers to identify up to five (5) Course Learning Objectives, and the Quality Online Course Design Guidelines Checklist that states: “The online course has comparable content and expectations for student learning outcomes and acceptable levels of student performance with the corresponding face-2-face (F2F) course.”

2.5     The institution’s academic programs actively involve students in learning, take into account students’ prior knowledge of the subject matter, challenge students to meet high standards of performance, offer opportunities for them to practice, generalize, and apply what they have learned, and provide them with appropriate and ongoing feedback about their performance and how it can be improved. X 4.4

2.6     The institution demonstrates that its graduates consistently achieve its stated learning outcomes and established standards of performance. The institution ensures that its expectations for student learning are embedded in the standards that faculty use to evaluate student work. X 4.3 – 4.4

(The institution has an assessment infrastructure adequate to assess student learning at program and institution levels.)

    • Regular multi-year assessment reports are required for all programs submitting Program Reviews. Sociology’s recent submission of it’s Self-Study for AY 2019-2020 includes a large section called APPENDIX C, which covers AY 2013-2014 through AY 2019-2020.
    • UH Hilo also supports annual core competency assessment at the undergraduate and the graduate levels. These websites (which include descriptors of these skills include links to rubrics that are used for assessment; programs (such as English) are encouraged to build these competencies into their curriculum as SLOs and to assess these competencies (ex. English’s AY 2017-2018 Written Communication assessment
    • Programs are also encouraged to undertake discipline specific assessment, with some using nationally normed tests such as the CLA in the College of Business and Economics and the ETS Major Field Test for the Computer Science Department in the College of Natural and Health Sciences

2.7     All programs offered by the institution are subject to systematic program review. The program review process includes, but is not limited to, analyses of student achievement of the program’s learning outcomes; retention and graduation rates; and, where appropriate, results of licensing examination and placement, and evidence from external constituencies such as employers and professional organizations. X 4.1, 4.6

2.8     The institution clearly defines expectations for research, scholarship, and creative activity for its students and all categories of faculty. The institution actively values and promotes scholarship, creative activity, and curricular and instructional innovation, and their dissemination appropriate to the institution’s purposes and character. X 3.2

(Where appropriate, the institution includes in its policies for faculty promotion and tenure the recognition of scholarship related to teaching, learning, assessment, and co-curricular learning.)

2.9     The institution recognizes and promotes appropriate linkages among scholarship, teaching, assessment, student learning, and service. X 3.2

    • The Office of the Vice Chancellor oversees tenure and promotion processes, hosts a number of documents including the “Guidelines for Applying for Contract Renewal, Promotion and Tenure for Tenure Track Faculty” which forms the nexus of research, scholarship, teaching, and assessment. The guidelines include specific language about student learning and improvement as evidence of teaching: “Teaching responsibilities encompass a broad range of activities in addition to formal instruction. For example, [the candidate] may wish to document your efforts with respect to curriculum development, laboratory supervision, supervision of independent studies, practica and internships, student mentoring, collaboration in research with students, assessment and improvement activities, innovative use of instructional technology, classroom assessment activities that produced improvements in your pedagogy and student performance, service on thesis/dissertation committees, and participation at educational workshops” (p. 15)

2.10     The institution demonstrates that students make timely progress toward the completion of their degrees and that an acceptable proportion of students complete their degrees in a timely fashion, given the institution’s mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs it offers. The institution collects and analyzes student data, disaggregated by appropriate demographic categories and areas of study. It tracks achievement, satisfaction, and the extent to which the campus climate supports student success. The institution regularly identifies the characteristics of its students; assesses their preparation, needs, and experiences; and uses these data to improve student achievement.

(The institution disaggregates data according to racial, ethnic, gender, age, economic status, disability, and other categories, as appropriate. The institution benchmarks its retention and graduation rates against its own aspirations as well as the rates of peer institutions.)

2.11     Consistent with its purposes, the institution offers co- curricular programs that are aligned with its academic goals, integrated with academic programs, and designed to support all students’ personal and professional development. The institution assesses the effectiveness of its co-curricular programs and uses the results for improvement. X 4.3 – 4.5

2.12     The institution ensures that all students understand the requirements of their academic programs and receive timely, useful, and complete information and advising about relevant academic requirements. X 1.6

(Recruiting materials and advertising truthfully portray the institution. Students have ready access to accurate, current, and complete information about admissions, degree requirements, course offerings, and educational costs.)

2.13     The institution provides academic and other student support services such as tutoring, services for students with disabilities, financial aid counseling, career counseling and placement, residential life, athletics, and other services and programs as appropriate, which meet the needs of the specific types of students that the institution serves and the programs it offers. X 3.1

2.14     Institutions that serve transfer students provide clear, accurate, and timely information, ensure equitable treatment under academic policies, provide such students access to student services, and ensure that they are not unduly disadvantaged by the transfer process. X 1.6 (Covered in federal requirements forms.)