Villanova’s commitment to the evaluation of institutional effectiveness and the assessment of student learning outcomes is deeply rooted and extensive. A variety of activities and processes at the university-wide, college, departmental and individual unit levels reflect this commitment. All areas of Villanova University, both traditional academic colleges and departments as well as co-curricular units, are expected to engage in assessment activity. All assessment efforts begin with a clear articulation of the University’s mission, vision, values and goals and the adoption of these principles by individual colleges, departments and units.
A variety of processes, procedures, activities and analyses are employed to promote and evaluate the effectiveness of Villanova University at university-wide, college, departmental and unit levels. Numerous individuals, offices, units and institutional constituencies contribute to and participate in the evaluation of Villanova’s institutional effectiveness. The Office of Planning and Institutional Research (OPIR) plays a key role in many of these efforts.
OPIR Advancing the Teaching and Learning Process
The work of OPIR helps advance the teaching and learning process at Villanova through a variety of assessment functions, including course specific student surveys on perceptions of the quality of instruction. A particular hallmark of OPIR’s activities in support of assessment is its work in the survey research area.
Much of OPIR’s work is in support of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the University-wide Outcomes Assessment Committee. A wide array of assessment techniques are presently in use across the University, as appropriate, to meet the needs of all the various colleges and programs. Various techniques being employed for assessment purposes to different degrees include portfolios (electronic and otherwise), capstone courses, writing and analytic rubrics, analyses of final course projects, common essay questions, reviews of student presentations and performances, assessment reading days for faculty, and in-class, standardized and licensing exams.
Each college has a designated assessment coordinator who helps oversee, facilitate, coordinate and report the assessment activities of their college. These individuals serve on the University-wide Outcomes Assessment Committee. The remaining standing members of this committee include a senior member of the mathematics faculty, who serves as chair, the Associate Vice President for Student Life, as vice chair, and the University Librarian, the Executive Director of Campus Ministry, and OPIR’s Director of Planning and Assessment. The Director of the Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) serves in a consulting capacity.
In support of assessment, OPIR:
- Serves on and supports the University-wide Outcomes Assessment Committee
- Works directly the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the College Deans
- Conducts survey research, including the systematic survey cycle
- Administers the Course and Teacher Survey (CATS)
- Conducts statistical analyses at the university, college and departmental levels
- Provides technical assistance to colleges and departments in support of their assessment efforts. Serves on college level committees as invited.
- Conduct assessment workshops
- Coordinates University level accreditation activities