Department Chair and Program Director Guide

Section Seven – Program Assessment of Student Learning

  • Program Assessment of Student Learning – 7:1
  • Ongoing Assessment Activities – 7:2

Program Assessment of Student Learning– 7:1

Each department should select a Program Assessment Liaison (PAL) to coordinate departmental assessment efforts. Due to the ongoing and continuous nature of assessment of student learning, it is recommended that the PAL is not also the chair. However, in order to promote the academic quality of the department’s programs, Chairs should coordinate with the Department’s Program Assessment Liaison (PAL) in the regular assessment of student learning and in organizing external reviews.

Ongoing Assessment Activities – 7:2

Each department has developed an Assessment Plan. These plans describe each department’s desired student learning outcomes (SLOs), curricular maps, assessment measures to be carried out, methods of interpretation and reporting of data, and a timeline for the assessment of the SLOs. Departments should annually review their assessment plan to affirm which assessments will be carried out and by whom. If outcomes or assessment methods change, the department’s Assessment Plan document should be revised to reflect those changes.

Although the PAL coordinates the department’s assessment activities, Chairs are responsible for ensuring that all department members are familiar with the following:

  • Stated learning outcomes should reflect the department’s mission.
  • Assessment measures should be directed at discerning whether students are achieving those desired outcomes.
  • Measurement activities should be practical and achievable and should, wherever possible, take advantage of the work the department already does in the course of examining and refining its programs. They should not significantly add to the department’s workload.
  • The purpose of assessment is to use what is learned to guide decision-making about student learning in the department’s program. Thus, a department should "close" the assessment loop and make changes to the program, if SLOs are not being achieved.
  • The PAL will prepare the Annual Assessment Report and submit to the College Assessment Director, who determines the form and content of the report. Chairs are encouraged to provide input and feedback on the report. The annual assessment report on the previous academic year is due on October 15.

Assessment is a shared responsibility, and should be an occasion for regular departmental conversations about student learning in the context of its mission. Limited funds are available from the Provost’s Office for assessment activities, including postage for surveys, departmental assessment retreats, etc. Other resources for assessment include:

  • Faculty Assessment Director: communicates regularly with PALs as well as with the entire department to provide ongoing assistance and resources for successful implementation of assessment of student learning; contact Sarah Ruble ( or 507-933-7541).
  • Alumni Office: provides addresses of graduates for a survey (majors and/or minors); contact Teri Bauman ( or 507-933-7516).
  • Career Development: for information on internships; contact Julie Rudolf ( or 507-933-6056).
  • Library: maintains a spreadsheet of student research presentations searchable by department; contact Jeannie Peterson ( or 507-933-7556).
  • Academic Data Scientist: to discuss survey instruments and review instrument design; contact Kyle Chambers ( or 507-933-7541).
  • General Education Director: Sarah Ruble ( or 507-933-7675)

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Last modified: 10 August 2022, by Shanon Nowell