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ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT

Definition and Purpose of Program Review

Academic Program Review is a cyclical process for evaluating and continuously improving the quality and integrity of programs.  The evaluation is conducted through a combination of self-evaluation (Self-study), and peer-evaluation by a reviewer external to the program and the organization. It is a comprehensive analysis of program quality, analyzing a wide variety of data about the program.  The review provides a systematic and continuous means of assuring academic excellence in student learning.  It is a process meant to assist programs in understanding their distinctive and collaborative roles within the Institute community and with relevant external stakeholders. The results of this evaluation process are then used to inform ongoing planning and budgeting processes at the institution and are incorporated into the institution’s overall quality assurance system.  The results of the program review can provide the foundation for assessing student learning and for developing evidence-based plans and decisions to facilitate improvements at all levels of the institution. When implemented effectively and followed up deliberately, program review is a powerful means of engaging faculty in evaluating and improving programs in the organization.1

This type of review is a formative assessment meant to assist with continuous planning and improvement of the programs.  Through this review process, institutional and programmatic improvement can occur in a variety of ways:
 

  • Developing, or reviewing, program learning outcomes and evaluating assessment plans

  • Better aligning of department and institutional goals

  • Refining issues and developing interventions to improve retention and graduation rates

  • Making curricular changes to improve student learning and retention; refining, reorganizing or refocusing curricula to reflect changes in the discipline or profession

  • Re-organizing, or improving, student support systems

  • Designing needed professional development programs, including programs to help faculty with course planning, assessment, pedagogy, and curricular cohesion

  • Reorganizing, or refocusing, resources to advance student learning or specific research agendas

  • Developing specific action plans for modifications and improvements

  • Informing decision making, quality assurance planning, and budgeting across the institution
     

At the California Institute for Health Science (CIHS), the program review process can assist with program development and improvement. The Institute’s goals are to:
 

  • Use evidence-based practice and current research to guide decision-making

  • Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration

  • Focus on student success in daily operations

  • Support faculty scholarship, teaching excellence, and service to University

  • Support faculty leadership in the development of contemporary curricula

  • Promote student learning by utilizing instructional best practice

  • Focus on quality improvements to enhance institutional effectiveness

  • Embrace change and innovation in processes that enhance educational outcomes

  • Provide visionary educational models that address student learning needs for professional practice

 

It is through this program review process that the institution collectively works toward these goals.  By studying the effectiveness of our teaching practices, demonstrating faculty dedication to teaching and learning, and promoting the efficient use of our valuable resources, the necessary steps are taken to continually improve daily practices and to meet the mission of the Institute.

The overarching purpose of assessment at the California Institute for Human Sciences (CIHS) is to provide outcomes-based findings to guide institutional planning, academic quality, and budgeting. All assessment activities adhere to this overarching purpose and exist in support of and alignment with the institutional mission to to illuminate humanity through research-informed programs in psychology, comparative religion and philosophy, and integral health. Assessment activities are designed to complement planning and budgeting processes and ensure student-centered and evidence-based decision-making related to program development, resource allocation, and institutional change.

 

Specific goals guide the design and implementation of all assessment efforts at CIHS. These goals are to:
 

  • Establish a systemic and ongoing method of acquiring empirical evidence pertaining to institutional effectiveness and student learning;

  • Provide evidence-based feedback to CIHS administrators and faculty for use in decision-making and resource allocation;

  • Ensure the alignment of programs, practices, services, and processes with the institutional mission and principles

 

In addition to supporting the mission and planning/budget processes, the assessment process also attempts to answer critical questions. The questions are:
 

  1. How effectively are students achieving expected learning outcomes?

  2. Are students and alumni satisfied with their experiences?

  3. Are key metrics such as graduation rates, licensure passing rates (psychology), and retention rates meeting institutional and benchmarking metrics?

  4. How effectively are co-curricular activities being provided, and how well are students achieving co-curricular outcomes?

  5. How effectively are administrative services functioning?

  6. Is progress being made in strategic goals?

 

To answer these questions involves a variety of institutional operations and brings an array of stakeholders together for the purpose of improving programs, services, practices, and learning.

 

As pictured below, Assessment at CIHS is a five-part cycle designed to improve institutional effectiveness through the systematic assessment of outcomes. This framework provides academic and departmental leaders with data-driven findings necessary to plan for future growth and improve academic programs, administrative operations, co-curricular activities, and student services.

CIHS strives to identify and implement strategies for improving institutional effectiveness. Given this priority, institutional leaders consider “closing the loop” to be a critical component of their assessment efforts. Closing the loop involves analyzing results from assessments, using results to make improvements, and re-assessing outcomes in order to determine the effect of change. This is a collaborative step through which assessment results and findings are reviewed to gauge the efficacy of programs, practices, and services.

 

As part of closing the loop, analysis from assessment activities are discussed with various stakeholders, presented to the CIHS Institutional Effectiveness Committee, , and a quality improvement plan developed.  Based on recommendations by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee, the Board and senior leaders can support priority initiatives that can improve academic offerings and operational effectiveness through this continuous quality improvement process.

 
 

Institutional Learning outcomes (ILO)

Following the mission and principles, CIHS’ five Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) guide the development of all educational activities at CIHS.

 

The graduate of CIHS will be empowered to:

 

  • ILO 1: Express a holistic view of the complementarity of scientific, spiritual, and inter-religious perspectives

  • ILO 2: Articulate human existence as multi-dimensional, including body, mind, and spirit, fundamentally communal and individual, for the betterment of a sustainable global society.

  • ILO 3: Apply quantitative and qualitative research methods to advance multiple developmental mindfulness and wellbeing practices.

  • ILO4: Apply information literacy to critically evaluate and ethically solve problems in the human sciences.

  • ILO5: Articulate, through written and oral communication, the transdisciplinary nature of the human sciences.

CIHS Program learning outcomes (PLO)

CIHS Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

 

By engaging with our regional accreditor WSCUC, CIHS is called upon as an institution to commit to three Core Commitments.

 

  • Core Commitment to Student Learning and Success

  • Core Commitment to Quality and Improvement

  • Core Commitment to Institutional Integrity, Quality and Sustainability

 

Foundational to those Core Commitments and meeting the WSCUC four Standards for Accreditation, is defining, aligning, and assessing learning outcomes at all levels of the institution. 

 

Courses within each program design Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) and deliverables and activities that can assess achievement of the CLOs. Each CLO is linked directly to A program Learning Outcome (PLO), which are in turn linked to Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and the CIHS’ mission and principles. PLOs are set out below.

 

School of Integral Health

 

Following are the PLOs for the Integral Health programs, with the ILOs that the PLOs serve to measure [marked blue].

 

Integral Health Master’s PLOs.  Graduates of CIHS Integral Health Master’s program will be able to:

 

  • PLO 1: Synthesize diverse studies in the human sciences and articulate their transdisciplinary nature, including psychology, integral health, philosophy of science, and reality theory. [ILO1,5]

  • PLO 2: Demonstrate empathic and formal communication informed by an integrated view of human interaction, scholarly sources, and qualitative and quantitative research. [ILO2,5]

  • PLO 3: Construct philosophical and scientific paradigms that advance systematic approaches to wellbeing. [ILO3]

  • PLO 4: Critically evaluate and solve problems in the human sciences in an integrally informed manner. [ILO4]

 

Integral Health PhD PLOs.  Graduates of CIHS Integral Health PhD program will be able to:

 

  • PLO 1: Synthesize and formulate, in meta-systematic manner, diverse studies in the human sciences and articulate their interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary nature, including psychology, integral health, philosophy of science, and reality theory. [ILO1,5]

  • PLO 2: Demonstrate empathic and formal communication informed by meta-systematically integrated views of human interaction, scholarly sources, advanced qualitative and quantitative research and original contributions. [ILO2,5]

  • PLO 3: Construct meta-systematic philosophical and scientific paradigms that advance global-holistic approaches to wellbeing. [ILO3]

  • PLO 4: Identify, appraise and design novel problems in the human sciences, and solve them as an original contribution to the field. [ILO4]

 

School of Psychology

 

Following are the PLOs for the Psychology programs, with the ILOs that the PLOs serve to measure [marked blue].

 

Psychology Master’s PLOs.  Graduates of CIHS Psychology Master’s program will be able to:

 

  • PLO 1: Understand people as ever evolving, multidimensional beings on a developmental journey toward wholeness, which encompasses the domains of mind, body, and spirit. [ILO1,2]

  • PLO 2: Apply transdisciplinary research, theory and praxis for effective counseling and communication in both traditional and non-traditional settings. [ILO3]

  • PLO 3: Explain and use holistic thought, that includes consciousness and spirituality. [ILO4,5]

  • PLO 4: Describe the theory and application of a broad spectrum of healing modalities, to include both traditional and non-traditional approaches. [ILO3,5]

  • PLO 5: Discuss a personal framework for the ‘self-as-healer,’ underscored by the notion that personal healing and ongoing self-development is positively correlated with professional aptitude [ILO1,2].

 

Psychology PhD PLOs.  Graduates of CIHS Psychology PhD program will be able to:

 

  • PLO 1: Examine people as ever evolving, multidimensional beings on a developmental journey toward wholeness, which encompasses the domains of mind, body, and spirit. [ILO1,2]

  • PLO 2: Apply transdisciplinary research, theory and praxis for effective counseling and communication in both traditional and non-traditional settings. [ILO3]

  • PLO 3: Construct a synthesis of holistic thought, that includes consciousness and spirituality. [ILO4,5]

  • PLO 4: Explore and advance the theory and application of a broad spectrum of healing modalities, to include both traditional and non-traditional approaches. [ILO3,5]

  • PLO 5: Develop a personal framework for the ‘self-as-healer,’ underscored by the notion that personal healing and ongoing self-development is positively correlated with professional aptitude [ILO1,2].

 

 

School of Comparative Religion and Philosophy

 

Following are the PLOs for the Comparative Religion and Philosophy programs, with the ILOs that the PLOs serve to measure [marked blue].

 

Comparative Religion and Philosophy Master’s PLOs.  Graduates of CIHS CRP Master’s program will be able to:

 

  • PLO 1: Explain multiple religious traditions and cultures in their specific historical, philosophical, psychological, ethical and cultural contexts. Sources may include texts, practices, beliefs and material culture. [ILO 1, 4, 5]

  • PLO 2: Apply equitable practices of dialogue, learning, and research that respect the sacred wisdom of each religion, spiritual expression and indigenous tradition. Within this process, it is expected that students engage in critical self-reflection about one’s own culture-bound perceptions, assumptions, and experiences, including the effects of privilege and oppression. [ILO 2, 3]

  • PLO 3: Apply research methods appropriate to the field of comparative religion. [ILO 1, 3]

  • PLO 4: Understand the correlations between spirituality and both mental and physical wellness, and the way that spirituality intersects with integral health and psychology to create existential coherence. [ILO 1, 2, 4]

  • PLO 5: Understand “religion” and “spirituality” in the context of our existence within a contemporary global society, consider the challenges posed in developing a global ethic and a pluralistic society, and describe potential resolutions of these challenges through compassionate social engagement. [ILO 1, 2, 3]

 

Comparative Religion and Philosophy PhD PLOs.  Graduates of CIHS CRP PhD program will be able to:

 

  • PLO 1: Evaluate multiple religious traditions and cultures in their specific historical, philosophical, psychological, ethical and cultural contexts. Sources may include texts, practices, beliefs and material culture. [ILO 1, 4, 5]

  • PLO 2: Apply and critique equitable practices of dialogue, learning, and research that respect the sacred wisdom of each religion, spiritual expression and indigenous tradition. Within this process, it is expected that students engage in critical self-reflection about one’s own culture-bound perceptions, assumptions, and experiences, including the effects of privilege and oppression. [ILO 2, 3]

  • PLO 3: Investigate and apply research methods appropriate to the field of comparative religion. [ILO 1, 3]

  • PLO 4: Analyze and evaluate the correlations between spirituality and both mental and physical wellness, and the way that spirituality intersects with integral health and psychology to create existential coherence. [ILO 1, 2, 4]

  • PLO 5: Examine “religion” and “spirituality” in the context of our existence within a contemporary global society, evaluate the challenges posed in developing a global ethic and a pluralistic society, and formulate potential resolutions of these challenges through compassionate social engagement. [ILO 1, 2, 3]

 

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