Background & History
Office of Institutional Effectiveness
The Office of Institutional Effectiveness, formerly the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, was established at IU Southeast in 1997, with the appointment of a part-time director. Until that time, our campus relied on Indiana University’s centralized reporting office to meet data and research needs. The part-time director provided campus reports to inform university planning and decision making. A full-time programmer/analyst was added to the office in 2002 to assist with data management and reporting. Academic Assessment was added to the office responsibilities in 2003 with the addition of a full-time Assessment and Research Specialist. A few years later (2005) the campus decided that the director position required full-time staffing. Since 2005, a part-time position has also been added to support both assessment and data analysis functions.
In the 1980s, legislators and community leaders concerned with the growing mediocrity in education began to ask all levels of schools to demonstrate academic effectiveness. As a way to accomplish this, the education establishment turned primarily to the formal assessment of student learning to demonstrate that effectiveness. At the post-secondary level, schools reported their progress to national accrediting agencies. At IU Southeast, that agency is The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. They directed that all affiliated institutions develop an effective institutional assessment plan by June 1995.
The campus's comprehensive evaluation by HLC in 1999-2000 resulted in a ten-year renewal of accreditation. However, the evaluation team expressed strong concerns about assessment of student academic achievement and general education and recommended a focused visit in 2002-03. The team's principal concerns focused on the lack of a systematic, campus-wide approach to assessment and the uneven progress that the academic programs had made in implementing their assessment plans. The campus response to these concerns was to:
- Establish an Academic Assessment Committee as a standing committee of the Faculty Senate to provide faculty oversight and guidance for the academic units in the development of their assessment programs.
- Assign the Office of Institutional Effectiveness the responsibility for providing support for assessment programs and efforts, and to strengthen the capability of that office to provide that support by increasing its staff and resources.
- Allocate a base budget of $150,000 to support assessment programs and efforts.
- Assign overall responsibility for academic assessment to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and to clarify the responsibilities of key academic administrators in carrying out assessment programs for their units.
- Provide guidance and support through the Academic Assessment Committee and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness for the work on each academic program in refining and developing its assessment plans and processes.
- Support the development of faculty knowledge and skills related to assessment.
- Implement a revised campus planning process designed to link planning, budgeting, and measurement of institutional effectiveness and student achievement more closely.
IU Southeast’s current assessment system received positive feedback in the campus’s most recent HLC review in 2009-10. The reviewers were pleased with the progress our campus made since the focused visit in 2002-03.