Assessment

Haverford’s approach to assessment and evaluation arises from our institutional vision and goals for institutional improvement, and is implemented through comprehensive evidence-based planning and institutional structures. We work to develop and deploy ongoing processes for evaluating the institution, using data-driven evidence to implement new policies and improve on existing practices.

Our institutional culture directly facilitates effective assessment processes. Our small size allows for effective informal assessments through direct communication among campus constituents, and our culture of consensus-based decision-making facilitates deliberate discussion about many issues, leading to change in practice and policies. Our Assessment Plan incorporates four interrelated core areas:

Student Learning Assessment
A systematic, long-term process of gathering information about student learning and the educational experience, with the goal of using this data to improve majors, minors, and concentrations, courses, and teaching practices.

Academic Program Assessment
Comprehensive evaluation of curricular and co-curricular programs occurs within departmental, divisional, and college-wide scopes. This work both affects and reflects the closely related Student Learning Assessment.

Institutional Development
Across the College, stakeholders collaborate to clarify goals, refine practice, and evaluate progress and improvement at multiple levels. The broadest iterations take place within the Board of Managers and the Senior Staff. Standing committees and task forces focus on specific contexts, while the Institutional Effectiveness Committee provides College-wide and cross-functional perspective and support for institutional effectiveness.

Employee Performance
The success of the College depends on the performance and continued improvement of all employees. Employee evaluations are conducted within each department, while faculty evaluations are coordinated by the Provost and Academic Council.


Assessment Aspects: Program and Performance Review

With Haverford's educational mission at our center, institutional effectiveness covers two broad areas of evaluation: 1) program assessment, at the institutional, curricular, and operational/administrative levels; and 2) performance review of the individuals who design, implement, and learn via those various "programs." In concert, these two components summarize our institutional effectiveness initiatives.

Program assessment pertains to the institutional/strategic, curricular/pedagogical, and operational/administrative structures that direct and support our educational mission.

The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) plays a key role in evaluating programmatic aspects of the overall curriculum, including our general education curriculum (e.g. divisional, language, and writing requirements), the nature of our overall curriculum (e.g. the approval of new majors or programs of study), the structural components of the curriculum (e.g. minors, concentrations), the contemporary curriculum (e.g. approval of new courses) and academic aspects of co-curricular experiences (e.g. study abroad, internships through the Academic Centers).

Resource allocation decisions are guided by the educational mission and strategic goals of the College. Haverford’s budgeting principles strive for the elusive but important goal of maintaining four conditions simultaneously: operating budgets must be balanced, human assets developed and nourished, physical assets preserved, and the endowment’s purchasing power protected. An important corollary is that we provide access to a Haverford education to the most highly qualified students regardless of their ability to pay. As part of the annual review of Haverford’s financial health, there is an assessment of how well we are meeting these goals each year.

The budgeting process operationalizes support for mission-critical initiatives at every level, and across the College. The iterative budgeting process instills the discipline of periodic pauses to assess progress and adjust resource allocation decisions. The College’s operating budget is developed through a highly collaborative process. The Budget Director and Vice President for Finance work directly with the College’s Senior Staff and the Administrative Advisory Committee (AAC) to construct a budget proposal. Major revenue and expenditure components are discussed with the Finance Committee of the Board of Managers throughout the year, and the final proposal is presented to the full Board of Managers for consideration and approval.

Periodically, both academic and administrative departments undergo thorough external review, often accompanied by self-study. This intensive process evaluates the extent to which departmental goals are being achieved and how each department is contributing to the accomplishment of the College’s overall mission.

  • Administrative Department Review: Members of Senior Staff may recommend that an administrative unit undergo external review. These reviews are conducted as needed, either in response to the necessity for departmental reorganization, or new developments in technology, best practices, or College initiatives. Similar to Academic Department reviews, there is a self-study component followed by a visiting team review. Recommendations from the visiting team are shared with the relevant Senior Staff member, the President of the College, and the Department undergoing review.
  • Academic Department Review: On an approximately 10-year cycle, academic departments undergo a formal external review, organized by the Provost’s Office. As part of that process, departments engage in self-study, involving discussions among its faculty members about the mission, condition, and aspirations of the academic program, and including analyses of assessment procedures and best practices in the discipline. Current students and alumni should be included in these deliberations as departments gather evidence in support of their self-assessment. Where appropriate, reviews are conducted together with the counterpart department at Bryn Mawr. Departments may request a review in preparation for a retirement or curricular revision. The schedule for external review is determined at least one year in advance of the scheduled review by the Provost in consultation with the Provost at Bryn Mawr College. Recommendations from the visiting team are shared with the Provost, the President of the College, and the Department undergoing review.

Assessment of employee performance begins with the annual evaluation of the President of the College and review of presidential accomplishments by the Presidential Compensation and Review committee of the Board of Managers. In turn, the President reviews each member of Senior Staff.

According to HR guidelines, Senior Staff members conduct annual reviews of the staff who report directly to them, and instruct department heads to conduct annual employee performance evaluations for faculty, administrative/professional staff, and non-exempt (hourly) staff. As part of the process of staff reviews, employees are given the opportunity for annual goal setting, and discussion of the evaluation with the department head. Evaluations are filed with the HR office and are kept in the employee’s personnel file.

Faculty are evaluated through several formal and informal means. The annual Professional Activities Form is a self-assessment filed with the Provost annually by every regular full-time tenure-track or continuing faculty member. In addition, Department Chairs evaluate junior (pre-tenure) and visiting faculty members in their department. Chairs must share their annual evaluation with the faculty member prior to submission to the Provost (in the case of tenure track or continuing faculty), or the Associate Provost (in the case of visiting faculty). Finally, students participate in faculty evaluation by responding to requests for feedback from Department Chairs during the annual review process, from Academic Council during tenure, reappointment, and promotion reviews, and from faculty members during end-of-semester course evaluations.


Institutional Effectiveness Committee

The function of the Institutional Effectiveness Committee, established in 2010, is to take an institutional view of assessment at the College; to integrate, support, and share on-going activities; and to identify and develop initiatives to help the College meet its near- and long-term institutional goals (as articulated by the President and Senior Staff).

 

The committee will make recommendations to the College’s academic and administrative departments regarding data gathering and information sharing, will monitor progress of assessment activities, and will function as a visible structure for the summary, documentation, and communication of assessment efforts at the College. The IEC will assist academic departments in planning Student Learning Assessment projects, and will facilitate the sharing of information from the College’s data systems in order to assist all departments in evaluating the extent to which they are meeting their goals.

 

Reporting directly to the President, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) is chaired by the Associate Provost for Curricular Development and Support.  The committee includes a vice-chair with broad experience in assessment, and institutional representation reflective of the year’s agenda.  Appointments are made annually.

Contact

Chair:
Frances Blase
fblase@haverford.edu

Vice-Chairs:
Jesse Lytle
jlytle@haverford.edu
Catherine Fennell
cfennell@haverford.edu

  • 2014-2015
    Membership:
    • Fran Blase, Associate Provost for Curricular Development & Support, and Associate Professor of Chemistry (Chair)
    • Catherine Fennell, Director of Institutional Research (Co-Vice-Chair)
    • Jesse Lytle, Chief of Staff (Co-Vice Chair)
    • Franklyn Cantor, Presidential Fellow
    • Christopher Chandler, Director of Human Resources
    • Kelly Cleary, Dean of Career and Professional Advising
    • Martha Denney, Dean of the College
    • Kaye Edwards, Associate Professor, Independent College Programs
    • Spencer Golden, Director of Enterprise Systems, Instructional and Information Technology (IITS)
    • Janice Lion, Associate Director of Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC)
    • Thomas Lloyd, Professor of Music
    • Gabriela Moats, Accommodations Coordinator, Office of Disability Services
    • Steve McGovern, Associate Professor of Political Science and Educational Policies Committee (EPC)
    • Christopher Mills, Assistant VP for College Communications
    • Shannon Mudd, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics and Director of Microfinance Programs
    • Alexander Norquist, Associate Professor of Chemistry
    • Hiroyo Saito, Director of Instructional Technology, Instructional and Information Technology (IITS)
    • Ellen Schultheis, Senior Assistant for Curricular and Provostial Affairs
    • Theresa Tensuan, Associate Dean of the College, Dean of Multicultural Affairs
    • Mitchell Wein, Vice President for Finance, Chief Administrative Officer
    • Diane Wilder, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Advancement
    Affiliates:
    • David Moore, Senior Web Communications Developer
    • Jennifer O’Donnell, Web Communications Manager

    Agenda

  • 2013-2014
    Membership:
    • Fran Blase, Associate Provost for Curricular Development & Support, and Associate Professor of Chemistry (Chair)
    • Catherine Fennell, Director of Institutional Research (Co-Vice-Chair)
    • Jesse Lytle, Chief of Staff (Co-Vice Chair)
    • Christopher Chandler, Director of Human Resources
    • Kelly Cleary, Dean of Career and Professional Advising
    • Martha Denney, Dean of the College
    • Kaye Edwards, Associate Professor, Independent College Programs
    • Spencer Golden, Director of Enterprise Systems, Instructional and Information Technology (IITS)
    • Steve McGovern, Associate Professor of Political Science and Educational Polices Committee (EPC)
    • Alice Lesnick, Term Professor of Education,
    • Director of Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program
    • Christopher Mills, Assistant VP for College Communications
    • Terry Snyder, Librarian of the College
    • Theresa Tensuan, Associate Dean of the College, Dean of Multicultural Affairs
    • Diane Wilder, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Advancement
    • Julie Sheehan (ex officio), Research and Assessment Analyst, Provost's Office

    Agenda
    Year-end Report

  • 2012-2013
    Membership:
    • Maris Gillette, Associate Provost for Curricular Development and Professor of Anthropology (Chair)
    • Catherine Fennell,  Director of Institutional Research (Vice Chair)
    • Chris Chandler, Director of Human Resources
    • Spencer Golden, Director of Enterprise Systems, , Instructional and Information Technology
    • Jesse Lytle, Chief of Staff
    • Donna Mancini, Dean of Global Affairs
    • Steve McGovern, Associate Professor of Political Science and Educational Policy Committee (EPC)
    • Terry Snyder, Librarian of the College
    • Diane Wilder, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Advancement
    • Cris Fuller (ex officio), Research and Assessment Analyst, Office of the Provost
    Affiliate:
    • Jennifer O’Donnell, Web Communications Manager, IEC Web Reconnaissance Officer

    Agenda
    Year-end Report

  • 2011-2012
    Membership:
    • Wendy Sternberg, Associate Provost and Professor of Psychology (Chair)
    • Catherine Fennell, Director of Institutional Research (Vice Chair)
    • Christopher Chandler, Director of Human Resources
    • Spencer Golden, Director of Enterprise Systems, Instructional and Information Technology
    • Mike Keaton, Senior Associate Director of Admission
    • Jennifer O’Donnell, Web Communications Manager, Communications
    • Steve Watter, Dean of Student Life
    • Diane Wilder, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Advancement

    Year-end Report

  • 2010-2011
    Membership:
    • Wendy Sternberg, Associate Provost and Professor of Psychology (Chair)
    • Catherine Fennell, Director of Institutional Research (Vice Chair)
    • Phil Bean, Dean of Academic Affairs
    • Christopher Chandler, Director of Human Resources
    • Mike Keaton, Senior Associate Director of Admission
    • Mary Ellen Luongo, Director of Enterprise Systems, Instructional and Information Technology
    • Jennifer O’Donnell, Web Communications Manager, Communications
    • Diane Wilder, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Advancement

    Year-end Report


Student Learning Assessment

Provost's Statement on Assessment, April 2014

Centrally, our task [as scholars and educators] is to help our students explore the world critically and cogently, which involves constantly revaluing assumptions and hypotheses by sifting ever-evolving evidence and producing a continuously revised account of one’s understanding. That is precisely what we’re asking departments and professors to do when developing, applying, and recalibrating assessment criteria for student learning in their courses and shared curricula. As the Teagle projects vividly display, this process can contribute to an essential responsibility of all educators—to give an intelligible and persuasive account of one’s work—but even more importantly, it can provide a flexible, generative vehicle for that work’s evolution.

I would suggest that we think of effective assessment as: involving students when possible; aligned with faculty’s essential educational mission; easy to revise and manage; flexible enough to inflect distinctive pedagogies but intelligible enough to contribute to the common enterprise; fitting, not faddish; generative of better education than that which it’s measuring; and rewarding and uplifting to all its participants.

—Kimberly W. Benston, Interim Provost

Student Learning Assessment is a tool used to determine whether students are acquiring the skills, knowledge, habits of mind and personal development reflective of our educational goals. It is a systematic, multidimensional, long-term process of gathering data and using that information to enhance student achievement and experience, improve instruction and pedagogical practice, and refine the academic program.

Goals and Aspirations of the Haverford Education

In Spring of 2010, the Board of Managers and the Faculty endorsed a set of institutional learning goals that a Haverford education is designed to achieve. This document, our "Educational Goals and Aspirations," continues to evolve as faculty consider and articulate the many facets of a Haverford education.

Mastery and Critique
Haverford College's curriculum is designed not only to help students acquire a particular body of knowledge but to develop the capacity to learn, to understand, to make sound and thoughtful judgments, and to balance creativity and analysis. Within each discipline, academic work evolves from the mastery of key concepts through critical analysis to active participation in the construction of scholarship. This intellectual preparation culminates in our academic requirement that each senior produce a piece of independent work in the form of a senior thesis or project. Students cultivate the ability to critique and analyze primary texts, to appreciate theoretical rigor, and to learn through observation, experiment, or empirical methods, as appropriate. Students thus gain mastery of their chosen disciplines.
Ownership, Contribution, and Accountability
In all disciplines, students are expected to contribute original ideas for which they are accountable. They learn to present and defend their ideas both orally and in writing. Students are encouraged to interrogate and articulate why they think what they think, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Translation and Interpretation
Students engage in acts of translation, interpretation, and cultural inquiry in every area of their studies. These intellectual habits encourage students to formulate questions, explore areas of difference, and understand their own positions vis-à-vis various forms of history, politics and knowledge. Such practices develop models of reading and analysis that illuminate students' scholarship and judgments across disciplines and contexts.
Breadth and Depth
In addition to mastering a discipline, all students are required to acquaint themselves with the breadth of intellectual approaches exemplified in the classic divisions of natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities; they must have experience of a second language and acquire quantitative skills. As distinctions among the divisions continue to blur, students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinarity through minors and areas of concentration.
Communication and Representation
All academic majors require students to communicate and represent ideas in modes that are appropriate to the discipline. The primary form of communication is often written prose, but students also learn to express themselves and their original contributions in a variety of presentation forms (e.g., oral, artistic, creative). A College Writing requirement is implemented during the first year, to ensure that all students enter their academic disciplines with basic skills of written argument and persuasion.
Non doctior, sed meliore doctrina imbutus
Our Quaker heritage is expressed in the Haverford motto: "Not more learned, but imbued with better learning." We offer our students many opportunities to engage fundamental issues of inequality and social justice. The college encourages students to put learning into action for greater ethical purposes. Our Quaker principles turn classrooms into communities where faculty and students learn from each other, and where all voices are heard. In such contexts, students and faculty alike become better thinkers, listeners and speakers, making them partners in the creation of knowledge.
Student Learning Assessment Projects

The Tri-College Teagle Project, launched in the Fall of 2009 and funded by a grant from the Teagle Foundation, served as an important catalyst for the development of meaningful and useful student learning assessment. This effort began with two identified purposes: 1) to support intensive efforts of selected departments to assess a key institutional learning goal(s) as it related to their academic department, and to leverage these successful assessment models within, across, and beyond our campuses; and 2) to create opportunities for close participation of non-faculty stakeholders in meaningful, useful department-level assessment efforts, and in so doing, learn to better evaluate and overcome the challenges to sustaining such work on a larger scale.

Tri-College Teagle Assessment Project

Departmental Learning Goals

The articulation of departmental student learning goals is the foundational step of the assessment process. Crafted individually by each department’s faculty, the goals exist in the context of a four-step assessment process:

  1. Articulation of learning goals/objectives
  2. Application of curricular/learning strategies
  3. Assessment of learning, based on the articulated objectives
  4. Use of the assessment results to improve subsequent teaching and learning

Departmental Learning Goals

Senior Thesis Goals & Assessment

The Senior Thesis represents the culmination of a Haverford student’s academic experience, and is one of the most important and rewarding ways that Haverford realizes its educational mission. It is an opportunity to do original research at levels usually reserved for graduate students, in partnership with faculty mentors.

This primary and summative assessment of disciplinary mastery requires students to apply the skills, methods, concepts, and habits of mind specific to their major field in the production of new knowledge, the original synthesis of existing knowledge, and/or creative artistic expression. Students become true scholars, and come to understand at a deep and practical level what it takes to create knowledge and to seek answers to challenging questions. In turn, they become more effective and influential agents for change in whatever field they choose.

There is need, in the senior year especially, to challenge the student’s powers of analysis and synthesis and to foster the creative use of the knowledge and skills that have been acquired in previous studies. There is also the need to evaluate the performance of the senior in the major field, not only to safeguard the academic standards of the College, but also to help the student’s self-evaluation at an important moment. In short, synthesis and evaluation in some form are both essential and may be achieved by various means as specified by the major departments.

Assessment Resources

Alumni Outcomes

Given our mission to provide a transformative undergraduate experience, many of our learning goals must be measured over time. Therefore, we ask our current students and alumni to reflect on their experiences at Haverford to help us understand the extent to which we achieve the developmental aspects of our educational mission are being achieved.

The myriad achievements of our distinguished alumni provide useful information about our institutional effectiveness. There are both quantitative and qualitative metrics that we use to track outcomes once our students become alumni. Our students are successful in earning fellowships, gaining acceptance to graduate & professional school, earning advanced degrees, and securing employment in a variety of fields after leaving Haverford.

A robust Center for Career and Professional Advising maintains a network of alumni professionals to connect with and to mentor current students. Our Alumni and Parent Relations and Individual Giving Offices cultivate lifelong relationships with our alumni, and encourage active participation in our alumni community. Many academic departments also maintain connections with their majors after graduation through departmental alumni webpages, social networking, and sustained personal contact between faculty members and alumni.

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