Monday, August 22, 2011

Fall Planning starts with focus on student outcomes

A collaborative effort is under way to develop institutional outcomes that will ensure Daytona State College students graduate with a core set of competencies beyond their academic focus.
The Institutional Outcomes Workshop kicked off Fall Planning 2011 on Wednesday. The standing-room only session attended by nearly 200 faculty and student support staff focused on establishing universal outcome goals to be applied across all disciplines in a manner that best serves students and represents the vision, mission and values of the college.
“Institutional outcomes are an overarching piece of the college’s planning structure,” said Dr. Angela Falconetti, vice president of Planning, Development and Institutional Effectiveness, which hosted the workshop. “They are meant to define the extent to which each program or unit is contributing to the overall achievement of students and the institution as a whole.”
The proposed institutional outcomes address competencies students will be expected to master - at various levels depending on the courses they take -  in four areas: creative and critical thinking, communication, cultural literacy, and information and technical literacy. They were developed this summer by members of last year’s Planning Council, as well as selected college administrators and faculty. Wednesday’s workshop was an opportunity for the larger body of faculty and staff to provide feedback and refine each outcome goal.
“This past summer, we asked this group to look at what would rise to the top in terms of defining competencies and standards Daytona State College students should meet prior to graduation,” Falconetti told Wednesday’s workshop attendees. “Now, we are looking for your support and expertise in how you feel these outcomes represent our institution.”
While the goal is to establish institution-wide outcomes, they are by no means one size fits all, Falconetti explained. Once formalized, faculty will link their course and program outcomes to the institutional outcomes they feel are most appropriate.
While developing the institutional outcomes is an integral part of the college’s planning process, the effort also can be tied to Daytona State’s 2014 reaffirmation initiative with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1, found in its Principles of Accreditation, deals directly with how schools identify expected outcomes and assess the extent to which they achieve them.
“This is the standard that we as an institution are working very hard to make sure we align with,” Falconetti told those attending Wednesday’s workshop. “What you do with your outcomes will only help with the reaffirmation.”
The workshop presentation, including proposed institutional outcomes listed within each category, can be found on the Planning, Development and Institutional Effectiveness website.