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Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Student Learning Outcome Assessment at a Small, Liberal Arts Institution

Cavallo, Julia (2020) Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Student Learning Outcome Assessment at a Small, Liberal Arts Institution. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This case study documents the use of improvement science to create and sustain an institution-wide assessment process and culture at a small, liberal arts institution in the mid
Atlantic region. The project began when the institution was put on warning with the regional accreditor (Middle States) for an inconsistent student learning outcome assessment process. In order to gain reaffirmation of accreditation, the institution needed to quickly adapt and change to
comply with the educational effectiveness standard. A new process needed to be centralized, systematized, and communicated to all stakeholders at the institution.
This project chronicled the journey to reaffirmation and beyond using improvement science to fuse theories from change management, leadership, and organizational culture with assessment best practices to develop an assessment process and culture. Several projects were ongoing
throughout the project with a specific test of change to pilot an assessment consultation in one academic department in order to spread and scale to other academic departments throughout the institution. The purpose of the test of change was to build assessment know-how, confidence,
knowledge, and leadership. Through surveys, a focus group, and observation field notes, the project’s findings show promise for future consultations with other academic departments for spread and scale throughout the institution. This will require continuous improvement of the assessment process overall and the assessment consultation specifically.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cavallo, Juliajac409@pitt.edujac409
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFerketish, B.
Committee MemberMayowski,
Committee MemberSmetanka,
Date: 7 July 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 May 2020
Approval Date: 7 July 2020
Submission Date: 5 June 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 173
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptive Leadership, Change Management, Improvement Science, Student Learning Outcome Assessment
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2020 19:05
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2020 19:05


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