Accountability Foster

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Information about Accountability Foster

Published on January 7, 2008

Author: Lindon


ACCOUNTABILITY: ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT:  ACCOUNTABILITY: ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT Brian L. Foster Provost University of Missouri – Columbia NCCI New Orleans July 26-28, 2007 The Accountability Mandate:  The Accountability Mandate Public status of higher education has changed dramatically Higher education is now seen as an entitlement Higher education is a VERY big “industry” It is widely seen as a key asset in economic development It is widely seen as prerequisite to a good life Consequences of our new status:  Consequences of our new status There is greatly increased political interest Federal: e.g., Spellings Commission State Widespread interest in affordability, access, and especially accountability There is great interest from the business sector There is a vibrant for-profit sector of higher education Discussions of Reauthorization of HEA: Poster child for accountability demands:  Discussions of Reauthorization of HEA: Poster child for accountability demands Adapted from CHEA Update, June 22, 2007, on Senate bill for accreditation: Improve student achievement (use “empirical evidence, program completion, graduation; licensure; job placement) Transfer credit (have public transfer policy, disclose limits on transfer based on nature of accrediting agency Due process for appealing accreditation decisions Distance learning must be monitored for completion Respect institutional mission, including religious mission Spellings Commission: the other poster child:  Spellings Commission: the other poster child Improve preparation, persistence Increase aid to low-income students Restructure financial aid system Create culture of accountability, transparency Embrace culture of continuous improvement, innovation, especially science and mathematical literacy Increase investment in areas critical for global competitiveness Complications:  Complications Higher education is highly segmented into very different kinds of institutions Accreditation is peer-based accountability mechanism Often seen as “fox guarding the hen house” Is extremely decentralized with numerous accrediting agencies University communities are seen as politically left Higher education is seen as resisting accountability The nature of the student body has changed dramatically Other complications:  Other complications There are numerous “domains of public interest: Undergraduate education Professional education Graduate Education Economic development Jobs/income Athletics Professional development/lifelong learning There ARE big policy issues:  There ARE big policy issues Cost of higher education has increased greatly Most financial aid goes to students without pressing need Socioeconomic status disparities are enormous Contradicts our meritocratic ideology for access and success Appearance of little transparency There is relatively little attention to stating clearly and monitoring learning outcomes “Academic speak” is little understood by those outside the academy Student performance is not impressive Inadequate pipeline for the STEM disciplines Puts our “knowledge economy” at grave risk The Accountability discussion:  The Accountability discussion Rhetoric is on improvement monitored by performance indicators Higher education’s accountability mechanisms are generally summative Accreditation (regional, national, professional) Program reviews Proposed public mechanisms also summative Much like NCLB Standardized tests—e.g., the CLA Transparency of data on student success, costs, and other matters The BIG disconnect:  The BIG disconnect Rhetoric is improvement, action is summative evaluation Such action documents problems, but is not a mechanism for improvement As with NCLB, no reason to think proposed measures will lead to improvement Documentation of constant or declining performance will only increase the frenzy Will increase political (as opposed to policy) concerns Will further diminish public credibility of higher education A natural way past the disconnect:  A natural way past the disconnect CQI is a natural mechanism to address accountability demands Read “improvement” Provides a structured way to address issues Has credibility in the business and political communities Has an incipient presence in higher education Has infrastructure, support mechanisms—e.g., NCCI AQUIP Natural link with accreditation, program reviews, and politically imposed performance indicators CQI contributions - 1:  CQI contributions - 1 CQI is a way to probe deeper into the problems Broad indicators provide little insight into problems CQI probes deeper in a disciplined way CQI probes in a structured way that leads to interventions CQI tracks performance with reference to well-defined objectives CQI leads to cultural change that supports systematic improvement CQI demonstrates that we are not resisting change/accountability; WE ARE EMBRACING IT CQI contributions - 2:  CQI contributions - 2 CQI is robust, appropriate for addressing a broad range of issues Delivery of instruction Providing support functions like advising, admissions, or financial aid Achieving operational efficiencies that lower cost Improving articulation with external constituencies—e.g., businesses, communities, and government units For economic development For community development For public health CQI contributions - 3:  CQI contributions - 3 CQI can address issues central to political concerns Support students who transfer from one institution to another Effectively support first generation students Address SES disparities Improve P-12 preparation through research on learning and through teacher preparation Address the STEM pipeline/success issues Create effective interdisciplinary process and structure Address issues of cultural diversity CQI contributions - 4:  CQI contributions - 4 Organizational ways to link accountability mechanisms with CQI Link program reviews and accreditation visits At MU we do “mock accreditations” as part of program reviews Make program reviews comprehensive, including undergrad, grad, research, and service Have single office oversee program review, accreditation, and CQI Nature of the interface:  Nature of the interface Accountability mechanisms are periodic, CQI is continuous Accreditation, program review must be: Forward looking: “how is unit positioned?” Focused on improvement Accountability mechanisms must be: Reality check for continuous improvement goals Reality check for continuity of continuous improvement processes Accountability results must be aligned with CQI subject matter domains, which are examined using quality principles A Complication for Publics:  A Complication for Publics In order for improvement to occur, participants must feel safe disclosing what need to be improved. Is a public institution able to safeguard this information from the public? For CQI to work, this issue must be addressed. Domains of CQI studies: Examples:  Domains of CQI studies: Examples There are many ways to frame substantive “domains” for application of CQI process There are at least as many ways to break such domains down into actionable “focal areas” I’ll be using some terminology from Massy, Graham, and Short’s recent book “Focal Areas” are substantive, breaking up the domains into meaningful/actionable components “Quality Principles” are quality process elements that apply to each focal area Examples are all broadly academic All examples relate to “accountability issues” Quality principles:  Quality principles Massy, Graham, and Short, following a Stanford study, describe 7 quality principles: What are we trying to do? (Define quality in terms of outcomes) How are we doing it? (How do things get done?) Who is responsible for doing it? (Work collaboratively) How do we know we are succeeding? (Base decisions on evidence) How can we do better? Strive for coherence Learn from best practice Make continuous improvement a priority CQI Domains: Example 1 (aligning with public accountability concerns):  CQI Domains: Example 1 (aligning with public accountability concerns) Improving delivery of undergraduate education Massy, Graham, and Short’s “focal areas” Learning objectives Curriculum and co-curriculum Teaching and learning methods Student learning assessment Quality assurance CQI Domains: Example 2 (aligning with public accountability concerns):  CQI Domains: Example 2 (aligning with public accountability concerns) Improving effectiveness of advising I don’t know model parallel to prior slide Some ideas on focal areas Desired advising outcomes Domain of advisement Profile of student community Curriculum and other advising content areas Structure and process for advising Assessment of advisement processes Synergies with teaching, other education processes CQI Domains: Example 3 (aligning with public accountability concerns):  CQI Domains: Example 3 (aligning with public accountability concerns) Improving enrollment management Possible focal areas Defining desired outcomes of enrollment management Enrollment management processes Recruitment Admissions, financial aid Research elements—e.g., cost/revenue, discount Alignment with educational programs Assessment of enrollment management outcomes Achieving quality improvement culture CQI Domains: Example 4 (aligning with public accountability concerns):  CQI Domains: Example 4 (aligning with public accountability concerns) Improving graduate education Suggested focal areas Outcomes for graduate programs Support processes for student success Teaching Research, professional development opportunities Student networks, support structure Instructional methods and resources Assessment of student outcomes Alignment with undergraduate, research, and service programs CQI Domains: Example 5 (aligning with public accountability concerns):  CQI Domains: Example 5 (aligning with public accountability concerns) Improving research effectiveness Focal areas adapted from Massy, Graham, and Short Research outcomes, impact Institutional research support environment Support for externally funded research Synergy with education, graduate and undergraduate Assessment of research effectiveness CQI Domains: Example 6 (aligning with public accountability concerns):  CQI Domains: Example 6 (aligning with public accountability concerns) Improving effectiveness of interdisciplinary units—centers and academic programs Suggested focal areas: Educational and research outcomes Institution’s cultural environment for interdisciplinary cooperation Institutional support for interdisciplinary initiatives Alignment of interdisciplinary programs and centers Synergies with departments and colleges Assessment of interdisciplinary initiatives Conclusion:  Conclusion The above suggestions are examples only There ARE issues we need to deal with Accountability demands are driven as much by political as educational concerns Public framing of accountability is in terms of summative evaluation Accreditation fits in this way of thinking CQI offers a way to actually do something about accountability

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