The Higher Learning Commission’s Academy for Assessment of Student Learning

The HLC Academy experience is intended to develop institutional culture and increase institutional commitment to assessing and improving student learning. Participation in the Academy is designed to generate evidence for accreditation evaluations and follow-up.

West Liberty enrolled in the HLC Academy in March 2010. Team members include: Dr. Stephen Criniti, Dr. Robert Kruse, Dr. Jeremy Larance, Dr. Donna Lukich, Ryan McCullough, Dr. Peter Staffel and team leader, Paula Tomasik, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment.

The Academy team created a plan (the Data Point Project) for assessing student’s general studies skills through the development of rubrics.  Over the last four years, the Academy team worked closely with faculty and administration in all phases of assessment development and implementation.  As a result, significant improvements have been made to University Assessment.

“We have long believed that we are offering a high quality education here at West Liberty; however, in the current climate, the demand for accountability from educational institutions is increasing. As a result, it has become even more important for us to demonstrate the high quality work we do here,” explained Dr. Stephen Criniti, Associate Professor of English, and Chair of the University Assessment and Accreditation Committee.

“But perhaps even more important is the idea that our work in the area of assessment can only help us continue to increase the quality of our offerings. It allows us to make more informed decisions about the future direction of our programs and curricula. As a result, this important work helps us to improve the quality of our offerings for all of our current and future students,” he said.

Dr. Susan Hatfield, HLC Academy Consultant, visited West Liberty in September 2013 to conduct a “results visit.”  Prior to the visit, West Liberty’s team submitted their Academy Concluding Report to the Higher Learning Commission for review.   Dr. Hatfield’s initial evaluation during the result visit  was highly favorable, and formal HLC approval was granted in February 2014.