Saturday, March 14, 2015

Who Will Survive?

At a recent conference on assessment at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, keynote speaker Linda Suskie addressed the question, “Which colleges and universities will survive and thrive?” Her vote went to universities that
  • Have a pervasive, sustained culture of quality.  (Note:  she explained that doesn’t mean being the most selective college; a college might be known for providing the best learning environment for underprepared students, for instance);
  • Focus on what is most important to them;
  • Focus on having great teaching and learning;
  • Fight complacency (talk about innovation and risk taking, honor efforts to improve even if the efforts don’t succeed first time around);
  • Break down silos, giving funding priority to collaborative projects;
  • Build a culture of evidence;
  • Keep assessment useful, simple, and pervasive;
  • Set rigorous, justifiable standards for success;
  • Tell meaningful stories of the university’s success;
  • Keep their promises.
It seems to me that Lincoln measures up well against many of these criteria.  I wonder, though, to what extent we are really focusing on what’s most important to us. 
To focus on what’s most important, we need to agree on what’s most important.  Have we done that?  Does our mission statement do it?  Do we have an academic master plan that operationalizes it? Do faculty and staff all agree on what Lincoln could/should be? 

All of the other points follow relatively smoothly if we have that overall focus in mind, clearly defined and universally agreed upon.  Do we? If so, what do you think that focus is?  If not, what do we need to do to find it?

1 comment:

  1. I think the key is in keeping assessment simple, useful and routine. I believe the core (requirement) suggests what is important; and each major indicates or assumes what is important in the major.

    Safro Kwame