Learning Assurance History at the Goodman School of Business

Goodman School of Business

Learning Assurance History at the Goodman School of Business

Since 2005, Goodman has been actively engaged in the development and implementation of a formal Assurance of Learning process. Under the guidance of the Dean’s office a faculty Learning Assurance Committee was formed with representation from all faculty departments, undergraduate and graduate students, and chaired by the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and AACSB. The committee’s mandate was to identify key skills important for students' professional success, design a process where student learning would be measured in these areas, and disseminate the outcomes to faculty to support curriculum review and revision.

With continuous improvement as the foundation, the Assurance of Learning process has continued to evolve and expand leading to more stakeholder involvement and positive outcomes for student learning.

Establishing the Assurance of Learning Program 2005-2008

The Learning Assurance Committee began developing the school’s Assurance of Learning program in 2005 with a faculty survey designed to identify key skills that important for students’ future professional success. Three common skills were identified: written communication, problem solving and critical reasoning and these were adopted as learning goals by the school. In 2006 the committee, in consultation with the faculty, defined each of these learning goals and developed learning objective and rubrics for assessment. Beginning with written communication, faculty began assessment in all programs in a variety of courses and the outcomes were used to inform the school and resulted in revision of the rubric. In 2008, assessment expanded to include problem solving and critical thinking learning goals and the measurement of management specific knowledge was considered. The committee recommended pilot testing the ETS Major Field Test in Business; however, due to logistical reasons the test wasn't implemented during this time.

Assurance of Learning 2009-2010

With the initial implementation underway, the next cycle represented the expansion of the Assurance of Learning program and improvements implemented during this time are briefly described below.

  • Beginning in 2009 Goodman expanded participation in AACSB Accreditation and Assurance of Learning seminars to include departmental chairs, members of the Learning Assurance Committee, the Associate Dean and the Accreditations Coordinator. This resulted in an increased awareness of AACSB and Assurance of Learning information and expanded the scope dissemination of important accreditation related information. The increased knowledge helped identify gaps in the school’s Assurance of Learning program and led to important changes.
  • Based on this increased awareness the Learning Assurance Committee revised and expanded the learning goals to better reflect each programs focus and impact AACSB requirements. A faculty survey was conducted and as a result new learning goals were added to the program and some former learning goals were retired. New rubrics were designed for all the learning goals and assessment with new rubrics commenced.
  • The Learning Assurance Committee, in consultation with the faculty, developed a course map for each program that identified where each learning goals was taught, practiced, and assessed to help guide more targeted assessment.
  • The Learning Assurance Committee began to consider online assessment tools to enhance the current Assurance of Learning Program. Unfortunately, these tools proved to be too expensive so were not implemented during this time.
  • The MSc Committee identified learning goals and objectives and developed new rubrics.
  • An Assurance of Learning Policy, detailing the program and timelines, was developed and approved by the majority of departments in early 2011.

Assessment of Learning Goals and Objectives 2010-2012

Using the program maps developed in 2010, the Learning Assurance Committee identified that key skills were most often taught and practiced in first and second year courses so it recommended that assessment be focused on upper year courses to provide the most valuable leaning measurements. The committee then created an assessment map of key required upper year courses in each program that contained a measureable component of a learning goal to be targeted for measurement. During each assessment cycle the assessment map was continuously revised to expand the number of targeted courses and increase the required sample size.

Also in 2010, Goodman hosted a pilot test of the ETS Major Field Test in Business for the tested in the undergraduate and MBA program. The test, hosted by Goodman, was voluntary for students in the BBA, BAcc, and MBA programs.

Assessment of the expanded learning goals began in spring 2010 and the outcomes were reviewed by the Learning Assurance Committee at the end of each academic year. Recommendation for changes to improve student learning were made and various recommendations were adopted before the start of the next academic year when assessment would begin again.

In 2011 the Dean established a number of sub-committees of the Goodman Advisory Board to increase the boards involvement in key areas including Accreditation. This sub-committee was trained on the purpose and process of Assurance of Learning as a foundation for its involvement in reviewing the program learning goals, objectives, and assessment outcomes.

Also in 2011, following a strategy developed by the original Learning Assurance Committee, two students (one undergraduate and one graduate) were re-introduced as members of the committee.
Assessment of the learning goals continued until Fall 2012 when an updated Assurance of Learning program was implemented.

Assurance of Learning 2013-Present

In 2012, based on ongoing training obtained through AACSB and Assurance of Learning seminars, the Assurance of Learning program was once again revised. The following initiatives were introduced to further expand and improve the program.

  • The Learning Assurance Committee launched a survey to identify program specific learning goals. The survey was distributed to faculty, students, alumni, co-op employers and the Goodman Advisory Council to identify learning goals that were important for each program. Then the full list of learning goals were sent to the same stakeholders and the top four learning goals were identified for each program.
  • Faculty-wide Assurance of Learning Training was held early in 2012 to increase awareness of AACSB requirements and how Goodman’s Assurance of Learning program was meeting those expectations. The training was attended by faculty, staff, students and Advisory Council members and successfully increased awareness of and involvement in Goodman’s Assurance of Learning program.
  • The learning goals were revised by the MSc Committee for its program and expanded from four learning goals to five.
  • Goals, such as communication and problem solving, were reconfirmed and new learning goals added to each program to differentiate between program and alignment with the School’s mission. The list of new goals for all programs was distributed to the faculty for feedback and approved in September 2012.
  • Learning Goal Sub-Committees were then established to focus on defining each goal in relation to its program(s). These sub-committees met in December 2012 to define the learning goals and objectives and create the rubrics that would be used for measurement. These rubrics were distributed to faculty for feedback and recommended changes incorporated. The updated rubrics were redistributed to faculty and approved for use in February 2013.
  • To increase transparency and communication with stakeholders Goodman launched an Assurance of Learning website that included an outline of the Assurance of Learning Program, Descriptions of the Learning Goals and Policy, methods of assessment and other relevant information. This website was updated in 2013 with information on the new Assurance of Learning program including the new program specific goals and updated reporting and communication processes.
  • To positively impact student’s written communications a Goodman Business Writing Resources website was introduced in the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year and a link to the new site was included in a variety of faculty syllabi. In Fall 2013 a new Presentations Resources website was launched to improve student’s skills with oral communications.
  • In early 2013 a Student Communication Skills Coordinator was hired to support the development of communications skills at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This position will support Goodman’s Assurance of Learning initiatives and be an integral part of the program moving forward.
  • Updated rubrics were developed and the first assessment cycle with the new rubrics began in January 2013. These rubrics continue to be used to assess Goodman students on an ongoing basis.