AtÂ Berry College, we focused on a plan that supports our interest in further improving and developing opportunities for High Impact Engagement practices while also developing a â€œBerry DQPâ€ that emphasizes the genuinely unique aspects of a Berry education.
Working groups selected learning outcomes from the DQPâ€™sÂ Applied LearningÂ andÂ Civic LearningÂ categories that seemed to be commonly applicable to academic affairs, the student work program, student activities, and Berryâ€™sÂ BonnerÂ program. Several academic departments used theÂ Applied LearningÂ outcome to evaluate student research projects (at multiple curricular levels), and our student work program used the Applied LearningÂ outcome to evaluate student work enterprises. OurÂ Bonner Center for Community EngagementÂ used the outcome to assess student research projects regarding community engagement. Faculty from four different academic departments that include civic engagement or service learning components within their courses used theÂ Civic LearningÂ outcome. With both outcomes, we expected the DQP to serve as the common thread bringing together the efforts of these various areas of campus to promote student development.
Each of our working groups met to review and then adopt a common rubric that was used by all to assess student projects across multiple disciplines or campus areas. This required the working groups to think critically about the DQP learning outcome language, the components of a successful project, and to visualize levels of mastery. One group utilized the AACU VALUE rubric developed to assessÂ Civic Engagement; the other campus group developed a rubric to assess the products of student research. These rubrics were employed during the Spring 2013 semester. Faculty and staff leading the projects determined whether the project/class was designed to foster anÂ introductory, emerging, or masteryÂ level of achievement of the desired learning outcome. This important aspect allowed everyone participating to evaluate if they have met their individual goals for the students regardless of the project and level of challenge.
An additional part of our assessment utilized the Topical Modules onÂ Civic EngagementÂ and theÂ Development of Transferable SkillsÂ that were recently developed by the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE). With permission of NSSE we asked students participating in our DQP projects to complete the appropriate NSSE module as a measure of growth or engagement of these students. Both NSSE modules were also implemented with our Spring 2013 campus NSSE survey. Comparison of the results for students participating in the DQP projects to the general college population will allow a powerful campus conversation.
As a result of our DQP project, a broader initiative has been integrated into our new ten-year strategic plan. One goal in the plan seeks to leverage Berryâ€™s assets to provideÂ powerful learning experiencesÂ for our students. The Berry DQP also compliments other initiatives in the strategic plan that can increase opportunities for high impact practices on our campus. As the Berry community begins to implement the new strategic plan, the Berry DQP and the work from our working groups serves as an excellent starting point and scaffold for encouraging more faculty and staff to search for ways to capitalize on Berryâ€™s unique strengths and assets to deepen studentsâ€™ educational experiences.
Berry College participated in a two-year, Lumina-funded project through The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). For more information on the project, clickÂ here.