West Coast University’s Engagement with the DQP

Errin Heyman, Director, Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Assessment

West Coast University’s (WCU) singular focus is educating health care professionals. WCU has three Southern California campuses and a campus in Dallas, Texas. WCU offers undergraduate degrees in nursing and Dental Hygiene as well as graduate degree programs in nursing and health care management.

WCU is participating in WASC’s DQP Pilot, concentrating on the “Intellectual Skills” from the DQP and aligning these skills with WASC’s “Graduation Proficiencies,” WCU’s General Education Program Learning Outcomes (PLO), and the overriding Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILO).

As such, WCU has created the following matrix that demonstrates alignments from the four areas:


Critical Thinking Analytic Inquiry Intellectual and Practical Problem-Solving skill, through information assessment and critical thinking (ILO); Analyze Ideas and Make Decisions Using Critical Thinking Skills (PLO); Articulate Issues and Arrive at a Defensible Conclusion, given a set of ethical dilemmas (PLO); Describe ethical standards and legal guidelines…(ILO)
Information Literacy Use of Information Resources Computer Proficiency and Information Literacy; Locate Disparate Information through Multiple Sources Demonstrating Technological and Informational Literacy (PLOs)
CFR 2.2a
[“… baccalaureate programs actively foster creativity, innovation, an appreciation for diversity, ethical and civic responsibility, civic engagement…”]
Engaging in Diverse Perspectives Knowledge of and Respect for …Diverse Cultures and Perspectives; Describe and Interpret Diverse Perspectives… (PLOs)
Quantitative Literacy Quantitative Fluency Interpret Quantitative Data (PLO)
Oral Communication; Written Communication Communications Fluency Written Communication; Oral Communication (ILOs/PLOs)

WCU utilizes the online  Learning Outcome Manager (LOM) from Pearson eCollege’s Learning Management System. In this repository, outcomes are entered and aligned “up” and “down”—from Institutional level, to Program level, down to the Course level outcomes. From there, WCU is using applicable modified VALUE rubrics from AAC&U, which can also be added to LOM and “pushed” to the appropriate courses, where faculty enter in comments and grades/scores, which are not only shared with students but are connected to the online gradebook as well and back to the LOM, where learning outcome data can be aggregated into the Learning Analytics tool. These data are shared at program and outcome reviews, where faculty can see, collectively, if students are meeting the intended levels of achievement, and where students may be deficient, action plans can be crafted to help elevate student performance.

Because all outcomes can be added to LOM, the DQP analytical skills, along with the WASC proficiencies, can be aligned with each other and with the ILOs and PLOs. Aggregate data can then be analyzed to review student performance in each category, which WCU hopes will be able to paint a picture of relevance of the DQP.