Ferris State University is committed to making certain our programs and courses provide
students with the best possible learning experience so that they will have the skills
and knowledge to be successful in their careers and lives. To maintain that level
of quality and to work to continually improve the educational environment at all levels,
we are dedicated to regularly gathering and evaluating evidence of student learning.
This evidence also demonstrates the quality of our programs and courses to future
students, possible funding sources, accrediting bodies, and others.
In addition to the assessment of student learning an important part of assessment
at Ferris State University is a variety of other measures of institutional effectiveness,
those related to Academic Affairs addressed in the second half of this report, the
remainder of university assessment provided separately.
A calendar of assessment goals and activities will be updated yearly. Below is a list
of the key ongoing activities.
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
As it is part of the professional responsibility of programs and faculty members to
collect and evaluate evidence of student learning to make appropriate improvements
in curriculum and pedagogy, the control over that assessment process should also rest
with the responsible parties. Programs and faculty members can make the best choices
about the learning outcomes, the most effective assessment methods, the best processes
for collecting and analyzing the data, and the most informed judgments about what
changes are suggested by the evidence.
Assessment evidence of student learning is not intended be used to negatively affect
the employment, promotion status, or salary of faculty. Ferris recognizes that faculty
can best collect and analyze effective evidence of their student learning and make
changes to enhance the educational environment when they can do so without fear of
Faculty members in the programs, majors, minors, and General Education are responsible
for regularly collecting and analyzing evidence of student learning in relation to
the stated outcomes and using that evidence to make any valuable improvements.
Where there are courses with multiple sections, the department that houses those courses
will be responsible for facilitating the collection and evaluation of student learning
across multiple sections.
Faculty members are responsible for collecting data on student learning in their own
courses to determine where improvements could be made. The College, Department, and
the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning are responsible for providing faculty
with the training and support necessary to engage in student learning assessment.
Given the focus on student learning, all programs and courses will be defined by clearly
stated and assessable learning outcomes. Assessment will establish the extent to which
students achieve the level of proficiency expected for the given learning outcomes
and will be the basis for making changes that will enhance future student learning.
Learning Outcomes Assessment refers to direct or indirect measures of student learning. This is different from
the measure of individual student performance to evaluate the student. Instead, student
learning assessment consists in collecting data on student learning in the aggregate
to determine how programs or courses may be made more effective. Measures such as
standardized exams, licensure or certification exams, portfolios, capstone projects,
pre-and post tests, writing samples, juried reviews of projects, externally reviewed
performances, evaluations of clinical and internship performances and more are direct
measures of student learning. Other measures such as NSSE or the EBI surveys, other
surveys of students, employers, and alumni, and career success offer indirect measures
that can support direct measures. Student course surveys (SAI's), grades or GPA's,
placement rates, retention, enrollment trends, and faculty-student ratios may be useful
measures of institutional effectiveness but are not measures of student learning.
Academic Program Review is a fundamental and cumulative part of the assessment effort
through which regularly collected data, including data on student learning and other
institutional measures, is carefully reviewed through the program review process to
yield specific recommendations. Program review applies to all structured educational
units including programs, majors, minors, pre-programs, General Education, the business
core and other non-degree program entities.
Academic Program Review self-study reports are cyclical and cumulative, based on regularly
collected evidence, and include regularly gathered data on student learning.
There are many benefits of the assessment practices of Ferris State University. Assessment
data can allow programs and courses to be adjusted to help students achieve the desired
outcomes. The data can provide an opportunity to rethink the outcomes for programs
and courses. Assessment data provides a rational basis for institutional planning.
Assessment practices are a fundamental part of obtaining or retaining accreditation
at the program or college level. Further, assessment data can document and demonstrate
to external parties the quality of our programs and courses and so can serve as an
important part of institutional recruitment and retention.
Accreditation is a major component of our ongoing assessment efforts. Thirty programs
are accredited by professional accrediting bodies. Academic Affairs takes an active
role in the self study process with each program. The self study process is an opportunity
for us to closely examine a program, to evaluate strengths and challenges, to consider
resource needs and opportunities for enhancements. We welcome the opportunity to have
professionals from outside review our programs and provide formative feedback.
Students are able to learn effectively because of the strength of Ferris' academic
programs. In addition to Learning Outcomes assessment, programs make use of a number
of indirect measures to evaluate the health of the program. Those measures include
but are not limited to the retention rate; the graduation rate; credit hour production;
job placement rate; the career success of graduates; graduate performance on certification,
registry, and licensure examinations; and program productivity. Most of these are
available through Institutional Research and Testing, collected as part of the Ferris FACT Book, and are included as a part of Academic
Program Review. When these measures indicate a possible need for change in a program,
they are the basis for a recommendation for action.
The quality of Ferris faculty is fundamental to the quality of student learning. Faculty
members are regularly evaluated to facilitate their development as needed. All faculty
members collect institutionally approved student surveys concerning their teaching
each semester that they teach. Every five years, all tenured faculty members go through
a process of Post-Tenure review where their teaching, service, and professional activities
are reviewed by the appropriate supervisor with recommendations for improvement where
necessary. Tenure-track faculty undergo yearly and systematic review of their performance
by the appropriate supervisor and a Faculty tenure committee; such a review includes
observations of the faculty member's teaching. Adjuncts and one year appointments
are carefully reviewed with the appropriate supervisor or his or her designate directly
observing their teaching and making recommendations for their renewal when appropriate.
A promotion process is in place in each College to review candidates for promotion
and evaluate the quality of their teaching, service, and learning. Faculty Development
funding, Sabbatical leave, training by the Faculty Center of Teaching and Learning,
and other opportunities are provided to maintain the quality faculty that insures
a quality Ferris education.
Each semester courses and evaluations utilize a standardized instrument. Click here.
Ferris provides its students with a supportive learning environment that provides
students with the opportunity to attend presentations, lectures, and a range of cultural
events at the Department, College, and University Levels. The impact of these opportunities
is assessed through the NSSE and periodic surveys of student satisfaction.
Ferris Assessment Activities
All programs, majors, minors, general education, curricular cores, non-degree program
entities, and pre-programs will have public measurable learning outcomes.
All new programs as part of the curriculum approval process will identify the learning
outcomes of the program and the means by which the student learning of those outcomes
will be assessed.
All courses will have learning outcomes which will be included on the syllabi handed
to students. While, faculty may exceed the outcomes for the course, all sections of
a course must meet the assigned outcomes.
All new courses as part of the curriculum approval process will identify the learning
outcomes of the course and the means by which the student learning of those outcomes
will be assessed.
Programs, majors, minors, general education, curricular cores, non-degree program
entities, and pre-programs will regularly collect evidence on how well students meet
the learning outcomes, analyze the evidence, and make changes as appropriate. These
activities are reported through the Advice for Assessment Directors.
Departments will structure and organize the assessment of student learning in courses
with multiple sections. In the case of General Education, the committees for each
general education are responsible for regularly assessing how well that outcome is
Faculty members are responsible for conducting assessment of student learning in their
individual classes and using that data to improve the curriculum, materials, or pedagogy
of the course. Colleges, Departments, and the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
will provide support for and regular training in effective learning outcomes assessment
at the course level.
The Advice for Assessment Directors will be collected and evaluated each January.
Programs not engaged in effective assessment will be notified and offered the necessary
support to enhance their assessment activity.
There will be a yearly audit of assessment by the FSU Assessment Committee following
the collection and evaluation of the YARs to determine where and how the assessment
process can be improved and how greater efficiencies can be accomplished.
The regular collection of assessment data on student learning as well as the collection
of other institutional measures of effectiveness culminates in the Academic Program
Review Process following the procedures detailed on the Academic Program Review Web
Page. Assessment should be ongoing and not only occur to support Academic Program
Review. Rather, Academic Program Review should draw on already-gathered evidence of
The third Friday of each February is designated specifically for Departments and Programs
to engage in assessment educational activities or the review of assessment activities.
The activities may be varied including an Assessment Fair, educational workshops,
meetings dedicated to enhancing assessment, assessment planning sessions, and similar
At least once a year, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning will make available
workshops on assessment, and especially course assessment. Assessment at Ferris and
the role of course assessment will be an important part of the orientation of all
new faculty members.
A Virtual Assessment site will be established and maintained under the guidance of
the Ferris State University Assessment Committee with the support of FLITE librarians.
This room will provide resources on assessment, assessment data and reports, and material
from HLC. This room will also serve as a resource room for site visit by HLC as part
of Ferris State University's self study.
Assessment is essential to the educational life of Ferris State University. Participation
in assessment activities will be recognized as very important service to the institution
and be considered as part of Post-Tenure Review and Colleges are encouraged to consider
it positively in applications for Promotion or Merit.