Student Achievement at the University of West Florida
As an institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the University of West Florida (UWF) is obligated to provide to its students, constituents, and the public information about “its goals for student achievement and the success of students in achieving those goals. Information on student success may include reliable information on retention, graduation, course completion, licensure examinations, and job placement rates and other measures of student success appropriate to institutional mission.”
An integral part of UWF’s mission is to enhance educational access and attainment, as well as personal and professional development, for its undergraduate and graduate students. Both UWF and the Board of Governors for the State University System (SUS) of Florida closely monitor the University’s student access and achievement goals, as well as actual performance, through a variety of metrics (e.g., enrollment, retention and graduation rates, percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded without excess hours, average time to degree, degrees awarded annually, bachelor’s degrees awarded to minorities, degrees awarded in programs of strategic emphasis, licensure exam pass rates, percent of bachelor’s graduates employed or continuing their education, median salaries of baccalaureate graduates, etc.).
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With UWF’s mission and Strategic Plan as a foundation, the University Work Plan and Annual Accountability Reports provide venues for establishing targets, evaluating performance, and ultimately improving performance on metrics associated with student access, progression, and achievement. The University of West Florida, in collaboration with the Board of Governors, establishes thresholds for success. UWF’s Board of Trustees also establishes targets and monitors the University’s performance on other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to the University’s mission and strategic priorities.
UWF regularly monitors and assesses the educational attainment of its students through a variety of other means, including the examination of rates of successful course completion, more in-depth analyses of progress and success patterns for different sub-populations of students, and licensure/certification examination pass rates for students in various disciplines. Additionally, UWF administers survey questionnaires to both enrolled students and alumni to ensure that their perceptions of the services provided by the University are aligned to the students’ academic and support needs. Using data from these and other sources to inform the development and refinement of strategies and programs to promote student success is a UWF priority. (For examples, refer to UWF’s 2014 Response to Federal Requirement 4.1 (SACSCOC).)
In addition to establishing goals for student achievement and monitoring the success of students in achieving those goals at the institutional level, UWF also establishes student learning goals more specific to each educational program. The expected student learning outcomes fall within five domains: (1) discipline knowledge and skills, (2) communication, (3) critical thinking, (4) integrity/values, and (5) project management. At UWF, core student learning goals for undergraduate programs are captured in Academic Learning Compacts and for graduate programs in Academic Learning Plans. Responsibility for reporting on assessments for each of UWF’s educational programs has been assigned to a specific planning unit (i.e., academic department). Educational programs at UWF include associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degree programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. UWF also assesses its General Studies program and its stand-alone minors. Academic departments develop supplemental objectives and related assessment plans that address student learning outcomes for all educational programs, elements of General Studies, and stand-alone minors for which they are responsible. They also complete related annual progress reports, and include them in Strategic Planning OnLine (SPOL), UWF’s electronic planning and assessment management system.
Core Resources Regarding UWF’s Student Achievement Goals and Performance: