Grounded in Mercyhurst's mission-driven commitment to continuous improvement, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) provides leadership and guidance to support all assessment and accreditation activities across campus. OIE works closely with faculty and staff to plan and coordinate systematic assessment of learning outcomes, ongoing evaluation of student services/administrative programs, and institution-level data collection for compliance reporting and accreditation requirements.
Assessment is an essential aspect of the teaching and learning process, and when done well, assessment benefits students, faculty, staff, and the institution. Mercyhurst strives to achieve these benefits through intentional, improvement-focused assessment of student learning outcomes.
Assessment work at Mercyhurst is based on the following principles:
- Aligning student learning outcomes to Mercyhurst’s Mission, Core Values, and Strategic Goals1 helps to strengthen institutional identity and articulate to internal and external stakeholders the unique value of a Mercyhurst education.
- Assessment provides faculty and staff valuable opportunities to engage in critical conversations about how their programs are functioning, how they might improve, and the value they add to students’ overall experience.
- Although the faculty and staff who teach and serve students are the primary drivers of assessment work, assessment is a collaborative process that involves faculty, staff, students, and administrators.
- Assessment facilitates intentional design of teaching practices and program delivery, resulting in more meaningful, positive experiences for students.
The purpose of assessment is to determine what learning matters most for students, measure it, and use the results to become more effective as individual departments and as an institution.
When done well, assessment can benefit a number of stakeholders, including:
Because assessment requires development of clear, explicit learning outcomes, students are able to focus their learning energies on areas that matter most. Further, once students have completed a course, program, or leaning activity, they are better able to articulate what they know and are able to do as a result. Assessment also offers faculty and staff opportunities to give students substantive feedback on their work – rather than grades alone – so that students better understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
Faculty and Staff
The assessment process enables faculty to identify what learning outcomes are most important for their programs, develop learning opportunities specific to those outcomes, and determine how – and how well – students are meeting those outcomes. Assessment also allows faculty to identify what their programs do well and create practical, manageable action plans for improvement.
Assessment provides evidence of student learning to university administration, donors, students and their families, and institutional and programmatic accreditors. Systematically gathering this evidence and, most importantly, using it for improvement, helps all institutional stakeholders understand and appreciate the quality, intentionality, and purpose of a Mercyhurst education.