Index to the Location of Evidence Relating to the
Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation Found in
Missouri Western State University’s Systems Portfolio
Criterion Three – Student Learning and Effective Teaching. The organization provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission.
Core Component 3a. The organization’s goals for
student learning outcomes are clearly stated for
each educational program and make effective
Western identifies nine common objectives for all students in general education and a general studies core of courses in five categories. The General Studies Committee reviews the general studies curriculum and the philosophy and common learning objectives every three years. The faculty develops and articulates course learning goals and program objectives, establishing and evaluating the effectiveness and currency of the curriculum at the course and program level. Academic departments complete comprehensive program reviews every five years. New programs must be reviewed by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and approved by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (1C1-1C2, 1P1-1P2).
Western designs assessment to improve instruction and student learning. An Assessment and Benchmarking Committee determines the assessment tool used for measuring general education outcomes for graduating seniors. Faculty determines student learning outcomes and whether outcomes are achieved(1P11).
Measures of student performance include GPA, general education skills assessment, senior portfolios, capstone courses, C-Base teacher admission and PRAXIS Teacher Education Examination, acceptance rates for graduate and professional schools, the National Survey of Student Engagement, applied learning qualitative and quantitative assessment, passing rates on the National Council Licensing Examination for nursing, Physical Therapist Assistant passing rates, and services used in the Center for Academic Support (1P13, 1R1-1R4).
The Missouri Department of Higher Education reports data for external accountability on
graduation rates, majors taking and passing a nationally normed test, Education majors
meeting admission and exit exam requirements, and freshman success --2.9 GPA after 24 hours (1R1-1R4).
Core Component 3b. The organization values and
supports effective teaching.
Faculty determines curricula, and the Curriculum Committee through the Faculty Senate approves new and revised curriculum. Eighty-four percent of all full-time tenure track faculty have terminal degrees in their fields (O5, 1C1, 1P1-1P2).
Western is committed to providing faculty opportunities for professional development, including sabbaticals. Faculty members receive support to travel to conferences related to research and pedagogy. Western trains faculty in the use of instructional technology and software, providing various methodologies, including teleconferences, video-conferencing, web technology, and external expertise. Western has a statewide mission in applied learning. A group of faculty members participated in a National Learning Communities Project Summer Institute and implemented learning communities at Western to improve student learning. Western has organized several committees to address quality improvements in the student learning environment, providing extensive support to faculty in key areas such as student engagement. The Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) survey shows Western faculty as ranking higher than comparison groups in teaching/research activities that address community needs and service (4C1, 4P4-4P5, 4R1, 5P7, 8P7).
Western evaluates teaching and recognizes effective teaching. The quality of faculty teaching, service, and scholarship are evaluated annually, a process that begins with goal setting and concludes with a performance evaluation within the context of the goals set, including self-evaluation, peer and chair evaluation, and review by the appropriate deans and the Provost/Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. Western
annually recognizes and rewards excellence in teaching through the Excellence in Teaching and the Presidential Citation awards as well as the Dr. James V. Mehl Outstanding Faculty Scholarship award and the Jesse Lee Myers Excellence in Teaching awards
Core Component 3c. The organization creates
effective learning environments.
Western sustains the learning environment through technology and faculty expertise. Faculty stays current in fields of expertise and contributes to their professions (5P2).
Helping Students Learn describes many of the key processes involved with helping students learn, including establishing common learning objectives; identifying key instructional programs, delivery methods, and technology use; preparing students to live in a diverse world; promoting a climate of intellectual freedom, inquiry, reflection, and diversity; designing new courses and programs; determining student preparation and helping students select programs; and aligning co-curricular and curricular learning activities (1C1, 1C3-1C5, 1P1-1P3, 1P5, 1P7, 1P10, 6C1).
Core Component 3d. The organization’s learning
resources support student learning and effective
Support areas function critically to reinforce all processes associated with Helping Students Learn. Western staffs support units appropriately and assesses the effectiveness of their services (6C1-6C2, 6P3, 6P5).
Western partners with regional, national, and international organizations to develop the workforce and to provide service opportunities and programs that enhance the lives of people of the community (O4, 9C1, 9P1-9P4, 9R1-9R2).
Eighty-four percent of Western’s budget directly supports students and student instruction, among the highest percentage in the state among public universities. Through strategic planning, Western continues to improve its support processes for teaching and learning (6R2-6R3).
The use of technology is critical to teaching, learning, and support services. All classrooms at Western are technologically “smart classrooms” that include computers, Ethernet connections, video/data projectors, document cameras, and diagonal video format screens. Western replaced the previous administrative and software systems with an integrated, technologically current, web-based system that empowers users with access to accurate, current information. This project supports all institutional operations (O6, Figure