Tri-Consortial Research Project on Liberal Education and Study Abroad: Assessing Learning Outcomes
The two-fold purpose of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Tri-Consortial Research Project was (1) to gauge the impact of study abroad program characteristics on the attainment of liberal arts learning goals, and (2) to provide colleges and universities with a model for better understanding the institutional costs of studying abroad. The Teagle Foundation made funding possible for the 3-year (2009-2012) Tri-Consortial Research Project.
A report based on information provided by the GLCA statistical staff was created by the Office of Student Learning, Outcomes Assessment, and Accreditation (SLOAA). These results were not analyzed or compiled by SLOAA or URI, but rather placed in a narrative for ease of reading. The official GLCA report is located in the appendix section at the end of the narrative.
National Survey of Student Engagement
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college.
URI has made NSSE an institutional priority because the student responses are used by faculty and administrators to improve the educational experiences of URI students. By understanding what students feel they have gained from their college education, we can pinpoint and address areas that need improvement, both in and out of the classroom. For more information about NSSE data collected from URI students since 2002, including reports and benchmark comparisons, please visit the NSSE page of the URI Office of Institutional Research.
Wabash National Study
During the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 academic years, the University of Rhode Island participated in the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education sponsored by The Center of Inquiry at Wabash College. The Wabash Study, which began in the fall of 2006, includes 49 colleges and universities to date. This is a longitudinal study which investigates critical factors that affect the student outcomes of a liberal arts education through both institutional and student data. The results provide the evidence and support necessary to help liberal arts institutions systematically improve student learning and enhance the impact of their programs.
During the fall of 2007, hundreds of freshmen voluntarily took part in the Wabash Study. During the fall of 2008 – over 1,000 freshmen participated! Most students in both cohorts returned during the spring of their freshmen year for the 2nd part of the study, and all of them knew that as seniors, they would be asked to come back for the final session during their senior year.
During the spring 2011 semester, nearly 50% of the first cohort returned as 4th years to complete the study, and were able to choose between 50% off the cost of their cap/gown, OR, $10 on their Ram card, as an incentive for participating in the study. This spring 2012, our second, and largest, cohort of seniors, will be asked to return to participate, and will be offered the same incentives. For more information about URI’s involvement in the Wabash Study, including data summaries and reports, click here.
Student Learning Assessment Showcase: Using Evidence to Improve Student Learning.
Davis Educational Foundation mini-grant recipients took part in an assessment showcase on May 2, 2012 at the Galanti Lounge of the University Library. Nine faculty from different disciplines presented their undergraduate program assessment work to an audience from a number of departments and administrative offices. Please take some time to examine the presentations to see the hard work conducted by these faculty at URI who are dedicated to improving student achievement.