Letter to Faculty RE: Accreditation Site Visit and COM SLOs

May 23rd, 2017 - 2:16pm

May 23, 2017

Dear Member of the College of Marin Faculty:

I am writing today with information about the recent ACCJC accreditation site visit. The visiting team shared many accolades and were impressed with the innovation and passion you have for your work. Overall, the draft report paints a very positive picture of College of Marin.

We do, however, have some work to do with student learning outcomes (SLOs) in order to meet accreditation standards. The forthcoming report will find that we need to improve over the next eighteen months in the following areas relating to SLOs:

1.    Inconsistencies were reported between SLOs on the official Course Outline of Record and how they read on some syllabi. What does this mean for faculty?  According to the standard, they must match.

2.    Assessment of course-level student learning outcomes need to be clearly identified and results gathered more systemically so data can be analyzed in both aggregated and/or disaggregated form by the College and made available to departments for discussion. What does this mean for faculty?
a.    This means all departments/programs will need to follow their blueprint SLO assessment plan to measure SLOs at the course level if not already doing so;

b.    This data will then need to be reported in a format (soon determined) so the College will be able to aggregate/disaggregate results and share. This is ACCJC’s central issue with our SLO assessment process. This approach will ensure consistency and may reduce faculty workload;

c.    And most importantly, faculty will need to participate in documented discipline/division dialogue about findings, if not already doing so. 

3.    Evaluation of employees must make use of the results of the assessment of learning outcomes to improve teaching and learning. What does this mean for faculty? The College’s interpretation of this standard is that faculty evaluations would need to include evidence that SLOs appear on syllabi, that faculty assess them, and that faculty reflect on the results to improve teaching.

We then will be required to submit a report and/or receive another visit to verify significant progress with these items in order to avoid sanctions. The college will have 2 semesters only to comply with the recommendations.

The administration will be supporting this effort by providing professional development about SLO assessment and tools into which results can be reported in order to facilitate data aggregation and/or disaggregation for analysis. 

Faculty members are encouraged to experiment with SLOs and assessments. While we all individually want to reflect on ways to improve our student learning outcomes, valuable information on SLOs gathered discipline-wide can be used in faculty dialogue so that together we can identify discipline or institutional strategies as needed. And this is the point of the work—the end goal is to create meaningful conversations about teaching and learning. 

Convocation and FLEX sessions (August 14-18) will focus on providing the background, tools, and work time needed to launch this effort to respond to ACCJC’s requirements. More information on this will be forthcoming.

Thank you for all you do for our students.
Jonathan Eldridge
Acting President/
Senior Vice President of Student Learning & Student Services