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April 22, 2016

In response to questions that we sent to non-academic units regarding processes, measurements, and use of assessment, we received excellent feedback from a variety of areas across campus. This information will strengthen our Assurance Argument. Below are some examples of the University’s good stewardship in assessment.

In Advancement:
Advancement has an entire performance metric and assessment system for all of the fund raisers. It also does similar reviews for annual giving, alumni engagement, and phonathon (student telephone fund raisers).

In Campus Recreation:
Campus Recreation employs three principal means of evaluation and assessment. Participation numbers track the number of participants in all intramural sports and recreational activities each year to see trends. This information is used annually to determine which sports to keep, which sports to try to improve, and which sports to drop. Observations and self-evaluations are continual means of evaluation to observe how things are running both in programs (intramural sports) and facilities (cleanliness, etc.). Student Intramural Sports Supervisors observe and evaluate game officials periodically to help improve performance. Surveys are sent out each spring to students to ask them how Campus Recreation is doing, inviting them to offer suggestions to improve the programs, facilities and services. This has been a great tool to find out what new sports or activities students would like to see added and how to improve recreational services.

Some of the improvements made this school year (2015-16) based on assessments at the end of last year include the addition of spikeball and badminton as new intramural sports, the offering of a hiking trip to Hocking Hills State Park, improved customer service at the front desk in the Rec Center, free-of-charge swimming at Central State University during open-swim times, an extended stretching area behind the climbing wall, new barbells, bumper plates, and other new equipment in the free-weight area in the Rec Center, and an online registration for all group exercise classes (19 per week).

In Enrollment Management and Marketing:

Enrollment Management and Marketing incorporates regular assessment across all of its areas. For example, Admitted Student Surveys are conducted bi-annually. Results are presented to EM&M division staff and academic leadership, and from this, insights inform future communication strategies. Financial aid conducts weekly monitoring calls. Right now, as the University awards financial aid and processes deposits, Enrollment Management has a weekly monitoring call with the University’s consultants to track discount rate and adjust strategies. As an example, based on a call several weeks ago, the University decided to begin strategically processing appeals from students to see if that could boost the deposit number. Many recruitment campaigns include a web tracking component. For example, right now the University is sending a junior search campaign with letters and a series of emails. Through web analytics, the University can track responses and uses this data to change the offers and adjust messaging annually. Marketing and Web teams have worked with an external consultant to analyze web analytics. The division adjusts messaging and key words on sites regularly to increase tracking and search positions. As we can see, Enrollment Management and Marketing is driven by reports and data — everything from monthly and mid-month reports to student surveys and web analytics.

In Information Technology:
Information Technology conducts satisfaction surveys for completed service requests in order to continuously improve its services. After surveys are conducted, they follow up with anyone whose survey response is negative. This helps them correct any problems in service delivery (delayed response, ineffective response, etc.) and maintain a high level of service.

In Payroll:
Payroll uses two principal means of evaluation.  The first is observation. Due to the small number of employees, there is daily communication regarding policies and procedures. Any problems that arise are dealt with immediately to ensure accuracy within the department. The second is  formal evaluation. All employees have a formal evaluation on an annual basis. This information is on file with both the University Human Resources Office and the Accounting and Finance department.

Payroll uses these results in the following ways. The first is education. If a pattern is exposed, education and/or re-training of the employee is initiated. This allows for open dialogue between the supervisor and employee as well as an opportunity for employee growth and a better understanding of the Payroll Office mission. The second is policy review. If a procedure is proven to be ineffective, the Director reviews the procedures and if necessary, revises the procedure with the assistance of both the Payroll Assistant and Payroll Technician. The procedure is then sent to the Associate Vice President of Finance/Controller for final approval. Implementation occurs if and when final approval is received.

In Web Development:
Web Development regularly evaluates different types of analytics on the University website to make informed decisions about how to make improvements. Means of accomplishing this include collecting Google Analytics to determine how users are navigating the website, what they are searching, and what links they are clicking. They then evaluate data to improve content and remove unused or stale content. Furthermore, they collect detailed analytics and perform A/B testing on high volume web pages. Again, they evaluate data and make determinations on which content and user-interface choices perform the best, improve the user’s experience, and are most effective for the institution. They also regularly train and advise campus web editors on the use of web content management systems and best practices in the industry. While still in the early stages, Web Development is also moving towards performing website accessibility analyses and making adjustments to improve the accessibility of our websites.

After reading this post about the quality improvement measures throughout the University, if you would like to send us a short report on what YOU are doing in your unit, please do. We would love to hear from you.  We can never have too much evidence of assessment, for here at Cedarville, yes, we do assess.

Coming in our next post: a report of the HLC Conference held April 16-19, 2016 in Chicago.

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