2007 Reaffirmation Teams
126.96.36.199 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses whether it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: educational support services
The educational support services units at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) identify expected outcomes, annually assess whether they have achieved those outcomes, and use these assessments to improve services to students, faculty, staff, and other constituents.Annual Assessment Process
UT Dallas offers students a wide variety of educational support services. Responsibility for these support services falls under several different administrative divisions of the university . All support units are committed to student success, quality assurance, efficiency, and continuous improvement as evidenced by their participation in ongoing assessment activities. In conjunction with the UT Dallas annual reporting and budget request cycle , individual units identify strategic initiatives, objectives/outcomes, and assessment plans that are aligned with and related to the UT Dallas mission and goals .
Each educational support services unit at UT Dallas is assessed annually using UT Dallas’ web-based Assessment Tool, AT6 . AT6 is a web-based solution to capture, manage, archive, and track academic and administrative assessment information for regional and disciplinary accreditation, program reviews, annual reporting, and program improvement. Vice presidents, associate and assistant vice presidents, directors, department heads, and other designated unit leaders work with the employees in the units to determine program objectives generated from program mission statements and to enter them along with an assessment plan into AT6 . The units annually review these plans and update them based on the findings in the annual assessment report . The annual report not only includes measurements and analyses but also evidence of improvement.
UT Dallas’ educational support services units implement the support services assessment process in the following sequence:
- publishing program mission statements,
- identifying several measurable unit goals/objectives,
- specifying how the units will measure their achievements,
- assessing how well the goals have been met, and
- taking corrective action to improve the program.
Each unit’s mission statement is aligned with UT Dallas’ mission statement , and the units are encouraged to align whenever possible their goals/objectives with the initiatives in UT Dallas’ strategic plan . Multiple measures are required to ensure that each goal/objective is achieved (or in cases where the goals/objectives are not achieved, to identify where specific improvements can be made). The data generated by these measures is analyzed by the units, and on the basis of the analysis, units establish action plans to address needed changes.
The assessment team in cooperation with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) conducted multiple workshops to train administrative support services personnel on how to use AT6 and how to develop effective assessment plans that close the loop . Two university-wide committees, the Administrative Services Committee  and the Committee for Operational Assessment , have been established to share best practices and to disseminate information to the various units .
The annual cycles and reports for 2005-06 and 2006-07 currently reside in AT6. The objectives and measures for 2007-08 are in the process of being entered into the tool, and data will be collected during the year to initiate improvements for the next cycle. Forty-nine educational support services units are evaluating their performance (25 in Academic Affairs and 24 in Student Affairs ). Additionally, as discussed in the response to Principle 188.8.131.52 , 35 support services units are using AT6 to set goals and monitor progress towards achieving those goals as the units seek to continuously improve their service.
Although AT6 is the official repository of assessment data for the university, assessment at UT Dallas is individualized in each unit, and each unit is encouraged to establish its own best practices. Below are descriptions of the assessment and decision-making processes of selected educational support services units and some of the more notable changes and/or improvements made as a result of UT Dallas’ assessment activities.Division of Student Affairs
A comprehensive summary detailing the process for determining desired outcomes, related measures, and improvements for units in the Division of Student Affairs is included in the supporting documents . As indicated in that document, “Final decisions occur through a series of regular meetings with directors, both individually and in groups, in which the plans of the individual units are reviewed and discussed.” A part of this process requires units to identify and define key performance indicators and outline methods for monitoring and measuring related performance in their annual reports  .
Operational assessment tables for each unit within the Division of Student Affairs summarize assessment activities and related actions taken between fall 2000 and summer 2005 to close the loop on the findings from those assessments . In fall 2005, the Division of Student Affairs laid a foundation for a more intentional assessment process. Unit leaders were given more training, both individually and in groups, to begin building a culture of assessment that focuses more on student learning and the effectiveness of programs and services . Unit directors, associate directors, and assistant directors participated in an assessment training retreat held in July 2007 . Student Affairs unit assessment plans and related reports are recorded in UT Dallas’ AT6 starting with fiscal year 2005-06 .
A variety of methods-including surveys , focus groups, benchmarking studies , process analyses, event evaluation forms , compliance and efficiency audits , and consultant  and task force reports -have been utilized to collect data to measure the achievement of desired outcomes. UT Dallas also participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Data from this survey confirm many of the findings of other assessment methods utilized by student affairs units  . In addition to changes, improvements, and increased efficiencies in several processes and procedures, the following programs and services were implemented within student affairs units as a result of the findings from these various assessment activities:
- established the Comet One-Stop Service Center ,
- established the Housing Operations Office (HOPS) and the HOPS Newsletter ,
- implemented career decision-making elective courses ,
- created the Greek Center , the Multicultural Center , and the Center for Student Involvement ,
- implemented the CHAMPS Life Skills Program for student athletes ,
- added intercollegiate volleyball ,
- expanded recreational facilities and built the multipurpose recreational field ,
- established the Residential Housing Association for non-freshman students ,
- started Radio UTD ,
- built and opened The PUB ,
- implemented the comet card ,
- expanded the Student Union availability to 24/7 and created the Late Night Program ,
- implemented the SAFE Zone Project and UniTeD Against Sexual Assault (SART) Program ,
- began implementation of new technologies such as the OnBase document imaging system  and the DARS degree audit system,
- created the Campus Housing Advisory Committee (CHAC), which includes student representation ,
- expanded educational presentations related to judicial affairs and academic integrity ,
- expanded the Multicultural Center’s Comet S.T.A.R.S. Mentor Program ,
- created the Parent and Family Association ,
- developed Road Warriors, a new peer networking opportunities for commuter students ,
- implemented the Living Learning Program ,
- expanded the Service Learning Program ,
- implemented Take Back the Night Program , and
- expanded the staff development program for Student Affairs staff .
To further expand assessment efforts, the Division of Student Affairs became a charter member of the Eduventures Student Affairs Learning Collaborative (SA-LC) in June 2007. As described in the Eduventures Program Overview, the SA-LC “is a member-based research consortium designed to help member institutions identify best management practices, benchmark performance, and improve the functioning of core processes in university student affairs divisions .” The first two collaborative research projects of the SA-LC (Achieving Strategic Alignment  and Learning Beyond the Classroom ) will be conducted between August and December 2007. In addition, the UT Dallas local SA-LC team will identify three local research projects to be conducted by Eduventures researchers during 2007-08.Undergraduate Academic Advising Services
The Office of Undergraduate Education  and individual schools provide academic advising services at UT Dallas. The Office of Undergraduate Education provides general training and evaluation of advising as well as support for students who have not yet declared their majors. This office also produces a comprehensive annual report on undergraduate academic advising at UT Dallas  and publishes the UT Dallas Advising Handbook , which gives key information about academic advising and describes the advisor/advisee relationship and their respective responsibilities.
In this decentralized advising model, each advising unit sets its own objectives and conducts assessment activities to measure end results. School advising offices utilize a number of assessment methods to measure the effectiveness of the services they provide, including student surveys, usage statistics, time and effort studies, space utilization studies, benchmarking assessments, and exit interviews with students. Sample descriptions of the uses of these assessment methods can be found in narratives from the Schools of General Studies , Management , and Economic, Political and Policy Science . Annual assessment plans for each of the seven schools’ advising programs as well as the undecided advising program have been entered in UT Dallas’ AT6. Their annual reports for fiscal year 2005 - 2006 are included in the supporting documents        .
The following changes and/or improvements are direct results of assessments conducted:
- improved student advising to include advising related to completing core courses early,
- developed degree plans for freshmen and transfer students at their first advising meetings,
- implemented 75-hour degree audits for every undergraduate student,
- established express walk-in line to improve efficiency of the student registration process,
- hired additional full-time academic advisors, and
- provided more information through advising websites, including the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics , the School of Management , the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences , the Pre-Law Advising Office , the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences , and the School of Engineering and Computer Science .
The UT Dallas Learning Resource Center (LRC)  provides a variety of programs and services in support of the educational endeavors of students. As described in the UT Dallas Learning Resources goals narrative , the LRC utilizes post-event roundtable discussions and both qualitative and quantitative methods of assessment to measure efficiency and effectiveness of the services offered . The LRC also utilizes the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education to identify desired student learning outcomes relevant to LRC activities .
As a result of increased demand and assessing the needs of students, the LRC has increased the number and types of programs and services it offers to students. The goals set in AT6  have resulted in the following actions:
- increased supplemental instruction in historically difficult courses ,
- improved appointment schedules-90% of students were seen on the day requested,
- the development of improved testing center procedures ,
- the addition of LSAT prep courses and mock tests,
- creation of QEP with its math emphasis because of analysis of math placement tests and success of students , and
- the hiring of a THEA Advisor funded and housed in LRC.
The mission of the Academic Bridge Program  is to attract, support, and retain students who graduate from Dallas-area urban high schools with high class rankings without having completed the full university-track curriculum. The Academic Bridge Program (ABP) provides free on-campus housing for the months of June and July, including a weekly meal stipend; tuition and fees for up to nine semester hours of courses, including college-level mathematics, rhetoric, and introduction to engineering/computer science; small class sizes (20 or less students); tutoring and supplemental instruction; campus orientation activities; extra-curricular activities and field trips; and the Bridge Builders Award, a $1000 scholarship awarded to excellent Summer Bridge Program students.
As described in the Academic Bridge Program’s goals narrative , each spring, the program computes the number and percent of students recruited from each school district, the ethnicity distribution for each annual cohort, the gender distribution for each annual cohort, the SAT distribution for each annual cohort, the class rank distribution for each annual cohort, the major departments for all enrolled ABP students, the grade point average for cohort for each semester, the grade point average for each discipline for enrolled ABP students, the retention rate for each annual cohort, and the graduation rate for each annual to measure the success of the program. Interviews are also conducted with at least 25% of the ABP students each year. The data gathered over the past several years were used to make the following changes and improvements to the program:
- hired a half-time, credentialed computer science expert to tutor ABP students in computer science,
- hired additional tutors in the area of chemistry and physics,
- increased staff to recruit students into the program from target high schools,
- secured additional funding to allow ABP students to participate in various leadership programs on campus,
- provided enrollment in test preparation programs for graduate program entrance exams,
- instituted SAT preparation courses at several Dallas Independent School District high schools and purchased a practice test license to help more students achieve UT Dallas admissions criteria, and
- published the Academic Bridge online tutoring webpage.
Another measure of the success of ABP is the Tech Titans of the Future Award given by the Metroplex Technology Business Council in 2006. This award recognizes educational programs designed to address the gap in the student pipeline in technology and/or educational programs between technology businesses and educational institutions whose purpose is to provide qualified graduates to the technology industry. The AT6 annual assessment report for ABP is included below in the supporting documents .Office of International Education
Established in 2003, the Office of International Education (OIE)  is a resource for international learning opportunities including exchange programs, study abroad opportunities, internships, and independent studies. An overview of the short history of the OIE program, the challenges it has faced, and the methods for assessing its effectiveness is presented in the OIE goals narrative . Along with other UT Dallas units, the OIE began to utilize AT6 in fall 2005 to outline desired outcomes and assessment plans and to report findings and action plans related to the findings  . Assessment methods have included student evaluations of programs and services and reports of their experiences abroad. International hosts have also provided reports and evaluations. The following changes, improvements, and/or new programs were implemented as a result of the assessment activities:
- student abroad fairs 
- pre-departure orientations 
- new OIE website 
- more aggressive marketing 
- better communication and coordination with other campus departments 
- increase in international education fee, which has increased funding available for international education scholarships 
- passport fair , and
- increased number of affiliation and exchange agreements  
The UT Dallas Office of International Education is committed to continuous improvement, to streamlining the process for students, and to expanding international opportunities to a greater number of students. Plans for future improvements include an electronic application, electronic surveys and reporting tools, and discussion sessions that allow students interested in international experiences to hear from former participants about their experiences.
The assessment activities of the units highlighted in this narrative give clear evidence of UT Dallas’ commitment to excellence, continuous improvement, and data-driven decisions. The more intentional assessment process over the last several years has resulted in value-added services by educational support service units that focus more on student learning and the overall experience of UT Dallas students.