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Background

Impetus

The Graduate Student Outcomes and Assessment Committee was established in November 2012 by Henning Schroeder, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education (under the aegis of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost), to define graduate program goals and identify approaches to assessing student outcomes.

The primary goal of the initiative is to identify and implement program-specific graduate student outcomes for use in program assessment and self-improvement through a faculty driven process that includes consultation with students.

The University of Minnesota initiative is in line with efforts underway or in place elsewhere to assess graduate student learning outcomes as a means to improve programs and to increase transparency of expectations for graduate students. The initiative also responds to increasing demands for accountability in graduate education and anticipates the needs of accrediting agencies, including the University’s accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, which will visit in 2015.

Project Planning Group

The graduate student outcomes initiative is a faculty-driven, consultative process that has engaged faculty in all phases.

Membership of the initial Graduate Student Outcomes Assessment Committee included faculty representatives from the Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP); faculty experts in the area of evaluation and assessment; a graduate student representative; and relevant staff from the Provost’s Office, Office of Institutional Research, the Graduate School, and the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Duluth. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education serves as committee chair and project lead.

A subcommittee was charged in 2013 to generate an early document that posed initial ideas for a pilot program to develop graduate student outcomes and principles to help guide this process.  A list of six domains ultimately resulted from the subcommittee's work.

A second subcommittee was formed in 2013 to review draft graduate student outcomes submitted by the ten programs in the pilot study and to summarize findings prior to introducing the initiative to the University graduate education community in spring 2014.

The methodology for the initiative also included two focus groups with faculty who represented a wide range of disciplines, and discussion of initial ideas with a broad constituency, including SCEP, the Faculty Consultative Committee, collegiate deans and associate deans, and the Council of Graduate Students.


For more detailed information about the Graduate Student Outcomes Initiative, please download this preliminary report >

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The primary goal of the initiative is to identify and implement program-specific graduate student outcomes for use in program assessment and self-improvement.

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