Berry College’s Degree Qualifications Profile Project
At Berry College, we focused on a plan that supports our interest in further improving and developing opportunities for High Impact Engagement practices while also developing a “Berry DQP” that emphasizes the genuinely unique aspects of a Berry education.
Working groups selected learning outcomes from the DQP’s Applied Learning and Civic Learning categories that seemed to be commonly applicable to academic affairs, the student work program, student activities, and Berry’s Bonner program. Several academic departments used the Applied Learning outcome to evaluate student research projects (at multiple curricular levels), and our student work program used the Applied Learning outcome to evaluate student work enterprises. Our Bonner Center for Community Engagement used the outcome to assess student research projects regarding community engagement. Faculty from four different academic departments that include civic engagement or service learning components within their courses used the Civic Learning outcome. With both outcomes, we expected the DQP to serve as the common thread bringing together the efforts of these various areas of campus to promote student development.
Each of our working groups met to review and then adopt a common rubric that was used by all to assess student projects across multiple disciplines or campus areas. This required the working groups to think critically about the DQP learning outcome language, the components of a successful project, and to visualize levels of mastery. One group utilized the AACU VALUE rubric developed to assess Civic Engagement; the other campus group developed a rubric to assess the products of student research. These rubrics were employed during the Spring 2013 semester. Faculty and staff leading the projects determined whether the project/class was designed to foster an introductory, emerging, or mastery level of achievement of the desired learning outcome. This important aspect allowed everyone participating to evaluate if they have met their individual goals for the students regardless of the project and level of challenge.
An additional part of our assessment utilized the Topical Modules on Civic Engagement and the Development of Transferable Skills that were recently developed by the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE). With permission of NSSE we asked students participating in our DQP projects to complete the appropriate NSSE module as a measure of growth or engagement of these students. Both NSSE modules were also implemented with our Spring 2013 campus NSSE survey. Comparison of the results for students participating in the DQP projects to the general college population will allow a powerful campus conversation.
As a result of our DQP project, a broader initiative has been integrated into our new ten-year strategic plan. One goal in the plan seeks to leverage Berry’s assets to provide powerful learning experiences for our students. The Berry DQP also compliments other initiatives in the strategic plan that can increase opportunities for high impact practices on our campus. As the Berry community begins to implement the new strategic plan, the Berry DQP and the work from our working groups serves as an excellent starting point and scaffold for encouraging more faculty and staff to search for ways to capitalize on Berry’s unique strengths and assets to deepen students’ educational experiences.
Berry College participated in a two-year, Lumina-funded project through The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). For more information on the project, click here.