The Master’s College Uses the DQP to Guide the Development of its Institutional-Level Student Learning Outcomes

John A. Hughes, V.P. for Institutional Planning & Research

The Master’s College (TMC) is a small faith-based (primarily undergraduate) college located in northern Los Angeles County.  TMC currently offers 50+ major/emphasis bachelor’s degree programs with an enrollment of around 1,000 students.  It also offers three master’s degree programs, and has a degree completion program for working adults. The Master’s Seminary (TMS) division has an enrollment of around 375 students in a combination of ministerial degree programs.

One of the recommendations made to TMC by the 2009 WASC reaffirmation of accreditation visit team was the need for the College to review the 53 student learning objectives for its undergraduate general education (GE) curriculum to develop a more concise, overarching set of outcomes.  Given the encouragement by WASC to use the DQP as a framework for organizing the overall undergraduate learning outcomes, the college’s GE revision committee was able to adapt the learning areas in the DQP to provide a basis for the development of five overarching undergraduate Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs).

The development of clear ILOs has provided a number of benefits to TMC.  First, these outcomes provided a clear organizational framework for the 53 GE student learning outcomes (as verified by the development of an alignment matrix).  In addition, the ILOs provided a comprehensive structure within which the program-level learning outcomes from all undergraduate majors and the co-curricular programs could be organized.

A third benefit was that once the ILOs had been finalized, it was possible to clarify which departments within the Academic and Student Development divisions had (primary and secondary) responsibility to define their program-level learning outcomes, and to shape their programs to maximize the potential for student mastery of each ILO during their undergraduate experience at TMC.

For some time, TMC has had an extensive undergraduate assessment program in place that makes use of both student work collected in electronic portfolios, and also results from comprehensive institutionally-developed and national examinations.  A fourth benefit of developing ILOs (using the DQP as a base) was the opportunity to review the in-place assessment strategies to better focus summative evaluations at the overarching ILO level.  While this work is still in process, it provides the potential to improve the efficiency of the College’s assessment efforts while not compromising their effectiveness.

Looking forward, TMC will be making use of the specific outcome statements listed in each area of the DQP as input to suggest the types of knowledge and skills that should be included when refining its program-level learning outcomes in the undergraduate general education curriculum, major programs, and co-curricular areas.