Over the past few years most boards have faced a series of difficult questions: Are we too expensive? How do we manage costs? Do employers hire our graduates?
Student learning and academic quality are the heart of our institutions. Yet, according to the most recent AGB survey of boards on educational quality, 62 percent report that they do not spend enough time on student learning.
While these questions are important, many boards are asking what may be the most difficult question—and one that most don't know how to answer: To what extent are our students learning? And, correspondingly, how do we know? For the past two years, AGB, with the generous support of the Teagle Foundation, has engaged with eight institutions to improve their boards’ oversight of educational quality and student learning. These eight institutions – Drake University (IA), Metropolitan State University–Denver (CO), Morgan State University (MD), Rhodes College (TN), Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), Salem State University (MA), St. Olaf’s College (MN), and Valparaiso University (IN) – have served as test cases to understand what information, metrics, and dashboards about student learning are the most valuable. The lessons learned from their collective efforts can be found on the AGB website, including materials and resources developed through this project that others might find helpful.
- Sample Dashboards and Metrics—board-level dashboards with a variety of approaches based on institutional mission and program offerings, as well as sophistication of institutional assessment capacity. The metrics are a mix of direct and indirect evidence of student learning.
- Sample Academic Affairs Committee Charges and Agendas—agendas and calendars to help embed issues of student learning and educational quality firmly in board work.
- Additional Tools and Resources—includes, among other items, two survey tools and materials that project institutions found helpful.
- Case Reports of Project Institutions' Experiences—each report describes the institution and its board, outlining its assessment process and levels of board engagement in educational quality, as well as describing its pathway to greater engagement and lessons learned.
- AGB Statement on Board Responsibility for the Oversight of Educational Quality—while not a direct product of this project, AGB released this best practices statement in 2011 to strongly encourage boards to play a stronger role in the oversight of educational quality.