Institutional Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational quality, undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning, academic programs, and administrative services. The purpose of assessment at AUR is to answer the questions: “Are students learning what we want them to learn?” and “Is the university achieving its mission and priorities?”
Through a process of outcomes assessment (OA), the American University of Rome seeks to assure itself, its stakeholders, and the public that it is successfully fulfilling its mission and achieving the goals it has set itself. The results of continuous assessment are used to inform decision-making and planning to improve student learning and advance the institution. The assessment cycle provides a framework within which institutional programs and resources can be organized and coordinated in such a way as to achieve goals at the program, department, and institutional level and allows AUR to systematically and continuously enhance the quality of our educational provision and services.
The Four-Step Planning-Assessment Cycle
In undertaking OA, we are focusing on the outcomes of planned activities to achieve goals in order to evaluate how effective our work has been and plan for future improvements. We do this in four clearly defined stages:
- Establish clearly defined goals in all areas of AUR’s work
- Develop and implement strategies to achieve goals
- Measure and record outcomes for goals
- Analyze and evaluate the results and use them to guide us in making further improvements.
Coordination of Assessment and Institutional Research at AUR
Assessment and Institutional Research is presently coordinated by the Senior Institutional Research Analyst (SIRA), who reports to the Academic Dean. Each academic and administrative unit has a named Assessment Coordinator responsible for overseeing data collection and analysis at the unit level. They produce the Outcomes Assessment Report and the Assessment Plan for the following year. In the case of academic units, the assessment coordinator is the Program Director; for administrative units, it is the Director of the unit. The unit coordinator liaises closely with SIRA on the planning and reporting of assessment outcomes.
Units for which assessment is carried out
- Archeology and Classics, BA
- Art History, BA
- Business Administration, BS
- Career Development and Internships
- Communication and Digital Media, BA
- Cultural Heritage, MA
- English Writing, Literature and Publishing, BA
- Film, BA
- Fine Arts, BA
- First Year Program
- Food Studies, MA
- General Education and Foundational Skills
- Interdisciplinary Studies, BA
- International Relations, BA
- Peace Studies, MA (starting from 2018-2019)
- Travel and Tourism Management, BS (starting from 2018-2019)
- Admissions and Financial Aid
- Human Resources
- Physical Plant
- Development and Alumni Relations
- Marketing and Communication
- Office of Computer Services
- Student Life
The Board of Trustees
AUR’s By-Laws make provision for the periodic assessment of the Board’s performance in fulfilling their objectives. The Trustee and Governance Committee of the Board recommended in their June 2007 report that Board self-assessments take place every two years. The Board conducted self-assessment exercises in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022.
THE ANNUAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS AT AUR
Outcomes Assessment Plan - Deadline: October 1.
All OA coordinators are expected to report their program’s three-year plan for assessing Student Learning Outcomes (Academic) and Department Goals (Administrative) and indicate which goals the program/department plans to assess in the following academic year and how.
Outcomes Assessment Reports - Deadline: June 30.
In their reports, all OA coordinators are expected to describe actions taken in response to issues arising in the previous year’s report ('Closing the Loop' section) and evaluate their effectiveness, present and analyze findings for the goal(s) to assess and compare results with the previous assessment.
The Senior Institutional Research Analyst (SIRA) collects the Reports and provides feedback to the report authors. To assist in this process, a rubric has been developed to document institutional expectations for assessment according to best practices.
The SIRA prepares the Annual Institutional Outcomes Assessment Report (IOAR), which provides an overview of the reports and action plans as well as the annual institutional research findings.
JAC Endorsement of Institutional Assessment Report - Deadline: November.
The SIRA presents the main findings of the IOAR to the JAC (Joint Academic Committee) and seeks the endorsement of the document. Upon the document’s approval, the assessment results feed into strategic planning and resource allocation at the institutional level.