Strategic Action Plan Memo | Sept. 5, 2006

To the University Community
From: Douglas D. Baker, Provost and Executive Vice President
September 5, 2006
Re: The University of Idaho Strategic Action Plan - Moving Ahead Strategically

Thank you for your contributions over the past two years in helping shape our strategic directions for the university. I write today to invite and request your participation in implementing the Strategic Action Plan, because for it to be successful, we each must alter our approach to the daily tasks at hand. Importantly, the initial changes we seek also align our efforts with the accreditation requirements of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Over the summer, the Strategic Action Plan implementation teams took shape and began to introduce recommendations for action. As we begin the new academic year, we seek the engagement of the entire University family to actively implement all four goals of the Strategic Action Plan and to take action in our roles as faculty members, staff members, and students to ensure the future success of the University of Idaho.

University-wide the place for us to begin this important work is in the development of learning outcomes for each of our programs and measures of success for each of our students. Strategic Action Plan, Goal 1, calls for the development of “learning outcomes at the University as well as at program levels for graduate and undergraduates”. A team of faculty, staff and students, who stood on the shoulders of others who completed substantive work at the University of Idaho and elsewhere, framed the proposed university-level learning outcomes. The authors were extensively influenced by national models and trends described by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and from examples gathered from numerous colleges and universities. These proposed university-level learning outcomes provide a starting place for our continuous improvement of teaching and learning.

Now we turn to you with this draft tool seeking advice and feedback. I ask for your assistance to work with the Goal 1 Implementation Team in refining the draft university-level learning outcomes by contributing dialogue, analysis, and advice. You are strongly urged to participate by attending one of the “learning outcome forums” that will be made available for the university community, by talking with a team member, or by offering your suggestions for improvement. This dialogue is intended to harvest suggestions to improve these proposed outcomes so that ultimately faculty, staff and students will embrace a set of learning outcomes to guide our on-going improvement and attainment of a transformational learning experience for our students as identified in Goal 1. University-level learning outcomes will be reviewed periodically and further refined based on assessment data and congruent with direction and priorities of the university.

In addition to helping attain the first goal in the strategic plan, implementing a reliable and valid learning outcomes assessment process fulfills the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities standard requiring articulated program-level learning outcomes, measured by and assessed through student performance, and employed to continually improve learning. These proposed learning outcomes along with an active assessment and improvement plan are the first action needed to meet this accreditation expectation in fall 2007.