Section 3: Programs
The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by the faculty and the administration.
Part A: Course and Program ApprovalFaculty members wishing to make changes to existing courses or to add new programs or courses must first present their proposals to their department chair for approval. Following that, the proposal is referred to the Curriculum Committee, which is composed of faculty from both academic and vocational departments, a representative from student services, and one administrator (Administrative Policies 2198 and 4116 of the Institutional Policy Manual). Upon approval and recommendation by the Curriculum Committee, courses or programs are added to the curriculum.
Western Texas College has appropriate policies and procedures in place for faculty and administration to approve course changes, add new courses, and develop new educational programs. According to Board Policy 5214 of the Institutional Policy Manual, “The administration is responsible for determining course needs and for processing requests for approval in accordance with guidelines set forth by the Coordinating Board.” The Dean of Instruction is charged with supervising “the development, evaluation, and revision of curricula in the academic area and [to] make recommendations concerning same to the president of the college” (Policy # 2120). Administrative Policy 4116, in describing the duties of faculty members, states that faculty are expected “to participate in the evaluation and development of the curriculum.” In addition, Board Policy 4116 requires the faculty “to direct the development of an instructional program that will accommodate differential learning rates of students and produce measurable evidence of student learning.” (LINK to Board Policy 4116) Finally, Administrative Policy 2198 (LINK) charges the faculty Curriculum Committee with reviewing and approving proposals for course and program changes as well as new courses and programs
New programs require approval by the Curriculum Committee, the Dean of Instruction, and the president of the college before they are sent to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for review and final approval. In addition, new program proposals from the technical and vocational departments must adhere to conditions stipulated in the THECB Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education). (LINK to GIPWE, Chapter 5, pp. 7-9) These conditions include the following: demonstrated need for the program; the ability of the faculty to deliver the program; an analysis of similar programs in the state; and a five-year budget. With both faculty and administration following these policies and procedures, the college is assured that educational programs and courses are consistent with the college philosophy and mission as well as Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requirements.
Part B: Learning Outcomes and Programs
Administrative Policy 2120 of the Institutional Policy Manual assigns responsibility to the Dean of Instruction for ensuring “that in each evaluation the use of research data to improve programs is documented and outcomes are described.” Academic and vocational faculty are required to develop expected student learning outcomes for each course, measure learning outcomes by various methods, and, as needed, make adjustments in instructional strategies and methodology to improve students’ learning.
For a number of years, learning and program outcomes for all educational programs and courses have been subject to the requirements of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Lower Level Academic Course Guide Manual. This publication requires a review of the college’s Core Curriculum and Field of Study Curriculum on a 5-year cycle. According to information in the “Core Curriculum: Assumptions and Defining Characteristics” (1998), page 210, (Roy: this is the old version of the ACGM. New manual link should be to p. 204) [RB] Will do. of this manual, “A core curriculum should be described and assessed by faculty and institutions in terms of basic intellectual competencies, exemplary educational objectives and perspectives, and of specified student outcomes, rather than in terms of specific courses and course content.” This document also establishes expected intellectual competencies and student learning outcomes for each disciplinary area incorporated into the core curriculum. Further, the THECB also requires that in 2009 all colleges and universities must submit a detailed report on student performance and course assessment of core curriculum courses. (LINK to pp 199-200 ACGM) [RB] I’ll check to make sure this one is correct as well.
Workforce education courses and programs are subject to the standards set forth in the Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM), which is a web-based inventory of current workforce education courses available for use by public two-year colleges. The manual is especially valuable in that it provides, among other items, course descriptions and learning outcomes.
Additionally, institutional effectiveness data are reported in the THECB Annual Data Profiles, (LINK to 2004 and 2005 ADP’s) which provide program outcome assessments related to workforce program content, educational outcomes, graduate employment, degree attainment, and percentage of non-traditional students and graduates. (LINKS) 2005 Institutional Effectiveness Data for New Workforce Education Program Applications. THECB Annual Data Profile: 2004, 2005, 2006
Roy, we referred to the ADP for 2005, I think, in Kyle’s report (FR 4.1??). I don’t think the 2006 ADP is on the THECB web page yet, but 2004 should be available. I think I have 2005 ADP in my computer if you need it.
In 2001, Western Texas College established a committee to evaluate the Core Curriculum of the college. The committee was composed of the Dean of Academic Instruction, the Dean of Vocational Instruction, four Division Chairs, and two faculty members. Over a 3-year period, the committee established a means of evaluation of Core courses which involved development of course portfolios which provided descriptions of the intellectual competencies, exemplary educational outcomes, and departmental objectives, all in keeping with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s purposes of the statewide Core Curriculum as specified in the Lower Level Academic Course Guide Manual, pp. 214-217. LINK should be to pp. 204-210 of new manual. [RB] OK. The committee’s full report of the college’s evaluation of its Core Curriculum is contained in a September 2004 report titled “Western Texas College Core Curriculum Evaluation Report.”
An additional contribution of that committee was investigation of different means of faculty and course evaluation procedures. In 2003, the college incorporated and aligned the requirements of the Core Curriculum with the learning objectives and outcomes provided by the Individual Development and Educational Assessment (IDEA) student ratings survey, developed by Kansas State University. (LINK) Among other data, the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction Group Summary, (LINK to CD’s used in VCT ACC) Department Reports, and individual instructors’ reports provide useful information concerning progress on relevant essential and important learning objectives, improved student attitude, excellence of the teacher, and excellence of the course. Department heads use IDEA reports to evaluate teaching techniques, program content, course effectiveness, and other areas that may need improvement
Faculty in workforce education also use the IDEA student rating survey to supplement evaluation of their courses and instruction. Courses taught through workforce education have specific competencies and outcomes that are to be taught and measured. In addition, as discussed in Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1, workforce, technical, and academic education programs are evaluated by the Western Texas College Institutional Effectiveness Process which requires all departments and divisions to complete annual assessment plans containing expected outcomes, measurable objectives, methods of assessment, and assessment results.
Evidence of Support: