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Five Dimensions of Quality: A Common Sense Guide to Accreditation and Accountability

Book Description

Meet calls for increased quality and understand accreditation expectations

Author Linda Suskie is internationally recognized for her work in higher education assessment, and she is a former vice president of a major regional accreditor. In Five Dimensions of Quality: A Common Sense Guide to Accreditation and Accountability in Higher Education she provides a simple, straightforward model for understanding and meeting the calls for increased quality in higher education ever-present in today's culture. Whether your institution is seeking accreditation or not, the five dimensions she outlines will help you to identify ways to improve institutional quality and demonstrate that quality to constituents.

For those wading through the accreditation process, which has become more difficult in recent years due to increasing regulation and pressure for greater accountability, Suskie offers expert guidance on understanding the underlying principles of the expectations of accrediting bodies. Using the model presented here, which is much easier to understand than the sometimes complex resources provided by individual accrediting bodies, American colleges and universities can understand what they need to do to earn and maintain their regional accreditation as well as improve overall institutional quality for their students. You'll be able to:

  • Identify ways to improve institutional quality

  • Demonstrate the quality of your institution to internal and external constituents

  • Avoid wasting time and energy on misguided institutional processes to comply with accreditation requirements

  • By focusing on why colleges and universities should take particular actions rather than only on what those actions should be, Five Dimensions of Quality gives them the knowledge and strategies to prepare for a successful review. It is an ideal resource for leaders, accreditation committee members, and everyone on campus.

    Table of Contents

    1. List of Tables and Exhibits
    2. List of Jargon Alerts
    3. List of Acronyms
    4. Foreword
    5. Preface
    6. Acknowledgments
    7. About the Author
    8. Introduction: Today’s Quality Context
      1. Chapter 1: Why Is American Higher Education Under Fire?
        1. Economic Development
        2. Return on Investment
        3. The Changing College Student
        4. Initiatives to Address These Concerns
      2. Chapter 2: Understanding American Accreditation
        1. Regional Accreditors: The Cornerstone of U.S. Accreditation
        2. Accreditation as a Process of Collegial Peer Review
        3. The Higher Education Act and Title IV
        4. A Focus on Evidence of Outcomes
        5. The Spellings Commission and Its Aftermath of Criticisms
        6. Does U.S. Accreditation Work?
      3. Chapter 3: Quality: Committing to Excellence
        1. A Commitment to a Pervasive, Enduring Culture of Excellence
        2. A Culture of Relevance (Chapters 5–6)
        3. A Culture of Community (Chapters 7–8)
        4. A Culture of Focus and Aspiration (Chapters 9–12)
        5. A Culture of Evidence (Chapters 13–16)
        6. A Culture of Betterment (Chapters 17–18)
        7. Interrelations Among the Five Cultures
        8. Defining Program Excellence Through the Five Cultures
        9. Defining Teaching Excellence Through the Five Cultures
      4. Chapter 4: Why Is This So Hard?
        1. Quality Continues to Be Defined by Reputation, Not Effectiveness
        2. The Money Is Not There
        3. A Culture of Isolation
        4. A Culture of Reticence
        5. Change Is Hard
        6. A Culture of Silos
        7. Colleges Are Not Always One Big Happy Family
        8. Academic Freedom Is Misunderstood
        9. Fuzzy Focus and Aspirations
        10. We Do Not Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is
        11. A Culture Relying on Antecedents and Anecdotes
        12. Emphasizing Assessment Over Learning
        13. We Have Pockets of Mediocrity
    9. Dimension I: A Culture of Relevance
      1. Chapter 5: Integrity: Doing the Right Thing
        1. Meet Your Responsibilities
        2. Put Your Students First
        3. Know Your Key Stakeholders and Meet Their Needs
        4. Keep Your Promises
        5. Serve the Public Good
        6. Demonstrate That You Are Ensuring Quality and Meeting Your Responsibilities
      2. Chapter 6: Stewardship: Ensuring and Deploying Resources Responsibly
        1. Recognize That People and Their Time Are Your Greatest Resources
        2. Ensure Your College’s Health and Well-Being
        3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
        4. Monitor Where Your Money Is Being Spent
        5. Monitor the Impact of Your Investments
        6. Deploy Resources Efficiently
    10. Dimension II: A Culture of Community
      1. Chapter 7: A Community of People
        1. A Culture of Respect
        2. A Culture of Communication
        3. A Culture of Collaboration
        4. A Culture of Growth and Development
        5. A Culture of Shared Collegial Governance
        6. A Culture of Documentation
      2. Chapter 8: Leadership Capacity and Commitment
        1. Capacity and Commitment
        2. Empowered Leadership
        3. Independent Leadership
        4. Putting Your College’s Interests Ahead of a Third Party
        5. Collaborative Leadership
        6. Board Engagement
        7. The Right People
        8. Ongoing Education and Development
    11. Dimension III: A Culture of Focus and Aspiration
      1. Chapter 9: Purpose: Who Are You? Why Do You Exist?
        1. Essential Activities: What Would You Keep Doing No Matter What?
        2. Distinctive Traits: Why Should Anyone Enroll or Invest Here?
        3. Underlying Values: What Are the Rationales for Your Decisions?
        4. Target Clientele: Whom Do You Aim to Serve?
        5. Use Systematic Evidence and Collaboration
        6. How to Articulate Your Purpose
      2. Chapter 10: Goals and Plans: Where Are You Going? How Will You Get There?
        1. Identify Your Destinations
        2. Articulate Your Destinations
        3. Plans: How Will You Get There?
        4. Integrate Goals and Plans Throughout Your College . . . Reasonably and Appropriately
        5. Be Prepared to Attune and Adjust Your Goals and Plans
      3. Chapter 11: Who Is a Successful Student?
        1. What Do Students Need to Learn?
        2. Identify Your Learning Outcomes
        3. Articulate Your Learning Outcomes
        4. Integrate Learning Outcomes Throughout Your College . . . Reasonably and Appropriately
      4. Chapter 12: Helping Students Learn and Succeed
        1. What Helps Students Learn?
        2. What Helps Students Persist and Complete a Degree?
        3. Designing Curricula to Help Students Learn and Succeed
        4. The Role of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and General Education
        5. Helping Students Learn and Succeed in Non-Traditional Venues and Modalities
        6. Facilitating Transfer
    12. Dimension IV: A Culture of Evidence
      1. Chapter 13: Gauging Success
        1. Gauging Student Success
        2. Gauging Responsiveness to the Changing College Student
        3. Gauging Economic Development Contributions
        4. Gauging Contributions to the Public Good
        5. Gauging Achievement of College Purpose and Goals
        6. Gauging Student Learning
        7. What About the “Ineffables”?
      2. Chapter 14: Good Evidence Is Useful
        1. Know Your Stakeholders and What Is Useful to Them
        2. Tie Evidence to Key Goals
        3. Aim for Reasonably Accurate and Truthful Evidence
      3. Chapter 15: Setting and Justifying Targets for Success
        1. Choose an Appropriate Perspective for Comparison
        2. Set Justifiably Rigorous Targets
        3. Set a Range of Minimal and Aspirational Targets
        4. Have Clear Goals
        5. Set Both Milestone and Destination Targets
      4. Chapter 16: Transparency: Sharing Evidence Clearly and Readily
        1. Form Follows Function
        2. Make Clear, Meaningful Points
        3. Tell Your Story in Your Voice
        4. Make Evidence Easy to Find
        5. Be Honest and Balanced
    13. Dimension V: A Culture of Betterment
      1. Chapter 17: Using Evidence to Ensure and Advance Quality and Effectiveness
        1. Recognize and Celebrate Successes
        2. Use Evidence to Advance Quality and Effectiveness
        3. Use Evidence to Deploy Resources Prudently
        4. Use Evidence to Refine Goals and Targets
        5. Use Evidence Fairly, Ethically, and Responsibly
      2. Chapter 18: Sustaining a Culture of Betterment
        1. Foster a Culture of Community
        2. Value Efforts to Change, Improve, and Innovate
        3. The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good
        4. Document Evidence
        5. Periodically Regroup and Reflect
    14. Conclusion: Integrating and Advancing the Five Dimensions of Quality
      1. Chapter 19: Demonstrating Quality to Accreditors
        1. Use Accreditation Processes as a Tool and Lever
        2. Understand What Your Accreditor Is Looking For . . . and Why
        3. Start Early, with an Honest Appraisal of Where You Are
        4. Understand Your Accreditor’s Emphasis on the Five Cultures of Quality
        5. Organize Your Report and Supporting Documentation
        6. Provide Good Quality Documented Evidence for Everything You Say
        7. Put Shortcomings in Context . . . with Integrity
        8. Respect the Reviewers’ Time
      2. Chapter 20: Program Reviews: Drilling Down into Programs and Services
        1. What Is a Quality Program?
        2. Specialized Accreditation as a Form of Program Review
        3. View Program Reviews as Cousins of Grant Proposals and Business Plans
        4. Ensure Program Review Integrity and Value
      3. Chapter 21: Where Do We Go from Here? A Six-Point Agenda for Ensuring and Advancing Quality
        1. Know Your Stakeholders, and Make Your College Relevant and Responsive to Them
        2. Encourage and Support Great Teaching and Learning
        3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
        4. Fight Complacency
        5. Break Down Silos
        6. Tell Meaningful Stories of Your Successes
        7. How Can Higher Education Leaders and Others Help?
        8. Three More Ideas for Accreditation
        9. Can We Do This?
    15. References
    16. Index
    17. Advertisements
    18. End User License Agreement