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Office for Institutional Assessment

Academic Approvals

Program Approval and Assessment

Approval of New Programs, Changes in Curriculum and Academic Organization

For new programs, planning proposals must be approved by both the Board of Trustees and the Commission on Higher Education’s Advisory Committee of Academic Provosts (ACAP). After approval, full proposals must then be approved by the Commission on Higher Education’s Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing (CAAL) and the CHE’s Board of Commissioners as well as SACSCOC. Change in delivery site for traditional mode of delivery, program discontinuations, new departments, department mergers or discontinuations and new centers or institutes must also be approved by the Board of Trustees. 

A total of 53 new academic programs have been approved since FY2000, and 52 academic programs have been deleted.

Thirty-four new centers and institutes have been established since FY2000 while 7 have been terminated since FY2004 when the Board of Trustees’ Educational Policy Committee (EPC) approved the assessment process for Centers and Institutes. While Board of Trustees approval is required to establish new centers or institutes, CHE approval is only required if the center or institute plans to request state support. (In the past, centers such as the Center for Optical Materials and Engineering Technology, COMSET, were funded by the legislature.)   In addition, the Commission on Higher Education funds CoEE  (Smart State) “Centers of Excellence” as well as educational “Centers of Excellence” in collaboration with the State Department of Education.  

Academic Program Assessment

Assessment of the quality of degree programs is included as part of Clemson’s overall program assessment process that uses the WEAVEonline electronic platform for collection of information about student learning outcomes and program quality. Program review occurs at the department or unit level and requires a five year assessment cycle beginning with program implementation or review and culminating in “closing the loop” by using assessment results and data (both qualitative and quantitative) to improve curricula and programs. In addition, the Commission on Higher Education evaluates degree completion by major annually, requiring a 5 year average degree completion rate of 5 graduates for undergraduate programs (minimum enrollment of 12.5 students), 3 for masters (minimum enrollment of 6 students) and 2 for doctoral programs (minimum enrollment of 4.5 students).

As part of our participation in the voluntary system of accountability (VSA), sponsored by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), the University is committed to demonstrating that a Clemson degree adds value.  The ETS Proficiency Profile, NSSE, GRE, Specialty field tests, licensing, e-Portfolio and other forms of assessment are used as a means of collecting quantitative feedback on student learning and engagement.  We also use focus groups, exit interviews, and alumni surveys to seek more qualitative information from students and graduates.  We engage in specialty accreditation processes as well as SACS-COC five year and ten year reviews, and CHE productivity reviews to ensure continuous improvement of our degree programs. 

e-portfolio  Assessment

General Education competencies are assessed by the e-portfolio which is required for graduation. Each degree program has integrated into its program of study three distributed competencies in Communication (written and oral), Critical Thinking, and Ethical Judgment. The latter two competencies are included among the eight identified competencies that can be fulfilled by coursework or out-of class experiences, while communication (written and oral) is the over-arching means by which all competencies are demonstrated. Students identify, write about and reflect upon “artifacts” that demonstrate proficiency in each of the 8 competency areas. Artifacts are “scored” by faculty for inclusion in each student’s personal portfolio. 

Beginning in Fall 2011, the Education Testing Service (ETS) proficiency examination was administered to all entering freshmen and all graduating seniors in an effort to quantitatively measure critical thinking, writing, reading and mathematical abilities.

Center and Institute Assessment

Centers and institutes are evaluated annually through the WEAVE process which includes development of a planning document and annual report. In addition, all institutes and centers undergo a comprehensive fifth year review. Research centers and institutes are to be self-sustaining within a three-year period. Educational centers and institutes that offer courses and support department or university curricula should have substantial external funding but are not required to be entirely self-supporting.

Since 2005, program review has resulted in closure of 7 centers and institutes. An additional 6 have been recommended for review and possible closure.

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Flowchart for Academic Approvals

Educational Policy Committee of the Board of Trustees

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