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3.3.1.4 Research within its Mission, if appropriate

 

The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: (Institutional effectiveness)

 

            3.3.1.1 educational programs, to include student learning outcomes

            3.3.1.2 administrative support services

            3.3.1.3 academic and student support services

            3.3.1.4 research within its mission, if appropriate

            3.3.1.5 community/public service within its mission, if appropriate

 

_X_  Compliance           ___  Partial Compliance          ___  Non-Compliance

 

Narrative

 

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) identifies research outcomes which are clearly defined and measurable. The institution’s assessment process guides all aspects of research, and the annual institutional review method is used for improvement of all research outcomes (ROs). Due to its size, the school is able to gather information from the entire population of faculty, staff, and students. Sampling is not used. The school provides two doctoral degrees – the doctor of ministry degree which is considered a practitioners degree and the doctor of philosophy degree, the school’s research-based degree. The institution uses various instruments for assessment of the Doctor of Philosophy program, such as rubrics for the dissertation, supervised reading, oral examination, and seminar papers, and oral examinations, comprehensive written examinations, course evaluations, forums, and surveys.

 

I. Identification of Research Outcomes

 

MABTS’s approach to assessment of ROs is based upon the assumption that assessment will be more effective if developed and monitored by the PhD departmental unit providing the instruction. The institution addresses the process of assessment that supports the institution’s ROs and institutional effectiveness focuses on the design and improvement of educational experiences to enhance ROs. Good research is based upon clearly defined outcomes which are measurable and provide improvement.

 

The methodological design employed by the institution centers around the process for collecting the PhD PLOAM annually, which illustrates clearly defined and measurable ROs, and provides evidence of assessment/improvement for ROs.

 

Clearly Defined ROs

 

The Doctor of Philosophy program possesses clearly defined ROs as demonstrated in the PhD Program Learning/Research Outcomes Assessment Model (PLOAM).

 

The ROs for the PhD degree may be found in the 2014-15 MABTS Catalog which states that the Doctor of Philosophy program is designed “to guide students to develop the capacity for critical evaluation and quality research which produces creative scholarship and contributes to the field of theological knowledge and literature, to guide students to develop competence in principles of independent research and to achieve a proficiency in the techniques of scholarly writing, to guide students in advanced studies in a specialized field and to help them develop skills which qualify them for teaching at the graduate level in a college, university, or theological seminary, and to prepare students for the assumption of specialized pastoral leadership in the church, in missions, and/or in administrative leadership in the denomination” [38]. These ROs (column 2 below) are rooted in the program goal statement, which states “The Doctor of Philosophy Program supports the educational program of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary by equipping students for advanced scholarship, independent research, effective teaching, and service in Christian ministry.”

 

Table 3. PhD PLOAM

 

Measurable ROs

 

The doctor of philosophy program possesses measurable ROs as demonstrated on annual PLOAM above. The five ROs for the PhD degree demonstrate measurable research outcomes. For example, RO #1, which states, “Students will accurately evaluate and engage critically and productively with major scholarly approaches in their field” is measured by the PhD oral examination and PhD oral examination rubric.

 

II. Achievement of Research Outcomes

 

As described in I. Identification of Research Outcomes, the achievement of ROs is reviewed in phase 2 of the six-step planning process. Column 1 (Mission) and column 2 (Research Outcomes) are submitted by the Dean of the PhD program during faculty in-service at the beginning of the school year. At the conclusion of the spring semester, he begins collecting data as a source of column 3 (Assessment Criteria). As a result of this analysis, he determines whether assessment criteria for ROs were met or not, and results are then displayed as column 4 (Assessment Results).

 

Evidence of RO Achievement

 

The PhD program possesses measurable ROs as demonstrated on annual PLOAMs.

 

The ROs for the PhD degree may be found in the 2013-14 doctoral level PLOAM [50]. As an example, RO 4 for the doctor of philosophy program states that “Students will demonstrate a thorough acquaintance with literature in their area of specialization—especially the ability to summarize, analyze, critique, and apply journal articles published in their major field.” This RO is defined in measurable terms (column 3, PhD PLOAM) through the supervised departmental reading assignment for DR 9945 which is scored by the PhD evaluation rubric [44]. The evidence of achievement for this RO is illustrated in column 4, which states, “4a. DR 9945 Supervised Departmental Reading. 100% rated “Excellent” or “Good” on the evaluation rubric composite score. Target met. 4b. 100% rated “Good” or “Excellent” on Rubric for PhD Dissertation, Quality of Research (Elements 1) criterion, and 71% rated “Good” or “Excellent” on (Element 2) criterion. With the limited data pool (only 7 students), no significant statistical difference seems to exist between 71% and 75%. Target met for both criteria.”

 

The improvement of this RO will be presented in III. Improvement of Research Outcomes.

 

III. Improvement of Research Outcomes

 

As described in I. Identification of Research Outcomes, the achievement of ROs is reviewed in phase 2 of the six-step planning process. As discussed in II. Achievement of Research Outcomes, the PhD department collects and analyzes data to determine whether ROs were met. Based upon this identification and analysis of outcomes, the institution is tasked with providing evidence of ROs improvement.

 

Evidence of Research Outcomes Improvement

 

The PhD program assesses the use of results based upon the assessment of measurable ROs as demonstrated on annual PLOAMs. Column 1 contains the mission statement of the institution and degree program goals of the institution, column 2 provides the stated ROs for this degree program, column 3 demonstrates the assessment criteria for meeting those ROs, column 4 displays the success or failure of achieving the ROs, and column 5 provides evidence of improvement for ROs.

 

The use of results (column 5) for this doctoral level degree may be found in the 2013-14 PhD level PLOAM [54]. As an example, the use of results for RO 3a for the doctor of philosophy program states that professors should “help PhD students better communicate their research effectively in writing and that the Form and Style Committee will revise the MABTS Guide for Form and Style for the fall semester.” These results were submitted to the dean of the doctoral program for consideration to revise the MABTS Guide for Form and Style, which was accomplished in the fall of 2014, thus improving the strength of ROs within the program.

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, MABTS identifies expected outcomes, assesses the achievement of those outcomes, and gives evidence of improvement based upon results within the institutional effectiveness process. This process is built upon its philosophy of planning, which results in the school’s institutional effectiveness plan, which culminates in the long-range plan that enables the school to fulfill its mission, thus closing the institutional effectiveness loop.

 

Documentation

 

38. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 181-182

44. PhD Evaluation Rubric

50. Fall 2013-14 Master Scores SLO Spreadsheet (MCE)

54. 2013-14 PHD PLOAM column 5 SLO 3a

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