Connected Campus

3.4.10 Responsibility for Curriculum

 

The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum with its faculty. 

 

_X_  Compliance           ___  Partial Compliance          ___  Non-Compliance

 

Narrative

 

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) employs an effective process for the development, evaluation, and improvement of the curriculum. The faculty contributes to the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum and its expansion or limitation. MABTS reviews the quality and effectiveness of curriculum in relation to educational programs and maintains standards of curriculum review.

 

The Process of Developing, Evaluating, and Improving the Curriculum

 

Each degree program has a program dean and program coordinator tasked with overseeing degree content. They, in consultation with the academic council, develop, evaluate, and improve course curriculum. Job descriptions for the program deans may be found in the 2014-15 Employee Handbook [1]. Any changes or adjustments within the respective degree program curriculum must be approved by the department, recommended to and approved by the Academic Council [2], and recommended to the faculty and to the President and approved by the full faculty [3].

 

The Role of the Faculty in Content, Quality, and Effectiveness of the Curriculum

 

In addition, the seminary faculty is organized into departmental disciplines, with each department having a chairperson who meets regularly with his/her department members, to evaluate, assess, and measure the content, quality, and effectiveness of classes offered by that department [4].

 

Content of Curriculum. The faculty is involved directly in all decisions relating to academic affairs through the academic committees, faculty committees, and the faculty meetings. Therefore, the content of the curriculum originates at the faculty level and proceeds to the Academic Council. The Academic Council meets regularly, on Fridays, to assist and to advise the Academic Vice President in the supervision of the seminary’s academic programming and development. Once an academic proposal reaches the Academic Council and receives approval, then, the Academic Vice President brings the recommendation to the President and to the faculty. Hence, all curricular content originates from and comes to the faculty for final approval [5].  

 

As an example, a change of content occurred recently at MABTS after the peer review process. Those involved noticed that the writing ability of students on term papers, as evidenced through the MABTS paper rubric, was deficient. As a result, a recommendation was made to the Academic Council that a research and writing course be added to the master level degree core curriculum. After a vote from the faculty [6], the course was included for all master level programming for the 2014-15 academic year [7].

 

Quality. To ensure curriculum quality, a process of faculty peer review is in place. On January 24, 2014, the departmental and peer review personnel met in the Betty Howard Special Events Room of MABTS at 8:30 a.m. A light breakfast was served and a brief time of instruction was conducted before the peer review process began at 9:00 a.m. Drs. Seal and Kilpatrick assigned each faculty member artifacts to score with either a project or paper rubric. Some artifacts were scored within the department and others were peer reviewed by faculty outside their department. The identity of each student was removed from each artifact to prevent scoring bias and a Likert scale instrument was used. The scores were then transferred to a tally sheet for the analysis of findings.

 

Effectiveness. To ensure curricular effectiveness, a Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Model (PLOAM) is in use (Table 1). The MABTS PLOAM is a six step planning model that provides the institution with a means of assessment of student learning outcomes.  The model and process begins annually (Column 1A) with the Trustees as they meet bi-annually in August. As part of their agenda, they review and reaffirm the mission statement of the seminary [8]. Based upon this reaffirmation or change in mission, the school then begins to plan student learning outcomes for the upcoming academic year. 

 

Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Model (PLOAM)

2014-2015 Sample

Purpose & Goals

 

Mission Statement

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary is to provide undergraduate and graduate theological training for effective service in church-related and mission vocations through its main campus and branch campuses.

 

Goal Statement

Expected Outcome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment Criteria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use of Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1. Sample PLOAM

 

Phase One – Columns 1A, 1B, and 2. During faculty in-service, the week before the academic year begins in August, the Academic Vice President meets with the academic council (all academic program deans and director of Institutional Assessment) to discuss the reaffirmation or change in the mission statement (column 1A) in conjunction with the fall trustee meeting. After reviewing the institutional mission with the academic council, each program dean (PhD, DMin, Masters, and Undergraduate) then meets with their department chairman during faculty in-service and tasks them with formulating a goal statement (column 1B) for their respective departments based upon the PLOAM. These goal statements serve as a basis for student learning outcomes.

 

After meeting with the Academic Vice President, the department chairpersons meet during faculty in-service with program coordinators (PhD, DMin, MDiv, MCE, MACE, MMICS, ADiv/AAS, ACE) to create expected student learning outcomes (column 2) for departments within each of the four programs. Careful consideration is given to constructing these expected outcomes and departmental goals are reviewed by the academic council to insure they are both connected to the mission statement of the seminary and are measurable. Columns 1A, 1B, and 2 are created during in-service week before classes begin for the academic year.

 

Phase 2 – Column 3, 4, and 5. After graduation in May, program coordinators begin collecting data as a source of assessment criteria (column 3). They consult the office of the Registrar, individual professors, and academic and administrative offices for supporting documents to assess the measurement of student learning outcomes. Because of this analysis, program coordinators determine whether assessment criteria for student learning outcomes were met or not, and results are then displayed as assessment results (column 4). Program coordinators then use the achievement or failure of assessment criteria for the use of results (column 5) and in devising student learning outcomes for the next academic year. Trustees then use the success or failure of these outcomes as a basis for adoption or revision of the mission statement in their bi-annual meeting, which closes the loop in the planning and assessment of student learning outcomes for the institution.

 

Measurement and Data. Achievement of student learning outcomes is expressed in the MABTS Program Learning Outcomes Model (PLOAM) data streams: 1) classroom assignments and educational software, 2) field experience, 3) student evaluations 4) student surveys and forums, 5) a capstone and/or comprehensive examination, and 6) rubrics/peer review.

 

Classroom Assignments and Educational Software. According to individual course syllabi, completion of classroom assignments are used as a measurement of student learning [9]. Term papers, learning portfolios, oral presentations, and practicums are used to demonstrate learning. Students are also required to purchase language and Bible software and demonstrate proficient use through classroom assignments.

 

As an example, during faculty in-service, the academic council reviewed a syllabus audit for the 2011-12 academic year and discovered that less than half of all classes taught (45%) required a term paper. As a result, these findings were discussed in plenary session and a decision was made to require either a term paper, portfolio, or a presentation in every class taught, as a demonstration of student learning outcomes.

 

The Policies and Procedure for Expanding/Limiting the Curriculum

 

The Academic Council meets regularly to assist and advise the Academic Vice President in the supervision of the seminary’s academic programming and development. The Council, which consists of the Academic Vice President, the Executive Vice President, and the Academic Deans, and the Director of Institutional Assessment, makes recommendations to the faculty to expand or limit the curriculum. If the Academic Deans, in consultation with the faculty, deem it beneficial to expand or limit the curriculum, the Academic Council appoints one member or a subcommittee on the Academic Council to research and report on the matter. If there is compelling evidence for a change, the Academic Council votes to recommend the change to the faculty. Subsequently, the curricular change comes to the faculty for final approval [10].

 

An example of delimiting the curriculum occurred through degree realignment by the recommendation of the Academic Council. The decision was to make the first two years of the graduate programs to include mainly core requirements. The result was that certain classes were removed [11].

 

The Steps Taken to Ensure the Quality and Effectiveness of the Curriculum

 

Quality and effectiveness is a primary motivation for the seminary in terms of self-evaluation, as demonstrated in Core Requirement 2.5. The seminary seeks to revise those portions of student course evaluations, student surveys, alumni surveys, and faculty surveys that evaluate the seminary’s academic courses through the Masters and Undergraduate committee [12].

 

Quality. To ensure curricular quality, the seminary utilizes a three-fold process. First, the Academic VP evaluates the curriculum (i.e. program offerings, academic schedule, syllabi, credentials, etc.) [13]. Second, student evaluation forms, forums, and surveys pose questions to assess the quality of the curriculum, namely, questions 35, 36, 39, and 43 [14]. Finally, a peer review process, utilizing a rubric [15], takes place to evaluate artifacts derived from representative courses [16].

 

Effectiveness. In evaluating curricular effectiveness, MABTS utilizes four measurements. Graduate surveys [17], alumni placement [18], student survey questions 18 and 19 [19], and questions 6, 14 and 15 on the course evaluation form [20] are key in determining curricular success at MABTS.

 

Documentation

 

1. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 40-43

2. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 39

3. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 39

4. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 41-42

5. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 39

6. Faculty Minutes for 04.25.2014 (Special Business)

7. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog p. 123

8. Trustee Minutes - Review of Mission

9. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 84-96

10. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 39

11. Faculty Minutes for 3/9/12

12. 2014-15 MABTS Employee Handbook, p. 42-43

13. 2014-15 Employee Handbook, p. 22

14. 2015 Student Surveys, p. 2

15. Rubric for a Sermon Manuscript in Biblical Preaching 1

16. Peer Review Spring 2014 Scores

17. Alumni December 2014 Graduate Survey

18. Alumni December 2014 Graduate Survey

19. Student Surveys 2014, p. 2

20. Student Course Evaluation

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