About Educational Goals at SFU
Fall 2011: The Learning Outcomes and Assessment Working Group (LOAWG) was mandated by the VP Academic (VPA) to draft principles to guide the establishment and use of learning outcomes for curricular assessment at SFU.
Fall 2012: The VPA submitted the LOAWG report to Senate with recommendations to implement a cyclical process of assessment, built into the external review cycles of academic units.
Spring 2013: The VPA held a number of townhall meetings to receive community feedback on the LOAWG report and address concerns.
April 2013: The VPA proposed a motion to Senate with the intention of implementing program level Educational Goals. In order to accommodate the cultural traditions of SFU, and based on the feedback received at the Townhall meetings, the term Educational Goals was proposed instead of Learning Outcomes.
May 2013: Senate approved a motion to implement assessment practices and processes with the goal of enhancing the quality of academic programs at SFU.
June 2013: Senate approved the inclusion of the Educational Goals assessment process as part of each academic unit’s external review cycle. In their Self-Study documents, units are to include an evaluation of their Educational Goals.
2014 cycle: The objective for the six units undergoing External Review in the 2014 cycle was to define their educational goals and include them in the Unit Self-Study document.
2015 cycle: Units undergoing external review in the 2015 cycle needed to define their Educational Goals, map them to their curriculum, develop an assessment plan, collect the required data, analyze it, and report actionable measures.
At its May 2013 meeting, Senate approved the following motion:
That the following practices and processes be implemented, with the goal of enhancing the quality of academic programs at SFU:
- each academic unit will develop a public statement of educational goals for each academic program prior to its next external review, commencing with reviews in the spring term of 2014;
- commencing with reviews scheduled for spring term 2015, each academic unit will include in the self-study for the external review an evaluation of the success of the unit in meeting the educational goals of its program(s), using methods and evidence selected by the academic unit;
- resources for the development and evaluation of the statement of educational goals will be provided by the Vice-President Academic, together with assistance from relevant support units;
- SCUTL will oversee these processes, and will report annually to Senate on their implementation and impact;
- a thorough evaluation of the costs and benefits of the above practices and processes will be made for Senate in 2017 after the third year of implementation, and Senate will determine whether and on what basis they should be continued.
Assessment and external review
At its June 2013 meeting, Senate approved the inclusion of the Educational Goals assessment process as part of each academic unit’s external review cycle. The following extract on Educational Goals is from Section 3.2 of the Senate Guidelines for External Reviews of Academic Units:
The unit will engage in a period of self-study of one to two semesters, possibly including a retreat, during which its members shall consider all aspects of the activities included in its academic plan and will prepare a report covering the following areas:
b. A statement of educational goals for each academic program(s) (commencing with reviews in the spring term of 2014);
c. An evaluation of the success of the unit in meeting the educational goals of its program(s), using methods and evidence selected by the academic unit (commencing with reviews scheduled for spring term of 2015). The evaluation should include evidence for student demand, access to courses, quality of teaching, educational experiences (including co-op and exchange opportunities), student academic achievement, scholarships and awards, student opinions of courses and programs, degrees and other credentials completed, student experience and satisfaction following graduation.