Present: Aase, Cassidy, Deskis, Goldenberg, Griffiths,
House, Isabel, Jeris, Legg, Munroe, Payvar, Rintala, Weilbaker, Wheeler
Guests: Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Craig Barnard, Assessment Coordinator, Assessment Services; M.J. Blaschak, Coordinator,
Physical Therapy programs; Shirley Richmond, Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Sherilynn Spear, Chair, School of Allied Health;
The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of March 31, 2003, with revisions, and the motion passed unanimously.
Legg announced that items 3 and 4 on the agenda would be switched so the APC will discuss the physical therapy follow-up report first. He introduced Shirley Richmond the Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, Sherilynn Spear the Chair of the School of Allied Health, and M.J. Blaschak the Coordinator of the physical therapy programs. Cassidy said that several of the programs in the College of Health and Human Sciences were reviewed last year, and the APC asked for a follow-up report on the physical therapy programs. One of the reasons that a follow-up report was asked for was because the B.S. in Health Sciences and the Master of Physical Therapy (M.P.T.) programs were new. This year we asked for a follow-up report on the assessment plans, and next year we will have a follow-up report on the success of alumni in finding employment and pass rates on the licensure examination.
Blaschak handed out an updated report on the undergraduate program. The objectives have been revised to focus on the skills that students obtain. The M.P.T. objectives are staying the same, and have been left intentionally broad. The faculty in the program have the mind set that the undergraduate and graduate programs are one program, and it is difficult to divide them. Cassidy stated that this is a unique situation at NIU. There is a curriculum that combines the undergraduate and masterís degrees to prepare students for entry-level positions in physical therapy, but these are two separate degree programs, and program review is done at the degree level. She asked Blaschak to talk about some of the changes that have been made in the B.S. in Health Sciences. Blaschak responded that the faculty met to discuss the goals in connection with the program objectives. The first five objectives talk about the skills that students obtain, and a sixth objective was added stating the expectation that students would be admitted to the M.P.T. program. We have also received some feedback from the program graduates, and this has been added to the document. We have had one graduating class in the masterís program, and all the graduates are licensed and employed.
Legg asked what the employment opportunities are. Blaschak replied that with only the baccalaureate degree in health sciences graduates are not allowed to function as physical therapists, but graduates could work in health-related fields such as pharmaceutical or insurance companies. The accrediting body now requires a masterís degree to sit for the licensure examination and to practice as a registered physical therapist. No students have left the program after completing the undergraduate degree. Richmond added that the undergraduate program alleviates the problem of having a student in their fifth year not finishing the program and therefore not having completed an undergraduate degree. Some of the programs that have moved to the masterís require a baccalaureate degree before students are admitted into their physical therapy programs.
Askins said that in the status report the program talks about 36 students entering each of the classes. Could you please clarify the numbers reporting those not completing the program? Blaschak responded that 36 students entered in 1999, and 5 students in each class did not complete the first year (for a total of 10 out of 72 entering students). Two students left the program for academic reasons and eight students left for personal reasons. Cassidy added that the last sentence in the paragraph said that two students continued by extending their program, so your numbers are right.
Cassidy asked Blaschak to talk about the method used for clinical performance ratings that include 24 competencies. Blaschak replied that a student is placed at a full-time clinical site. While at this site there are 24 competencies that the student is working towards. Students are expected to function within a certain range of competency by the end of the clinical experience. Students are assessed on these competencies at the mid-term and at the end of the clinical. Cassidy asked if the student demonstrates the skills for the faculty. Blaschak responded that the student performs the skills for the clinical instructor. At the masterís level the competencies are the same, but the students need to function at a higher level. Cassidy asked if the standards for acceptable performance at the baccalaureate and masterís levels are communicated to the students. Blaschak replied yes, this is standardized and students are told what level they are expected to perform. The clinical instructor helps the students to understand all of these expectations, and the rubric includes examples at each level.
Rintala asked that under program objective two would it be reasonable to consider less of a clinical demonstration and include some written testing. Blaschak said that in the first method we have a faculty review, which considers performance in coursework. This is a review of their academic performance, but we were told that grades are not assessment. Rintala said that if students had to get 80 percent on a final exam, this might be a useful part of your assessment plan. A course grade is not a full demonstration of the knowledge obtained. Cassidy said that if the competencies were assessed using a rubric across the course sections or across semesters you could look to see if there were patterns where students were achieving very well and areas where they were not achieving very well. This evidence could assist the faculty in assessing the areas where students did not do well. Blaschak answered that she thought the program faculty did this, but not at a formal level. Spear added that the clinical was a good example of this method. We talk about the application, but there was a time break that occurred, and students were losing some proficiency. Knowing this, the faculty revised the schedule of clinical experiences. She added that the faculty takes the studentsí comments very seriously. Cassidy added that an assessment plan is a necessary evil, and these are the kinds of things that we need to be able to report consistently. Legg thanked the guests for the information and for coming.
Legg turned to the next item on the agenda the feedback on the sample mission specific indicators distributed for review and discussion. There were three issues raised for the council to review. They were: are there any other indicators that are unique to NIU that should be considered, the appropriateness of the placement of indicators in relation to the statewide goals, and recommendations for the top three indicators as they relate to each of the Illinois Commitment goals. Cassidy added that at the last APC meeting we distributed the information on the statewide and core indicators that were reported in an item on the IBHE board agenda. An important point to note is that the mission specific indicators should not replicate the core indicators. We did want to limit the number of mission specific indicators we select to report on. Any indicators included in the listing that are not selected for this part of the results report could be reported in other sections of it.
Cassidy opened the discussion on these three issues. Deskis suggested that the percentage of transfer students might fit better into goal 2 instead of where it is currently listed under goal 1. Rintala added that she put it in goal 3. Deskis added that the percentage of students receiving financial aid could also be added to goal 3. Askins said that reporting on the number of individuals who default on their student loans was a big issue for the state. Legg stated that we have a large number of transfer students, and that might be an indicator we should consider. Deskis said that the percentage of alumni pursuing graduate degrees should be added to goal 5. Cassidy replied that this would be wonderful to add, but asked how we would track it. Barnard said that we do ask this on the alumni survey, but the response is 20 to 30 percent. Griffith suggested adding the number of students who do honors research as independent study to goal 5. Cassidy asked if this could be tracked. House replied that this could not be tracked easily. Griffiths said that we could track honors courses. House responded that this is not a simple thing, but we could consider it. The unit of measure is the number of programs, not student level. Cassidy said that we could try to track this as an indicator. One consideration when we are designing the mission specific indicators was asking ourselves if the data were available.
Rintala said that the University Assessment Panel had some questions about goal 4 regarding addressing diversity issues. One option that was talked about is how that could be more qualitative or descriptive. We could talk about UNIV101, CHANCE, CARS, etc. The same sort of consideration applied to goal 6: we could talk about initiatives the university has done to reduce costs. For example, a couple of years ago when we locked in the purchase price on some utilities. Askins asked if this would go under goal 4. The point related to goal 4 is that NIU makes every effort for diverse students to succeed. Could we look at the money these offices spend on supporting the diverse needs of students? House added that we currently report this in the underrepresented groups report. Munroe said that we could also use percentage of total budget rather than dollar amounts. Rintala suggested under goal 2 adding something related to student-at-large hours and the semester hours they produce. There are a large number of SAL hours taken by practicing teachers in the College of Education, and we could put a positive spin on this fact. House asked if the school business management program would be put under goal 2. Askins said that the percentage of students who are offered work study funding could be considered under goal 3. Legg asked how students are offered this employment opportunity. Askins said that a financial analysis is done and an award package is put together based on student need. Some studies have been shown that work study students have better time management skills and better grades than students who are not employed as work study students. Cassidy said that if there were suggestions for rankings on the sample indicators we would appreciate this information either now or in recommendations sent to the provostís office via campus mail. The UAP discussed the indicators and was also asked to provide this kind of feedback concerning the sample indicators.
Legg stated that this is Bob Wheelerís last meeting of the APC. He then thanked Vice Provost Wheeler for his numerous contributions to the university and the APC, and wished him well in his retirement.
The meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
Carolyn A. Cradduck