I am the Coordinator for Institutional Effectiveness at the Office of Assessment and Planning. The Office of Assessment and Planning is dedicated to promoting continual improvement at Lehman College to enhance its operations, strengthen student outcomes, and to meet its accreditation requirements. I am also an adjunct faculty member in the Economics and Business Department. My courses have ranged from microeconomics to strategic management.
Although the Periodic Review Report (PRR) must fully address all of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s (MSCHE) Standards and other requirements, every standard and requirement need not be given equal time and effort. In general, greater attention should be devoted to matters important to the institution's success, strategic direction, and areas of risk, with lesser time devoted to less weighty matters.
A focused approach can be guided by among the following questions:
- What does...
On April 29, I wrote about Periodic Review Report (PRR) outcomes during the last five years. Briefly, Middle States Standards 2, 3, 7, 8, 12, and 14 have been cited most frequently in requests for follow-up reports. Furthermore, the standards should not be viewed in isolation, as there is overlap among them.
During my review of the requests for follow-up reports, I categorized elements related to each standard. There is a degree of subjectivity involved. In my grouping, 89 elements were cited...Read More » »
At the end of each semester, I provide my students with a closing note about the course. That note seeks to place the course, its content, and its requirements into a larger context. I do so, because I believe it is helpful for students to have one last opportunity to understand why they took the course and perhaps better identify what they gained from the course. Such understanding can perhaps reinforce learning for the long-term.
Below is the note to my spring 2013 students:
With the semester...Read More » »
On June 1, 2014, Lehman College will submit its Periodic Review Report (PRR) to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). As the College prepares to launch its effort to devise the PRR, it makes sense to highlight the major outcomes following the submission of an institution’s PRR.
Briefly, MSCHE has established the following goals for the PRR:
It has also set forth the following objectives:
During the past 5 years, MSCHE requested follow-up reports (monitoring reports or progress...Read More » »
In setting major course requirements, I believe it is important to communicate the basis and context of the assignments to my students. Sometimes, the communication has to be repeated as deadlines approach. That proved to be the case with respect to the 20-page research paper I assigned my students.
On the first day of class, I explained that one of my course’s objectives set forth on the syllabus is that students would be able to write in a reasonably clear and concise fashion. The...Read More » »
During April 8-10, 2013, the Assessment Network of New York(ANNY) held its first annual conference hosted by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. ANNY is a professional network established to assist New York State’s colleges and universities in their efforts to assess student learning and institutional effectiveness. Colleges and universities outside of New York State can participate and have participated in ANNY events. Lehman College’s Assessment Coordinator, Raymond Galinski, played a key...Read More » »
Last fall, I conducted a survey to learn about how my students were using the library. I wanted to compare the outcomes with those of a national survey. This semester, I repeated the survey in search of persistent themes.
The major findings from my survey included:
- 86% of students who used the library said that they would be "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to use the library again (83% in fall 2012).
- 86% of students who used the library during the current semester visited the library on at...
Among the principles taught in courses ranging from economics to finance is that of diversification. In general, diversification can reduce risk exposure for firms and individuals. In substance, concentration and narrow focus can amplify risk. The very recent headline-garnering financial system crisis in Cyprus offered a cautionary tale of the dangers associated with a lack of diversification.
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) staff report from its 2011 Article IV Consultation with...Read More » »
Each semester, my mid-term exam contains a single survey question. The survey question has asked about student use of the BlackBoard, student confidence, student awareness of some relevant economic development, among other content. A major purpose of the question is to gain insight into student effort.
No potential credit is listed for the survey question. No penalties are indicated for a lack of response. The question is not even mentioned when the exams are handed out. As a consequence,...Read More » »
Since late 2008, the Federal Reserve has engaged in a range of extraordinary monetary policy measures aimed at bolstering the economy. Among the tools deployed is what has been termed “quantitative easing” or “QE.” Briefly, QE entails the Fed’s purchasing longer-term securities, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke recently told the Congress, “to support economic growth by putting downward pressure on longer-term interest rates.” At present, the Federal Reserve is purchasing $40 billion in...Read More » »
In what has become an annual ritual to mark the start of the spring season in the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden has opened its 11th annual orchid show. This year, the orchid show runs from March 2 through April 22.
Typically, the Orchid Show features thousands of orchids. The orchids vary in sizes, shapes, and colors. Among the orchids in the show are small reed orchids, giant pansy orchids, and exotic slipper orchids.
The 2013 show was designed by Francisca Coelho. Ms. Coelho graduated...Read More » »
Each semester, I assign a research paper worth 20% of the course grade. The paper should contain 15-20 double-spaced pages, along with endnotes documenting sources of information. Its writing should conform to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style.
This semester’s paper asked students to select a target company, research that company, identify a position or type of position within the organization of interest to the student, and to lay out a case why the company should hire the student.
Thi...Read More » »
On February 12, 2013, President Obama provided Congress his latest assessment of the State-of-the Union. In his address, he briefly discussed education ranging from pre-school to Higher Education.
When it came to Higher Education, the President made two major points:
- Higher Education makes it more likely that one will be employed and that one will have a chance to join the middle class.
- College affordability and value added are important.
Economic data have consistently revealed that...Read More » »
In Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (The University of Chicago Press, 2011), Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa reveal that students are only “minimally improving their skills in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing during their journeys through higher education.” In their study they revealed two major findings:
- By the end of their sophomore year, students improved their performance on the Collegiate Learning Assessment exam (a proxy for the skills referenced...
Last Wednesday, I handed my students their first assignment of the semester. The assignment was based on the day’s major economic report.
Earlier in the day, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released the advance GDP report for the Fourth Quarter of 2012. In the assignment, I asked my students to obtain information from that report, simply noting that the BEA had provided its first estimate of U.S. economic activity for that quarter. I also asked students to analyze the information.
The goals...Read More » »
With spring classes starting today, it is worth providing a brief discussion of how I handle the first class. In general, the first class is an opportunity to establish a framework aimed at facilitating student learning and performance.
My first class typically starts with a short diagnostic exam. The exam allows me to gain some insight into student knowledge in the areas I plan to cover during the semester. It also allows me to establish a benchmark against which I can measure the amount...Read More » »
On this day, the nation remembers one of its greatest visionaries and champions of justice, Dr. Martin Luther King. Regular occasions on which the nation can remember Dr. King, his struggle for justice, and his vision of a better world, are important. The historical experience has demonstrated that there is no “resting place” in the quest for civil rights. Civil rights are secured and preserved only through the sustained effort of each generation. With human nature being what it is, faded...Read More » »
In December, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) held its annual conference. At that conference, MSCHE Vice Presidents Christy L. Faison and Debra G. Klinman discussed the Periodic Review Report (PRR). The PRR is submitted five years after a higher education institution’s decennial review. Lehman College will be submitting its next PRR in 2014.
Briefly, Middle States lists the five goals for the PRR:
- To help institutions gauge their progress in achieving their own goals and...
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Lehman College’s accrediting agency, held its annual conference from December 5-7, 2012 in Philadelphia. The conference was comprised of plenary sessions that all participants attended, as well as concurrent breakout sessions.
The opening plenary session talked about scholarship in the digital age. That session highlighted the role of social media, blogging, and electronic platforms such as Udacity.com in Higher Education.
Additional...Read More » »
Irving Berlin’s 1942 classic “White Christmas” begins:
The calendar advances relentlessly onward, creating ever more distance between the winters Berlin “used to know.” The trees still glisten, but the ringing of sleigh bells on snow-covered city streets is no more.
Nevertheless, those early winters are not lost. They live on in the illustrations of 19th century artists. They come alive in the colorful prose—almost yesterday’s photographs—used to describe early American snowstorms.
Five snippets...Read More » »