Comprehensive Public Affairs Assessment Plan

The centerpiece of the Public Affairs Assessment Plan is the annual comprehensive public affairs review workshop held since 2013. Sixty-six faculty, staff, and students participated in the review and analysis of student work. It was developed by a faculty and staff sub-committee in 2012 as part of the Quality Initiative Project (QIP). Through this project, a process was developed to collect student essays on public affairs experiences through the University Exit Exam (GEN 499). This process began in January 2015, and at the summer 2015 Annual Comprehensive Public Affairs Review Workshop, nearly 1,800 senior-level student essays were reviewed using the institution’s public affairs rubric.

Which outcomes are assessed each year?

Cultural competence, community engagement, and ethical leadership institutional outcomes are assessed each year. (2013-2014 results, 2015 Results)

When is each outcome assessed?

Each outcome is assessed during the May annual summer review workshop consisting of faculty, staff, and students.

What evidence/samples of student work do you collect?

A representative sample of student work is collected through the University Exit Exam, a graduate requirement administered via Blackboard. Students choose to write about issues aligned with the public affairs rubric in order to share their direct involvement with public affairs at Missouri State. Students also complete the 40-question Public Affairs Scale, which gauges self-perceptions of their experiences.

How do you collect evidence?

As of January 2015, the Assessment team began overseeing the University Exit Exam, and in consultation with Assessment Council, the Office of the Registrar, Computer Services, and Blackboard developed a process of collecting student responses to public affairs-related prompts by administering the Exit Exam through Blackboard.

In the University Exit Exam, 50% of seniors are administered the Public Affairs section which includes public affairs writing prompts to choose from and the 40-question Public Affairs Scale.

Each semester, student writing samples are downloaded, scrubbed, and de-identified prior to the annual review workshop which focuses on institutional outcomes. The student samples are also sorted by college and department and shared electronically for review by departments and colleges.

When and where is student work collected?

Student work is collected during the spring, summer, and fall academic terms when students enroll in the University Exit Exam (GEN 499).

Who collects student work, analyzes data, and summarizes results?

Student work is collected by the Office of Assessment and prepared for review by colleges, departments, programs, faculty, staff, and students. The Office of Assessment summarizes results from the analysis of these groups and disseminates the information across campus.

What action has resulted from the comprehensive public affairs assessment plan?

Through the evidence collected and analyzed by faculty, staff, and students in the summer workshop, the following have occurred at the institutional, college, department, program, and course-level:

  • In spring 2015, in addition to student work reviewed by a university-wide team of faculty, staff, and students, student work was also reviewed and used to inform decision-making at the college, department, program, and classroom level. The information will be used for accreditation purposes and to make changes to courses and programs.
  • Public Affairs Toolkit Web Page: The Public Affairs Toolkit was one direct result of the 2014 review of student work and subsequent conversations. This page serves as a public affairs resource for new faculty or any faculty interested in viewing samples of public affairs assignments. Because of AACU’s idea of “Signature Work” this page is being reconceived as a Public Affairs “Signature Work” page. The summer 2015 workshop will include a day of planning to help college groups develop “Signature” Public Affairs assignments informed by the previous days review of student work.
  • Public Affairs Assessment Grants: Encouragement to, in the words of faculty participants, “keep the fire going” led to Public Affairs Assessment grants in Fall 2014. Faculty in Communication, English, Communication Science Disorders, Music, Athletic Training, Counseling and Special Education, and Student Engagement submitted assessment grant proposals. If they received a grant, awardees were required to participate in three short meetings to develop a community of practice around questions of public affairs within their disciplines. The goal was also to collect student work for the Summer 2015 workshop and sample assignments for the Signature Work page.

Departmental and Course Changes

  • After faculty and administration participated in the workshop, Athletic Training and Occupational Therapy, made changes to their program. This included the addition of public affairs to Occupational Therapy's entrance interview process. They also intentionally and explicitly think through public affairs' role within their program by incorporating weekly blog posts about public affairs into writing assignments about clinical experiences.
  • Faculty from English, Communication, Physics, Communication Science Disorders, and Agriculture made changes to courses based on participation in the workshop. Physics faculty adapted the public affairs rubric to heighten students’ appreciation of the role of ethical leadership, community engagement, and cultural competence in their discipline. Agriculture asked students to write “Agriculture Leadership and Public Affairs” essays defining the pillars and asking students what they had learned at the end of a first-year Agriculture. She also developed a public affairs rubric to assess student work.
  • In the third year of the workshop, many of these faculty brought students enrolled in their courses to the workshop to share the impact of the newly developed assignments on students and to share how faculty’s thinking developed related to the teaching of public affairs.
  • This work has also influenced thinking regarding GEP 101 development as a signature public affairs course and next steps for assessing upper-level public affairs capstone requirements.

Group photo.