Minutes of November 5, 2007
3 p.m., Holmes Student Center – HSC 505

Present: Alden, Anderson, Bond (for Bose), Cassidy, Fox, Gorman, Gough, Marcellus, Marsh, Molnar, Prawitz, Singh

Guests: Leif Allmendinger, Division Head, Design, School of Art; Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Carolinda Douglass, Director, Assessment Services; Rich Holly, Interim Chair, School of Art and Associate Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts; Harold Kafer, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts; Lee Sido, Division Head, Fine Arts-Studio, School of Art; Tyler Wilson, NIU journalism student

The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. The annual update report was distributed with the agenda, and it was explained that this report summarizes the findings from the analysis of the annual updates that are submitted to the University Assessment Panel. The report was also discussed at a UAP meeting and distributed to the deans, associate deans, chairs, and assessment coordinators. The trends are positive, and this year there was 100 percent completion rate. There has been a concerted effort to make sure that every program receives feedback on its annual update report.

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of October 29, 2007, and the motion passed unanimously.

Harold Kafer, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Rich Holly, Interim Chair of the School of Art and Associate Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Leif Allmendinger, Division Head of Design in the School of Art; and Lee Sido, Division Head of Fine Arts-Studio in the School of Art were introduced. Tyler Wilson a journalism student was also introduced.

There are seven different degrees in the School of Art that will be discussed by the APC members. At the October 8, 2007, meeting the departmental context, the B.S. in Art History, B.S.Ed. in Art Education, and M.S. in Art were discussed, and at today’s meeting the B.A. and M.A. in Art, and the B.F.A. and M.F.A. will be discussed.

Prawitz thanked her subcommittee members for their input and presented the subcommittee report. The programs are in good shape; it is the report itself that the subcommittee had some input on.

The B.A. in Art program strengths are the strong, dedicated faculty and good minority enrollment. The program serves as an alternative for students who are not admitted into or cannot continue in the B.F.A. The discussion points include the need to clarify the assessment measures used to asses the student learning outcomes, there needs to be more specific targets for the internal benchmarks (the narrative and table should match), and the capstone course mentioned in the report should be expanded upon.

The degree requirements provide a broad liberal arts education, and students pull together School of Art and liberal arts and sciences experiences into a capstone. These students are not going out into an arts profession, but the program gets them going into a career they expect to pursue. The planned capstone is currently in the curriculum committee for further development of the proposal. The other degrees in the school have a very defined, structured experience, and we are looking for the B.A. students to have that same type of competitive experience. The thinking right now is that the capstone will require a presentation and possibly an exhibition of some type including documentation that accompanies students’ work.

The credit hour table information regarding the non-majors is confusing. Are these non-majors in the school or the college? These data are more about the School of Art; non-majors would be individuals who are not in the specific program, but who are majors in one of the School of Art programs. The data are correct; there could be an explanation of this in the narrative. Non-majors do cover all the students not enrolled in this degree program. Because the school has so many programs, it is a little bit different than programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The data makes it look like each program is offering a lot of general education. We can have Institutional Research take a look at these data to verify them. There are specific courses that the school offers for general education credit that could be looked at. The programs have the information that could be put in a table explaining the credit hours. The non-school majors are a high percentage of these credit hours, and this clarification may need to be included in all the baccalaureate degree program review sections.

Recommendations for the future are to add the development and implementation of an assessment plan to the Program Areas Needing Improvement and Planned Program Changes or Developments sections of the review, explain how the planned capstone course will contribute to program improvement, and specify the internal benchmarking targets and plans for change. Also, the external benchmarking table needs to be added to the review. The table has been produced; it just needs to be added into the review.

The program strengths for the M.A. in Art include the dedicated and productive faculty, the assessment opportunities provided by student work, and the Certificate of Graduate Studies in Museum Studies. The discussion points are that some of the student learning outcomes are not measurable and need to be clarified, and the review should provide details on how each learning outcome is assessed. The admission portfolio review does not report assessment of your program. The program should think about a way to measure the “value added” when it uses the admission portfolio for assessment outcomes. This could be tied into an exit portfolio review. The internal benchmarking targets and plans need more specific information. The narrative and table should match, and the Program Areas Needing Improvement and Planned Program Changes or Developments sections need to be parallel. The recommendations for the future include rewording the student learning outcomes so they are measurable, provide specific information regarding the internal benchmarking targets and plans for change, and add the external benchmarking table to the review.

An explanation of the differences between the B.A. and B.F.A. was requested. The B.A. degree is a liberal arts degree, and the B.F.A. is a professional degree. The B.F.A. has a very sequential curriculum. Both of the programs have some specialized areas in the freshmen year. The accrediting body, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, designates a clear percentage breakdown of the curricula for these two programs. There is differentiation in terms of the work in the major and outside the major. The B.F.A. requires that at least 65 percent of the course work be in art, and the B.A. is closer to a 50/50 split. The B.A. degree has been defined by the liberal arts core in general. The B.F.A. is our undergraduate degree that attracts students to NIU. This degree also prepares students for graduate study. We are finding more and more students are actively seeking the B.A. program because of time and financial constraints. The B.F.A. is very geared toward portfolio completion, employment opportunities, and post-graduate study. Right now we are looking at the flow toward employment opportunities. Most parents ask “what can my child do with this degree” and what can they earn? There has been a slight down turn in enrollment, but this is tied into job opportunities. The academic demands for the portfolio at the end of the sophomore year have been increased. Is one degree more attractive to native students than transfer students? Transfer students seem to be geared towards the B.F.A. program, and native students are inclined initially to the B.F.A. degree. Coupled with the capstone requirement it sets the students up for professional continuation in the real world or for advanced studies. The B.F.A. accounts for 80-90 percent of the enrollment at state public institutions. Some students enter the B.A. program when they do not pass the portfolio review. The B.A. program prepares graduates to work in arts related industries, galleries, and a variety of other jobs; sometimes they compete for jobs with the B.F.A. students.

The B.F.A. program has excellent faculty, wonderful assessment opportunities, and strong minority enrollment. Some of the discussion points are that there are a large number of student learning outcomes, and measures need to be detailed for each of these learning outcomes. The admissions and retention section needs to be streamlined. We have also become much more stringent in the portfolio requirements. Students will sometimes stay in the program and attempt the portfolio review a second time. Students can only attempt the portfolio review twice. Several years ago the recruiting process was changed, and the last couple of years other changes have been made to the process. These changes did not work out well, and the faculty have had discussions about going back to what we used to do.

Who do you consider your competition? The competition in general has dramatically increased. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Illinois State University, and Eastern Illinois University all have good programs and excellent marketing. Our main competitors are in Chicago: The Art Institute and Columbia College. Columbia has a visual communication B.F.A. program. The Art Institute emphasizes studio, art history, and liberal arts. In response to a question about how competitors were determined it was reported that the school participates in activity fairs, which have 80 schools that view portfolios and talk to students. At these fairs students tell us what other schools they are looking at. Do the other schools have admissions standards similar to NIU’s standards? Typically yes, but the other schools rely more on the portfolio review. Columbia College has open admissions, so it varies by institution. The strength of our program is the strong B.F.A. degree that introduces students to a broad array of artistic media, while the B.A. introduces the students to a wide range of art in general. At other schools students will stay with the medium they have previous experience with. Our B.F.A. students place in nationally recognized M.F.A. programs.

The decline in enrollment from 2002-2006 should be explained in the review. Recommendations for the future are to explain how each learning outcome is assessed, explain the credit hour table, provide specific information on the targets and plans for changes in the internal benchmarking section, add the external benchmarking table, and provide more detail in the Programmatic Change Resulting from Program Review, Assessment, and Other Continuous Quality Improvement Activities section.

The M.F.A. program has excellent faculty, wonderful assessment opportunities, and the graduates of the program are able to obtain good jobs in the discipline. Discussion points include eliminating learning outcome number 3 and rewording number 5 so it is measurable, provide specific information about learning student outcomes measures, add information about the changes made to address occupational demand, and include detailed information about student achievements. This is a program strength, and should be included in the review. Make sure all of your student learning outcomes can be measured. Also, clarify the internal benchmarking section; the narrative and table should match. Recommendations for the future are to make sure all student learning outcomes are measurable and are stated in terms of what students achieve, provide details on how each learning outcome is assessed, add information about changes made to meet changing occupational demand, and correct the credit hours table. Also be specific in the internal benchmarking targets and plans for change, and add the external benchmarking indicators table.

One of the things that we find in the assessment discussion is that it focuses on the process of assessment and describes the procedures and measures instead of reporting on the results. We have the assessment plan so we know what the assessment methods are and how they relate to the learning outcomes. What we are really looking for in the reviews are the findings from the implementation of the assessment methods. The report of these findings, in combination with the recommendations from the last review, accreditation findings, and other sources that faculty use, help to document the rationale for program changes.

The meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carolyn A. Cradduck