University Assessment Panel

Notes from Meeting of
October 18, 2002


The second meeting of the University Assessment Panel (UAP) for the 2002-2003 academic year was held on Friday, October 18, 2002, at 10:00 a.m. in Lowden Hall 304.


Cassidy called announced the addition of a new faculty member and two student representatives to the panel, and the panel introductions were conducted.

Review of  NIU Mission Statement

Cassidy gave some background on the need to review the NIU mission statement.  President Peters asked the Academic Planning Council and the University Assessment Panel to conduct a review of the mission statement and provide input.  Five questions were used as a guideline on reviewing the mission statement and scope: 1) What aspects are relevant today?  2) What aspects are passé?  3) What are the strengths?  4) What are the weaknesses?  5)  What are your recommendations for change?

The panel members participated in a discussion and offered many observations and recommendations including that the mission statement was not focused or concise enough, and it portrays NIU to be a follower, not a leader. Some members cautioned that becoming too focused in the statement might be detrimental because we are more broad-based than some institutions (i.e. a technical school), have a diverse student population, and are in an ideal location to serve both rural and urban communities.  Suggestions were made to create a segmented document that identified the mission statement, scope, history, values, and an academic plan. The panel also suggested that mission statement should also be very visible on the NIU home page; currently it is not easy to find. There was agreement on the panel that it is not easy to determine at a glance from our current mission statement what NIU is, and what it stands for.

IBHE Performance Indicators Survey

A discussion was held on the IBHE Performance Indicators Survey distributed at the October 4 meeting of the UAP. The survey solicits input on a set of proposed state-level and core-level indicators.  Following a general discussion of the survey items, panel members were encouraged to complete the survey online at the IBHE website.

Feedback on Assessment Plans

Assessment plans and status reports will be assigned to pairs of panel members. Some reviewers were having difficulty using the rubric to write their comments accurately, as certain phrases or statements may apply but not the entire cell. Cassidy stated that the rubric is a tool for providing consistent feedback, and that may need some modification for this purpose. Cassidy will provide written clarification on the review process that will be distributed to panel members. The assessment plans and status reports distributed for review at the last meeting will be discussed on November 1.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 pm.  The next meeting of the UAP will be November 1, 2002 in Lowden Hall 304.