The Office of the Provost at Baylor College of Medicine oversees the annual assessment of academic programs and student/academic support services units, as well as periodic comprehensive reviews of Baylor’s degree programs. These processes promote institutional effectiveness by ensuring program and service quality, integrity and continuous improvement, and the alignment of resources, planning and assessment to support Baylor’s mission. Qualified faculty members and institutional leaders, including academic program coordinators, Curriculum Committee members, deans and administrative heads for student services, are actively engaged in their respective assessment and review processes.

The Institutional Effectiveness Workgroup, coordinated by the Office of the Provost, includes administrators and faculty members representing Baylor’s academic programs, Office of Research, administrative units, student services units and community/public service programs. The IE Workgroup reviews assessment plans for quality, consistency and mission alignment; ensures that results are properly documented and used to inform improvements; and supports faculty and staff development on assessment, assessment processes, reporting formats and timelines. It also schedules outcomes reporting across the College; reviews new and continuing assessment plans (outcomes, assessment measures and criteria/benchmarks for success) for appropriateness and completeness; and establishes guidelines and processes to ensure reporting consistency and timeliness institution-wide. The IE Workgroup provides regular status updates to the Provost’s Education Advisory Council and executive leadership of the College.

Baylor College of Medicine conducts annual reviews of assessment methods, results and use of results by academic programs and student support services units to ascertain: student performance against learning outcome targets; and program or unit effectiveness in achieving outcome/objective targets for the delivery of academic, student or administrative support services. This ongoing process provides vital evidence to inform changes in educational programs, annual planning or resource allocation, and alignment of programs or services with institutional goals and priorities. It also drives enhancements to support continuous quality improvement. The annual academic program and student services unit review process is outlined below.

Annual Assessment Plan

Academic programs and student/academic support service units are required to establish program-level outcomes (PLOs), which describe what the program or unit will accomplish. PLOs are aligned with program or unit missions, and with the Baylor's mission. Academic programs also establish expected student learning outcomes (SLOs), statements of what students should know or be able to do. Each program-level or student learning outcome is linked to at least one measurement and one target/benchmark (criterion for success). In combination with a description of the assessment process, these components constitute a program’s or unit’s assessment plan. Academic program leaders or unit directors develop and update assessment plans in collaboration with curriculum committees, assessment personnel, and faculty or staff members, as appropriate. All academic programs and student services units submit their assessment plans to the Office of the Provost for review and feedback, if needed.

Annual Reporting of Assessment Data

At the end of every academic year, each program and unit compiles data corresponding to its outcomes and measures. This information is reported in the centralized database (TracDat®) being used by all Baylor programs and units to generate cumulative assessment reports.

Annual Assessment Review

Each program or unit leader reviews the annual assessment reports, in collaboration with curriculum committees, assessment personnel, and faculty or staff members, as appropriate. This review determines the degree to which criteria for success have been met, and includes an analysis of results to determine whether programmatic, educational or other interventions should be made to improve future performance. Prior interventions or intended improvements also are reviewed to determine their effectiveness, and whether they should be continued or adjusted. When necessary, programs re-examine components of their assessment plans and revise them as indicated. Recommendations or modifications are recorded in each program’s electronic assessment plan.

Submission of Annual Assessment Reports

Academic programs and service units electronically submit finalized annual assessment reports to the Office of the Provost for review, feedback and possible recommendations for modifications. Interventions requiring additional resources are captured for consideration in the budget planning cycle.

Periodic Comprehensive Review of Academic Programs

Baylor requires a comprehensive review of every academic degree-granting program at least once every eight years. Exceptions to this schedule may be negotiated to accommodate alignment with specialized program accreditation cycles or reviews of NIH-funded T32 and other training programs. The program review process is intended to foster academic excellence, ensure quality and integrity of all academic programs (including appropriateness of program length and curriculum), identify opportunities to improve, and inform planning and decision-making to maintain alignment with the institutional mission. The Office of the Provost oversees the academic program review process, which includes the following elements.

Program Self-study

The self-study shall include a brief description of the program structure and organization, mission alignment, and data regarding student recruitment/retention and time-to-degree. The study also shall describe student learning and program outcomes, review of the curriculum to ensure a coherent course of study, the extent to which students are achieving the learning outcomes, how well program-level outcomes and targets are being met, and evidence of continuous program improvement. Periodic program reviews build on the annual assessment reporting and review of student learning and programmatic outcomes described above, and provide a long-term record of program activities and achievement. At the discretion of the Office of the Provost, self-studies prepared for submission to external accreditors may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement.

External Review

It is expected that each program’s self-study will be reviewed by at least three reviewers who are external to the program or unit, or possibly even the institution. The reviewers will provide written feedback to the school, program or unit, and will submit a written report to program leadership, including deans and the Office of the Provost. Separate external review is not required for programs that have prepared and submitted a self-study for peer review and feedback from a specialized accreditor or other external peer-review group.

Recommendations

After receiving the external review report, the program director will prepare a brief written summary of the results or findings, along with a description of how the findings will be utilized to develop and implement academic program enhancements and/or an improvement plan. The program director’s summary and program improvement plan must be submitted to the appropriate school dean for his/her review and submission as a final report to the Office of the Provost.

Presentation of Findings and Recommendations

Presentation of Findings and Recommendations to the Education Advisory Council, and Submission of Documents to the Office of the Provost

All academic programs, including those with specialized accreditations, must present their periodic comprehensive review findings, recommendations and planned interventions and timelines to the Education Advisory Council within 90 days following completion of the review. Immediately following the presentation to the Education Advisory Council, all documents, including the self-study, external review reports, program director’s summary, final report, accreditation documents and a copy of the presentation made to the Education Advisory Council, must be submitted electronically to the Office of the Provost. Academic programs with specialized accreditation (i.e., MD, DNP, MSOP, MSPA), or PhD programs that have completed a peer review process within the review cycle (e.g., NIH T32 awards or a Medical Scientist Training Program award) may satisfy the cyclic academic program review requirement by submitting the self-study, peer review or accreditation reports, program director’s summary and final report, provided that these documents include review and description of student learning outcomes, program outcomes, and continuous process improvement efforts (including those related to budget). Interventions requiring additional resources will be captured for consideration in the budget planning cycle.

Baylor College of Medicine’s Office of the Provost is designated to maintain the repository for all annual assessments, program reviews and specialized accreditation materials.

Authorized and Signed  Aug.14, 2015 by:

Alicia D.H. Monroe, M.D., Provost and Senior Vice President
Paul Klotman, M.D., President, CEO, Executive Dean