Pat Sullivan, Ph.D.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
There are some words that evoke particularly strong feelings among academicians. Let me throw out a few . . . how about self-study, or on-site evaluation, or peer-review team, or any other term related to accreditation. Now I bet you assumed I was referring to a negative association with these terms, but au contraire. Accreditation affords the opportunity to proactively engage in a process of review, using standards that are established within higher education itself to demonstrate quality and drive future quality initiatives. It promotes accountability and encourages public confidence in the quality of education that is being provided. It is a big deal! It is a lot of work! And we are here to help!
From its inception in 1975, IDEA’s Student Ratings of Instruction System (SRI) has served as a valuable tool to assess student learning and to guide teaching improvement. While originally developed to focus on the effectiveness of individual instructors, IDEA’s emphasis on specific student learning objectives makes it a highly useful tool for assessing programs or groups of courses as well, offering clear alignments between the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction System
and standards for accreditation in higher education.
With the launch of our revised SRI system this year, we are able to offer our interpretation of how IDEA2016
survey items and feedback systems map to numerous accreditation and professional standards.
In addition, there are other unique features of IDEA that directly support accreditation initiatives. Systematic, regular monitoring of results through the individual and unit reports and analysis of aggregate data can facilitate measurable improvements in student learning and institutional initiatives, as well as planning for appropriate use of resources. Every institution must tailor its accreditation plan to suit its mission, climate, and unique situation. Campuses can align their use of IDEA systems with their particular program and institutional goals for student achievement and overall institutional effectiveness, and can track, document and report progress.
Features of IDEA that directly support accreditation initiatives include:
I encourage you to browse these documents. Even if your particular accreditation guide is not yet available, you may be inspired to use IDEA data to support accreditation and other quality initiatives in ways you may not have considered. Put IDEA to work!