Assessment and Program Improvement in the Context of Smaller Programs: Challenges and Strategies

Best practices in program assessment and, more generally, program improvement can often be difficult to implement in the context of smaller programs due to the limited number of faculty members and/or small student numbers in each cohort. This can be particularly challenging as we consider faculty time (our most precious resource!) and sustainability over the long term. Given these constraints, how can programs sort through “critical” initiatives versus “nice to have” enhancements to their existing processes? Designed to be an interactive session, we will begin by brainstorming assessment requirements along with accompanying best practices and evaluate them for applicability to small programs. As a group, we’ll identify challenges associated with their implementation along with strengths inherent to smaller programs that can be leveraged. We’ll discuss concrete examples and close with an exercise to develop tangible strategies the participants can take back to their own programs.