As members of an educational community, Butte College faculty, staff, and administrators are involved in a complex and invigorating process of facilitating student learning. This process involves much more than merely the acquisition of knowledge by students; it also involves their utilization of that knowledge to achieve outcomes, solve problems, and reach benchmarks in their educational journey. More than that, the process promotes learning as a lifelong endeavor, one that will continue long after transfer to a four-year institution or the completion of a degree. Carefully designed curriculum, well thought out and implemented assessment techniques, effective and efficient student support services, and appropriately planned allocation of resources all play integral roles in student success and are therefore at the heart of what we do.
This drive to foster and improve student success is not new at Butte College. We have had in place for some time a Program Review process that has required departments to examine their own effectiveness. Student retention and success, financial efficiency, curriculum integrity, professional growth, and departmental strengths, weaknesses, plans, and needs…all of these and more, along with Student Learning Outcomes, will continue to be addressed within the Program Review framework. Standards for Butte College course outlines have for several years ensured the use of measurable course objectives to identify the benchmarks for student success in a given course. These are the foundations for many of the assessment projects faculty are now engaged in.
Outcomes assessment encompasses the entirety of the college, so faculty and staff ownership of the process is crucial to its success. Within instructional settings, assessment is faculty-led, with the Academic Senate and the Curriculum Committee taking responsibility for establishing and maintaining the general assessment standards that will be followed. Individual departments and departmental faculty will have control over the more specific assessment approaches and their application at the program and course level. Assessment results will provide both qualitative and quantitative data which will be used for improving curriculum, departmental and institutional planning, resource allocation, organizational leadership, student and staff development, and institutional processes. However, faculty evaluations are not impacted by the assessment process, as this is addressed separately in the BCEA contract.
Effective assessment relies upon fundamental standards of purpose, respect, collegiality, and dialogue, standards which form the basis of the AAHE 9 Principles of Good Practice. With financial support from administration and leadership from administration, the Academic Senate, and the Curriculum Committee, Butte College has an opportunity to formalize an integrated process of self-examination and institutional improvement that is the hallmark of all good teaching