Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1

The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: (Institutional Effectiveness)    

  • 3.3.1.1 educational programs, to include student learning outcomes    
  • 3.3.1.2 administrative support services    
  • 3.3.1.3 educational support services    
  • 3.3.1.4 research within its educational mission, if appropriate    
  • 3.3.1.5 community/public service within its educational mission, if appropriate    

3.3.1.1 Educational programs, to include student learning outcomes  

Judgement: Compliant

Narrative:

The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) engages in ongoing institution-wide assessment of its academic, support, administrative, research, and service activities in support of the institution’s mission and continuous improvement endeavors.  Generally, these assessment activities are divided into two processes—academic program assessment and administrative area assessment.

USC Upstate identifies expected outcomes related to student learning, assesses the extent to which those outcomes are achieved through its educational programs, and effects curricular and programmatic improvements based upon the assessment results.  Evidence of compliance with this standard is demonstrated through program accreditation where available and in all programs through the institution’s own academic assessment procedures.  In accordance with State requirements, USC Upstate submits annual Institutional Effectiveness Reports that document ongoing improvements. 

Evidence of Assessment via Professional Accreditations
In order to receive professional accreditation, programs must go through detailed self-analysis and demonstrate that they employ best practices within the discipline.  Educational units that are professionally accredited must show expected outcomes, assessment measures, and use of assessment measures to effect curricular changes.  Programs within education, nursing, business, computer science and engineering technology management are accredited by their respective national accrediting organizations: National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); and Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

The Planning, Institutional Effectiveness, and Assessment Process
As the means for analyzing, evaluating, and improving the curriculum and the learning process, academic assessment at USC Upstate is an ongoing activity at multiple levels that focuses on the extent to which goals for learning outcomes are being met.  Faculty in each program have the primary responsibility for determining appropriate educational outcomes which extend beyond student grades as well as the methods and instruments for evaluating the level at which the outcomes have been accomplished. 

USC Upstate requires each academic unit to implement an ongoing assessment program that clearly articulates goals and objectives for student learning in the major, measures these outcomes on a regular basis, analyzes the findings, and uses the results for curricular improvements and adjustments.  Each assessment process follows the Program Assessment Report Policies and Procedures and is based on student learning outcomes (SLOs) integral and specific to the respective major.  The SLOs are developed by faculty in each academic unit to reflect the primary educational objectives of the major and are intended to promote student success in post-graduation endeavors.  Quantitative and qualitative data are collected to determine the extent to which students have achieved the identified SLOs.  For majors with state licensing exams (Education: PRAXIS II; Nursing: NCLEX), exam results are included.  Based on assessment results, action plans are created to improve performance, skill, and/or knowledge relevant to the SLOs.  Each report is reviewed by the Faculty Assessment Committee who provides feedback to the unit.  USC Upstate’s planning and assessment process is broad-based, systematic, and appropriate to the institution.  With faculty representation and inputs from all units, the process continues to evolve with the primary goal of providing excellent programs and services. Examples of the assessment report and feedback are accessible below.

Examples  
Annual Assessment Report  Feedback  
Political Science  Political Science  
English  English  
Psychology  Psychology  
Criminal Justice  Criminal Justice  
Business  Business  

Support Documents: 

3.3.1.2 Administrative support services  

Judgement: Compliant

Narrative:  

Administrative support services are distributed throughout the organizational structure of the University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) and fall under the supervisory responsibility of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Business Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services, Dean of Students, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Services, and Athletic Director.  Regardless of location, the administrative units have as their primary purpose support for the University’s mission

USC Upstate’s planning and assessment process is broad-based, systematic, and appropriate to the Institution.  All administrative support units participate and submit annual assessment activities (available onsite only). Examples of administrative assessment reports are accessible below.

USC Upstate has implemented an administrative assessment process that parallels academic program assessment.  Each administrative unit articulates goals and objectives, measures outcomes on a regular basis in multiple ways, analyzes the findings, and describes how findings are used for improvements in annual program review reports submitted to the senior administrator responsible for each division.  Strategic changes or suggestions for improvements that require additional allocation of resources are carefully examined by the Chancellor’s Cabinet.

The assessment measures most frequently used by administrative support units are internal and external audits, counts of reports generated and clients served, timeliness of reports issued or service delivered, results of stakeholder surveys, financial reviews, and fundraising and revenue reports. Across the institution, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data have been used to evaluate and improve the quality of support services provided.  For example, the 2009 NSSE results indicated that fewer of our seniors used computers in academic work than those in peer institutions.  Subsequently, a secure 24/7 computer lab was opened in the 2010-11 academic year.  The results of our improvement process are reported in the annual State Accountability Report (available online only) based on the Malcolm Baldrige performance excellence criteria.

Support Documents: 

3.3.1.3 Educational support services  

Judgement: Compliant

Narrative:  

Educational support services are distributed throughout the organizational structure of the University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) and fall under the supervisory responsibility of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Business Affairs, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services, Dean of Students, and Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Services.  Regardless of location, the units have as their primary purpose support for the University’s mission

USC Upstate’s planning and assessment process is broad-based, systematic, and appropriate to the Institution.  All educational support units participate in ongoing assessment activities.  Each articulates goals and objectives, measures outcomes on a regular basis in multiple ways, analyzes the findings, and describes how findings are used for improvements in annual program review reports submitted to the senior administrator responsible for each division.  Strategic changes or suggestions for improvements that require additional allocation of resources are carefully examined by the Chancellor’s Cabinet.

The assessment measures most frequently used by educational support units are internal and external audits, counts of reports generated and clients served, timeliness of reports issued or service delivered, results of stakeholder surveys, financial reviews, and fundraising and revenue reports.  Across the institution, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data have been used to evaluate and improve the quality of services provided. For example, the 2009 NSSE results indicated that 42% of students had never participated in a community service project.  Community service has since been incorporated as a requirement into University 101.
The results of our improvement process are reported in the annual State Accountability Report (available online only) based on the Malcolm Baldrige performance excellence criteria.

USC Upstate implemented an academic support unit assessment process that parallels academic program assessment to provide meaningful feedback to the unit on the performance of services.  Examples of the assessment report are accessible below.

Support Documents: 

3.3.1.4 Research within its educational mission, if appropriate  

Judgement: Compliant

Narrative:   

The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) research support services are provided by the Office of Sponsored Awards and Research Support (SARS.  The Director of Research, who reports to the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, coordinates two types of support services: internal funding programs and dissemination outlets.

Internal funding programs to support faculty and faculty-mentored student research include Scholarly Start-Up Package, Faculty Course Reallocation Program, Student Research Assistant Program, Student Travel Program, and Student Mini-Grant Program.  In addition to these support programs, faculty can apply for the Teaching and Productive Scholarship award offered by the Committee for Faculty Excellence as well as the Promising Investigator Research Award offered by USC Columbia.  Furthermore, USC Upstate students can apply for the Magellan Scholars Program offered by USC Columbia and the Honors Research Assistant Program offered by the USC Upstate Honors Program.

Students or faculty receiving funds from SARS are required to present their work at the Annual SC Upstate Research Symposium which is held every spring semester.  This symposium has grown into a regional event with a dozen colleges and universities participating each year.  Students who present at the Annual Symposium are also invited to submit extended versions of their papers to the USC Upstate Undergraduate Research Journal.

SARS also produces the Year in Review publication which summarizes all USC Upstate faculty research and scholarly accomplishments in terms of articles, presentations, etc.  Starting with the 2010 Year In Review, this publication is used to assess and track the campus-wide quantity and quality of faculty research accomplishments.        

Support Documents:  

3.3.1.5 Community/public service within its educational mission, if appropriate  

Judgement: Compliant

Narrative: 

The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) is firmly committed to stewardship of place and to its metropolitan mission as formalized in, and reflected by, its institutional goals and objectives related to community engagement.  This core value drives institutional practices that engender opportunities for community service for faculty, students, and administration.  Current conditions indicate that protocols, capacities, and supports for campus-wide community engagement are increasing, as is USC Upstate’s capacity to respond to community needs, and the strength of its partnerships.

The primary portal through which USC Upstate’s public service and community engagement is most deftly demonstrated is the Metropolitan Studies Institute (MSI).  The mission of the MSI is to support research efforts between USC Upstate and the community, enhancing relationships, promoting the reciprocal flow of information and ideas, assisting community and economic development and increasing the strategic use of the University’s scholarship and outreach capabilities

All MSI research initiatives are reciprocal and practical – that is, engaged and translational.
Through MSI, USC Upstate provides data collection, analysis, and reporting for the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project.  Until this past year when the MSI shepherded projects in two smaller neighboring counties, Spartanburg County was the only South Carolina County to have a community indicators project.

Community Engagement is a core value that is incorporated into a wide variety of USC Upstate’s activities. Engagement with the community is not limited to “bolt on” centers or programs, but is evidenced throughout the curriculum and through faculty and administrator service on local boards, task forces, and community groups.  In fact, USC Upstate is a valued presence at most developing community initiatives.

Support Documents: 

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Spartanburg, SC 29303
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Phone: 864-503-5000
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