Quality Indicators to Support Expanded Capacity

Facilitating Academic Program Capacity: Issues of Mission, Quality, and Resources

This text has been adapted from "Facilitating Academic Program Capacity: Issues of Mission, Quality, and Resources" by R. M. Augustine and M. A. Hanner, which appeared in the April 2010 issue of Access Academics and Research.

Institutional Mission, Values, and Goals

  • Know the mission, vision, and values of the institution
    • Describe how the communication sciences and disorders (CSD) program advances the mission and priorities of the university
    • Support strategic planning identified by the academic dean and graduate school dean
    • Assess whether the environment is ideal for expanding capacity by examining priorities and values, such as
      • current program alignment with the university's goals
      • a focus on career specialization or credentialing
      • service learning or community service and outreach
      • a focus on allied health or clinical professions toward which expansion in CSD could be advanced
  • Seek opportunities to participate in campus-wide goal setting or planning
    • Raise others' awareness of the CSD program
    • Influence goals and priorities of the university
  • Identify how the CSD program connects to the future
    • Forecast future demand for knowledgeable and skilled CSD professionals
    • Use data to illustrate demand for degrees of choice
    • Indicate opportunities for specialization or advancement
  • Ensure that assessment of student learning outcomes is linked to the institution's educational mission
    • Implement advanced forms of student learning assessment through which resulting data can document how the program meets or exceeds institutional expectations
    • Seek opportunities to engage in campus-wide discussions on assessment and promotion of student learning
    • Link student learning achievements with capacity expansion plans

Criteria for Graduate Program Quality

  • Provide evidence that the program exceeds the standards for excellence expected by the institution
    • Participate in external reviews—such as with the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), or state board of education—that demonstrate the program's quality
    • Participate in internal reviews that reflect the culture and quality expectations of the university
  • Review the research on quality benchmarks in graduate study
    • Define the relationship between scholarship and service to societal needs, public priorities, professional standards, and significance of the discipline in the community
    • Determine how the CSD program supports a "community of learners" a
  • Engage with the dean early in the process (e.g., 3–5 years before desired expansion date)
    • Review programmatic resources to identify where realignment may occur or new resources may exist
  • Ensure that human and/or physical resources are available to meet current and future needs of students and faculty
    • Plan time and resources to develop proposals
    • Know accrediting agencies' standards or policies that may affect expansion planning or reporting
    • Know internal processes for developing proposals and the levels of approvals on the campus

Program expansion offers the opportunity to advance the program's mission while simultaneously creating its future. Program expansion also carries with it responsibility to consider how the program will meet the future of the professions, rather than only increase its capacity to offer the same curricula for more students.

a From "Emblems of Quality in Higher Education: Developing and Sustaining High-Quality Programs by X. Haworth and X. Conrad, 1997, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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