Southern Arkansas University

A Systematic & Sustainable Process of Assessment Across the University


Institutional  Profile

SouthernArkansasUniversity_2015_final

Southern Arkansas University is a unique, yet comprehensive liberal arts university at the heart of southern Arkansas. Established in 1909, SAU has built on its foundation tied to the region’s agricultural past and continues to grow while expanding its tradition of success into more than 60 degrees in four distinct colleges. The University is committed to providing the best tools, programs, services and opportunities with qualified professors dedicated to helping their students reach their educational goals and professional future. In 1925, the school was authorized to add two years of college work and in 1949 the school’s mission was changed to a four-year degree-granting institution. In 1975, Southern State College was approved to offer a Master of Education degree and in 1976 the name was changed to Southern Arkansas University.

Since that time, SAU has expanded its programs to offer associate, baccalaureate, and master degrees in every college. The mission of Southern Arkansas University is to educate students for productive and fulfilling lives in a global environment by providing opportunities for intellectual growth, individual enrichment, skill development, and meaningful career preparation. Southern Arkansas University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The University has also earned the following accreditations: AACSB International, National Association of Schools of Music, Council for Accreditation of Education Preparation, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Council on Social Work Education, Commissions on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, and National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.


Key Challenges

The University needed a professional system for collecting and analyzing data to document continuous improvement of programs and the education unit as a whole. Makeshift digital and paper systems being used were seen as insufficient to accomplish the increasing demand for data and rigor of accrediting requirements. In 2005, the AQIP Leadership Team and the Director of Institutional Effectiveness were assigned to investigate possible professional systems that could help the institution systematically collect, analyze, and share assessment data campus-wide. The AQIP Action Project on general education was first developed to understand how General Education might be assessed. It was quickly determined that a system was needed. LiveText was adopted and launched campus-wide as the platform to be used.


Solution

After much research and demonstration, LiveText was chosen to provide a stable platform to manage data long-term with capabilities to collect, aggregate, disaggregate, and share data on learning outcomes. LiveText is currently being used across campus by approximately 150 faculty members and 4,000 students.

Course assignments are submitted and assessed within LiveText. Rubrics are created, aligned to standards, and shared across colleges and departments. Because all data is housed in a central location, the University can more easily collect data aligned to each program’s standards which could be aggregated for the unit and disaggregated for review. The data can also be disaggregated by site and method of delivery. For the first time, immediate access to data provided opportunities to create reports by programs and colleges.

LiveText helps document continuous improvement of programs each year to the university assessment office. The College plans to continue to expand use of LiveText’s Assessment Insight System™ for strategic planning of both academic and non-academic assessment plans.

“Besides the plethora of uses and benefits of LiveText, the support from the company is unlike any other vendor with whom I’ve been associated. They respond promptly and knowledgeably to both students and faculty. I have been involved with LiveText since 2005. The software continues to evolve to meet the needs of the customer. If the company says a feature is coming, you can rest assured it is.”

Dr. Denise Moseley
Director of Institutional Effectiveness
Southern Arkansas University