Oakland Community College

Challenges

In order to accurately assess the progress that OCC has made in the assessment of student learning outcomes, one must fully understand the context in which that progress has occurred or has not occurred as the case may be. OCC is a large 2 year public institution. Indeed, it is the largest community college in Michigan and the 14th largest in the U.S. The college has five campuses, and the faculty and disciplines are, to a great extent, campus-based. This results in limited interaction among faculty in the same discipline who teach on different campuses. Consequently, this presents numerous challenges when trying to impellent college-wide assessment in general education or in degree programs which are offered at multiple campuses. Campus specific duties and the resulting limited interactions among faculty members and academic administrators make it difficult to come to consensus on issues such as learning outcomes, assessment methods and benchmarks.

Like many other community colleges, our diverse student population presents challenges to assessment activities. Students attend OCC for a variety of reasons. Some seek degrees and certificates. Some intend to take courses and then transfer to a four year institution. Others come for very specialized courses either to enhance their career opportunities or for special interests. Because we are an open admissions institution, our students come to us with a wide variety of backgrounds, and many lack adequate academic preparation for college work.

Given all of these factors the college is seeking help in making our assessment program a reality. We have tried to address these various factors ourselves, and it is time to find another approach to the problem. The HLC Assessment Academy will provide us with the direction, focus and consultation that we need to "think outside the box" in our efforts to further build a culture of assessment at OCC.