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
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.