The Office of Academic Review and Curricular Advancement (OARCA) provides (a) guidance and support for CSB/SJU academic departments and programs undergoing disciplinary program review, (b) guidance and support for academic departments and programs while preparing for required annual academic reporting, (c) the administration of end-of-semester course evaluations of the faculty, (d) administration of a number of standardized, norm-referenced national examinations including the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) instrument and disciplinary Major Field Tests (MFT), (e) guidance and support to academic departments and programs writing grant proposals and administering funded grants, (f) leadership and guidance to the institutions for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and (g) administration of CSB/SJU's participation in some national research studies and programs.
Every seven years, each academic department and program conducts disciplinary program review. Program review is a process where departments assess and evaluate their curricula, pedagogy, student learning, and cite achievements of students and faculty, among other criteria. Departments and programs create a self-study document. An external disciplinary evaluator is brought to campus to provide an independent evaluation of the department or program. At the end of the year-long process, an action plan is developed to provide accountability and to ensure continued quality improvement.
OARCA administers course evaluations of the faculty for the campuses through an online system for all credit bearing courses each semester. OARCA supports faculty by assisting in developing course evaluations questions, educating them on the uses and features of the system, and providing technical support.
OARCA administers the CLA twice a year. The CLA measures problem solving, critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and writing skills. OARCA administers several disciplinary Major Field Tests annually for several individual departments and programs.
OARCA, for example, is helping administer the CSB/SJU participation in the 2010 Wabash Study, a three-year of critical thinking and analytical reasoning of our Common Curriculum. Another example is the CSB/SJU participation in The New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability. This is a voluntary institutional organization that promotes institutional accountability and improvements in teaching and learning.