As part of the accreditation, since Oklahoma Baptist University is on the Open Pathway, the institution has committed to a Quality Initiative.
In support of OBU’s core value of being Excellence Driven, the institution has chosen to enhance the university-wide emphasis on developing an assessment culture through a project called Assessment for Excellence (A4E).
A4E has been in motion for several years and has several distinct phases.
Beginning in 2012, OBU began participation in an Assessment Academy project with the Higher Learning Commission. The project, Race for Excellence, focused on improving academic assessment processes at OBU, including especially the assessment of general education (Common and Flex Cores). This phase of A4E concludes with a final report during the summer of 2016 and the presentation of results to the Higher Learning Commission in fall 2016.
Recognizing the need to accelerate improvement of academic assessment, OBU instituted a second phase of this university-wide project. This phase emphasizes improvement of the documentation of assessment of student learning outcomes in all academic programs. Additionally, the existing assessment processes for administrative units have been enhanced by requiring annual documentation and offering training on best practices for assessment.
The second phase of A4E began in fall 2015 and will continue until the spring of 2017. At that point a report on progress of the overall project will be presented to the Higher Learning Commission.
The Higher Learning Commission has accepted OBU's Quality Initiative Report as of 21 July 2017, so the institution will move to Phase III in the Fall 2017 semester.
Developing a robust, enduring culture of assessment will take a longer period of time than is available before the Quality Initiative report is due to the Higher Learning Commission and will entail an ongoing emphasis by OBU.
The third phase of A4E consists of an evaluation of progress, an assessment of the existing assessment culture, and refinement of annual assessment practices. This phase will begin in fall 2017 and is slated to officially conclude in spring 2019, though the emphasis on a culture of assessment should become a permanent part of the ethos at OBU.