Zayed University First International Institution Named to Inaugural Class of Excellence in Assessment Designees

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First International Designation of Its Kind Recognizes Institutions at the Leading Edge of Integrated Student Learning Outcomes Assessment

Zayed University
Zayed University

Abu Dhabi: Zayed University was named as one of ten members of the inaugural class of Excellence in Assessment, a new international program aimed at recognizing universities conducting comprehensive assessments of student learning outcomes as a means to drive improvement and advance student success.

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program – the first international designation of its kind – highlights institutions successfully integrating assessment practices across campus, providing evidence of student learning outcomes, and using assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance.

The sponsors of the EIA program are the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), a public college and university transparency initiative led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), in partnership with the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) and the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA). The EIA recognition  is directly linked to NILOA’s Transparency Framework.

“The inaugural class of EIA designees have a demonstrated commitment to measuring the impact of their student success efforts and are now working to improve that impact through evidence-based methods,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Their work is rightly being recognized with a designation that not only profiles their work, but provides a platform from which other institutions can learn and better track their own progress to drive improvement.”

“Despite the national rhetoric that would have us believe otherwise, accountability and commitment to student learning and success is very much in evidence in higher education as exemplified by these Excellence in Assessment designees,” said AASCU President Muriel Howard. “The value of this designation goes beyond honoring these institutions for their exemplary work.  It generates an opportunity for dialogue around best practices in improving student performance and ultimately student success.”

Dr Marilyn Roberts, Provost at Zayed University, commented that, “As an institution located outside the United States, Zayed University is in a very unique position regarding assessment. We believe that we have been applying best practices for a number of years and have continued to improve our learning outcomes and assessment practices.”

“As with much of the assessment movement, we are constantly working towards continuous improvement. This is a result of a long-range focus to raise faculty awareness, increase their knowledge and skills, and to facilitate their participation in all aspects of the assessment process. Another important emphasis has been to provide faculty with new tools to facilitate effective planning, collection, analysis and reporting of student assessment results,” Roberts added.

Zayed University maintains the effectiveness and the quality of its programs and courses through continual evaluation and assessment.  This assessment plays an important role in providing feedback to inform decision-making to improve student learning and ensure fulfillment of Zayed University’s mission.

Zayed University’s academic program is based on a set of six general education learning outcomes, ZULOs, which span the entire four-year undergraduate curriculum and the outcomes-based assessment program upon which it is built. Introduced in 2001, just four years after the University’s foundation, the ZULOs have a long history that demonstrates their enduring quality and robust application to a range of programs. They are: language, leadership, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning, global awareness, information literacy, and technological literacy.

The nine other institutions comprising the inaugural class are: Cameron University; Capella University; the Community College of Baltimore County; Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis; Kansas State University; Mills College; Mount St. Joseph University; the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About Zayed University:

Zayed University is today the premier national university in the United Arab Emirates and a regional leader in educational innovation and change. It has created and implemented a skills-rich, outcome-based general education program that systemically develops student skills, knowledge, and values associated with liberal learning and provided a solid foundation for pursuit of disciplinary majors and future careers. Zayed University welcomes national and international students, and provides them with a high quality education, offered by seasoned teaching scholars to prepare them to shape the future of the United Arab Emirates.

Zayed University offers Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in the following Colleges: College of Arts & Creative Enterprises (recognized as substantially equivalent by NASAD), College of Business (Accredited by AACSB), College of Communication & Media Sciences (Accredited by ACEJMC), College of Education (Accredited by NCATE), College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Natural and Health Sciences, and College of Technological Innovation (Accredited by ABET).

About Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU):

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization representing 236 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations.  Founded in 1887, APLU is North America’s oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.7 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.2 million faculty and staff, and conduct $42.7 billion in university-based research.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.

Established in 2008, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) assists institutions and others in discovering and adopting promising practices in the assessment of college student learning outcomes. NILOA’s primary objective is to discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families and other stakeholders.

About Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U):

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,300 member institutions-including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

Established in 2008, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) assists institutions and others in discovering and adopting promising practices in the assessment of college student learning outcomes. NILOA’s primary objective is to discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families and other stakeholders.