Improving Academic Quality through Outcomes Assessment and Active Learning Strategies – a Model for Effective Institutional Change

  • Theresa R. Moore
  • Mary C. Hassinger


Whether responding to recommendations by accrediting bodies or to demands for higher academic distinction by various stakeholders, becoming more student-centered often involves large scale, institutional change. Viterbo University was recommended by the Higher Learning Commission to improve its “culture of assessment.” As a response to this recommendation, Viterbo University launched a project to improve outcomes based assessment and active learning, funded by a $1.8 million Title III federal grant. The focus of this article is to describe the results for this five year project as related to the two overarching objectives of the grant: 1) to improve academic assessment and 2) to improve the use of active learning strategies. Data indicates not only a strong participation rate on behalf of faculty in the faculty development activities, but also high satisfaction and long term commitment to active learning and assessment. Furthermore, faculty perceptions coupled with objective measures are indicative of improved student learning. The article aims to inform readers of ways that faculty development efforts can improve academic quality and also be sustainable.