Back See this section in context: Criterion 1 Core Component 1A
1A.5: Commitment to High Academic Standards
The Mission and Vision establish the clear expectation that Sauk will “provide quality learning opportunities.” In FY11 Strategic Goal 1, Sauk pledges that “the college will expand and improve the quality of programs and services.” This commitment to maintain the highest standards for quality of its instruction permeates academic processes and practices:
- Assessment: Faculty have established and continue to improve a program of assessment of student learning, to ensure students are achieving program goals and the general education competencies expected of graduates.
- Course outlines: A consistent format used for all course outlines requires clearly stated learning outcomes. These standard course outlines ensure that all teachers can understand and carry out the quality expectations for student learning.
- Curriculum Committee: A cross-institutional Curriculum Committee is charged with reviewing and approving all course and program changes to ensure that high academic standards are maintained (Appendix).
- Faculty evaluation: A contractual process for full-time and adjunct faculty evaluation exists “to ensure quality education."
- Operational planning: Annually, each of the academic areas uses a variety of data and information sources to prepare a tactical action plan focused on achieving the college’s objectives for academic quality.
- Program review: Sauk conducts regular, comprehensive reviews of all academic programs to ensure quality and viability, in accordance with ICCB guidelines. The process allows the review team to answer critical questions about program quality and to chart progress.
In addition, all Sauk courses and programs meet the standards set by the ICCB, whose charge is in part “to provide high-quality, accessible, cost-effective educational opportunities for the individuals and communities they serve” (). Sauk also belongs to the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), a statewide group of faculty and academic administrators which ensures the quality of instruction and guarantees acceptance of course credits for transferring students ().
Documents published through a variety of media clearly communicate to both internal and external constituencies the college's commitment to high academic standards:
- Catalog: The catalog shows that all programs have an appropriate mix of general education credits and subject-specific courses to provide a broad-based general education and suitable content-area instruction. It also contains the general education philosophy statement, which provides standards for basic knowledge and competencies for graduates.
- Website: The college website displays the Mission Statement in a banner on the front page and includes for community viewing various documents that show its commitment to academic quality, such as the Board of Trustees’ policy manual, the online catalog, and annual reports.
- Public forums: Information pertaining to the commitment to quality education is regularly communicated in brochures, billboards, and newspaper articles, as well as at annual high school counselor breakfasts and talks presented to students and parents at district high schools.