IE Success

Student Satisfaction Inventory and Priorities Survey for Online Learners

Every three years, Liberty University participates in the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) and Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL). The Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) works with Ruffalo Noel-Levitz to distribute these surveys to students.  SSI is available for residential students only while PSOL is a survey for online students.  Any student who completed the survey by the appointed date was entered into a drawing for different prizes including gift cards, signed memorabilia, and tickets to concerts and events.

By participating in these surveys, Liberty University is better able to understand areas of strength and opportunities for growth.  The surveys ask students to provide levels of importance and satisfaction across numerous departments at the university.  This unique format assist Liberty in discovering challenges and priorities in enhancing the student experience.  The survey covers a variety of topics including academic instruction, enrollment, advising, campus climate, among many others.

OIE wishes to thank all of the students who completed these valuable, informative surveys.  For SSI we had 2451 responses and PSOL had 2913. University leaders will be reviewing these results to continue their efforts to improve the student experience.

December 19, 2017

Fall Conference Presentations

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness routinely networks with colleagues throughout the year.  One method of interaction is conference attendance.  While attending is valuable, IE is not passive in these endeavors but often shares their work with others through conference presentations. Listed below are some recent examples of presentations given by IE staff.

Elicia Charlesworth (Associate Director of Analytics) presented “Boosting Alumni Survey Response Rates” at the Southern Association for Institutional Research conference on October 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. The session covered planning methods and improvements utilized to improve the university’s alumni survey response rates. Session participants found the information helpful. Participants engaged in discussion and shared similar barriers encountered in their alumni survey projects.

Tim Fowler (Director of Institutional Assessment), Erin Schroeder (Assistant Director of Institutional Assessment), and Dr. Skip Kastroll (Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness) presented “Summiting Everest: How One University Aligned Co-Curricular and Academic Assessment Practices for a Culture of Improvement” at the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis on October 23, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The session explained the process Liberty used to design a comprehensive system of assessment that fostered meaningful data and also resulted in a positive SACSCOC reaffirmation. Participants engaged in live response surveys during the session and were able to take away practical applications that they could use at their own institutions.

Jonathan Susman (Assistant Director of Analytics) presented “Visualizing Data in Microsoft Power BI” at the Virginia Association for Management Analysis and Planning conference on October 27, 2017 at Liberty University.  The session explored the benefits of data visualization for higher education institutions and demonstrated many visualization capabilities of Microsoft Power BI.  There was a high level of interest and engagement in the presentation with about thirty participants in attendance.

Elicia Charlesworth (Associate Director of Analytics) presented “Engaging Faculty to Promote University-Wide Assessment” at the Virginia Assessment Group annual conference on November 17, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. The short PechaKucha session covered research and collaborative efforts to understand student response rates and attitudes towards assessment activities, how this information was shared with faculty, and the resulting improvements on response rates. Session participants were receptive and engaged.

Brandon Moore (Associate Director of Institutional Assessment) also presented “Designing and Aligning Learning Outcome Assessments” at the Virginia Assessment Group annual conference on November 17, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. This presentation focused on meaningful ways to align Program Learning Outcome assessment processes with faculty development and curriculum development. Methods for linking assessment findings with meaningful activities from these areas were explored, and session participants were engaged with the information presented.

November 20, 2017

VAMAP Conference

The Virginia Association for Management, Analysis, and Planning (VAMAP) held its 2017 Conference at the Jerry Falwell Library on October 27. This conference marked the first assessment and research conference hosted on the Liberty University campus.

Brandon Moore, Associate Director of Institutional Assessment, who serves on the VAMAP executive board was instrumental in the planning, coordinating, and executing of the conference.

Over 15 institutions were represented at this year’s VAMAP conference. Several of Liberty's faculty and administration presented at the conference.

Among these presenters was IE staff member Jonathan Susman, who presented a session on Data Visualization.

The conference provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn from several great VAMAP presentations. Holding the conference on Liberty University’s beautiful campus provided a chance to network with colleagues across numerous institutions, as well as –share this experience with fellow LU staff and faculty.

October 30, 2017

2017-18 Academic Catalogs

Each year, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness coordinates with curricular and co-curricular departments to produce the University’s Academic Catalogs. After much dedication and hard work, the University’s catalogs for the Academic Year 2017-18 are now available online.

The academic catalogs contain vital information used by the entire University community. The catalogs provide a single location where faculty, staff, students, and others can quickly find information regarding the University’s resources, curriculum, and policies. Additionally, these catalogs are a helpful resource for both institutional and programmatic accreditors.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness thanks everyone involved for their efforts in making this project a success.

2017-18 Undergraduate Catalog    |    2017-18 Graduate Catalog

August 18, 2017

Program Reviews

Program curricular review, conducted on a five-year cycle, provides academic departments with an opportunity to assess the curricular design of their programs, compare their designs with the designs of benchmark institutions, evaluate program enrollment and graduation statistics, as well as to assess and analyze any aspects of the program that may affect the attainment of student learning outcomes (e.g., faculty, facilities, and equipment). 

In the last five years, over 100 programs have undergone a program review. For the 16-17 academic year, 30 program reviews were conducted. Of these 30 reviews, eight were completed at the graduate level, 15 at the undergraduate level, as well as the review of eight free standing minors. These reviews spanned over 2,000 pages, with an average of about 90 pages per program review.

The program review process has also been important for a number of departments in their efforts to achieve and maintain programmatic accreditation though professional accrediting agencies. This year alone, one-third of the program reviews conducted involved programs that have been accredited or are currently seeking professional accreditation: 

Program & Accreditor

  • Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology (MA)
    National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)

  • Marriage & Family Therapy (MA)
    Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
    Pursuing- Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)

  • Marketing (MS)
    Accreditation Council For Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)

  • Nursing (BSN; RN to BSN)
    Virginia Board of Nursing (VBN)

  • Sport Management (BS)
    Commission on Sport Management Education (COSMA)

  • Computer Engineering (BS)
    Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

  • Industrial & Systems Engineering (BS)
    Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

  • Electrical Engineering (BS)
    Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Across the institution, program reviews revealed an emerging theme – a growing emphasis on research. This movement is especially exciting given its breadth and depth as efforts to promote research activities can be seen in the diversity of disciplines, as well as a pursuit that is innovative and rigorous in its designs.

One of the most valuable benefits of programmatic self-studies arises through the extensive benchmarking against peer-programs, and the intentional reflection of department faculty on the program’s alignment with the Liberty Mission. This has generated insights on ways for departments to not only continue to deliver education that is on par with industry standards, but to also innovate beyond the current trends, while embracing Christian values and staying true to their core identity with Liberty’s mission.

July 24, 2017

Center for Research and Scholarship

During April and May of 2017, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) worked with the Center for Research & Scholarship (CRS) to distribute and analyze two surveys and two assessments.  The Center for Research & Scholarship coordinates and supports research initiatives at Liberty University. The surveys and assessments were conducted to measure various aspects of research from student’s perspectives.

The Research and Scholarship Survey asks respondents about their confidence in conducting research, instruction they have received, the types of research activities they have accomplished, and other aspects of research.  This survey assists CRS in understanding students’ impressions on research and where improvements can be made at Liberty University in preparing students for conducting research in the future.

A modified version of the Research and Training Environment Survey asks students for their opinions on research opportunities, faculty involvement and perspectives, and availability of training in research.  This survey assists CRS in understanding how research at Liberty University is perceived through the eyes of students.

The two assessments measure student’s knowledge about research with regards to the upcoming courses Inquiry 101 and Research 201.  These surveys provide CRS with important results to ascertain if the research courses are effective in teaching students various aspects research.

June 15, 2017

Assessment Coordinator (AC) Training

This Spring, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness piloted a new initiative to offer three different training options for Assessment Coordinators. Multiple training options were the result of feedback from a survey conducted in the Fall of 2016, indicating that a broader range of trainings was needed.

Three different training options were given:

  • Baseline: A Tool for Coordinating and Reporting Your PLO Assessment Results – Presented by Dr. Robert Talley and Brandon Moore
  • What To Do with IE Feedback on Assessment? Practical Steps Toward Improvement – Presented by Tim Fowler and Phil Fischer
  • A Culture of Improvement: A Model for Creating Action Plans – Presented by Stephen Stafford

Once all of the trainings were conducted, a feedback survey was sent out to attendees. Of the 35 attendees, 16 completed out the survey, for a response rate of 45.7%.  Overall, Assessment Coordinators responding to the survey indicated that the trainings were helpful.

Almost 90% responded with Strongly Agree or Somewhat Agree to the following statements:

  • I came away with a better understanding of assessment in my department
  • The content was presented in a clear, understandable manner
  • Overall, I am satisfied with the training I received

Additionally, attendees indicated that they most appreciated the:

  • Opportunity to collaborate with other Assessment Coordinators
  • Practical application
  • Hands on approach
  • Presentation style of the speaker

During the Fall of 2017 the Assessment Team of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness will conduct a new round of training options. We are looking forward to continuing to develop a strong culture of assessment and improvement through ongoing partnerships with our Assessment Coordinators.

Thank you to all who attended and participated this Spring!

May 24, 2017

2017 Assessment Day

The 2017 Assessment Day (A-Day) took place on March 29, 2017, coordinated by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE).  Assessment activities provide students the opportunity to have their voices heard.

During the morning, sixteen colleges/schools participated with different types of assessment activities.  In the afternoon, non-academic departments conducted eighteen different focus groups and nearly 200 students attended.  The students in afternoon focus groups were able to provide direct feedback to departments and, by attending, were eligible for a prize drawing.

Thirty-nine surveys were administered by fourteen different departments. This year, for the first time, students were given the option to complete more than one survey, thus increasing their chances for winning a prize.  Many students took advantage of this option resulting in a dramatic increase in the total number of surveys completed.  This increased provided departments with a larger sample of students than in past years.  This afforded students the opportunity to give voice on a greater variety of topics to impact change.

Thank you to all the students and departments who participated in making A-Day 2017 a success.  We look forward to working with you again next year for A-Day 2018!

April 20, 2017

National Survey of Student Engagement

In 2016, Liberty University participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).  This survey is used by universities across the United States to measure levels of student engagement.  First-year and senior students respond to a survey containing questions covering numerous activities, which have been shown to relate to student achievement.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness examines and analyzes the results that are used by university leadership to drive improvement. The survey results are aggregated within departments, which allows for greater analysis. Finally, because this is a national survey, Liberty University is able to benchmark its student engagement against results from different schools that also participated in the NSSE.

The results from the 2016 NSSE are currently under review. They will be distributed to appropriate groups in the near future.

March 16, 2017

Alumni Survey Response Rates

Every fall, the Office of Alumni Relations conducts the annual Alumni Survey with support from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE). Several departments contribute to successful survey administration including Marketing, Call Center, Print Shop, and Fulfillment.

Prior to 2014, the OIE used traditional methods of survey distribution and follow-up and survey response rates peaked at 14%. While 14% is respectable, the OIE pursued new and innovative ways to increase the response rate. Improvements made include the following: department specific/personalized invitations, incentive drawing, call center involvement, and post-cards. Since implementation of these improvements in 2014, the overall and recent graduating cohort response rates have climbed to over 20%.

Alumni Success

By increasing the response rate and overall number of responses, we are able to provide meaningful results for both academic and non-academic departments.  Vital data collected:

  • Employment status
  • Salary
  • Preparedness for career or continuing education
  • Feedback about improvement opportunities

Gainful employment information is available on the University’s website. Academic departments use the information collected to inform program improvements such as courses provided, learning outcomes and skills needed for success in related careers, internship opportunities, and preparation for graduate studies. Non-academic departments such as Financial Aid, the Career Center, and Military Affairs use the results for reporting and also for responding to national surveys such as those conducted by US News & World Report.

February 16, 2017

CoCurricular Assessment

During the Fall semester, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness launched a major initiative to revamp the co-curricular (non-academic) assessment and improvement process that is used for administrative and student support units across the University. The key driver behind this initiative was to design a process that was not only functional, but simple and effective in capturing the assessment and improvement processes that regularly occur through day-to-day operations.

All of the operational assessment efforts can now be related to the following two outcomes:

  • Stakeholder Satisfaction
  • Efficient and Effective Operations and Facilities


Each area will now relate one assessment per year to each of these outcomes, and we have already met with most areas to incorporate this new model into the operational assessments they are already conducting.

Ultimately, the goal is to foster a consistent and sustainable process which will allow us to better capture the regular assessment and improvement efforts that already take place in these areas. Through the use of this simple model, we will also be able to ensure that there is sufficient evidence for our next compliance certification report to demonstrate that each area consistently strives to provide the best services possible to stakeholders across the University.

January 19, 2017