The Center for Research and Assessment is the division of The College of Global Studies focused on the generation and publication of research and assessment. Managed by the Director of Research and Assessment, the Center provides oversight of many curricular initiatives including Arcadia Atlas™, the Co-Curricular Learning Certificate and Life of the Mind. The Center works closely with the College’s data center, which functions as the centralized clearinghouse for all active and historical data sets.
In 2012, The College of Global Studies launched the ATLAS initiative (Assessment of Teaching, Learning and Scholarship), which at its core seeks to introduce intentionality, assessment and planning in all aspects of education abroad. It has within it three tenets: (1) Program Review and Planning, (2) Student Learning and Development, and (3) Institutional Effectiveness. In 2012, the American Association of University Administrators (AAUA) recognized the ATLAS initiative with its Nikolai Khaladjan Award for innovation and achievement in international education.
The first phase of implementation of ATLAS focused on the Program Review and Planning tenet. Following the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) reaccreditation of Arcadia University in 2009, The College of Global Studies adopted a new model for program review adapting the fourteen standards of the Middle States review process to the education abroad context.
The College chose to align the review process with the Middle States Accreditation process in order to present international endeavors in a consistent and equivalent manner as other academic activities. The appropriate review of academic programming must be framed within the context of student learning and curricular quality and not weighted toward professional features that lack academic context.
The ATLAS program review model was piloted in the Fall Semester of 2011 with a review of The College’s centers and programs in Spain. It has subsequently been the method employed in four additional reviews. Adjustments to the review process have been made in each iterative review, including altering the size of the review committee, re-focusing several of the review standards, expanding the level of information included in the self-study, and amending the in-country agenda to address topics of concern to the committee. Perhaps most significantly, in the Spring of 2013, the review process was more directly tied to planning throughout The College.
The process includes producing a self-study report addressing critical in-country themes as well as providing written evidence to address each program standard. The self-study is shared with the review committee which is charged with producing a report of findings and recommendations submitted to the leadership council of The College. Leadership council responds to the review committee’s report resulting in a five-year development plan for the center.
The program review committee is comprised of 2-3 members of the Arcadia University administration and faculty, as well as 2-3 other external reviewers from other institutions. The College is scheduled to review each of its overseas centers within a five-year cycle, with the first cycle concluding in 2017.