The University of Cincinnati (UC) is answering the call for accountability in higher education to provide workplace skills needed to adapt to a rapidly changing economy while focusing on high quality instruction through continuous feedback of employers into curricular reform. Using over 200,000 data points produced annually through co-op employer evaluations, UC is able to create a feedback loop that shows the impact of teaching through student co-op performance. This information is being used in curricular reform projects around campus, both to illuminate areas for reform and to measure the impact of changes on co-op student performance. Using aggregated data from employer assessments of cooperative education student work performance to measure curricular effectiveness forms a cornerstone of outcomes based assessment at UC.
To develop continuous improvement in curricular development, UC has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant. The duration of the grant is three years, during which the university is scheduled to receive a total of $555,133 (57%). The matching contribution from UC will be $421,396 (43%), making the grand total $976,529. The grant has been used for the Development of a Corporate Feedback System for Use in Curricular Reform. Using aggregated data from employer assessments of cooperative education student work performance to measure curricular effectiveness forms a cornerstone of outcomes based assessment at the university. UC research applies Six Sigma Process Stability Analysis (PSA) to data covering multiple academic years of pedagogically stable programs. Stable programs are in this context defined as mature offerings, having relatively small annual fluctuations in curricular offerings. The stability of a process allows the aggregation of statistically relevant data over a sustained period of time to look at student skill development as a function of the curriculum. This project focuses on demonstrating the effectiveness of a methodology relying on comparing means and standard deviations of student work term performance indicators. The results are communicated through Mean Standard Deviation Matrixes (MSDMs) or Delta Mean Standard Deviation Matrixes (ΔMSDMs).
UC is embarking on the second century of cooperative education by creating a vibrant new partnership with faculty interested in curricular reform. This initiative is squarely at the forefront of innovation and leadership for the field of cooperative education. The Grant was filed by Cheryl Cates as principle investigator (PI) and Kettil Cedercreutz as co-PI in a joint effort with the Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education. ACCE liaisons are Tom Akins from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Luther Epting from Mississippi State University. The project is pursued jointly by UC Professional Practice faculty and faculty members and team leaders at UC colleges. The three year pilot program will involve the departments of architecture (prof. Harfmann, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning), civil engineering (prof. Miller, College of Engineering and Applied Science), construction management (prof. Uwakweh, College of Engineering and Applied Science) and the College of Business (prof. Lewis). The grant will be internally assessed by the UC Evaluation Services Center (Dr. Catherine Maltbie) and externally by the Miami University Evaluation Center (Dr. Jane Butler Kahle). The grant will lay the foundation for a research center of Cooperative Education and Work Integrated Learning at the University of Cincinnati. Grant finances will be managed by Professional Practice Business Manager Edward Basista.