CSULB President F. King Alexander was selected as one of 78 public university administrators from across the nation to develop recommendations for the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA). Alexander will lead one of the five task forces that will meet in Washington, D.C., to develop measures to assess student learning outcomes.
The project is a partnership between the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC). AASCU and NASULGC entered into the joint effort in response to findings by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, a group convened by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. In August 2006, the commission called for providing information that allows comparison among institutions regarding learning outcomes and other performance measures.
In 2006, NASULGC and AASCU consulted with various education officials, public policymakers and academic leaders on ways public higher education can become more accountable to the public on learning outcomes and campus engagement while also providing additional information to students and families to aid them in the selection process. The result is the VSA Project.
During 2007, participants will work as task forces and technical work groups developing a system of accountability that could be adopted at any public college or university. The system could include student graduation rates, information on individual institution costs, measures of student learning outcomes, student surveys, and graduate employment and earnings.
“Accountability is not something new for public universities nationwide. We are very accountable in multiple ways and I look forward to developing new ways to demonstrate the lifelong significance of the educational opportunities that we provide,” Alexander said. “Additionally, it is my hope that we will eventually be able to encourage all institutions, public and private, to provide better information to students, parents, legislators and taxpayers about student learning outcomes, comparative college expenditures, and average university tuition and fee charges instead of inflated sticker prices.”
Alexander will chair the Technical Work Group on Student Growth Outcomes. Assisting the work of the Core Educational Outcomes Task Force, Alexander and his technical work group will focus on developing a list of student growth domains that higher education institutions should assess and demonstrate as adding value to their education. It will consider items of psychosocial change, attitudes and values, moral development and the use of reflective judgment.
“Ultimately, we want to provide important information about our colleges and universities to the federal government in a manner that will influence future policy and funding development,” Alexander explained. “When the federal government discovers the true investment value of the CSU and CSULB when compared to other universities nationwide, they will have no choice but to reassess current fiscal strategies, and hopefully, create new policies that support institutions that fight hard to keep costs down.”