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The University of Maine at Augusta has been actively involved in outcomes assessment planning for the last three years. To date, UMA faculty members have gained a general understanding of the process, and begun working towards establishing benchmarks for courses, programs and UMA's general education requirements. The same holds for staff and assessments of their support functions such as library, student services and financial aid.

The two major tools we are using are course charters and curriculum maps. We were introduced to the process of chartering at a NEASC annual meeting several years ago during a presentation by colleagues from Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts Boston. We are grateful to them for their support and encouragement.

Course charters provide a standardized outline for a specific course and include a course descriptions and learning outcomes for students. These charters are especially valuable for departments in which different faculty members - some full-time and some part-time - teach multiple sections of the same course. If we really expect the learning outcomes to be consistent across course sections, then faculty members teaching the course deserve to begin on the same page. How the faculty members teach these courses is up to them and is reflected in their own syllabi, but outcomes are standardized in our model.

Sample Academic Course Charter:

Charters can also be developed for support functions such as New Student Orientation within the Student Services Offices.

Sample Academic Program Objectives:

Curriculum Mapping is the process of comparing individual course outcomes with academic program outcomes. These grids and the important faculty discussions it takes to build them can be used as tools to evaluate and revise program outcomes, or to determine whether the program's courses adequately support the program's goals.

Sample Curriculum Maps:

General Discussions about UMA's Assessment Processes:

Charge for UMA‚ Assessment Committee

Draft: May 13, 2004

The Assessment Committee, as an advisory committee to the UMA Provost, is charged with on-going responsibility for coordinating assessment at the University of Maine at Augusta. These responsibilities include:

Finalizing the initial establishment of the UMA Assessment Plan
Monitoring the implementation of the assessment plan.

  • Educating college personnel about the significance of their participation in on-going assessment.
  • Providing help in selecting appropriate instruments and measures for determining learning outcomes.
  • Providing educational programs and training opportunities to improve the quality of assessment on campus.
  • Reporting on results of assessment at UMA

To achieve these objectives, the Assessment Committee will ...


Develop and maintain a timeline of assessment activities and goals, listing the specific dates by which kinds and types of assessment activities will take place, assessment instruments will be evaluated, the kinds and analysis of data will be sent to the Committee, and results will be distributed for appropriate action.

Develop faculty workshops on assessment issues and training for assessment procedures.

Develop a resource file and source book containing materials to help academic units develop or adopt appropriate methods of assessment.

Encourage dialogue across disciplines on common assessment issues.


Review data received from assessment results.

Compile suggestions or recommendations for change from academic units.

Compare the results after changes have been introduced.


Identify, prioritize and recommend to the Strategic Planning Committee resources needed for the coming year to maintain or improve the academic assessment program.

Make recommendations that go beyond a specific department for: additional assessment processes or modifications to present practices, modifications in the assessment process and calendar, and for budgeting assessment programs and procedures.


Provide regular progress reports on the work of the Assessment Committee.

Issue an end-of-the-year report to the Provost including accomplishments and goals for the coming year