4A.6 The institution evaluates the success of its graduates. The institution assures that those degree or certificate programs it represents as preparation for advanced study or employment accomplish these purposes. For all programs, the institution looks to indicators it deems appropriate to its mission, such as employment rates, admission rates to advanced degree programs, and participation rates in fellowships, internships and special programs (e.g., Peace Corps and AmeriCorps)
Evaluation of Success of Graduates
As a young institution, Miller College is in the early stages of pursuing evidence to support the position stipulating the Miller College degree as high quality preparation for advanced study or employment. The Alumni and Exit Surveys administered during Senior Seminar provide perception data to rate how well the graduates’ program of study prepared them for work and further study. The discrepancy formatted questions use a five point Likert Scale to measure the level of agreement with the statements which represent the goals to which Miller College subscribes. The challenges associated with the evaluation of this data include the low percentage of return of this type of survey. The Exit Survey has a better rate of return in 2011 (43/60; 72%) than the Alumni Survey (21/108; 19%). Neither survey represents an adequate sample of information from which to draw conclusions. As the pool of graduates and alumni increases, the validity of the information gleaned from the survey data will improve. Trends in the responses will continue to be analyzed by each School, the Assessment Committee and Academic Affairs resulting in conclusions drawn and used in conjunction with other data to improve programs.
Additionally the School of Education actively seeks alumni employment information and attempts to maintain contact with graduates through professional development opportunities and alumni panels held in conjunction with Senior Seminar in the Fall and Spring semesters. Information is gathered informally concerning the alumni’s preparedness for teaching, the challenges they face and the likelihood of pursuing an advanced degree.
The plan for the future in this area includes collecting data on the number of graduates acquiring a degree-related job or promotion, the number of alumni entering graduate degree programs and the number earning advanced degrees. These assessments will provide important data needed to complete the evaluation of the quality of the Miller College undergraduate degree.
Assurances that programs prepare students for advanced study or employment:
The Core Courses in the General Education Requirement orient students to – and directly assess their understanding of – the Miller College Mission and Learning Outcomes for their program. These requirements are designed to develop the students’ professional identities as leaders in their chosen discipline. The Miller College Core Courses include Junior Seminar (LBAR 300), Advanced Composition and Textual Analysis I (ENGL 310); Research Methods (SCIE 330); a Globally Oriented Course which varies depending on the program of study and Senior Seminar, the capstone course requiring the completion of the electronic portfolio.
Miller College employs highly-qualified faculty who bring with them pedagogical excellence, professional experience, and academic achievement. Faculty is required to have earned a Master’s degree or higher, with a doctorate preferred. In fulfillment of its practitioner approach to education, Miller College seeks out individuals whose experience in their field enhances their academic credentials.
The College encourages faculty members to sit on boards directly related to their field. Connections created and maintained with the community keep faculty current with their profession. Miller College maintains memberships that provide training and access to best practices and new information pertaining to
The School of Business faculty maintains their certifications through continuing professional education. Memberships include the non-profit Community Health Center Board, and a financial institution board. Every two years, Certified Public Accountant requirements for professional education include eighty hours of instruction with a minimum of two hours of ethics training each year. Maintaining the continuing education requirements for Certified Management Accountant and Certified Financial Manager entails thirty hours of continuing professional education plus two hours of ethics training each year.
The School of Education and The School of Arts and Sciences maintain individual and institutional memberships in Directors and Representatives of Teacher Education Programs (DARTEP), Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Michigan Reading Association, Michigan Council for Social Studies, Michigan Council of Teachers of English, Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Michigan Department of Education. The Vice President is a member of the Battle Creek Educators Task Force.
Information gathered from these memberships directly informs continuous program improvement. For example: the School of Education raised its GPA requirement from 2.5 to 2.75, and the Common Core Standards were added to the curriculum based on information gathered from memberships in some of these organizations. Membership in DARTEP provides faculty opportunities to interface with their peers to share information regarding instructional improvement, and attendance at State Board of Education meetings yields new information about changes in policies and content that is passed on to our students.
Mock Interviews are conducted for all student interns in the Binda School of Education with a group of administrators from the community. Information gathered from this group helps guide improvement in teacher preparation. Anecdotal evidence from these mock interviews shows that Miller College Teacher Education graduates have stellar preparation for the job market.
Memberships for the School of Nursing include the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Sigma Theta Tau, and the Emergency Nurse Association.
Partnerships with Community Agencies
Miller College maintains partnerships with local institutions for internships and clinical field experiences. In keeping within the spirit of the Miller College mission statement, courses in the School of Arts and Sciences are designed to increase the competencies of student learning, critical thinking, and an understanding of a globally-oriented world. Courses are also designed to expose students to experiences outside the classroom. An example of this is an assignment given to students in SOCI 310: Human Diversity. Students are required to experience a cultural study where they are exposed to a situation where they are the minority. They must carefully observe their surroundings and describe their feelings in a place as a minority person. The purpose of the study is to expose students to cultural or ethnic differences and to examine their feelings resulting from being a minority. The written assignment requires a pre-reflection statement, a description of the setting, and a post reflection statement.
Another course, PSYC 310: Organizational and Group Dynamics, assigns a project requiring students to observe a decision-making organization. The student must observe 5 hours of group meetings. The purpose of the project is to serve as a representation of what the student has learned throughout the course and as a practical suggestion to the observed group, a possible recommendation to become more effective. Detailed field notes are taken at each meeting describing how each group interacts and whether or not they employ creativity in light of controversy. Detailed notes are taken giving examples of how the group manages diversity and conflict. The student provides an assessment of the group’s effectiveness in a conclusion.
Student internships, concurrent with or anticipatory to Senior Seminar, are an integral transition piece between coursework and the induction into their career paths.
The School of Business has developed a number of relationships with for profit and nonprofit organizations to allow its student to work as interns. These relationships have resulted in these students working as volunteers with nonprofit organizations such as Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, Calhoun County Office of Senior Services, and The Music Center of Battle Creek. Their internships involved the development of marketing plans, event coordination, web site development, and customer relations. Internships have also been established with the Kellogg Company and Defense Logistics Agency where the interns ultimately became employees of the organization. In addition, Senior Seminar students who are already employed with an organization performed studies for their employer on product analysis, strategic planning enhancement, drug testing employees, electric/hybrid vehicle use, and workforce training methodologies.
The goal of the School of Business faculty is to provide the graduating senior with a résumé building experience that will support their future career goals in the near and far term. Many of the School’s graduates are currently working for organizations where they first served as an intern while completing their Senior Seminar project. These organizations have continued to support the College with requests for future student interns as they become available.
In the spring of 2012, Miller College and Davenport University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide a seamless transition upon graduation from Miller College’s undergraduate programs to Davenport’s Master of Business Administration degree program. The agreement benefits students by providing a locally-based opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in addition to tuition discount incentives and exemption from the Graduate Management Admissions Test. The admissions criteria at Miller College and Davenport University must be met by students enrolling in the program. In the future, Miller College will devise a plan to track the success of its graduates in the MBA program which will provide evidence for the value of its bachelor’s degree preparation.
As one of the core knowledge-based components underlying the Binda School of Education’s Conceptual Framework and the linchpin of Miller College’s practitioner-based approach to education, field experiences are integrated into several of the courses in the Elementary Education program of study. These field experiences can be placed on a continuum of legitimate peripheral participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991), whereby candidates begin their formal teacher preparation primarily observing practicing teachers and reflecting upon their observations in journal writing activities, live and online class discussions, formal observation papers and oral presentations. Miller College students then begin taking an increasingly active role in assessment and instruction of elementary school students under close supervision of course instructors and mentor teachers. Eventually, candidates become responsible for the learning and achievement of individuals and whole classes of students as they move into the independent teaching phase of their internships. Candidates report upon their field experiences in all of these courses through a variety of means, from regular journal writing and informal class discussions, to formal essay writing and oral presentations. All field experiences align strongly with the Binda School of Education’s Conceptual Framework through their focus on reflective decision-making to meet the needs of individual students (Principle 3: Compassion) and on assessment-informed lesson planning to align classroom practices with the Common Core State Standards and the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations (Principle 1: Knowledge-based components).
In the core methods sequence ( EDUC 310 (360 KB, PDF), EDUC 311 (366 KB, PDF), EDUC 320, EDUC 321, EDUC 322, EDUC 330, EDUC 331, EDUC 420) candidates participate in a minimum of 15 hours of field experience in K-12 schools per course. They are placed with tenured, highly qualified teachers, and are given opportunities to observe instruction as well as assist mentor teachers in working with students. These experiences are then discussed in class, giving candidates the opportunity to share and learn from their peers. Thus, prior to the student internship, all candidates in Miller College’s teacher education program have multiple opportunities to teach in a supervised field setting in each of the four core content areas, as well as in their major/minor endorsement areas. During the student internship, candidates are assigned to classrooms in which mentor teachers are highly qualified to teach in the candidates’ major and minor areas. Candidates are required to prepare and teach lessons in their major or minor content area, and lessons in each of the four core content areas are observed and assessed by faculty content area specialists, who then give feedback in specific areas of both content and pedagogy. At least one of these lessons must involve technology integration. These field placements are recursive, in that candidates report back from their field experiences and discuss them in class. Instructors are able to learn from the candidates’ experiences, and adjust instruction accordingly to fill in any gaps thereby improving the quality of the course. An example of this was the revision of the Learning Disabilities seminar to better meet candidates’ needs, based on information gained from field placements.
In an effort to provide meaningful experiences, the School of Education field placements now include sites where candidates can gain rich experiences directly aligned with their course content area (science observations at the Outdoor Education Center Farm Program and StarBase, social studies observations at the Pioneer Cabin and Clear Lake Camp, language arts placements in one local district’s first grade classroom). Learning Disabilities majors receive placements in all levels, elementary and secondary, to prepare them for their Student Internships and for future employment.
Evidence from School of Education:
In the School of Nursing, students participate in leadership opportunities in health care during their Nurse Leadership/Management II course. They shadow a nursing leader, interview them, assess their style of leadership and its effectiveness and are required to make a presentation and write a paper of their findings. They are also required to reflect on an interview with the leader and report these findings in written format.
All students are required to participate in a Senior Seminar class as a capstone of their academic program. Senior Seminars include LBAR 499, BUSN 499, EDUC 499, and BSRN 499; these courses provide the opportunity to assess, evaluate, and examine the levels of mastery and knowledge students have of principles and skills in each student’s degree program. Students develop electronic portfolios under the supervision of the Deans of their respective schools that showcase their mastery of the School’s Learner Outcomes. In keeping with the Miller College Mission, the students demonstrate competence in their field of study by providing artifacts for their portfolios illustrating their ability to think critically, to communicate orally and in written form and to understand the global nature of the world.
In the School of Education, Senior Seminar is concurrent with the Student Internship, where students have an opportunity to develop and crystallize their professional skills. The Seminar provides a forum for discussion of issues related to employment and to reflect on their practice in the field. The culminating experience requires teacher candidates to participate in Mock Interviews with educators from the area school districts serving on the interview panel. Over the past two years, several candidates have been offered employment opportunities based on their performance during these interviews.
In the School of Arts and Sciences, candidates and instructors collaborate to determine an appropriate Senior Seminar capstone project based on interest areas or relevance to their potential employment paths. The project in accordance with the Miller College Mission is designed to assess and evaluate the level of mastery and knowledge of the principles and skills ensuring a high level of competence in the candidate’s area of study. The components include an independent research paper culminating in a presentation of the final project. During Senior Seminar candidates also update their cover letter and résumé and explore tools for seeking employment.
Miller College continually strives to stay abreast of changes in the field and to make the College programs responsive to these changes through the use of Program Advisory Committees. The Committees meet twice a year and assist in the decision making process of the College by reviewing curriculum, instructional methods, learning technologies, and program changes. The membership of the respective committees reflects a broad spectrum of practitioners in the fields reflected in the College’s programs.
The results of the dialogues with each stakeholder group, the review of relevant literature and surveys of the community and other institutions enable Miller College to assess needs and to provide new programs and/or program and course modifications for identified areas where there is a gap in educational opportunities available to the community.
 Lave, J., & Wenger, E (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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