The college has drawn upon four major processes in the development of the self-study. The Strategic Planning Process from September 2005 to November 2006, an institution-wide updating of the 2000 Strategic plan, provided the major framework around the process. The focused identification of Evergreen as a “public, interdisciplinary, liberal arts college” served as a clear central reference in the work around the self-study. Second, the on-going Curricular Visions process that began in the 2005-06 school year and the 2005 HEC Board Planning Unit Review process provided major review and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum. Third, The Campus Master Plan was completed in Calendar Year 2007 translating the Strategic Plan goals and objectives into a physical plan for the campus. Fourth, in March of 2007 the College put together a chief writer and a group of lead writers and organizers for the response to each standard, the Key Point People (KPPs), who undertook the review of the college under each of the nine standards. In addition the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment organized and made available a very wide array of data that helped define and document the project.
The KPPs were responsible for gathering data in support of their analysis of the standards. While this process varied from standard to standard, for the major academic standards it involved meeting with faculty and library staff, sharing draft reports, and responding carefully to concerns raised. Faculty opinions were solicited by E-mail, at the Faculty Meeting, in planning units, and in governance groups. Student affairs staff provided early drafts of many elements of the standards and met with the chief writer to provide input.
The chief writer began pulling together materials and kept abreast of the developing data in the spring and summer of 2006 and the KPPs began to meet as a group in spring of 2007. Subsequently the KPP’s met bi-weekly through the 2007-8 school year, producing a preliminary draft in November, a full first draft in January, a second full draft in early March, a penultimate draft in mid-April and a final draft by May 30. Meetings with faculty were held for each draft of the standard 2. Campus-wide review regarding each of the Standards were held in January and February and again in April. Student responses were solicited at public meetings and through focus groups that addressed Standard Two and Three. The chief writer, other KPPs, and the Provost met with the Board of Trustees on two occasions to review the work. They also met with Senior Staff to review standards 1 and 2. Time at two deans' meetings was also dedicated to review of these drafts. The college’s academic grants manager subjected the second draft of the report to a critical reading. Publications staff critiqued other chapters. A small group of faculty was of significant assistance to the chief writer for Standard 2 in the early conceptual stages of the review. The writers of the primary Academic Standards 2, 4, and 5, met and shared drafts of their work. In summary, Evergreen has been working on the self study for much of the past three years and has been able to draw together elements of the Strategic Planning process, Curricular Visions process, and the Campus Master planning Process in addition to its on going institutional research and numerous special meetings, memos and opportunities for input.
The self-study had three major goals.
1.) The college wanted to review its responses to the Commissions findings in the 2003 Regular Interim Report. In particular the review of concerns and data surrounding the issues of General Education were of particular importance to the college. The college believes that it had made real progress on these issues. The primary response to the three recommendations of the commission is contained in the “Response to Recommendations” section below.
2.) The College wanted to use this opportunity for an assessment of up coming issues. The self-study has been a significant help in identifying issues of the relationship of graduate/professional programs to the Liberal Arts Curriculum, the need to review and rethink governance at the college, a need to organize a more regular system of academic advising, and a continuing need to think about the way the size and duration of programs, and half-time programs and courses interact to affect student experience.
3.) As a part of the college’s on going experience with replacing its first generation of faculty one objective of this study has been to articulate the ways that the elements of the an Evergreen education fit together to create an important and coherent alternative public education that succeeds in producing autonomous, collaborative, competent engaged learners and graduates.
As a part of the self-study the college has carefully reviewed the Eligibility Requirements articulated by the commission and has met them.