2011 CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes

April 1, 2011


The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) established the CHEA Award for Institutional Progress in Student Learning Outcomes in 2005. The award was designed to highlight institutional efforts to gather information on student learning outcomes, use this information for institutional improvement and provide information to the public.

In 2009, the award was renamed the CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes, to acknowledge that the award’s focus has shifted from “institutional progress” to “outstanding institutional practice.” Since CHEA initiated the award, substantial gains have been made in addressing student learning outcomes, as institutions and programs increasingly pay attention to this important issue.

The Winners of the 2011 CHEA Award

The winners of the 2011 CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomesare the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center; James Madison University Social Work Program; Miami Dade College; AND Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy.

Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) foreign language instruction provider. The Center serves all four branches of the U.S. military and select DoD agencies,teaching 23 basic course languages and providing enhancement and sustainment post-basic courses.

Central to the Defense Language Institute’s work is its institution-wide performance enhancement program to raise student learning outcomes to the highest levels feasible. The Foreign Language Center has proficiency-based graduation requirements across all languages and monitors student success as well as paying attention to, e.g., attrition and what is needed to further enhance student success.

For more information, please contact:
Robert Savukinas
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Defense Language Institute
Presidio of Monterey, CA 93944
Phone: (831) 242-5828
Email: Robert.savukinas@us.army.net

James Madison University Social Work Program

James Madison University’s Social Work Program in Harrisonburg, Virginia prepares generalist social workers who will work with and provide service to diverse individuals, families, communities and organizations. The department offers one major program, three minor programs of study designed for a wide variety of majors across the university, and one certificate program.

The Social Work Program has a consistent record of strong program assessment, with multiple methods of evaluating student learning. All program faculty are engaged in evaluation of students, in continuous improvement of assessment methodologies, in review of finding and in the use of results for program, curriculum and student learning improvements.

For more information, please contact:
R. Ann Myers
Professor and Head
Department of Social Work
James Madison University
801 Carrier Drive, MSC 4303
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Phone: (540) 568-6980
Email: myersra@jmu.edu

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College serves more than 170,000 students and eight campuses offering more than 300 programs of study. Through the inclusion of faculty, students, administration, staff and community stakeholders, the college, headquartered in Miami, Florida, has developed and implemented 10 institution-wide student learning outcomes.

Miami Dade College’s courses align with institution-wide learning outcomes through curriculum mapping. Creating and sustaining these outcomes has been an ongoing effort involving the entire college community, with progress towards attainment of outcomes and dissemination of success accomplished through a permanent feedback loop that reaches internally to students and staff and externally to the public.

For more information please contact:
Joanne Bashford
Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
Miami Dade College
25 NE 2nd Street
Room 5601-12
Miami, FL 33132
Phone: (305) 237-7488
Email: jbashfor@mdc.edu

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy in Edwardsville, Illinois offers the only downstate pharmacy doctorate program, addressing the growing need in Southern and Central Illinois, as well as the nation at large, for well-trained pharmacists in a career field that is experiencing rapid and dramatic growth.

The Pharmacy School has developed comprehensive educational outcomes in the form of competency statements and enabling objectives. Student progression is tracked, including retention statistics and success rates on national licensing board examinations. The stated goal is improved student learning and documented student achievement.

For more information, please contact:
Erin Timpe
Associate Professor
School of Pharmacy
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Campus Box 2000
Edwardsville, IL 62062
Phone: (618) 650-5170
Email: etimpe@siue.edu

Special CHEA Award: The Reverend Charles L. Currie, S.J.

This is the first time that the CHEA has given this award to an individual. Father Charles L. Currie was chosen as the recipient because of his extraordinary contribution to enhancing quality in the nation’s Jesuit colleges and universities, reflecting his longstanding commitment to the best in teaching and learning.

Father Currie has served as president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities since 1997. He previously has served as president of Wheeling College (now Wheeling Jesuit University), as president of Xavier College and in faculty and administrative positions at Georgetown University and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

The Selection Process

A committee selected from higher education institutions, higher education associations, accrediting organizations and the public judges the winners on the basis of four award criteria:

  • Articulating expected outcomes for an institution, program or major.
  • Providing evidence of success with regard to outcomes.
  • Informing the public (constituents external to an institution) about expectations and success with regard to outcomes.
  • Using outcomes for institutional improvement: evidence that outcomes have benefited the institution, program or major.

In addition to the four criteria, the committee looks for evidence that outstanding practice related to outcomes 1) is embedded in an institutional culture, 2) makes good use of current technology in the methods and tools to track outcomes, 3) includes extensive use of faculty and strong faculty support, 4) is supported by institutional leadership that is dedicated to the importance of outcomes and 5) involves approaches to outcomes that can be replicated at other institutions.

Of 32 applications received this year, four institutions and programs were selected to receive the 2011 CHEA Award. And, for the first time, an individual received the CHEA Award in 2011. All awards were presented at the CHEA Annual Conference in Washington, DC on January 26, 2011.

Selection Committee for the 2011 CHEA Award

  • Therese Cannon, Executive Associate Director, Western Association of Colleges and Schools
  • John Dill, Chief, Civilian Education and Professional Development, Department of Defense Civilian Personnel Management Service
  • Peter Ewell, Vice President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
  • Michael Lambert, Executive Director, Distance Education and Training Council
  • Burks Oakley, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois
  • Thomas Paradis, Director of Academic Assessment, Northern Arizona University
  • Terrel Rhodes, Vice President for Quality, Curriculum and Assessment, Association of American Colleges and Universities
  • David Shulenburger, Vice President, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Julia Williams, Executive Director, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Past CHEA Award Winners

Since the establishment of the CHEA Award in 2005, 22 institutions and programs (including this year’s recipients), as well as one individual, have received the award. Past recipients are:


  • Capella University (MN)
  • Portland State University (OR)
  • St. Olaf College (MN)
  • University of Arkansas – Fort Smith College of Education (AR)


  • Delaware Technical & Community College, Planning and Assessment Program (DE)
  • Northern Arizona University, Office of Academic Assessment (AZ)


  • Hocking College, Academic Affairs Department (OH)
  • Kennesaw State University, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (GA)
  • Seaton Hall University, Stillman School of Business (NJ)


  • Bowling Green State University, Student Success Initiatives and Student Achievement Assessment Committee (OH)
  • Mesa Community College, Student Outcomes Assessment Program (AZ)
  • Oral Roberts University, University-wide ePortfolio and Infrastructure for a Culture of Evidence (OK)
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, The RosE Portfolio System and Institute-Level Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Project (IN)
  • University of Saint Mary, Department of Education (KS)


  • The Community College of Baltimore County, High-Impact Course-Level Learning Outcomes Assessment Projects (MD)
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Implementing the Principles of Undergraduate Learning at IUPUI (IN)
  • James Madison University (VA)
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (IL)