The comprehensive assessment plan utilized by the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy (AUHSOP) is a continuous quality improvement (CQI) process driven by its Strategic Planning Committee and primarily supported by its Office of Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA). On an annual basis, the Strategic Planning Committee assesses the School’s progress on its Strategic Initiatives and revises its plan, developing new initiatives and prioritizing them accordingly. This process includes input from faculty and staff, usually gathered at the annual faculty retreat. Student input is included as well through survey data and through student representatives who attend the faculty retreat. The OTLA provides necessary data to be examined in the assessment process. The process is also supported by the Professional Education Committee (PEC), which provides assessment data regarding the curriculum through such activities as course reviews and curricular mapping, and the Accreditation Self Study Committee, which is responsible for guiding the self-study process and writing the self-study report at the appropriate time in the School’s accreditation cycle. The CQI process continues on an annual basis in the AUHSOP regardless of the timing of accreditation site visits and reporting deadlines.
At the time the School established a new curriculum (implemented in 2005), the AUHSOP developed internal criteria for each of the 30 ACPE Standards and began developing tables of measures for each of the criteria by identifying instruments, timelines, benchmarks and goals. The criteria reflect aspirations that surpass the expectations required to meet accreditation standards and could even be characterized as somewhat idealistic. We recognize that we may always fall somewhat short of our own criteria, but those criteria are in place to push us towards a higher standard. In addition to the ACPE Standards, we have developed two internal standards, one for graduate programs and one for scholarship, which allow us to assess additional areas of our mission.
Part of the assessment plan includes assessing the plan itself. In addition to assessing our performance on the ACPE standards and our additional internal standards, faculty and staff are asked for feedback on the process. For example, they are asked to note any criteria that may need revision and to comment on how the existing criteria may be revised for greater clarity and appropriateness. They are also asked for suggestions on how to improve the processes and mechanisms utilized to gather input. Such information is fed back to the Strategic Planning Committee through the OTLA and utilized to revise the assessment plan as needed.