RIT project on academic quality to be highlighted at national conference

Panel discussion will focus on work under way in partnership with other universities

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A. Sue Weisler

Jeremy Haefner

Rochester Institute of Technology will be represented in a panel discussion on academic quality at the upcoming Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges’ 2013 National Conference on Trusteeship.

RIT Provost Jeremy Haefner will be one of four panelists speaking on “The Board’s Role in the Oversight of Educational Quality and Student Learning” at the conference set for April 19 to 23 in San Francisco.

Haefner said he plans to discuss a project that a small group of universities — including RIT, Virginia Tech and Valparaiso University — is doing in partnership with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and the Teagle Foundation, to improve board oversight of student learning. RIT was invited to participate in the AGB/Teagle project because of prior work on academic quality done by a core committee of the university’s board of trustees. The committee’s 18-month discussion on the topic led to development of an academic quality dashboard reviewed annually by the RIT trustees.

“I’m very pleased that RIT is being recognized for its commitment to academic excellence,” Haefner said. “Academic quality is our priority, and we must find ways to tap into every resource available to us to ensure that our students receive the excellent education they expect and deserve.”

The education core committee is led by RIT Trustee Charles Brown.

“Overseeing the process of ensuring academic quality is a central responsibility for a board of trustees, just as important as providing financial oversight,” Brown said. “As trustees, we have overall responsibility for the institution, which includes making sure its mission is fulfilled.”

Central to that mission, Haefner said, is ensuring that the university’s “product” — its graduates — can receive the quality education that will make them in high demand among employers and graduate schools.

The universities involved in the project will establish metrics, communications processes and governance practices that clarify and streamline the oversight process. AGB will aggregate the data collected and recommend practices, metrics and dashboards, then highlight successful case studies in its publications and on its website.

Working on the project at RIT with Brown and Haefner are Christine Licata, RIT”s associate provost for academic affairs, and Anne Wahl, director of student learning outcomes and assessments.