Committee works to establish a campus culture of assessment
CHADRON – Co-chairs of CSC’s Continuous Institutional Improvement Committee (CIIC), Malinda Linegar and Dr. Grant Sasse, say the committee is trying to establish a culture of assessment on campus.
Linegar, Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, and Sasse, Dean of the School of Professional Studies and Applied Sciences, were part of a group that attended the Higher Learning Commission Assessment Academy in Chicago in 2022. Sasse said the committee is a product of their work at the academy.
Linegar said the college’s 2027 Assessment Academy Quality Initiative is focused on assessment in Essential Studies. The group, which includes Dr. Matt Evertson, Dr. Josh Ellis, Dr. Caitlin Redden, Chantel Merchen, Dr. Ryan Morgan, and Alex Helmbrecht, will eventually look at academic, cocurricular, and operational areas.
“We're following HLC’s suggestion to focus our efforts on key areas such as the Essential Studies and Eagle Mentor program and then take lessons learned from that and apply them to the operational side such as Financial Aid, Records, Admissions, Financials, Maintenance, and Student Services.”
Linegar said the group will have virtual check-ins over the next couple of years. A final review in Chicago in October of 2026 will be followed by a reaffirmation visit in 2027.
“We're not trying to reinvent the wheel. We took stock of what we have done and some of the people in the group do have a good history with the college. We’re asking what are the good things that have come out of past assessment efforts. We're trying to focus on that and leverage it to help us improve. In 2017, HLC noted that our campus-wide collaboration is great but said we are in the beginning stages of assessment,” Linegar said.
Sasse said the committee believes CSC’s Essential Studies program is better than others but needs data to prove it.
“Our group is trying to work out formal processes for gathering data, reviewing it, and giving feedback,” he said.
Linegar said assessment is the only way to know if CSC is meeting the needs of students.
“We want to be purposeful and use everybody's time wisely,” she said. “We’ll be gathering data in a way that is organized and not burdensome. It may take a little extra work, but it's going to be organized and accessible for the 2027 visit.”
Sasse said the group meets routinely and integrates feedback into its processes.
“We're trying to gather data that shows our students are learning what we are saying they should be learning. We are on a good path. We are trying to showcase the strengths of every program. We want people to buy into this. We believe by doing this we're making the educational experience better for our students,” Sasse said.
He said members of the committee each have different strengths.
“It’s a good teamwork approach.”
“The people who work here genuinely care about the institution. It’s cool to see the passion. You always hear that the people are the best thing about CSC but it is true,” Linegar said.