Student learning outcomes: a critical issue in the implementation of the learning college paradigm

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Switzer, Cathy Lynn

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Pressures for accountability are causing a paradigm shift in community colleges. The new learning paradigm depends upon assessment measures to verify institutional effectiveness and substantive change in learners. Development and assessment of measurable student learning outcomes is posing the largest threat to the effective implementation of the learning paradigm because faculty members lack the skills to development outcomes and assessment. The purpose of this study was to determine how Central Arizona College developed student learning outcomes across the curriculum as the foundation for effective assessment at the course and program levels. A conceptual mindmap was created of the leadership team responsible for facilitating outcomes development, and another mindmap was created for the faculty members responsible for writing and implementing the outcomes. Comparisons of these two composite mindmaps reveal characteristics of the dynamic leadership that motivates and empowers faculty and staff to make the learning college journey.