Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Robin D. Anderson

Charles Blaich

Keston H. Fulcher

Dena A. Pastor

Kathleen Wise


In the United States, higher education institutions assess the impact of program-level educational experiences through the process of program-level student learning outcomes assessment. The final step of the assessment cycle is to use assessment interpretations to make changes to educational programming. Nevertheless, few programs can demonstrate the use of assessment results in this way. Perhaps assessment work is missing a key perspective: that of the students it assesses. Cook-Sather, Bovill, and Felton (2014) define student-faculty partnership as “a collaborative, reciprocal process through which all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision making, implementation, investigation, or analysis” (p. 6-7.). Research and practice into student-faculty partnership work has demonstrated many positive effects on the teaching, learning, and classroom assessment process. Yet, no work has focused on partnership efforts in program-level assessment. The purpose of this study was to explore the potential to partner explicitly with students in the program and institutional level student learning outcomes assessment process.

A grounded theory-based qualitative method was used to generate a framework for practitioners who wish to engage in partnership efforts in program-level assessment. Fifteen experienced higher education professionals and experts in student-faculty partnership provided more than 20 hours of interview and field note data. These data resulted in 6,258 lines of open line-by-line coding. These open codes were consolidated using focused coding, into 191 secondary-level themes. These secondary-level themes were consolidated using focused coding, into 11 primary-level themes. The themes are discussed in relation to their applicability to future student partnership work in program-level assessment and a framework for engaging in this work was developed. This framework was used to outline tentative examples of how student-faculty partnership work might be organized within program-level assessment practices. While in the early stages of prototype efforts, student-faculty partnership has the potential to radically alter the way we engage in program-level assessment.



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