Office of Assessment and Accreditation - Assessment - Christopher Newport University


Assessment is defined at Christopher Newport as the ongoing circular process of gathering, interpreting and discussing empirical data from multiple and diverse sources in an attempt to quantify or qualify any gains the university has made through continuous improvement. Further, it allows the university to determine the degree to which students are able to demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes and to determine the extent that each administrative or student support service unit is meeting its goals.

Every three years, the Academic Assessment Liaisons from each department will submit a Triennial Assessment Report to the Office of Assessment by mid-December. The academic programs are divided into three triennial assessment groups, each on a staggered reporting schedule.

The report should include:

  • Three years of findings related to each Student Learning Outcome
  • An action plan that specifies how faculty members intend to improve mastery of the stated Student Learning Outcomes
  • A discussion of the impact previous action plan had on student learning

General education at Christopher Newport University occurs through our Liberal Learning Core. The Liberal Learning Core Curriculum consists of the Liberal Learning Foundations and the Liberal Learning Areas of Inquiry. Like the academic programs, the Foundations and the Areas of Inquiry are on staggered reporting schedules. Assessment of the liberal learning core is guided by the Office of Assessment and the Liberal Learning Council.

Related Information

Every year, the Administrative and Student Support Service Unit Assessment Liaisons from each unit will submit an Assessment Report to the office of Assessment by July 1.

The report should include:

  • One year of findings related to each unit’s Key Performance Indicators (Outcomes)
  • An action plan that specifies how each unit intends to improve their effectiveness on each KPI
  • A discussion of the impact the previous action plans had on unit effectiveness

To help clarify the flow of the assessment data in this process, and to better aid the faculty and administrative units in their assessment endeavors, the Office of Assessment has developed the following flowcharts:

Assessment liaisons, appointed by each department or unit, guide the assessment process within Academic Programs, the Liberal Learning Core, and Administrative and Student Support Service Units. The university is able to use the gathered assessment data to inform decisions leading to improvements upon the students’ subsequent educational experiences and improvements in the effectiveness of each administrative or student support service unit.

In order for assessment to be a worthwhile undertaking, the process needs to be driven by faculty and our unit administrators– by their fundamental drive to enhance student learning and services at Christopher Newport.

Further, assessment needs to reflect faculty and administrative unit members’ values: their values about what constitutes meaningful education or service in their field and their values about what methods generate credible, actionable knowledge.

The Office of Assessment is committed to respecting the commitments of faculty and administrators by exclusively engaging them in activities that result in tangible educational improvements and observable increases in unit efficiency.

The Office of Assessment will:

  • Coordinate the implementation of comprehensive assessment programs for the university’s academic, co-curricular, and operational units.
  • Educate the CNU community about best practices in assessment through online documents, one-on-one discussions, presentations and training.
  • Showcase CNU’s effective assessment practices across the campus, regionally and nationally.

We invite you to draw on the provided assessment resources and to contact us for support for your assessment activities.

Accreditation serves to assure university stakeholders and the public at large of the quality and integrity of higher education institutions.

In the U.S., regional accreditation is the gold standard. In order for a college or university to achieve and maintain accreditation through one of the seven regional bodies recognized by the Department of Education, the institution must undergo a rigorous multi-year review process during which all aspects of its functioning are evaluated in accordance with a comprehensive set of standards.

Whereas the regional bodies accredit institutions as a whole, professional organizations accredit academic programs within universities. Garnering departmental accreditation from any of the organizations recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation is an achievement.

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