Friday, October 17, 2008

Fraternities Seeking Student Learning Outcomes


Delta Sigma Phi and Delta Upsilon Fraternities have announced a partnership centered on a shared commitment to utilizing student learning outcomes as a basis for informing student programming and fraternity operations. The two organizations have contracted with the Center for Learning Outcomes Assessment and the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity to measure their members’ experience.

The 2007 American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) College Learning for the New Global Century report has served as a call to action for the fraternities. The report recommends a set of Essential Learning Outcomes that outline the hallmarks of the 21st Century college graduate. To remain relevant with an ever-changing global society and to align with the educational mission of higher education, Delta Sigma Phi and Delta Upsilon will make assessment of student learning outcomes a top priority.

“This initiative is about the shared commitment of Delta Upsilon and Delta Sigma Phi Fraternities and their leadership to remain a relevant and vital contributor to the development of young men of high moral character,” said Scott Wiley, Executive Director of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. “Instead of talking about ways to collaborate our two organizations are choosing to act.”

The assessments will begin immediately with a set of pilot chapters this fall. The two organizations will hold a joint board meeting in January to review the initial data.
“Delta Sigma Phi and Delta Upsilon share a common mission of building better men and desire to be partners with higher education,” Justin Kirk, Delta Upsilon Executive Director said. “We want to use assessment as a means of ensuring that our rhetoric is congruent with our reality.”

The Center for Learning Outcomes Assessment will administer the University Learning Outcomes Assessment (UniLoa).The UniLoa is an assessment tool designed to measure student behaviors and development in seven domains regarded as critical by employers and experts in the field of higher education.

Dr. Mark Frederick, co-developer of the UniLoa, believes the partnership presents a tremendous opportunity.

“Fraternities and sororities are in a unique position to positively impact holistic student growth, learning, and development. By accurately understanding and measuring current levels of student behaviors, those organizations can move swiftly to develop programs and interventions designed to overcome weaknesses. As such, they can better prepare their members to succeed after graduation and to make significant contributions to themselves and the world around them,” said Frederick.

The organizations will also work with the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity (CSCF) using the Fraternity / Sorority Experience Assessment (FSES). The FSES measures eleven critical components of a chapter’s environment.

"These fraternities are setting an assessment precedent. The examination of both individual learning outcomes and correlating it with how their fraternity's environmental factors contribute to students' success will change, elevate, and solidify the value fraternity adds to the collegiate experience,” said Steve Veldkamp, Executive Director of the CSCF.

For more information on the partnership, please contact:
Justin Kirk - Executive Director, Delta Upsilon Fraternity - (317) 875-8900
Scott Wiley – Executive Director, Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity - (317) 634-1899
Dr. Mark Frederick – Center for Learning Outcomes Assessment – (812) 237-3888
Steve Veldkamp – Center for the Study of the College Fraternity – (812) 855-4311
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