Bemidji State University
NCA Monitoring Report

March 25, 2002

Please forward comments and corrections to
Dr. David Larkin, Interim Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs,

Alert: Boxes such as this one contain comments on and explanations of material still in development.


I. Introduction
II. Assessment
III. UniversityPlanning
IV. Conclusion


NCA Evaluation
April 9-12, 2000 the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges conducted a comprehensive evaluation for continued accreditation of Bemidji State University. The review was based on NCA's General Institutional Requirements and the five Criteria for Accreditation. The evaluation also included review of the university's innovative Experimental Planning Initiative, which was authorized through a Memorandum of Agreement between North Central and the university.

Recommendation for Full Accreditation
In their "Report of a Visit to Bemidji State University" (hereafter referred to as Report), the evaluators recommended that the university be awarded full accreditation: "The current NCA team has concluded that the university has satisfied all the North Central General Institutional Requirements (p. 4). Furthermore, the team members were "unanimous in their view that Bemidji State University does meet" the Criteria for Accreditation (p. 5). These findings were encapsulated in the team's recommendation to North Central Association for the following:

  • continue the accreditation of Bemidji State University;
  • schedule the next comprehensive evaluation for 2009-2010;
  • require a monitoring report to NCA on assessment and operational planning by September 30, 2002 (p. 50) (bullets added).

Monitoring Report
The evaluators' 2000 Report identifies two major areas of concern to be addressed in the Monitoring Report, assessment and planning:

From the Report:
The written (monitoring) report must specifically address what the team found to be an unevenness of implementing the university's approved Assessment Plan. While the campus culture pertaining to assessment is still evolving, it has not yet become an institutional priority or a way of life. Some programs have defined appropriate and measurable objectives for program educational goals; others are currently functioning at a more elementary stage in the process; and still other areas have yet to use the data collected in a manner that helps them determine if the measures are adequate and appropriate. The report will need to also address the university's need to develop a well articulated plan, or set of procedures to meaningfully integrate the experimental planning initiatives with other critical areas of the institution, i.e. program assessment plans, five year program review schedules, resource allocation, and the new committee and council infrastructure. Institutional operational plans (i.e., Information Technology Plan, a Campus Master Plan or a Financial Plan for the university), are not yet fully developed and must also be integrated into the overall University Plan. Failure to adequately address the above issues, within the monitoring report, could trigger a focused evaluation of those areas (p. 50).

University Progress
Bemidji State University has addressed the challenges raised by the evaluation team. A summary follows here, with details to be found in subsequent sections of this report.

Assessment (Section II)

  • All academic programs are current with five-year reviews, including assessment plans and implementation.
  • All department assessment plans include on-going, annual assessment.
  • Assessment findings are fed into planning at the department level; along with five-year reviews, they are represented at the college and university levels by the academic deans, who serve as co-chairs on university planning committees.

Planning (Section III)

  • Committee membership has been established.
  • Committees meet on a regular basis.
  • Protocols for committee processes and action have been established.
  • Committee minutes and other documents are posted regularly on a planning committee web site.
  • Processes for integrating planning "with other critical areas of the institution" (Report, p. 50) are in place.

The university continues to develop a climate of assessment by monitoring on-going departmental assessment activities through mid-cycle and five-year reports, and to increase the impact of assessment findings on planning at the department, college and university levels by refining and enhancing communication via the planning committees.

The university continues to evolve its planning process, utilizing its experience with its university planning committees, the Executive Council, and with multiple bargaining units.


In their site visit report in 2000, the evaluators noted that Bemidji State "is making progress in implementing its assessment program and thus it appears to be at Level Two in the NCA continuum" (p. 32). Evaluators were especially concerned with an "unevenness of implementing the university's approved Assessment Plan" (p. 50).

Bemidji State has made important progress in assessment since the 2000 visit:

  • Approved, viable plans: All departments are current with their five-year plans, including assessment plans consistent with the university's assessment plan (approved by NCA in 1996, and approved by the university's Academic Affairs Committee).
  • All departments are current with implementation of their assessment plans, and all plans include annual activities.
  • Findings from assessment are utilized in departmental planning and, through the deans, are also carried forward through the planning process at the college and university levels.

Evidence of this progress is found primarily in the Department Profiles, following in this section.

The university employed a number of measures, including allocation of resources, to accomplish, in just two years, full compliance with its assessment plan:

  • Each of the three colleges designated an Assessment Coordinator, at three credits of release time per semester. Coordinator duties and fall semester 2001 reports are in Appendix X. The coordinators report to their respective dean.
  • The Office of Institutional Research has been expanded to become the Office of Research and Assessment, and additional resources have been allocated to it.
  • Through the office of the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, funding is available to departments for external consultant reviewers.
  • Departmental five-year review schedules, including assessment, are required and are on-cycle.
  • The Academic Affairs Planning Committee published two booklets to assist departments in development of their five-year reviews, including assessment plans: "Summary of (the university's) Assessment Plan," and "Academic Program Review and Guidelines," prepared by the Academic Affairs Planning Committee, and approved by the six planning committees and the University and Executive Councils. These booklets provide step-by-step guidance to departments in developing their assessment plans and preparing their five-year reviews (Appendix --).

Evidentiary materials in this section:

  1. Quick-glance summary. by college, of department five-year review and assessment status.
  2. Quick-glance comparison of 2000 and 2002 department assessment status, by college.
  3. Department Profiles that include data about each department, and specific information regarding assessment activities, including assessment objectives and goals, the use of data collected, and external consultant review.
  4. Assessment of Liberal Education courses by the offering departments (this information is included in the department profiles).
  5. Graduate Studies Indirect Assessment
  6. University-Wide Indirect Assessment
    • Faculty and Student Technology Survey
    • Academic Integrity Survey
    • Academic Profile
  7. Assessment as "an institutional way of life": faculty, staff, and service department activities additional to on-going academic assessment.

The university's assessment plan was approved by NCA in 1996. Since then, the Office of Research and Assessment, the Academic Affairs Planning Committee, and the Deans have worked with departments and programs to develop and implement departmental assessment plans. At the NCA Spring 2000 site visit, approval and implementation of some department and program assessment plans were still in progress. Currently, every department has an assessment plan recommended by the Academic Affairs Planning Committee , and acted on by the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, in consultation with the academic deans. Recommendation for approval is contingent, in part, on on-going, annual assessment activities.

All academic departments are current in their review cycles, including on-going assessment. In addition, service departments are now on five-year review cycles, including assessment activities.

Culture of Assessment:

On-going, Annual Departmental Assessment Activities

At the time of the university's next scheduled accreditation review, 2009-2010, all departments should have completed at least two assessment and five-year review cycles. Departmental progress is monitored by the Office of Research and Assessment, which is developing an on-line departmental assessment portfolio web site (ISEEK). Departmental assessment activity is also monitored through a Mid-Cycle Report submitted to the dean (Appendix B in "Academic Program Review and Guidelines"), and the status of every department's five-year review is reported in the university's Data Book.

A. Summary by College of Departmental Five-Year Review and Assessment Status

This summary is in development; departments will be asked to proofread, comment on, and validate their information prior to the end of spring semester 2002.

B. Quick-Glance Comparison, 2000 to 2002, Department Assessment Status

This summary is in development; departments will be asked to proofread, comment on, and validate their information prior to the end of spring semester 2002.

C. Department Profiles, Arranged by College, Including Five-Year & Assessment Details

These summaries are in development; departments will be asked to proofread, comment on and validate their information prior to the end of spring semester 2002.

Department Profile Template

Name of Department: ___________________________

Department Profile Brochure from Admissions Office

From Bemidji State Data Book, 1996-2001 Averages

  • Degrees Granted:
  • Declared Majors:
  • Declared Minors:
  • Student FTE, Total On-Campus:

From the Records Office

  • Departmental Advisees, Fall 2001:
  • Liberal Education Courses Offered and Enrollment, Fall 2001

From Departments and Colleges: Assessment and Five-Year Review

The following items appear in the "Academic Program Review Guidelines" developed by the Academic Affairs Committee; the items are abbreviated here.

Appendix A (The Assessment Plan)

  • Date of Most Recent Five-Year Review:
  • Date Assessment Completed:
  • Date Next Five-Year Review Scheduled:
  • Questions to be answered by assessment activities:
  • Dimensions of Student Learning selected for assessment:
  • Student Learning Outcomes Assessed:
  • Assessment strategies to be used for indicating degree to which outcomes occurred and/or give names of measurement instruments:
  • Sources of data - i.e. sample of classes, courses, or students; number of persons who are majors, minors, or general education students:
  • Time Line for Implementation:
  • Assessment Plan:

Five-Year Report Guidelines, Appendix B (The Mid-Cycle Assessment Report)

  • Progress to date in accomplishing plan:
  • Knowledge gained about students from assessment results:
  • Enhancements the department has made based on the results:
  • Challenges (anticipated or unanticipated) that occurred related to assessment and how they were resolved:
  • Modifications (if any) to make to assessment plan, and explanation:

D. Liberal Education Assessment

  • Assessments carried out by the Director of Liberal Education
  • University-wide assessment: Academic Profile
  • Direct assessment of courses by programs
  • Forms for vetting courses
  • "Sunset" review of courses
  • Minnesota Transfer Curriculum
  • Director's attendance at assessment conferences

E. Graduate Studies

  • Indirect assessment: Exit surveys of students and committee members

F. University-wide Assessment Activities (excluding Liberal Education items referenced above):

  • Faculty and student technology survey
  • Academic integrity survey
  • Academic Profile
  • Noel-Levitz Student Opinion Survey follow-up
  • Consultant visits (Lopez and others)

G. Anecdotal Reports of Faculty, Staff & Department Assessment Activities

Departments, faculty and staff submitted items for this section. They are in development, and will be returned to the originators for comments and corrections.
  • Anecdotal descriptions from departments and faculty on assessment activities in addition to departmental assessment reported in five-year plans/studies.
  • Anecdotal descriptions from university and student services directors on assessment activities.


At the time of the NCA April 2000 visit to Bemidji State, the university had committed to the Experimental Planning Initiative, now called university planning, and was in the initial stages of implementation. Issues under discussion included the investiture of committee memberships, method of information flow and communication, issue and policy development, involvement of relevant parties in the planning process, and information feedback loops.

In 2002, the planning committees are functional. Evidentiary materials in this section:

  1. Status of the planning committees
  2. Status of the University Council and the Executive Council
  3. Status of the University Plan
  4. How the planning committees work
  5. Challenges in the planning process
  6. Exemplars: Examples of initiatives that navigated the planning process and are now operational.
  7. Planning Committee Profiles

A. The Planning Committees

Membership has been established and includes representation from relevant bargaining units and the student senate (APPENDIX --).

  • Co-chair positions are filled by a member elected from within each committee, and a dean.
  • Meetings are held on a regular basis (see minutes, Appendix __.
  • Protocols are in place for identifying and addressing university issues appropriate to each committee's charge.
  • A common document format is used to forward recommendations, strategies and activities to the next level, the University Council (Appendix --).
  • Recommendations from the planning committees are forwarded to the University Council.
  • Policy issues are forwarded to the University Council and then to the Executive Council and the President.
  • Minutes and relevant documents are posted regularly on a university web site, accessible from the university's home page.

B. The University Council and Executive Council

University Council

  • Membership is comprised of co-chairs from the planning committees; the vice president for academic and student affairs, and the vice president for administrative affairs serve as co-conveners.
  • Meetings are held weekly.
  • Policy recommendations of the Council are forwarded to the Executive Council.

Executive Council

  • Membership is comprised of the President; the Vice Presidents; the Deans; the Assistants to the President; and the Athletic Director.
  • Policy recommendations are forwarded to the President.

C. University Plan

A University Plan is in development, including Technology, and Campus Master/Financial Plans.

D. How the Planning Committees Work

This item is in development.
  • Where initiatives arise
  • Where they go and how they are acted on
  • The assessment feedback loop: integration of assessment and planning

E. Challenges in the planning process

Development of these items is in progress.
  • On-going evaluation of the planning process, including committee charges and membership
  • Relationship between planning process and bargaining units
  • Resources to drive initiatives

F. Exemplars: Examples of initiatives that navigated the planning process and are now operational.

Development of these items is in progress.
  • Revision and implementation of five-year reviews, including assessment; and publication of related booklets
  • First Year Experience
  • Restructuring of the distance education per credit charges

G. Planning Committee Profiles

The Planning Committees submitted information for these profiles; it is in development, and will be returned to the originators' committees for comments and corrections.


Development of this section is in progress.

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