For the past two years, faculty at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School in Wanakena, New York, have been working with education consultants from Pacific Crest, Inc. to improve the quality of their teaching, their courses, the curriculum, and the Ranger School program in general. The ultimate goal of such efforts is to improve the quality and enhance the success of the school's graduates. The faculty's formalized efforts to improve quality have been focused most recently on the design and implementation of a Program Assessment System (PAS). The PAS developed for the Ranger School clearly articulates the enduring mission of the school, prioritizes the five-year goals of the program, and explicitly states the key criteria that will be used to assess and improve student, faculty, staff, and program performance. Further, the PAS clearly indicates the measures that will be used to compare actual performance against the stated standards. Representatives from the faculty, staff, administration, and alumni participated in the design of the PAS since all were recognized as having critical influence over program quality. This team approach fostered the development of a modernized and shared sense of purpose and direction. Equally important, it provided the entire group with the means to measure and evaluate in the years ahead whether the increased program quality they seek is being achieved. This paper describes in more detail both the process used to design a PAS and the specific components and measures that became part of the Ranger School's PAS. If maintained, the PAS will, by design, provide the type of data, information, and self-assessment increasingly requested by external accrediting organizations, prospective students and their parents, alumni, and the public in general. Equally as exciting, it will continue to unite and propel the faculty, staff, and administration toward a shared mission, shared goals, and a collective desire for quality.
Savage, James M.
"Development of a program assessment system at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School : The process, early results, and anticipated benefits,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 9, Article 44.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol9/iss1/44