Takeaways from Eduventures Annual Member Meeting

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Now that the Eduventures team has returned to its Boston office—and you all have returned to your respective colleges and universities across the country—we want to reflect on some of the big takeaways from our SOE-LC sessions at the Annual Member Meeting.

Social media, websites, and the course catalogue are crucial to connecting with your students.

According to Eduventures student preferences research, potential students rely primarily on your institution’s website and online course catalogue to gather information and, ultimately, make a decision about where to invest in their own education. Accordingly, it is essential that your SOE website engage students, be easy to navigate, and provide essential details about program requirements, cost, and application procedures. Not only is your online presence important to potential students—it’s important to current students and alumni! Check out this infographic for an overview of how higher education has used social media to its advantage, or learn about the front-runners in the use of social media from StudentAdvisor’s rankings.

SOE-LC alumni of teacher preparation programs do feel prepared for the professional challenges they face in the classroom. Art Levine and Arne Duncan have gotten great mileage out of their “62% of teacher education alumni believe that SOEs don’t prepare graduates for classroom realities” statistic, which is drawn from a 2006 research report. Meanwhile, preliminary analysis of Eduventures’ 2012 Annual Alumni Survey suggests a different reality. Indeed, 88% of SOE-LC members’ alumni feel that their initial teacher education program prepared them to be a successful teacher.  (Be sure to join our webinar on October 24 when we discuss the findings in more detail!)

While this finding doesn’t mean SOEs are perfect, it does suggest that many SOEs are able to provide strong preparation for future teachers. With continued investment and commitment to refining program portfolios, addressing student needs and supporting faculty innovation, SOEs can continue to offer valuable, rigorous and thorough preparation for their students in a multitude of fields.

Assessment and outcomes data is valuable for purposes other than accreditation. Many SOEs find the accreditation process draining. Across our membership, institutions report pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the accreditation process, hiring dozens of new employees to support the work, and juggling multiple methods of measurement to negotiate the demands of different accrediting bodies. SOEs are not alone—earlier this month the American Council on Education released a report making recommendations on how to streamline the accreditation process for all types of colleges and universities. Although many feel the report does not take a sufficiently critical approach (its recommendations seem to work within the current system, as opposed to break it down), the report does offer some thought-provoking insights about how to streamline the accreditation process.

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For those of you who were able to attend our AMM session “Making Use of Assessment Data,” you heard from our member-panelists about the ways in which they have used assessment data to support faculty work in program revision, communicate with external (i.e., non-university) stakeholders, and collaborate with district school administrators. Hopefully, their comments enabled you to think outside the box and discover ways in which you might maximize your R.O.I. in assessment. The SOE-LC team will continue its research in this area, with a focus on what SOEs are currently doing to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their assessment and outcomes data collection.

As always, we welcome any and all feedback you have about the meeting. Please share any thoughts on what worked and what didn’t with your client services advisor. You can submit specific feedback for an individual session via survey on the AMM website, and download any of the reports here.