Policies & Regulations
Academic Affairs: Graduate School


Graduate Academic Learning Compact (GALC)
Number: 2.0053P
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New Policy

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Major Revision of Existing Policy

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Minor/Technical Revision of Existing Policy

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Reaffirmation of Existing Policy

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Repealed Policy

Effective Date: 8/1/2010
Revised Date:
Responsible Division/Department:
The Graduate School / Academic Affairs


  

A.        OBJECTIVE & PURPOSE

 

This policy identifies the minimum content of Graduate Academic Learning Compacts (GALC) at the University of North Florida. GALC is the new name for what was referred to as Graduate Learning Outcomes.  It articulates a sequence of steps that must be followed to ensure that GALCs reflect essential learning outcomes, that they are kept up to date, that they are assessed on a regular, recurring basis, and that the results of their assessment inform continuous program improvement. The purpose is to ensure clear communication to students of graduate program learning outcomes and their means of assessment, and to ensure continuous review and improvement of program quality.

B.        STATEMENT OF POLICY

Each graduate academic major offered by the University of North Florida and listed on the State University System Academic Degree Inventory will have a published Graduate Academic Learning Compact (GALC) which can be viewed by students and other interested parties. This publicly available GALC will clearly articulate:   

  1. learning outcomes for program graduates. These outcomes must address, at a minimum, content/discipline-specific knowledge, knowledge of the literature of the discipline, and ability to engage in independent learning or scholarship, and demonstration of intermediate to advanced level professional skills. Additional outcomes should be considered in areas such as communication, independent learning, and critical thinking skills;
  2. a list of the types of assessments that students might encounter in the program and that faculty will use to judge how student learning reflects the expected outcomes, and with a clear indication of the alignment between the types of assessments and the learning outcome(s) for which they provide evidence. 

In addition, the internally available portion of the GALC will contain:

  1. a program mission statement;
  2. a curriculum map that demonstrates how program instructional content supports student attainment of the identified outcomes.
  3. a plan for a four year cycle of assessment that includes assessment and continuous improvement of each outcome based on the results of the most recent assessment. 

It is the responsibility of the academic departments to ensure that each GALC is kept up-to-date and to create a GALC for each new graduate program proposal.

  

C.        STATEMENT OF PROCEDURES

The following procedures will be used in implementing this policy:   

  1. New program proposals must be accompanied by a draft GALC for the program. These GALCs will be reviewed and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. 
      
  2. As faculty change programs of study or make other curricular modifications within a major through the APC process they are obligated to update the corresponding GALC as appropriate. 
      
  3. Assessments must include external validation of student or program-graduate accomplishments. In this context, external validation means assessment that goes beyond a faculty member grading the work completed by a student in a course he or she taught. External validation might include a departmental faculty committee review of student work (e.g., graduate thesis, dissertation, or capstone project) completed in a capstone course. External validation could also mean students taking a national or state examination in their respective discipline or certification or licensure examinations. Except in unusual and well-justified circumstances, course grades may not be used as evidence of learning.
      
  4. Faculty will implement and review the results of the assessments listed in the GALC on a cyclical basis, with some outcomes assessed each year, with each outcome assessed at least every four years, and with a plan for and results of a continuous improvement process for each outcome documented on an ongoing basis.
      
  5. Data from those outcomes assessed each year as well as information on how the data will be used for continuous improvement shall be reported annually.
      
  6. Faculty teaching in the major will use the results of the assessments identified in the GALC during their respective program reviews in determining program effectiveness. The results from the GALCs will also be used in meeting SACS standards. 
      
  7. The Dean of the Graduate School, in collaboration with The Executive Director of Assessment, will conduct a yearly audit to ensure that complete and updated GALCs are posted on the UNF website. 
      
  8. When appropriate, faculty may use outcomes developed for professional accrediting bodies as part of their GALCs. If these do not include all of the key elements required in a GALC, they must be supplemented with outcomes addressing the missing areas (e.g., communication, critical thinking). 
      
  9. When appropriate, faculty may use assessment systems developed for professional accrediting bodies as part of their GALCs. If these assessment systems do not include all of the required elements (e.g., external validation) they must be supplemented to include the missing element(s).