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					Table of Contents
EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS REVIEW PRODUCTION TEAM ............................................ III

INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 1


   CONTEXTUAL FRAME ......................................................................................................................................... 2
   DEFINING UNIVERSITY PURPOSE AND IDENTITY ................................................................................................ 3
   PLANNING FOR A UNIQUE UNIVERSITY .............................................................................................................. 5
   DEVELOPMENT OF THE ACADEMIC PLAN...................................................................................................................... 5
   REFLECTIONS ...................................................................................................................................................... 7


   IMPROVING TEACHING AND LEARNING ............................................................................................................. 8
       Development and Systematic Alignment of Learning Outcomes .................................................................. 9
       Program Assessment ................................................................................................................................... 10
       Assessment in General Education ............................................................................................................... 10
       Assessment of English ................................................................................................................................. 11
       Assessment of Math .................................................................................................................................... 12
       Assessment of Community Service .............................................................................................................. 14
       Information Technology Assessment .......................................................................................................... 15
       Program Assessment in the Major .............................................................................................................. 16
       International Business Administration (IBA/BA): ........................................................................................ 17
       Journalism Program .................................................................................................................................... 18
       Program Reviews ........................................................................................................................................ 18
       General Findings.......................................................................................................................................... 19
       Improvements in (IST): ................................................................................................................................ 19
       Development of New Programs .................................................................................................................. 21
   RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP IN TEACHING AND LEARNING. ......................................................................... 22
   REFLECTIONS .................................................................................................................................................... 23

STUDENT LEARNING ....................................................................................................... 25

   DEVELOPING AN ENGAGED AND COMMITTED FACULTY ................................................................................. 26
   FACULTY RECRUITMENT ......................................................................................................................................... 26

                                                                                                               USIU EE Report                                Page i
   FACULTY DEVELOPMENT ........................................................................................................................................ 27
   FACULTY RESEARCH ............................................................................................................................................... 28
   BALANCING RESOURCES .................................................................................................................................. 29
   REFLECTIONS .................................................................................................................................................... 32


   GOVERNANCE .................................................................................................................................................. 33
   COMMUNICATION ........................................................................................................................................... 37
   REFLECTIONS .................................................................................................................................................... 38
   MILESTONES .................................................................................................................................................... 40
   CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS ......................................................................................................................... 41

REFERENCES ................................................................................................................... 42

APPENDIX A: WASC RECOMMENDATIONS AND RESPONSES ............................................ 43

APPENDIX B: LIST OF EXHIBITS ........................................................................................ 44

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                  Educational Effectiveness Review Production Team

   The Educational Effectiveness Review Production Team constitutes three groups, i.e., the
   Steering Committee, the Educational Effectiveness Committee and the Report Writing
       The Steering Committee is responsible for the overall effectiveness of education at
          USIU, directing the sourcing of information and guiding the report writing process.
       The Educational Effectiveness Committee spearheads the self study based on the
          university mission and the specific goals and outcomes identified.
       The Report Writing Team responsible for reviewing exhibits, compiling information,
          and writing the report.

Educational Effectiveness Committee

Director, CELT                                  Director, RAPD
MR. ISAIAH CHERUTICH                           MR. MOSES ONYANGO
Coordinator – Journalism                       Coordinator – International Relations
Coordinator - Foreign Languages                Coordinator – Psychology
DR. DAMARY SIKALIEH                            DR. TOM ONDITI
Coordinator – Business & Management            Coordinator – General Education
DR. GEORGE ACHOKI                              MR. PATRICK MULINDI
Coordinator – Accounting                       Coordinator – Hospitality: Hotel, Restaurant
DR. SYLVESTER NAMUYE                           and Tourism Management
Coordinator –                                  DR. MUREJ M’ OCHIENG
Information Systems Technology                 Full time Faculty Representative (SAS)
MR. ROBERT ONSARIGO                            MS. DOREEN ALUSA
Dean, Student Affairs                          Adjunct Faculty Representative (SAS)
MR. GEORGE LUMBASI                             MR. GEOFFREY GITOGO
Head of Admissions                             IT Manager
Senior Librarian                               Full time Faculty Representative (SOB)
                               MR. JAMES KYONDO (SOB)
                               Part Time Faculty

                                                                  USIU EE Report              Page iii
Steering Committee

   Prof. Freida Brown – VC               Prof. Mathew Buyu – DVCAA
   Mr. Eric Outa – DVCA                  Ms. Rita Asunda – DVCSA
   Mr. Joseph Kimote – IDP               Prof. James Kahindi – SAS
   Prof. Joseph Kimura – SBA             Prof. Angelina Kioko – CELT
                     Dr. Francis Wambalaba - ALO

Report Writing Team

Prof. Frieda Brown, VC                   Prof. Mathew Buyu, DVCAA
Francis Wambalaba (ALO)                  Angelina Kioko (CELT)
Damary Sikalieh – SBA                    Tom Onditi – SAS

                                                         USIU EE Report   Page iv

This Educational Effectiveness Report (EER) was approved to follow the guidelines of the WASC
(2001) Handbook of Accreditation since the preparation for this report was in its final stages
prior to the July 2008 revisions. This report is the result of university-wide involvement in the
educational effectiveness process. Faculty took the lead in the development of a learning
centered environment guided by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT).
These activities included development of learning outcomes, program assessments and
program reviews. The Educational Effectiveness Committee assisted CELT in the development
of support materials and review of the quality assurance documents. CELT also engaged the
rest of the university community in determining their role in the Educational Effectiveness
process. All documentation was then collected and drafts prepared by the writing team. The
draft documents will undergo review by the faculty, management and Board and final copies
will be disseminated to the university community through electronic media as well as be
housed in the library.

United States International University (USIU) began this process in 2003 with the Institutional
Proposal to be considered as a “separately accreditable unit” of Alliant International University
in San Diego, California. In order to demonstrate its ability to operate independently, USIU was
required to use the comprehensive model. Although USIU had been recognized by the Kenyan
government as an independent university through its charter in 1999, it was determined that a
comprehensive review would allow for a more thorough assessment of the university’s
processes and systems since the university met the criteria for operational independence.

At the time of the Capacity and Preparatory Review (CPR) Report in 2004, USIU was in the
process of separating from Alliant to become a free standing, independent institution and
therefore sought initial accreditation from WASC. This was granted and the university followed
the same comprehensive model for initial accreditation as an independent university. The CPR
Report therefore described the progress of the university in meeting the four standards
through a series of reflective essays. This EE Report continues to use the comprehensive model
and incorporates the initial areas identified in the Institutional Proposal and builds on the CPR
Report as well as responds to the recommendations made during the Special Site Visit of 2006
and subsequent WASC Action Letter.

Since the EE Report is to substantiate the university’s “deep engagement and analysis of
educational effectiveness,” the university has prepared four analytical essays that build on each
other to demonstrate how “well the quality assurance processes are working, and ways those
processes have led to further improvement (WASC, 2001).” This is followed by an integrative
essay that will summarize the reflections made in the individual essays and draw conclusions.
Appendix A will contain responses to the specific recommendations made in the Special Site
Team Report and WASC Action Letter. Wherever possible these responses will be incorporated
into the analytical essays. Appendix B provides a list of exhibits to support claims made in the
report. The exhibits are provided in electronic format.

The EE Report covers points of inquiry from all four standards in the four essays. As an

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institution that operates outside of the United States, the first essay, Becoming an Independent
University, provides a brief contextual framework for the reviewers and then focuses on the
issues of purpose and identity. This essay examines the extent to which the university has
transitioned into an independent entity with educational outcomes that contribute to the
development of an effective academic environment. Moreover, the purpose of the university
must be couched within the context of an emerging nation with rapidly changing higher
education needs.

The second analytical essay, Developing a Learning Centered Environment, focuses on the
educational effectiveness process and outcomes, which forms the core of the EE Report. The
evolution of the quality assurance process along with examples of assessments and program
reviews of selected programs illustrate the progress made in determining student learning and
implications for improvements. This essay also stresses the role of research in enhancing
teaching and learning.

The third essay, Supporting Student Learning, explores the use of resources for developing a
learning centered environment. Faculty development and compensation, staff utilization, as
well as fiscal and physical resources are among the resources discussed in this section.

The fourth essay, Developing Organizational Structures Committed to Learning, discusses how
governance and the decision-making structures have evolved to improve communication across
the constituencies of the university to enhance the learning environment.

Finally, the fifth essay, Integrative Essay: Zingatio (Reflections) summarizes and integrates the
four essays to produce a comprehensive overview of the impact of the entire accreditation
review process on the development of USIU toward becoming a more effective academic
institution. Recommendations are provided on the way forward.

Appendix A briefly responds to the recommendations made in the Special Visit Team Report of
November 2006 and the WASC Action Letter of February 2007. Therefore, this appendix will
focus on communication across the campus, shared governance, planning, and assessment.
The specific recommendations are posed, the status of the university in meeting these
recommendations is discussed and where applicable the reviewer is redirected to the
appropriate content in the body of the report.


When USIU began the accreditation review process in 2003, Kenya was in a state of euphoria
following the election of 2002 and the transition from the 24 year Moi regime to the new
National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (NARC) that heralded in the promise of change and
economic prosperity. Five years later, as we prepared our EE Report, we are recovering from
the election of 2007. The allegations of rigging and a failed election process that resulted in
violent ethnic clashes have changed the image of Kenya as a beacon of peace and stability in
the horn of Africa to one of instability, rebellion and unpredictability.

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The formation of the Coalition Government in response to the conflict has had significant
impact on education in Kenya. The number of ministries increased from 32 to 42 and the
Ministry of Education was divided into Education which oversees basic education and Higher
Education, Science and Technology which now manages universities and tertiary institutions.
Campaign promises abounded and free secondary education was implemented as a result. This
change, coupled with the implementation of free primary education following the 2002
election, has resulted in projections that by the year 2015 the government plans to increase
university enrollments from 130,000 to 450,000 rather than the normal growth rate of about
6% (Ministry of Education, 2007).

Already public universities have been mandated to double their intake of government
sponsored students this academic year to 20,000 up from the 10,000 in 2003. In order to
accomplish this, technical colleges within most of the eight provinces have been converted to
university colleges of the various public universities. The Commission for Higher Education
(CHE) has also been granted the authority to approve post secondary level institutions for
collaboration with local and foreign universities to produce university level programs. There
has also been a rapid expansion of private universities; chartered institutions now number ten
almost double the number five years ago. Currently, most public universities have more self-
sponsored students than government ones in Modular Two programs which compete directly
with the private sector and continue to operate outside the accreditation process.

Because of this rapid expansion, quality has become a major factor for those seeking higher
education and even more so for the employer. This rapidly changing environment coupled with
pressure to meet increasing demands for higher education has exacerbated many of the
problems presented in earlier reports especially hiring of new faculty. The rapid and sometimes
unpredictable societal transitions in Kenya make it difficult to determine USIU’s “relationship to
society at large” other than as a learning institution that must be prepared for change. Having
a clear sense of purpose and direction can only help to guide the institution during these times.

The Special Visit Team and the WASC Action Letter of February 27, 2007 pointed to the need for
the university to begin to determine its own character, identity and role within higher
education in East Africa and beyond. The rapidly changing educational environment in Kenya
too has required that USIU take a very critical look at the type of institution it is and will be.
Consequently, the vision, mission and outcomes of the university were critically examined in
numerous discussions with faculty, staff, students and the board. The views and opinions were
as far reaching as the original vision to be “the premier institution of academic excellence in
East Africa with a global perspective.” Even the name of the institution was debated including
the pros and cons of the inclusion of United States. Questions included: What does it mean to
be premier? What constitutes academic excellence? Are we “the” premier institution or “a”
premier institution? Should our benchmarks be local, regional or global? Have we reached our
vision and is it time to expand it?

In exploring its identity USIU has had to resist the pressure to be like other institutions opening
satellite campuses, expanding into other areas of the country as well as other regions. The

                                                                USIU EE Report            Page 3
general consensus has been that in order to meet our vision of an academic institution of
excellence, we must direct university resources toward making sure that this campus is a center
of excellence. However, it was decided that the university’s vision should extend beyond the
region and the university should be recognized internationally as an institution of quality.
Discussions concluded that premier means having outstanding faculty that are competent and
productive in their fields, competitive students, and leadership that is accountable. We wanted
to identify with the continent yet benchmark ourselves globally. The vision was therefore
redrafted to read: “USIU-Africa will be a premier institution of academic excellence with a
global perspective.”

Once the vision was recast the next step in defining the purpose of the university was to
consider our mission and educational outcomes. The faculty took the lead in reexamining our
mission and outcomes. Some modifications were made although not radical. It was agreed that
the mission statement would remain intact; however, an additional educational outcome that
focused on leadership and ethics was proposed by management and later adopted by faculty. It
was felt that in light of the enduring leadership crises and the various corruption scandals in the
country, an important outcome would be to assess the extent to which leadership and ethics
were inculcated in our graduates. Being based in an emerging nation there is an even stronger
need to have educational outcomes that can contribute to the development of the country.
Moreover, leadership and ethics were already included in the learning outcomes of several
programs. A more detailed description of the process of educational effectiveness and the
educational outcomes is presented in Analytical Essay Two: Developing a Learning Centered

The faculty also decided it was necessary to review our values and state them succinctly as this
would further define the character and purpose of the university. They originally generated
nine core values which later came to management who then collapsed them to five:

     1. Lifelong learning: Developing a learning culture in the university that continues
        throughout a person’s life time
     2. Integrity: ensuring the pursuit of excellence within the university by upholding
        professional and ethical standards and being accountable.
     3. Innovativeness: Introducing new methods and strategies that ensure quality,
        efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.
     4. Social responsibility: providing leadership in responding to issues of national and global
        concern through collaborative efforts.
     5. Academic freedom: upholding the spirit of free and critical thought and enquiry,
        through open exchange of ideas and knowledge.

Over the last two years the university has asked itself numerous questions and is beginning to
answer those questions as a community. A very silent question that became glaring following
the post election violence this year was the role of universities in the community. Many
universities faced hostile reactions from the communities where they were based because of
ethnic conflicts. The vulnerability and interconnectedness of the university to the community
became very apparent during the post election conflict. While we attributed our community
service educational outcome as one of the contributing factors to lack of conflict with our

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neighbors; we wanted to explore and redefine our role within our surrounding community. The
role of USIU in the community needed to be more than a series of one time projects that made
minimal impact but rather long term sustained programs that could truly make a difference in
the lives of individuals and families in a selected catchment area. Institutions in the
neighborhood were organized to meet this objective which now contributes to our value of
social responsibility and our outcome of community service.

As mentioned in the university plan of response in May, 2007; the university views the
university-wide planning process as a vehicle for redefining its character and identity within the
higher education community. The Special Visit Report cautioned that the university needed to
give itself enough time for a “truly consultative and iterative process of strategic planning.”
Further, that the “overlap in timing between the new strategic planning process and the WASC
Educational Effective Review could prove stressful. Consequently, during the meeting with
WASC in August 2007, it was agreed that this process would be delayed in light of the need to
further educate the university community especially the faculty on the educational
effectiveness process.

Nevertheless, the university has begun the process by reviewing its 2002-2007 Strategic Plan at
the divisional level, and rolling over that plan for another academic year (Exhibit 1.1: Annual
Plan AY07/08). The Board went through a planning process in December 2006 that set the
direction for the university with the establishment of four overarching goals: Reputation as a
Premier Global University & for Academic Excellence, Organizational Excellence, Fiscal Health,
and Excellent Facilities and Communications Technology Infrastructure.

As described above, the university vision, mission, outcomes, values and overarching goals have
been reviewed. These were also essential elements in beginning the educational effectiveness
cycle as well as setting the stage for both academic and strategic planning. As part of
developing an effective educational institution, USIU’s strategy was to first develop an
academic plan which was primarily designed to meet the university’s vision and mission but
also took into account, standards for the accrediting organizations such as WASC and CHE. The
Academic Plan will in turn be embedded in the new University’s Strategic plan (2008 – 2013).
And since the academic plan which has been aligned to the WASC standards constitutes the
backbone of the university’s strategic plan, it too by default is therefore aligned to the WASC

Development of the Academic Plan
The context of the academic plan was based on seven core components, i.e., Academic
Assessment, Program Development, Faculty Development, Academic Research, Support
Services, Finance, Facilities and Equipment and External Factors (See Figure 1 below).

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Figure 1:

While advancing the university’s vision and mission, the academic plan also strives to meet the
requirements of both accrediting bodies Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
and the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) and other future accreditations. For example,
in the WASC institutional proposal, we planned to align our strategic plan with the WASC
standards. Therefore specific applicable standards and their respective criteria for review (CFRs)
have been referenced in the following subsection.

The last WASC special review visit in 2006 noted that USIU had always operated from a
Strategic Plan; however, structured community wide review of the plan had not been put in
place. The WASC team recommended the need for an open, transparent, and consultative
process to build on the existing university’s strategic plan.

In order to address the critical issues in Educational Effectiveness, the special visit team
recognized the need for the development of a comprehensive academic plan and a
comprehensive plan for assessing student learning outcomes at all levels. This engendered the
need for effective institutional research; reflection on the data, participative systematic
planning, and effective engagement with student learning outcomes and other assessment
data. WASC recommendations resonated well with USIU’s intended actions at the time towards
increased efficiency. Consultative meetings and retreats were held consistently since the last
WASC special visit to lay the framework for the development of a strategic plan for Academic

The setting of the strategic goals by the Board in 2006 was followed by a more comprehensive
academic affairs strategic planning process that involved the university academic community.
The goals were shared with the academic council and spearheaded by a team of faculty with

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 6
expertise in strategic planning with the view that the academic plan will be used as a
foundation for the subsequent university planning process. The Faculty and student body too
discussed these goals at various meetings in order to support the strategic planning process for
the development of a strategic plan for Academic Affairs (CFRs 4.1, 4.2, & 4.3).

Academic planning activities will continue into the Fall Semester 08 and an acceptable plan will
be ready in time for the start of the university-wide 5 year strategic planning exercise in
October. The process has been a learning-curve, largely because of lack of proper institutional
experience in academic planning, dearth of local expertise, and unavailability of planning tools.
Moreover there are no local models to emulate, since Kenyan universities produce strategic but
not academic plans. USIU has had to adopt elements from American models that operate in a
different planning environment. A valuable lesson learnt from the exercise so far is that
effective gathering and management of institutional and external data is absolutely essential to
academic planning. Considerable time has been spent on the retrieval and in some cases
reconstruction of data for planning. The current Institutional Research Office is now operating
as a more efficient repository for university data.

Over the past five years USIU has transitioned from being a campus of an American based
university to an independent free standing institution. USIU has begun to exercise its
independence and establish its own identity and character. The university community has
struggled with the type of institution we want to create…neither American nor Kenyan. We
have an opportunity to create an institution of distinction encompassing the best of both
structures. Even CHE has acquiesced to our demands to have a governance structure succinctly
different from other universities in the country; they recognize our uniqueness. The university
community often comments that we are different from other institutions (Exhibit 1.2: Faculty
Views on Uniqueness). We are refining and categorizing these differences into a distinct new

As we evolve, it will be incumbent upon all constituencies to assure that being different
translates into quality. Going through the educational effectiveness process and receiving
positive feedback on our efforts from the region have motivated the faculty and helped to build
confidence. The past symbiotic relationship with the parent campus in many ways created a
dependent relationship when it came to the purpose, identity, curriculum and governance of
the university. It has taken time to educate faculty on the educational effectiveness process, to
get their commitment to implement the process and to build the confidence that drives them
to work through the intricacies of the process.

Many are beginning to understand that through this quality assurance process, the university
will be able to meet its vision, mission and educational objectives. We have begun to
institutionalize the process that will define USIU as an institution of academic excellence, that
develops new models for learning, distinct programs and competitive graduates that meet the
needs of a rapidly changing world. The character of the university is gradually changing. The
path to that state of excellence is viewed as the educational effectiveness process which will
transform the university into a learning centered environment. The next essay describes this
transformational process.

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 7

This essay focuses on the educational effectiveness process and outcomes, which forms the
core of the EE Report. The evolution of the quality assurance process along with examples of
assessments and program reviews of selected programs provide examples of the progress
made in determining student learning and implications for improvements. The essay also
stresses the role of research in assuring faculty development, relevance of programs and
student learning.

USIU had a nascent concept of educational effectiveness when the Institutional Proposal was
drafted in 2003. The most salient feature for the university in the 2001 WASC Handbook of
Accreditation was that whatever the focus, it should be of significance to the institution,
promote student learning and be institutionalized. Comments from the faculty, anecdotal
information, and simple studies pointed to the need for exploring three themes:
     Improving undergraduate English, Math & Computer Skills,
     Assessing the Community Service Program, and
     Assessing the quality of our graduates.

Our initial approach was to analyze the structures in place for monitoring student learning;
these were placement tests, remedial classes, a Writing Lab, and the course file system. Slight
modifications of these existing systems would permit the assessment of student learning in the
first two themes that were program based while standardized surveys of graduates and
employers would assist with the last theme: assessing the quality of graduates. The efficient
use of existing mechanisms by introducing pre and post tests to determine student
improvement following remedial classes and writing labs would be easy to institutionalize.
Moreover, since students were already writing papers on their experiences during Community
Service, an analysis of this information and a survey of organizations and communities they
served would facilitate this assessment. The course file system had been devised to track the
teaching and learning activities for a given course during any semester in order to ensure the
instruction process was complete, learning objectives were met, and university procedures
were followed (Exhibit 2.1: Efforts to Improve Course File). This would allow for a systematic
review of course outcomes. Furthermore, the Academic Affairs Division had already planned for
English Improvement Workshops in the 2002/2006 Strategic Plan that would provide strategies
for improving writing skills among the students.

These structures and processes together with the Educational Effectiveness Committee, at the
start of the re-accreditation process, formed the backbone of the original approach to EE. The
initial plan was to use the faculty who were already familiar with the process to introduce
change, and many of our early achievements in EE stemmed from activities in these areas. No
models of educational effectiveness formed the bases of our foray into educational
effectiveness only an understanding of the problems that our students had to surmount to be
competitive in an environment where unemployment was averaging 56%.

Numerous workshops later, the CPR Report (March, 2005) and Special Visit Report (November,

                                                             USIU EE Report           Page 8
2006) revealed the need to revamp the entire process to meet WASC Standards for a university
wide coordinated approach to EE. This was strengthened further by the recommendation of
the Special Visit Report of November 2006 that the university “create a Center for Teaching and
Learning charged with developing a sustained program of faculty development on educational
issues, including student learning outcomes assessment (CFR 3.4).” The Center for Excellence in
Learning and Teaching (CELT) was formed in response to this recommendation (Exhibit2.2-:
CELT Terms of Reference).

Under the leadership of CELT, the Educational Effectiveness Committee was re-established with
university wide representation, and set forth to develop processes that would ensure
widespread engagement of the university community in EE activities (Exhibit 2.3: EE
Committee). As a precursor, CELT organized intensive faculty development workshops using
external consultants from the United States who taught faculty the Outcomes Based
Assessment of Learning (OBALA) approach and supported their efforts in the development of
learning outcomes, curriculum alignment, and design of program assessment plans. These
workshops were also avenues to disseminate the exciting pedagogical approaches in courses or
programs that were ahead in the assessment of student learning. (Exhibit 2.4: Faculty
Development Workshops)

Once outcome based learning and assessment was understood the next step was to tackle the
program review process. Although the university had begun a program review process, it did
not meet WASC expectations. The CELT and the EE Committee revised the guidelines for
program review and program assessment to meet WASC standards (Exhibit 2.5: Guidelines to
Program Assessment and Program Review). Since the earlier program reviews did not fit this
model; two (IST & Psychology) of the initial four program reviews were revised using the new
criterion. The new guidelines also described the procedure for program assessment that had
not been a component of the university quality assurance process. The results of these two
reviews are presented later in this essay. Now that most of the faculty were beginning to
understand this new process, it was time to apply the learning so the process moved from
preparation of learning outcomes to alignment.

Development and Systematic Alignment of Learning Outcomes
At the onset of faculty workshops, the faculty were not explicitly aware of how degree
programs contributed to the achievement of school goals or to university mission outcomes. In
fact the school goals had not been clearly articulated neither were they aligned to university
educational outcomes; therefore, it was not feasible to assess student learning. This was also
one of the recommendations of the Special Visit report to “identify and harmonize learning
outcomes and objectives at the individual student, course, program and institutional levels
(CFRs 2.2, 2.4).” A series of workshops resulted in the development of school and program
learning outcomes (PLOs) for all the degree and general education programs which were linked
to the institutional learning outcomes. These outcomes are already posted on the USIU
website; included in the new university catalog; used in new faculty orientation meetings and
used in the design of course syllabi (Exhibit 2.6: PLOs for all Programs).

The next step toward harmonization was to ensure alignment of all learning outcomes. As a
result of this very enlightening process, faculty began to see content overlaps, sequencing

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problems, redundant courses, and gaps in the curriculum. One example is the Journalism
Program which used this process to refine the curriculum at the end of the first cycle of
program assessment (See details below).         The alignment of curriculum to the learning
outcomes has become a cyclic process and has generated engaging and stimulating
conversations. As such, although the programs have their alignment matrices, many are still
undergoing revisions (Exhibit 2.7: Curriculum Alignment Matrices). Nevertheless, all programs
finalized the alignments and moved to the program assessment phase.

Program Assessment
The program assessment process has progressively evolved from the Institutional Proposal that
focused on the assessment of four areas in general education to the assessment of all
programs. In fact, programmatic assessment of student learning embracing all the degree
programs at USIU has just gone through the first cycle (AY2007/2008). This is consistent with
the recommendation of the Special Visit team to “develop and implement a comprehensive
plan for assessment of student learning outcomes at all levels (CFRs 4.4).” While very keen to
implement the changes proposed at the end of this very intensive process, it is also important
to evaluate and document the process to ensure improvement before embarking on the second
cycle during AY2008/2009. This documentation will also provide guidelines so that the process
will become institutionalized rather than personalized.

The program assessment process has been quite involving, but it has also been rewarding in
many ways. For example, the analysis of students reports during the International Relations
program assessment revealed two things: there was widespread plagiarism, and also indicated
that some of the students were not getting relevant experience during the internship period.
Thus, the coordinator of the International Relations program had this to say about the
achievements in his program:

       The International Relations students will get attachments in Organizations dealing with
       International Relations relevant issue areas: foreign policy, diplomacy, security
       strategies, peace, conflict and conflict resolution, and development… All faculty
       members will be expected to be ‘Turn-it-in’ literate and plagiarism will be dealt with
       once and for all. The program is expected to produce competent students: high quality
       term papers, project papers and theses. (Moses Onyango, Coordinator International

The following sub-sections present the results of our assessment efforts in general education as
proposed in the Institutional Proposal and two examples, one from each school, of assessment
in the degree programs.

Assessment in General Education
The original university mission outcomes were derived in 1992 by the San Diego campus and
adopted by the Africa campus. Interestingly, a review of literature revealed that over a hundred
universities and colleges have used similar outcomes as general education learning outcomes
( This review therefore
supports our original decision to base the general education learning outcomes on these
university mission outcomes; thus, an assessment of general education learning outcomes

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constitutes an assessment at the institutional level.

Prior to the development of the general education PLOs, the Institutional Proposal focused on
assessment and improvement of student skills in English, Math and Information Technology;
and the impact of the Community Service program. These areas were initially identified based
on widespread faculty dissatisfaction with the quality of students’ writing and quantitative skills
and the need to evaluate our impact on the community. These two proposals were based on
the university mission outcomes of literacy and community service.

Our investigations sought to answer the following questions:
    What are the students’ English, math and information technology skill levels at
    What do the placement tests results reveal about students’ strengths and weaknesses in
       these basic skills?
    What kind of remedial programs do we need to design and implement to address these
    How will we know that the programs designed are effective in addressing the identified
    How will we ascertain that our students have attained adequate levels of writing,
       quantitative and computer competencies to compete effectively in the job market?

The findings from these investigations are presented below.

Assessment of English
An analysis comparing students’ high school English grades and their performance showed that
35% of students with KCSE English scores of C+ or better failed the placement test (Exhibit 2.8:
Analysis of High School Scores). An item analysis of the placement tests revealed grammar and
vocabulary as the areas that needed emphasis in the remedial classes. The same placement
exam was given as a posttest following the remedial classes; over 80% of the students
registered improvements with the central tendency measures falling within 60%, the placement
test pass mark (Exhibit 2.9: 2006 English Report). However, students passing the remedial
course with a grade of C or better still needed support in written communication skills. The
weak area continued to be sentence structure and vocabulary.

Analysis of students’ essays in ENG2206 further revealed that many of the transfer students
initially exempted from the English placement test, and sometimes given credit transfer for
ENG1106 were having similar difficulties in the second English course. A cross sectional study
comparing students’ writing skills at entry (FYE 1010) and at exit (SEN4800) indicated that
students were not significantly different in their written communication skills. (Exhibit 2.10: GE,
2008 Assessment Report). However, an analysis of the admissions scores in English over the
past four years suggests that the English skills of students have progressively improved from an
average of 3.1 in 2003 to 3.45 in 2006. This suggests that new students’ English scores have
improved over time; however, continuing students English skills may have remained constant.
Only a longitudinal study can only verify this supposition.

Other observations during the English Improvement Workshops held with the faculty from both

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 11
schools who teach writing based courses indicated a great variation in grading among the
faculty because of lack of common standards. In these workshops faculty also observed
significant differences in the content of course syllabi in different sections of the same course,
and therefore saw the need to harmonize the content and examinations in the two English

Response to Findings: In response to the findings of these assessments several improvements
have been effected in the English program. At present all the students admitted to the
undergraduate program, including transfer students, take the placement test on the first day of
orientation, and those who miss it during the orientation are required to do it within their first
semester. Thus students’ writing needs are identified and addressed early. Faculty teaching
English are also required to give a diagnostic essay during the first class, to identify students
who still need writing support, so that they can be referred to the language support unit. In
addition, the remedial class syllabus has been revised to respond to the writing needs revealed
by the analysis of pre-tests and post-tests, and the faculty teaching these classes have
continued to hold conversations over the analyses in order to update their content and

Working together faculty developed common templates for the three English courses
(ENG0999, ENG1106, and ENG2206). These templates ensure that there is development in
terms of the skills covered in the two required English courses while allowing faculty flexibility
in the choice of assessment items and organization of the content among other things. When
the templates were prepared it was evident that the course text for ENG2206 was not
appropriate; subsequently, the faculty evaluated a number of textbooks and selected a new
text for ENG2206. The common templates and the shared understanding of approaches to the
development of the desired writing skills resulting from the English Improvement workshops
gave the English faculty a head-start in the development of course learning outcomes for the
three English courses. With the course learning outcomes in place, the faculty developed essay
grading standards and these formed a starting point in the development of rubrics to assess
students’ literacy essays later in the assessment process (Exhibit 2.9: 2006 English Report).

Future Directions: After the development of the Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) for the
General Education program, the 2007/2008 English assessment focused on the GE learning
outcome: “Students will demonstrate competence in oral and written communication”. The
findings call for: a re-examination of the ‘Writing Intensive” courses to see whether students
are getting adequate writing assignments to practice the skills taught in the English courses; a
program for instituting ‘writing across the curriculum’ approach; and a longitudinal study that
follows students from entry to validate the findings of the cross-section study conducted in

Assessment of Math
The major findings of earlier assessment of students’ learning in the General Education Math
were based on the analysis of placement tests and Math remedial class exit exams continuously
carried out from summer 2005 to spring 2007. The analysis shows that the coefficient of
variability in performance of the newly admitted students has continued to increase: from
27.13% in summer 2005 to 31.74% in spring 2007 which means that there is a wider

                                                               USIU EE Report           Page 12
discrepancy in the math knowledge and skill level of students. Though this is still below the
average of 50%, it reflects a significant need to narrow the range in performance and ensure
that more students perform on the higher side of the scale. This earlier focus formed the basis
of a research paper, thus integrating faculty research and scholarship with the assessment of
student learning (Exhibit 2.11 Odendo and Wambalaba, 2006).

With the development of PLOs for the GE program, the Math faculty set out to assess the
achievement of aspects of PLO 4 ‘students should be able to “Apply basic scientific, quantitative
and technological skills in a changing environment.” The standard of success expected was that
54% or better of the students would be at the exemplary level in the rubric developed. The
results of the exit exam were compared with those of the math placement test of Spring 2007.
The analysis showed that the mean score had reduced from 43.27% in the placement test of
spring semester 2007 to 14.70% in the exit exam. This shocked the faculty! It means that at exit
students are less literate in numbers than they are at entry, and points to the observation that
they are not retaining much of the learning in the two math courses. They are in fact losing
their high school Math skills. The analysis also showed a large positive skewness which
indicated that most of the students’ scores were in the lower side of the scale (Exhibit 2.12:
2008 Math Report). These findings are contrary to our expectations given the trend seen in the
analysis of high school Math scores at admission. The admissions’ data from 2003 to 2007
shows a rise from a mean KCSE math score of 1.7 (C-) in 2003 to 2.24 (C+) in 2007. This is a rise
of 31% over a period of five years. The year to year analysis also shows an increase in the
mean mark in all the years apart from 2005 when there was a slight decrease (-3%) in the mean

              Table 1. High School Math Scores Analysis
              USIU FRESHMEN 2003 – 2007
                                        Average         % Change from
                Year        RANGE       score           previous year.
                2003        0-4         1.7
                2004        0-4         1.9             12%
                2005        0-4         1.85            -3%
                            0.7-4                       14%
                2006                    2.1
                2007        0.7-4       2.24            7%
              Note: The KCMA scores were measured on a scale of 0-4
              (Source of data: USIU Admissions Office)

Response to the Findings: In response to the findings of the exit test, the Math faculty have
embarked on an exercise to harmonize the course syllabi in the Math courses to ensure that
the same concepts and skills are taught to all the class sections. The MTH 1109 course syllabus
has been harmonized, and future faculty meetings will work on the remaining courses. They
further plan to discuss ways of linking with the other courses within the majors that give
students opportunities to practice quantitative skills, to ensure there is harmony between the
Math skills introduced to the students and those developed in the other courses. Secondly, to

                                                              USIU EE Report            Page 13
provide interactive learning and practice sessions outside the classroom, the Math faculty have
recommended the establishment of a Mathematics Lab. This proposal is part of the 2007/2008
assessment report and is yet to be discussed with the Dean and the Academic Management

Future Directions: After The Educational Effectiveness Committee reviewed the Math report,
the following questions were posed to the Math faculty and to the Coordinator of General
   1. Could the problem be the content and structure of the exit test; did it focus on the skills
        that the Math courses introduce to the students?
   2. Could the problem be the Math curriculum; does it focus on developing the quantitative
        skills that are part of the General Education outcomes? What quantitative skills do
        students need?
   3. Could the problem be one of curriculum alignment; are there courses in the Majors that
        give students practice (Intermediate) in quantitative skills after they finish the two
        beginning (B) level Math courses?
These questions will form part of the dialog among the faculty as they review the way forward.

Assessment of Community Service
To meet the degree requirements of the university, every undergraduate student is required to
either do a minimum of 90 hours of community service in 14 weeks, or carry out a project
aimed at addressing a need at an institution which caters for the disadvantaged. There are
about 100 institutions within greater Nairobi that fall in this category. The initial assessment of
the community service focused on establishing the impact of the program on the students’
experiential learning and on the organizations where they serve (Exhibit 2.13: 2006 Community
Service Report). The assessment, which involved the analysis of students’ community service
projects, student journals, faculty and field supervisors’ reports; and surveys of participating
institutions, set out to answer the following questions:
    1. In what ways have the host institutions/communities benefited from the students’
    2. What do the student journals tell us about the scope of activities that students engage
    3. What skills are students developing through participation in community service?
    4. What is the sustainability of the projects initiated?

Overall, findings from the assessment indicate that community service is beneficial to both the
students and the host organizations. The majority of the students appreciate the experience
and report that they learnt a lot and will continue to volunteer their service even after the
course is over.      In addition students reported that their planning, management, public
relations, interpersonal relationship, fundraising, communication, tolerance, empathy and time
management skills improved through their participation in community service.

The survey of the host institutions showed that the institutions were happy with the students’
work. They rated the students’ level of maturity, responsibility, involvement and ethical
behavior very highly. Their benefits from having USIU students in their organization included
donations, service, and initiation of income generating projects. Overall, 80% were satisfied

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 14
with the students’ performance and 93% would like the students to continue working in the
organizations for community service. In the same way, the analysis of the field supervisors’
reports show that they are happy with the students’ work, and they unanimously reported that
the students were doing a commendable job.

Response to Findings: After the General Education PLOs were developed in November 2007,
the Community Service faculty were to provide assessment for PLO 9 “Students will exhibit a
strong sense of moral, civic and ethical values including leadership qualities” and PLO 10
“Students will show a sense of being part of and service to the community by demonstrating
commitment to social and environmental issues”. The earlier assessment already provides
evidence of learning for outcome number 10. The assessment of indirect evidence done during
the hosts organizations’ luncheon shows a high level of success in all the variables measured, as
summarized in the table below and in (Exhibit 2.14: 2008 Community Service Report). The
direct assessment of these PLOs is yet to be done.

Table 2. A summary of percentage of responses
Trait                                       Excellent Good         Average Below         Mean
   1. Moral ethical values                    51%        41%       8%      0%            3.43
   2. Service delivery                        48%        46%       6%      0%            3.42
   3. Leadership qualities                    37%        56%       8%      0%            3.29
   4. Civic values of the students            36%        57%       8%      0%            3.28
   5. Response to social and environment      38%        46%       16%     0%            3.22
   6. Students sense of membership to         35%        42%       23%       0%          3.12
      the community

Future Directions: Once the direct assessment of the students’ work is completed the faculty
will discuss what the results mean in relation to students’ achievement of the learning
articulated by general education program learning outcomes 9 and 10 and develop a plan of
action as per EE guidelines.

Information Technology Assessment
Placement tests for computer skills were introduced for freshmen in Spring 2004, and between
this time and Summer 2005, a total 1,527 students took the tests. Of these only 34% attained
the pass mark of 60, the remaining 66% did not have the basics to enroll for the general
education IT course, IST 1010.

Response to Findings: As a result of this a remedial IT class IST 0999 (Computer Competency)
was introduced to meet the needs of the students who fail the competency tests. At the end of
the remedial class, students were given a post test, and in Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 the pass
rate was 100%, and 58% in Summer 2006. This showed a great improvement from the pass
rates in the placement tests in the same periods: 56% in Fall 2005, 39% in Spring 2006, and 45%
Summer 2006. This is marked improvement of an average of 84% pass-rate after the remedial
course as compared to the 47% pass-rate before the remedial class. Subsequently, to measure
the effectiveness of the computer competence course and experience at USIU, as part of the

                                                               USIU EE Report           Page 15
assessment of the GE outcome number 4:“Students will apply basic scientific, quantitative and
technological skills in a changing environment”, the IT faculty analyzed a samples of 30 term
papers and 30 PowerPoint presentations sampled from the SEN4800 of Spring 2008. They set
out to establish the students’ ability to search for information using internet technology; their
use of technology to prepare reports; and their use of technology to prepare and make class

A scoring rubric with three levels of achievement: ‘Beginning’, ‘Developed’ and ‘Accomplished’
was used. Overall, 15.6% were at the ‘beginning’ level, 72.2% at the ‘developed’ level and
12.2% at the ‘accomplished’ level. The faculty found the average indicator showing that
students are at the developed stage at 72.2% as they exit USIU an acceptable success level.
Thus students are meeting the General Education PLO number 4 with respect to IT skills. In
terms of the various criteria used in the assessment, use of PowerPoint in preparing and making
presentations was the best performed with 70% at ‘Developed’ and 30% at ‘Accomplished’; use
of technology in preparing reports with 90% at ‘Developed’ and 7% at ‘Accomplished’ was the
next and use of the internet and electronic resources in research was the last with 43% at
‘beginning’ and 57% at ‘Developed’.

Future Directions: Though the assessment revealed a success story, the IT faculty report that
the skills can be even better if the following three suggestions are adopted. First to improve
the reliability of the findings they propose to improve the assessment process at the exit level
by using multi-method approach in the next round of assessment. Secondly, they recommend
an increase in the number of PCs in the general computing laboratories to enable students to
have more access per week, and finally they call upon faculty in all programs to make it a
requirement for all assignments, projects and term papers to be researched and prepared using
technology. This will give the students opportunities to develop their computer and research
skills. (Exhibit 2.15: 2003 – 2008 IT Competency Report).

Program Assessment in the Major
As indicated above, assessment in the degree programs beyond the grade at USIU has just
completed the first cycle. A lot of the improvements in the programs from this exercise came
as a result of observations during the development of the learning outcomes and the
curriculum alignments. The programs formulated PLOs; aligned them to school outcomes,
university outcomes and the program curriculum; and drew assessment plans, indicating which
PLO(s) are to be assessed in which years within a cycle of 5 years. (Exhibit 2.16: Assessment
Plans). Each degree program selected a team of three to four faculty to undergo intensive
training so that they could guide the assessment process. These teams were taken through
several assessment workshops, two of which were run by external facilitators familiar with the
WASC standards and their application (Exhibit 2.17: Faculty Workshops). Starting Fall 2007,
every degree program embarked on the assessment of one of their PLOs; collected direct
evidence of student learning, and developed the analysis tools. By the Summer of 2008, 8 out
of the 9 undergraduate programs, and 2 out of the 4 graduate programs had collected evidence
of student learning, assessed one of their PLOs, and compiled their annual assessment report.
Two programs in the School of Business were new (EMOD, Accounting) and consequently did
not do a summative assessment which are typically done for exiting students. The master’s in
International Relations was not completed since the faculty opted to work on the

                                                              USIU EE Report            Page 16
undergraduate degree first.

Response to Findings: This being the first round of program assessment, the annual assessment
reports were evaluated by a team of 8 faculty using a rubric developed by CELT and approved
by the EE Committee (Exhibit 2.18: Rubric for Program Assessment Report). The standard of
success was set at 70% or better at the level of ‘meets expectation’. The results indicated that
the programs were doing well in the selection of appropriate student work to assess the PLOs
(95% at meets expectation and 5% at exceeds expectation); in developing rubrics appropriate
for the assessment of the specific PLO (70% at ‘meets expectation’ and 20 % at ‘exceeds
expectation’), and in closing the loop (45% at ‘meets expectation’ and 15% at ‘exceeds

Future Directions: The assessment of the reports further indicated that, for the process to
improve there is need to improve on presentation and interpretation of findings, and increase
faculty team work. This will form part of the conversations as programs embark on the second
cycle of assessment in Fall 2008. CELT has also organized an internal quality assurance
symposium in August 2008 during which papers based on the findings of this first round of
assessment will be presented and discussed.

For illustration, the details of two of the program assessments; one from each of the two
schools are presented below.

International Business Administration (IBA/BA):
To assess PLO 1: “Analyze and use business data in making managerial decisions” in the
academic year 2007/2008, both adjunct and fulltime faculty in the IBA/BA program collected
and analyzed direct evidence from senior courses in marketing and management, and from
internship reports. They focused on assessing three criteria: the quality of the students’ analysis
of data, their ability to use the data in decision making, and the quality of decisions they made.
The faculty prepared a rubric with four levels of attainment: Beginners (B), Developing (D),
Meets Expectation (ME) and Exceeds Expectation (EE) and set their success level as having 80%
of the sample at ‘Meets Expectation’ and better.

The analysis of the evidence from the management courses gave the following results: (42%) at
Exceeds Expectations, (32%) at Meets Expectations, (21%) at the Developing and (5%)
Beginner’s level. From the marketing evidence (30%) were at Exceeds Expectations, (44%) at
Meets Expectations, (26%) at Developing and at the Beginners Level. The analysis of the
internship reports gave the following results: 29.41% at Exceeds Expectations, 70.58% at Meets
Expectations and none at the lower levels.

Response to Findings: Although the findings of this analysis show that the program is meeting
the standard of success, this being the first time of assessing learning at program level, and also
in view of the fact that only direct evidence was used, the PLO1 that was assessed 2007- 2008,
“analyze and use Business data to make managerial decisions,” will be assessed again within
the 5 year assessment plan when faculty experience in program assessment will have
developed more.

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 17
Future Directions: As a result of the program assessment process the faculty in the IBA/BA
program have resolved to continue holding conversations about the PLOs in order to have the
assessments even at course level directed towards the learning expectations of these PLOs; to
bring instructors teaching the same or related courses together to develop common
understanding of the course requirements and expectations and to continually share these with
one another, starting Summer 2008; and to share with students the learning expectations, to
encourage engaged/active learning.

Journalism Program
The Journalism program is one program that has already effected changes in the curriculum
resulting from findings during the first cycle of program assessment. After developing the
program learning outcomes, they worked together to align them to the school outcomes; to the
university outcomes; and to the Journalism curriculum. The exercise revealed the aspects in the
curriculum that needed urgent attention. First, they noticed that though they had a learning
outcome making reference to research skills in Journalism, the curriculum did not have a
research methods course. Secondly, the grouping of courses into lower and upper level core,
concentration core and general electives, needed to be evaluated. Some courses that were
listed as lower level contained intermediate /advanced content; some courses listed in the
concentrations were required for all students; and some courses listed as electives contained
content expected of all the students in the program. Thirdly, a number of the course
descriptions were not focused enough and could lead to content overlap.

Response to Findings: The faculty, in a series of meetings, discussed the required changes and
channeled them through the curriculum change process. These changes have been approved
and will be part of the 2008/2009 University Catalog (Exhibit 2.19: 2008 Changes in Journalism

Program Reviews
Prior to February 2007 program review processes at USIU did not focus on direct assessment of
students’ work and did not involve an external reviewer. In 2006 four programs: Information
Systems Technology, Psychology, International Relations, Hotel and Tourism Management, and
Tourism Management went through program review, and prepared the self-study review
reports. Interactions with the Special Visit Team, the Special Visit Report and the subsequent
WASC Action Letter of February 2007 indicated that the university needed to “develop and
implement an effective program review process.” Thus, one of the first tasks of the CELT office
was to revise the program review guidelines (Exhibit 2.5: Program Assessment/Review

The revised guidelines also provided a schedule on when the programs would undergo review.
In the academic year 2007/2008 Information Systems Technology and Psychology were
scheduled to complete reviews using the new guidelines. Faculty in these two programs
selected the self-study teams; gathered information from stakeholders; put together program
data from admissions and the registrar’s office; assessed direct and indirect evidence of student
learning; and prepared self-study reports that were reviewed by external reviewers. At the end
of the external review, the program faculty discussed the reviewers’ comments and prepared
responses to the issues raised. The compiled review reports were submitted to the EE

                                                              USIU EE Report            Page 18
Committee, and were evaluated using a rubric prepared for that purpose (Exhibit 2.20 Rubric
for Assessing Program Review Reports).

General Findings
The two programs have completed program reviews following the revised guidelines and are
currently refining their recommendations for the improvement of the programs. The reports
were evaluated by the EE team on a six-criterion rubric: comprehensiveness, involvement of
stakeholders, external reviewer’s report and response, faculty team work, and closing the loop.
Each of these criteria could be achieved at four levels: exceeds expectations, meets
expectations, emerging, and below expectations. Cumulatively, the process in the two
programs met the expected level of success (70% at ‘meets expectation’ or better) in the
assessment of students’ work (87% at ‘meets expectation’ and ‘exceeds expectations’ levels)
and in the quality of the external reviewers’ report (100% at ‘Meets Expectation’ and ‘exceeds
expectations levels’). The weakest area was ‘Closing the Loop’ (38% at ‘meets expectation’ and
above) and generally this was because the recommendations were rather general and not
explicitly integrated with the findings of the review process. Other areas that were noted as in
need of improvement were Team Work (62.5% at ‘meets expectation’ and ‘exceeds
expectations’ levels), Involvement of all stakeholders (50% at ‘meets expectation’ and ‘exceeds
expectations’ levels), and Comprehensiveness of the reports (50% at ‘meets expectation’ and
‘exceeds ‘expectations’ levels). This information is useful to the International Relations and
Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management programs as they start review in the 2008/2009
academic year.

The IST program review report with little adjustments was submitted for assessment by the
Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) quality assurance project and it was considered
the best report in a group of 23 public and private universities in the East African Region that
are participating in this quality assurance project. This recognition has strengthened our
commitment in the assessment of student learning and improvement of our programs. It is also
presented below as a sample of our program assessment process.

Improvements in (IST):
As a result of the 2006 review and recommendations of earlier external reviewers, a number of
improvements were already in progress as the program was revisiting the review process. The
2006 review had recommended an increase in the number units required for graduation from
120 credit hours to 155 credit hours to make the IST program comparable to programs offered
in other local (Kenyan) information technology degree programs. The additional courses would
also increase the IT technical students’ hands-on skills that were found to be a pre-requisite for
entry into the local IT market.

The recommendation to increase the units was not adopted but a number of changes were
introduced in the IST degree program to address the problem of limited practical hands-on skills
of the IST graduates. Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MSCE) certification programs were
introduced in 2006 in partnership with a local training provider, Computer Pride. This provided
IST students with additional practical skills in networking using the Microsoft platform as well as
supplemented the popular networking option offered to students.

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 19
There has also been increased emphasis on hands-on laboratory exercises in most of the IST
courses. For example, database management courses are required to complete hands-on
laboratory exercises using Microsoft SQL database server. The operating systems courses are
now taught using both Microsoft operating systems and the open-source Linux operating
system. In addition to this, the networking laboratory has been enhanced by providing routers,
switches, optical fiber, and wireless access point equipment that could be used to support the
experiments. Students taking networking courses therefore develop hands-on practical skills in
setting up and configuring different types of networks. Moreover, the IST faculty are in the
process of developing lab manuals of the nature and magnitude similar to those of Microsoft,
Cisco, and Oracle lab manuals for all IST courses. These will include lab exercises with clear step
by step procedures for use in class and others for student practice in the specialized labs. These
manuals will also address the problem of quality enhancement with our adjunct faculty, who
will benefit by adopting the same. The manuals will be reviewed annually to assure they are
current and up-to-date with new developments in ICT

Microsoft IT Academy: IST faculty have been encouraged to obtain certification in software
development, MCSE and Cisco networking in order to improve their hands-on teaching skills.
Four faculty members were sent to train in the Microsoft.NET and MCSE programs and as a
result of their qualification USIU is now a Microsoft IT Academy and can carry out certification
programs without partnering with other providers. Some of the benefits of this include:
Professional Courseware & Academic Textbooks; E‐learning; Lab Licenses; MCP & MOS Exams;
MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDNAA); Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT); TechNet Microsoft IT
Academy Marketing Materials.

Future Directions: These innovations have continued to improve the overall quality of the IST
degree program. However, there is still a need to create specialized software and networking
labs that would be open to IST students conducting individual and group computer laboratory
practice. The labs would need specialized technicians to support the students and the IST
faculty with hands-on laboratory exercises. This will be consistent with both the 2006
recommendations and external reviewer’s 2008 recommendations. The rennovation of the old
library into a ICT center is now underway and it will be ready for use in January 2009. It will
consist of five (5) teaching labs, two (2) specialized research labs (hardware and software) and
one (1) general lab. One of the teaching labs will be designated as the multimedia lab which will
be for teaching multimedia to both ICT students and journalism students.

In preparing the improvement plan following the 2007/2008 program review
recommendations, faculty in IST will consider the recommendations on curriculum change
which include: re-examining the content of IST1010 for the IST majors; merging some courses;
and establishing what General Education Program courses/outcomes can be merged with those
of IST to provide space for extra courses (Exhibit 2.21 07/08 IST Program Review Report).

Lessons from Psychology
The Psychology 2006 program review was one of our ‘show pieces’ using the old model. The
faculty then had done a need assessment; surveyed the current students, alumni and
employers; examined the program learning outcomes, the enrollment trends and graduation
trends; and prepared what was then a very comprehensive review report. As faculty revisited

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 20
the review in 2007/2008 AY following the new guidelines, the expectation was that they would
update program data, refine the program learning outcomes, repeat any of the surveys that
they would find necessary, and assess direct student work, which was missing in the earlier
report. However, the self-study report that was submitted to the external reviewer after the
2007/2008 process was incomplete in several ways. The detailed external reviewer’s report
highlighted key weaknesses in the documentation of the process (Exhibit 2.22 Psychology
External Review Report). The alignment of the curriculum to PLOs was incomplete and
appeared to be done in a haphazard manner; though the report presents results of the analysis
of students’ work, there are no samples provided, and many of the suggestions for
improvement are not based on data and/or supported by evidence.

The evaluation of the process by the EE committee established the weaknesses of the process
as in the area of ‘comprehensives of the report’ (with 50% below the ‘meets expectation’ level),
‘involvement of stakeholders’ (with 75% below ‘meets expectation’ level), and ‘closing the loop
(with 50% below meets expectation’). After discussing the external reviewer’s report and the
EE Committee’s comments the Psychology fulltime faculty have come up with an action plan
(Exhibit 2.23 07/08 Psychology Action Plan]. A scrutiny of the action plan shows that the team
needs a lot of support in getting the process completed.

The experience of the Psychology review has taught us what can go wrong – we have learned
how a process can go wrong even when the right activities such as collection of evidence,
meetings to analyze and discussions are going on. This experience will be useful in planning the
2008/2009 assessment/review cycle. The EE committee will discuss ways of improving the
monitoring process.

Development of New Programs
The Criminal Justice program was recently approved by WASC for introduction during Spring
Semester 09. This is the first new program developed by USIU that went through the new
process for program approval by WASC and the first new program ever submitted to WASC by
USIU in Nairobi.

The impetus for this program began following a series of workshops conducted by USIU with
the police department and the Kiganjo Police Academy. Subsequent meetings with the
Commissioner of Police, personnel at the Police Academy and other members of the criminal
justice system identified the need for a program that would train personnel locally since most
obtained degrees outside of the country.

In addition to the usual process of developing new programs at USIU, the faculty took into
account the requirements of educational effectiveness in the development of the curriculum of
the Criminal Justice program. Learning outcomes were developed that were aligned to the
university and school outcomes. The curriculum for this program was then aligned to these
outcomes and an assessment plan covering the five year cycle was developed. This program
has been placed in the schedule for program review with interim formative evaluations at year
one and three. Unlike previous programs this one is packaged for the assessment of student

                                                             USIU EE Report            Page 21
The key objectives of educational effectiveness under research and scholarship were defined to
include; a) cultivation of a research culture, b) institutionalization of a research agenda and
scholarship, and c) improvement of teaching and learning through research. This section
focuses on the use of research to improve teaching and learning, while the development of a
research culture and redefining of scholarship will be presented as part of the faculty
development process in Analytical Essay Three: Developing and Maximizing Resources to
Support Student learning.

The implementation of CELT and the development of a systematic approach to both program
assessment and program review leant itself to the need for use of research to enhance the
learning experience of our students and faculty. As part of this effort, the research office
reviewed the current research products of faculty.

Most of the research activities at USIU have been aimed at discovery and enhancement of
knowledge in faculty’s respective fields. They have also tended to be done by sole researchers
or a few within a discipline. For example, of the seventeen faculty who responded to our
request for the research profile, all of them (or 100%) had done research within their
disciplines. All had done applied research aimed at solving a particular problem or issue related
to policy or practice (Exhibit 2.24: Recent Five Year Faculty Research Profiles). Based on these
limited findings, it appears that most faculty research focuses on information that can be
incorporated into the student learning in a particular field. Since most programs prepare
students for the work place this type of applied research is quite relevant for the student.

A prime example is the development of more than twenty GBSN1 funded case studies in the last 3 years
in the school of business aimed at documenting relevant local business cases for class teaching and
student learning (Exhibit 2.25 Case Studies Report). A more recent development has been in the School
of Arts and Sciences where the French unit of foreign languages hosted a conference on Researching
and Teaching in French in Eastern Africa with papers geared towards enhancement of teaching

Based on the above findings, and especially encouraged by the case study efforts, two key
initiatives are in the works. First, the office of research has been developing proposals to attract
funding for an expanded case writing and teaching project to cover both schools (Exhibit 2.26:
The Spencer Foundation Proposal). The school of business is also searching for more funding
for case study development. The other planned activity is internal pedagogical research
colloquium with the goal of presenting reflective essay papers in areas of developing learning
outcomes, program assessment, program review and similar others.

The Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has organized an internal quality
assurance symposium on 28th to 29th August 2008 to organize faculty involvement in EE
program assessment and program review activities in the 2007/2008 academic year; to
encourage research into teaching and learning; and to link this to faculty scholarship(Exhibit

    GBSN (Global Business School Network) is and International Finance Corporation (IFC) funded project aimed at
developing relevant local cases for use in Business classes.

                                                                         USIU EE Report               Page 22
2.27: Symposium Program). This will also double as the annual assessment retreat where
faculty who were key in program assessment and in the other quality assurance initiatives will
present academic papers sharing with the body of fulltime faculty their challenges, successes
and recommendations for the next cycle of program assessment/program review.

This effort is a precursor to an anticipated international conference on Quality Assurance in
Higher Education to be hosted by USIU in 2009 for the purpose of engaging regional and
international scholars in the area of pedagogical research In this way we will take the first step
in integrating faculty development for pedagogy and their development for research and

The Institutional Proposal identified a third objective included under improving student learning
which was to assess the quality of our graduates. Guiding questions for investigation included:

   1. To what extent do our students demonstrate mastery of their major field of knowledge
      at the end of their undergraduate study?
   2. To what extent do students demonstrate a global and multicultural awareness in their
      professional and personal lives at the end of their study?
   3. How do our graduates compare with those from other local university in terms of
      employment after graduation?
   4. How do our graduates compare with those from other local university in terms of
      preparedness for career?

Admittedly, this objective has not been fully evaluated. However, as described above, the
process has begun to determine the attainment of educational outcomes of our mission during
the senior experience integrated seminar. Additionally, program reviews have identified
industry needs although a survey of employers is yet to be conducted. Anecdotal information
still remains as to the number of students who are employed as a result of internship
placements. However, Registrar’s Office has begun to conduct an exit interview of exiting
students (Exhibit 2.28: Exit Survey Report) that determines student employment status upon
leaving the university. Last year 60% reported being employed. Considering the current high
rate of unemployment within the country this is viewed as a commendable level although a
specific criteria for evaluation does need to be determined.

An alumni survey was conducted in 2006; another one will be conducted in Fall 08. In order to
get a better data base to survey alumni, the Alumni Affairs Office had to update all alumni
records. Early alumni records were kept by the San Diego campus and the home addresses
were recorded as USIU Nairobi. This necessitated tracking all alumni prior to 1997; this process
has now been completed. As a result it will be easier to communicate more efficiently with
alumni as well as get them more involved in the university. This process has already begun and
is described in more detail under Essay Four.

Assessment of Students’ Learning
Advancement toward the university vision to be “A premier institution of academic excellence
with a global perspective” is tied to the success of our graduates in the areas of knowledge,

                                                               USIU EE Report           Page 23
skills and character. Our preparation for the Educational Effectiveness Review has given us
immense opportunities to reflect on our initiatives, and what we have learned from this focus
has had a very positive impact on the quality assurance process. We can now speak confidently
about our achievements in the assessment of student learning. The shift of energy from
focusing on resources, instructions and grades as the only ways of monitoring student learning
has borne fruit. Within these two years we have moved from the isolated focus of assessment
of student learning in the four areas in the General Education program (English, Math, IT and
Community Service) to an institution wide involvement in the assessment of student learning.

At present all the schools have clearly articulated their missions and outcomes. Both graduate
and undergraduate degree programs in the two schools and the General Education program at
USIU have established their Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs), and have aligned them to
university outcomes, school outcomes and program curricula. These program outcomes are
publicized in the USIU website, and will be in the 2008/2009 catalog, are part of the new faculty
orientation material, and are referenced in the course syllabi of relevant courses within the
degree program, and used by Deans, Academic Program Administrators (APAs) and program
coordinators in the orientation of new faculty.

Secondly, all the academic programs have prepared schedules for assessing their PLOs
(assessment plans), giving the details of which learning outcomes are to be assessed at the
various stages in the five year cycle period following the program assessment guidelines. Some
of the programs have already used the results from the first cycle of program assessment to
improve curriculum and pedagogy, and the rest are working on refining the recommendation
sections, so see what can be done on the basis of the results of assessment. Meetings held to
discuss these results have generated a lot of enthusiasm in faculty and have encouraged
interest in classroom research.

Reflecting on the 2007/2208 program assessment/review experience, the establishment of the
Center of Excellence in Learning and Teaching has played a crucial role in coordinating and
monitoring the processes that were already in place and initiating new ones. Nevertheless,
there is still a lot to be done to ensure efficiency in the next cycle. The internal quality
assurance symposium planned for 28th to 29th August 2008 will discuss some of the challenges
that faculty encountered and suggest ways of addressing them.

In the past year the CELT office concentrated on developing assessment skills and monitoring
the process to conclusion, but starting Fall attention will be shifted to the development of
material to support faculty at the various stages in program assessment/program review
process. More attempts will be made to encourage faculty to engage in research that identifies
effective strategies for student learning and success. Ultimately, it is anticipated that with more
experience using this quality assurance process, not only will the student learning experience
be enhanced but USIU will provide leadership in the region on educational effectiveness.

 As we celebrate the rewards of our EE achievements and the recognition we have received in
the East African region, we find it proper to also reflect on the challenges that faculty had to
surmount to get started on assessment of student learning beyond the grade and beyond the
course level. Apart from the usual challenges in the management of change, we faced

                                                                USIU EE Report            Page 24
challenges that seemed peculiar to our context. While the dual accreditation is one of our
distinctions, preparing and hosting the Special Visit in November 2006, the CHE review visit in
November 2007 and the EER anticipated in November 2008 have been quite eventful.

Secondly, the majority of faculty at USIU has British training and orientation and is more tuned
to pressure on physical growth in student numbers and degree programs than to the pressure
on quality that WASC focuses on. This affected the speed of our implementation process. The
third challenge related to poor documentation culture. For a long time we knew a lot of
assessment of student learning was taking place, at least at course level, but there was no
documentation to support this. Coupled with this was the limited/restricted access to public
data sources. Finally, there was the challenge of isolation. We have no local EE models. Focus
on assessment of student learning beyond the grade in institutions of higher learning in Kenya
is not yet established, and thus we had no local institutions to benchmark our EE model against.

These challenges have taught us valuable lessons. We have taken the initiative to expose our
Kenyan accrediting body to our EE efforts, through the IUCEA project mentioned earlier and by
inviting them to our quality assurance symposium. We have also used trips to the annual WASC
meetings to make connections with WASC accredited institutions and to identify external
facilitators for our faculty workshops. In other words, we have worked on both internal capacity
building as well as influencing local external stakeholders.

As more faculty become involved in the assessment of programs and program review, it is
anticipated that more research will be conducted on effective teaching modalities for improved
student learning. Some of the findings of the studies above have indeed piqued faculty interest
in exploring how to improve sustained learning in students as well as application of this

As can be seen above, the university is making progress in assessing student learning on
campus but more needs to be done to evaluate the long term effect of their academic
experience in their careers, communities and future learning experiences. As Kenya moves
toward massification of higher education, assessing the competencies and contributions of our
graduates regionally and beyond can only further support the redesign of our learning
environment to meet the challenges of this rapidly changing society.

However, the creation of a learner centered environment cannot simply rely on strategies for
improving program assessment, program review and research. All other constituencies of the
university must also align their objectives and both fiscal and physical resources towards the
support of student learning. Our next essay elaborates on developing and maximizing
resources to support student learning.


The university has experienced significant growth over the past five years. Along with that
growth came the challenge of planning for that growth: human resources, support services,
facilities, and equipment. The Special Visit report cited the need for the university to balance

                                                              USIU EE Report            Page 25
the human resource needs with facilities and other needs. There was concern expressed that
following the building of the new university library, financial resources might be stretched to a
point where the university would not be able to acquire the human resources both inside and
outside the classroom to support student learning. It was also stated that the university
needed to rely more on data for decision-making.

USIU recognizes that its prime human resource is its faculty. The future growth, success and
prosperity of USIU depend on faculty commitment, excellence and effort. Because faculty are
such a key element in the quality assurance equation, the first topic for investigation in the
Institutional Proposal was developing an engaged and committed faculty. The guiding questions

    1. How can we best attract and retain qualified and committed faculty?
    2. How can we best help and motivate faculty to teach effectively?
    3. How can we strengthen the use of technology to enhance student learning? How can we
        prepare and motivate faculty to embrace outcome based assessment?
    4. How can we best motivate faculty to engage in scholarly activities that inform
In trying to answer these questions as well as address the accompanying complexities of
motivating employees, we examined faculty recruitment, faculty development, and faculty
research and attempts to balance our resources to maximize our use of revenue.

Faculty Recruitment
It is the policy of the University to attract, retain and appoint highly qualified faculty with the
necessary skills and attributes to drive its mission. To achieve this, the University strives to
ensure that the recruitment and selection of faculty is conducted in a manner that is
systematic, efficient, and effective and promotes equality of opportunity.

Since the WASC special visit the university has continued to recruit local and regional faculty on
a competitive basis. The current academic year alone witnessed the arrival of 13 additional
faculty. The process of hiring new faculty for AY0809 has been concluded. To address the
problem of shortage of doctorate level faculty in the School of Business, the university
restricted the qualification requirement to capture doctoral level applicants. Unlike the practice
in the past, the job advertisements were placed in all the major papers in the region (East
Africa). Additionally the schools used their networks to identify potential candidates who were
then encouraged to put in applications. This plan was largely successful; four out of the five
new hires have doctoral degrees. The fifth candidate is set to defend his doctoral thesis later
this year.

The Accounting program failed to attract doctoral-level candidates although there were several
master’s level applicants. Results of the latest recruitment exercise indicate that with a more
innovative approach, it is possible to capture good faculty despite the small recruitment pool.
The university is also now encouraging and supporting master’s-level faculty to pursue doctoral

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 26
degree programs. Two such faculty members are making good progress at the University of the
North West (in South Africa) with financial support from the university. A third faculty member
is pursuing a similar program at Kenyatta University with partial support from the university. It
is hoped that the introduction of doctoral programs at USIU will further alleviate the faculty
shortage in the School of Business. In the next recruitment exercise, the university will tap into
the Retired Academic Database (RAD), run by the Commonwealth Secretariat, to recruit
experienced highly qualified faculty from Britain, India and Canada. The university will also
redouble efforts to attract visiting faculty, regionally and internationally.

Faculty Development
Since the last WASC visit the university has also strengthened focus on teaching excellence.
Majority of faculty in Kenya go into classrooms without prior training in pedagogy. Lack of
professionalism and reliance on traditional lecture methods undermines learning. As the faculty
grew in knowledge of the EE processes, they became more and more aware of the importance
of pedagogical approaches. They saw the need for developing their content delivery
procedures; they were no longer contented to be content experts only.

PCAP: This development came at the right time because around the same time seven (7)
members of faculty representing both schools had been involved in ‘Reflective teaching”
training through a project in partnership with three other local universities and one university
in the UK. The course is called Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PCAP) with the
main objective of enhancing professional practice of participants. The team of seven will
complete training in October 2008 and then form a trainer core on pedagogy at USIU. As part
of their course work, this team is involved in peer mentorship and evaluation, and successfully
facilitated a full day workshop on reflective teaching, curriculum alignment peer mentoring and
evaluation [Exhibit 2.4: Faculty Development Workshops) at USIU. The team is now developing
a peer mentoring instrument to be used across the schools. The long awaited peer review
system is nearing implementation.

IUCEA: USIU is also a participant in a major regional quality enhancement initiative. USIU was
selected along with 22 other universities to participate in the Inter-University Council of East
Africa quality assurance project, largely funded and facilitated by DAAD, the German academic
exchange service. The IST program was selected for review in the pilot project and faculty
participated in a series of Quality Assurance workshops. Results just received from DAAD
indicate that IST from USIU has received top ranking in the region. As a result USIU coordinator
of the IUCEA initiative has been selected for training in Germany as trainer of trainees in Quality
Assurance. This success is an endorsement of the efforts USIU is putting into Education
Effectiveness, since the IST program used the new program review guidelines developed by
USIU to meet WASC standards.

TPM: The Teaching Practice in Management (TPM) program has also been instrumental in
revitalizing the teaching approach specifically teaching with cases in the School of Business at
USIU. The program was sponsored by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) through the
internationally renowned Global Business School Network (GBSN) of which the USIU business
school is one of the four affiliated schools in Africa. As a result of intensive training the school
has made teaching with cases a common feature and faculty have developed over twenty

                                                                USIU EE Report            Page 27
locally relevant cases in the last three years. The school was also a proud host of the fourth
annual TPM4 with participants from all over the continent (See Exhibit 3.1: TPM4 program)

Faculty Research
As previously discussed in essay two, the key objectives of educational effectiveness under
research and scholarship were defined to include; a) cultivation of a research culture, b)
redefining and institutionalization of research scholarship and agenda, and c) use of research to
improve teaching and learning. The university has already embarked on the development of a
research culture and institutionalization of scholarship as part of the faculty development
process agenda. Prior to the WASC Special Visit, research activities at USIU could have been
described as being in a “state of malaise, slumber and agenda-less”. Very few faculty were
interested in research and even allocated research monies were never used. Faculty who
carried research were either guided by research grant opportunities or simply focused on their
disciplinary area. In response to this state of “agenda-less”, the university hired a director of
research to provide research leadership. But while the WASC report acknowledged this step,
the office was still new. The new research office took the university’s desire for research
leadership and WASC findings to embark on both responsive and pre-emptive strategies
including developing an organizational structure to formulate effective research strategies. The
key strategy was to build the four pillars of educationally effective research and ultimately align
them with the university’s vision and mission.

However, it was necessary to develop an institutional structure that would provide support for
the office of Research and Program Development (RAPD). While the created RAPD office in the
Academic Affairs Division at USIU was responsible for the research agenda and activities, the
director’s assessment led him to develop a consultative advisory structure to guide the office’s
strategies and operations. These included the Grants and Research Coordinating Committee,
the Research Technical Subcommittee and Other Stakeholder Groups including faculty,
students, alumni etc. The Research Coordinating Committee consists of the Director of RAPD as
its chair, Director of IPD who also provides the secretariat, Director of CELT, the Librarian, an
Alumni representative, and the Deans. The committee meets once a semester to review
progress made, provide guidance on planned activities, and make recommendations on key

Research Technical Subcommittee: This consists of the Directors of Research Centers, the Chair
of Faculty Council Academic and Research Committee, the Chair of IRB, Student Affair Council
representative and the Director of RAPD who chairs the subcommittee. Their role is to identify
areas of opportunities, challenges and discuss planning, implementation and operational
strategies for managing the research agenda at USIU. They meet once a month. Other
stakeholder groups include faculty, students, alumni and other interest groups with the goal of
obtaining both internal and external environmental scan. Some like students and faculty have
routine activities such as colloquium where their input is typically obtained. But in most other
cases, participation is on an ad-hoc basis. (Exhibit 3.2: Redefining Research and Scholarship) By
creating the RAPD office therefore, USIU is resolute in strengthening research as one of the
pillars of the university. Hence, USIU’s major step in the transition process has been to cultivate
a culture of research by engaging faculty and students in interactive scholarly forums,
developing communities of researchers and advancing a culture of evidence by documenting

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 28
research efforts.

Since August 2006, the RAPD office and the university administration have made a deliberate
decision to redefine the way research is perceived and pursued by widely interesting and
engaging faculty. As a result, faculty have started to engage in research groups including
coalescing around research centers such as CEED and SUDIC and new ones are being
contemplated. There has been a new interest in publications including development of a multi-
disciplinary refereed journal. The research funds which were previously not very much utilized,
have now received several requests. Faculty participation in the colloquia has significantly
improved with the roster for a subsequent semester now filling up in the previous semester.
Similarly, while monies for presentation at conferences were previously never exhausted,
faculty requests to present papers at conferences now surpass available funding. The faculty
survey indicates that 73% of the respondents are engaging in some form of research activity,
47% have sought internal funding (Exhibit 3.3: Faculty Survey Report). This is further supported
by the increase in expenditures as presented below.

In spite of these improvements, challenges abound. For example, our effort to have every full
time faculty provide their research profiles for hosting on our website, now over a half a year
later, several of them have not yet responded. Similarly, our efforts to encourage faculty to go
for grant funded research has not advanced very much as few faculty are trying and in some
cases, after a few rejections, some have shown some signs of resignation. Another
disappointment has been limited student’s response to calls for grant funded research
proposals offered by the ministry of transport after efforts by the research office in
collaboration with other universities to convince the ministry to involve students in their
research efforts.

In response to these challenges, RAPD plans to hire an assistant research associate whose 50%
to 75% of the work will focus on outreach and follow up on faculty to develop or update their
research profiles, provide support for searching and applying for research grants, and reaching
out to students to take advantage of grant funded research. Also, the RAPD in collaboration
with the office of Institutional Planning and Development plans to use the faculty research
profiles to solicit for respective opportunities for grant funded research. The office also plans to
pursue more research funding from government ministries for research.

Even in the face of these challenges, with the research organizational structure in place and the
development of the research agenda in its advanced stage, the research activities at USIU can
now be described as being in a “state of dynamic resurgence, engaged and with an agenda”.
Research is therefore anticipated to become a key stakeholder in the university’s mission and
maintain its relevancy to its respective communities. The RAPD office will continue to adjust its
organizational structure to meet its university and societal mandates. It will similarly continue
to reshape its agenda to maintain a strategic leadership position in the region and be of
significant impact to the research community. Ultimately, the university is poised to taking a
premier position on the African research scene.

Key to motivating employees is a fair and competitive compensation scheme. Most of the job

                                                                USIU EE Report            Page 29
dissatisfaction focused on the university’s ability to provide competitive salaries especially with
the increasing demands within the country for improved wages. In effect, the routine triennial
salary review that takes place for faculty and staff was completed and faculty salaries were
reviewed (Exhibit 3.4: Faculty Salary Review Report). The findings were presented to faculty
and a fair process for implementation developed by the DVCAA and Deans. A step system was
also introduced so that there was more predictability in the salary increments; this also
mirrored that in the public sector. As a result of the job evaluation, staff and faculty
compensation has risen from 309 million shillings to 393 million shillings an increase of 27%.
These costs cover salaries and related expenditures (pension and insurances) as well as other
costs including medical all of which contribute to faculty and staff productivity. This appears to
have reduced the disgruntlement over salaries as reflected in the faculty survey (Exhibit 3.4:
Faculty Survey Report). Although salary and benefits were ranked among the lowest items for
satisfaction, they received a score of slightly above 3.0 on a 5 point scale with only 33% being
dissatisfied with their salary. Additionally, disgruntlement over lack of a Faculty Senate Office
was also ameliorated with the assignment of space in the School of Business. The faculty
survey also indicated that 87% of faculty are satisfied with their office space.

The university has attempted to balance human resources with development needs. Faculty
development expenditure for FY 2007/08 was 2.1 million shillings up from 276,000 shillings the
previous year. Staff development expenditure is 1.427 million shilling this year up from 1.235
million last year. Most of the faculty development costs were associated with the numerous
workshops conducted to prepare the faculty for the Educational Effectiveness Review process.
A significant portion of faculty development costs has been spent to support three faculty
members on doctoral programs. Two are pursuing their doctoral degrees in South Africa while
one is in a Kenyan accredited institution. Faculty have also been more active in attending
conferences, the expenditure this year has been Ksh 3,200,551. To date, the university has
been able to balance the demands of current staff as well as continue hiring staff in vacant
positions. The primary delay in hiring has been in identifying qualified candidates for some
positions rather than lack of funds or non-competitive salaries.

Balancing capital improvements against human resource development has required strategic
management of available funds. Most capital expenditures cover equipment and machines,
library books, construction and minor capital improvements. The current year’s budget of Ksh
143 million is a drop from the previous year’s Ksh 328million. This drop reflects completion of
the new library and information center which was completed within the allocated budget. The
growth in enrollment numbers as well as technological advancements demand continuous
upgrade of technology and as such it has been necessary to control upgrading technology and
buying the requisite equipment.

Reconfiguration of the ICT centre into a key technology platform in line with trends in industry
did necessitate allocation of Kenya shillings 70 million and again the cost is inevitable.
Remodeling of the old library into a communication and technology center is underway and
scheduled for completion in December 2008. This center will alleviate some of the concerns
expressed in the report for the need of facilities for the journalism students. Expansion in new
courses also demands new classrooms and labs and further plans have included funds to
construct science labs. Part of this construction will go towards creation of office space to

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 30
accommodate both faculty and staff needs. Other capital improvements include enhancing
security, playing grounds for sports, and ongoing maintenance.

The balance of human capital and physical development has been delicate and well on course.
At the end of the day, our physical development has been and continues to be matched to our
growth rates and with little or minimum impact on our cash flows. Tuition remains the primary
source of revenue for the university. However, with the new expertise on the Board, the
university is revamping its investment policies to explore other vehicles for generating income.
The new Director for Institutional Planning and Development has drafted an endowment policy
that has been reviewed by the Board. An investment manager has been hired and further
refinement of both policies is underway for final Board approval in November. Additionally,
fundraising activities for the Africana Collection in the library are underway. The initial
donations have been from within the university community and several contributions have
been delayed due to requests for funds for internally displaced persons (IDP’s) following the
post election violence. All potential corporate and other donor funds were redirected to this
solicitation by the government; however, this is anticipated to change in the upcoming year.

Institutional data is becoming an integral part of decision-making in the university. This is the
result of establishing the function of institutional research. The cataloguing of existing data had
begun as well as a climate survey conducted when the Special Visit team was on campus in
2006. Since that time there has been turnover in that office with the loss of the DVCIPD and the
Institutional Research manager. Although both notices were quite sudden, the two positions
have been replaced and both have been in service for over 6 months.

The university has used this institutional data for decision making. WASC Data elements are
collected annually and some of the financial ratios have been incorporated into the financial
reports provided to the Board. The statistics on student enrollments, ratio and other data have
been used for admissions decisions. The Admissions Office now collects data on districts of
residence so that underrepresented populations can be targeted for admissions and financial
aid. The financial aid policy has been revised to establish grants for first time freshmen with
specific talents as well as those from arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). Those with mobility
challenges have also been identified as potential scholarship recipients. The student survey
also resulted in the development of a club for international students who could then meet to
have their special needs addressed. A cultural night was held to showcase the diversity of
cultures on campus.

A survey of faculty and students on information technology needs uncovered many of the
ongoing problems with response to service needs. Additional interns from outside the campus
were hired to meet shortages in the department. An external review (KENET, 2007) of the e-
readiness level of universities in Kenya produced a concrete assessment of USIU’s strengths and
areas for development in information technology resources. A copy of this report will be
provided in the Exhibit Room. Plans are underway to respond to these recommendations that
include increasing the ratio of students: computers to 10:1, improving the use of information
technology for learning, and increasing bandwidth. A World Bank project is currently in
progress that will assist in funding the additional bandwidth.

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 31
The various administrative divisions have also met to better understand the Educational
Effectiveness process and to explore how each division contributes to student learning. Each
division has been charged with developing outcomes and an assessment plan. Student Affairs
have already embarked upon this process (Exhibit 3.4: Co-Curricular Support for Student
Learning and Growth). This was introduced through a workshop lead by CELT and the ALO with
input support from the VC and DVCAA. This was a new way for staff to view themselves as
contributors to student learning. They were enthusiastic about their role in student learning
and appeared to readily accept the process. This preliminary information will be helpful in the
strategic planning process.

Motivating employees is often a trial and error process; what motivates one employee may not
necessarily motivate another. Salary is generally considered a dissatisfier rather than a
motivator. The work environment, the job itself are all determinants in employee satisfaction.
The university has tried to provide a conducive work environment, competitive wages and
benefits and encouraged involvement in decision-making. These changes appear to have made
a difference in faculty desire to remain at USIU.

While this is encouraging, there is still a need for faculty to be more involved in university
activities. Some faculty who were initially adjuncts still seem to view themselves as partially
involved. Participation in meetings and other activities have increased but faculty view this as a
source of stress. In future orientations of new faculty and ongoing development of activities
with current faculty, the role of a full time faculty member at USIU needs to be clearly
understood. Contextually, this has become an increasing problem in the country with the high
demand for faculty in this new burgeoning higher education “industry.” This problem has been
articulated in numerous forums including the higher education strategic plan for Kenya. This
plan also highlights the fact that only 25 doctoral degrees were awarded throughout the entire
country last year. This paucity of new doctoral level faculty can only exacerbate the lack of
commitment by faculty to one institution. Although the university is beginning to develop our
doctoral level pool, past studies suggest this does not necessarily engender commitment to the
university. The brain drain of academic and professional human resources has been the topic of
numerous papers and forums. The university hopes to slow this drain by supporting faculty to
obtain degrees through south to south cooperation as stated above. Not only is this more
affordable but is more likely to result in staff returning to the institution.

The university has made considerable progress in Academic Affairs with the learning outcome
based assessment. The faculty have been the first group to develop outcomes and implement
strategies for assessment. The administration and support services have not adopted a process
but have relied primarily on performance evaluations of the heads of divisions to determine the
effectiveness of a division. The next phase in the educational effectiveness process will be to
create assessment processes for support departments. This represents a distinct change from
individualized assessment to unit assessment. In a culture that tends to be socially based this
may produce a significant shift in the performance review system that is more individualistic.
The current system of assessing the individual has been froth with problems related to
providing positive and negative feedback, possible nepotism, and allegations of ethnic biases.
Once the new assessment system is in place it will be important to get feedback through an

                                                               USIU EE Report           Page 32
employee survey.

The improved provision of institutional data will also help to derive decisions from facts rather
than speculation. As described above the use of data is becoming more common place. This
has been a learning process as well since the skill level for data analysis within the
administrative staff has been inadequate. Some have had to learn how to interpret their own
data rather than provide raw data. The current institutional development office has relieved
some staff of that burden as well as assisted in the design of questionnaires to better obtain the
desired information. The administration now understands the important role of institutional
research in a learning organization.

As it has been evident here, the combined efforts of academic affairs and other constituencies
of the university in the support of student learning have been encouraging. This has been
especially so due to the development of an “organizational structure committed to learning”.
The next essay discusses how the university has reorganized its governance structure, including
the board, the faculty council, leadership system and communications to provide a learning
centered environment.


The various organizational structures responsible for assuring a learning environment at USIU
have undergone in some cases significant changes while others are being reviewed to explore
what types of structures best fit the needs of the new independent USIU. Equally important in
this evolutionary process is the devolution of decision-making and improved communication
and governance.

At the time of the Special Visit the team felt that the role of the faculty in governance as well as
the development of the Board had not progressed to an acceptable standard. Although Board
structure had been put into place, there was a need to further develop the Board in terms of
committees, orientation and responsibilities. Moreover, that communications had deteriorated
over the past one year with a need for clear and efficient modes of delivering important
messages throughout the university community.

Shared governance and improving communication were two specific points of inquiry made in
the Special Visit Report and subsequent Action letter. It was stated that without these two
essential elements being in place the educational effectiveness process could not proceed.

One of the lagging issues has been the approval by CHE of the proposed new governance
structure that would eliminate the Board of Directors and confer these responsibilities to the
Board of Trustees. Another change for CHE approval was the restructuring of the Faculty Senate
into a Faculty Council. These were very difficult concepts to have approved by CHE because
they were considered a radical departure from the norm. During their visit, they reported that
there was still some confusion on the part of faculty as to their role. While some faculty may
still have misperceptions, the revision of the faculty senate constitution and the final approval

                                                                USIU EE Report            Page 33
of CHE for the proposed Board and faculty governance structures in June 2008 have allowed
the university to move forward with this shared governance model (Exhibit4.1: CHE Re-
Accreditation Report). These changes are now awaiting gazettement by President Kibaki.

The Board: Considerable progress has been made with Board development. It has expanded
from the initial five members at the time of the Institutional Proposal to ten, the maximum
number being 15. Committees have formed and begun meeting. Roles and responsibilities of
each committee have been reviewed and approved (Exhibit 4.2: Board Committee
Responsibilities). The Board also decided to include faculty on all committees, except the Audit
Committee, in order to get their input on specific issues. Faculty members of the committees
are chairs of similar Faculty Council committees, for example, the chair of the academic and
research committee serves on the Academic Committee of the Board; this will provide a direct
link between the two governing bodies. The first of these meetings including the faculty will
take place in October.

Another area of concern was the orientation of the Board. An orientation process has been
introduced that begins with members from the Nominating Committee of the Board, the Vice
Chancellor and University Counsel reviewing the responsibilities of a USIU Board member with
the prospective candidate. In order to provide additional information on the role of the Board
and its functions within the university, a Board manual was also developed (Exhibit 4.3: Board
Manual). This has helped to eliminate some of the confusion around the complex Board
structure of USIU/IUK although not completely. There continue to be questions around these
two entities. Additionally, even though many of the Kenyan members have served on other
local university Boards they are less familiar with the governance structure that typifies
American universities. To help facilitate their understanding of an American based system, the
university joined the Association of Governing Boards and members now receive the magazine
Trusteeship. There are also discussions underway for Board retreats and activities that will
involve the Board in the university. Several of these have occurred already (Exhibit 4.4: Board

Faculty Council: At the time of the Special Visit, the team felt that there was an antagonistic
relationship between the administration and the faculty as demonstrated by the suspension of
the Faculty Senate by the outgoing leadership. A Task Force had been formed to investigate
the causes of the problems and recommendations for resolving the impasse. The report was
presented to the faculty and the Vice Chancellor responded to the issues. She also explained
the difference in a University Senate that is characteristic of all other universities in Kenya
which has a management function and that of the Faculty Senate. The faculty agreed to
establish a committee, which included the VC and DVCAA, to revise its constitution. The
committee worked for three months on the revisions and explored other American university
governance structures. Several significant changes were included in the new constitution. It
was agreed to rename the Faculty Senate, Faculty Council in order to minimize the confusion as
to its role in the university, reduce the number of committees to four to make the council more
effective, and allow academic administrators to be members of the Council but not hold office.
The draft was presented to the faculty who then made corrections and the final draft was
subsequently approved by the Board (Exhibit 4.5: Faculty Council Constitution).

                                                             USIU EE Report            Page 34
The changes in the faculty constitution along with the process of faculty and administration
interacting has also resulted in better and more positive communications. The Faculty Council
(FC) rose from the ashes of the defunct Faculty Senate with the election of a new office under
the new Constitution in August 2007. The new body sought to address the issues that led to the
“dissolution” of the Faculty Senate by its membership, chief among which was apathy.
Management has liaised with faculty to move faculty forward on a platform of shared vision
and purpose. This along with academic administrators being members of the Council permits
accurate transfer of information as well as more efficient decision-making.

Faculty Council leadership has adopted the philosophy of constructive engagement and
abandoned the confrontational stance of their predecessors. One of the strategies that have
helped make this progress possible is the restructuring and sharing of information regarding all
major aspects of the university. Another has been the meaningful inclusion of faculty in the
governance structure thereby ensuring their participation in all major decision making
processes. A third strategy has been use of faculty development workshops and other fora to
discuss pertinent issues and improve communication.

By bringing more light than fire in matters of governance, the Faculty Council has gained more
respect and empathy from its membership and management. Thanks to the new philosophy,
several objectives have been achieved within less than a year (Exhibit 4.6: Faculty Council
Report). Faculty are engaged in various activities that compliment educational effectiveness
including service on various Faculty Senate Committees (See Exhibit 4.7: Faculty Council
Committees). All these committees are operational and active to varying degrees. For the first
time in 7 years Faculty Council organized a planning retreat and drafted a plan that was guided
by strategic goals set by the Board (Exhibit 4.6: Faculty Council Report). This process has been in
place for a year and has had positive results and feedback.

In April 2008 faculty held a well attended Annual General Meeting to discuss their annual
report and hold elections. Because of improved performance most officials were reelected to
run the Faculty Senate for another one year term beginning September 2008. Their main task is
to envision and implement the strategies necessary for the complete transformation of the
Faculty Council into an instrument of positive change and progress.

The extent to which faculty engagement has been achieved is partly reflected in the result of a
recent survey presented in Exhibit 3.3: Faculty Survey. The survey achieved a 72% response
rate. 74% of the respondents considered USIU a premier institution of academic excellence;
73% indicated that they are currently engaged in research; 71% said they would still want to
come to USIU if they were to begin their career all over again and 78% recorded high
satisfaction with quality of students at USIU. In comparison, salary and opportunities for
scholarly pursuits received low scores. Faculty also made suggestions of what should be done to
enhance the position of USIU as an excellent university and described the milestones they
would like to attain in the next 5 years. The survey report will be tabled for discussion during
the forthcoming faculty workshops pertinent points factored into academic and strategic

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 35
Other Governing Bodies
The other councils have also expressed a need to review their current constitutions as has the
Alumni Association Student Affairs Council (SAC) feels that their constitution has become
somewhat onerous in its application. This may also be contributing to some of the friction
between students and Student Affairs. Staff Council has also discovered a need to rework their
constitution      to     come      in     line     with      current      procedures.       The
Alumni Association is also exploring the need to revamp their constitution. Alumni have also
become increasing more active following the revitalization of the Alumni Affairs Office (Exhibit
4.8: Alumni Activities).

Leadership System
Strategic communication as a means of managing campus climate is becoming increasingly vital
as USIU continues to grow in size and complexity. WASC team cited poor communication; lack
of shared understanding; lack of collective leadership and ineffective meetings as major
drawbacks. Additionally, the administrative functions at various levels have experienced
turnover. At the executive level, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Institutional Planning and
Development was only in office for one year as was her head of institutional research. The
Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences who was also the ALO to WASC was appointed
Ambassador to the Netherlands with only one month’s notice. Although these positions have
been filled, there has been a learning curve for orienting new personnel to the educational
effective requirements.

Recruitment of qualified administrators has been an arduous process with limited candidate
pools. This area has been even more seriously impacted recently because of the increase in
institutions of higher education and government recruitment of doctoral level personnel. The
plan to develop administrators internally has met with some success. All members of the
Management Council have attended relevant workshops throughout the year; however, more
focused development activities must be scheduled (Exhibit 4. 9: Professional Development of

The evaluation of the Vice Chancellor has been implemented. A committee of the Board was
formed headed by Trustee Appleton to lead the review which was then followed by input from
the other trustees. The final review providing feedback to the Vice Chancellor was completed
in July. The confidential report of the evaluation is available upon request.

A major reorganization of the academic division to ensure effective leadership and meaningful
engagement of stakeholders is nearly complete. A restructuring of the division has been done
on a conceptual level to anticipate the expansion of the university into more schools and an
increase in the number of programs. Notable among the anticipated changes include the
replacements of coordinators with Academic Program Directors with revised job descriptions to
give the latter greater decision-making responsibility. This will free the deans from operational
minutiae to concentrate on planning and strategy implementation. All administrative positions
will be filled through a competitive process to attract candidates with proven ability and

Further, meetings have already been restructured to streamline communication and decision-

                                                              USIU EE Report            Page 36
making. They are now pre-planned, documented and archived in one decisional folder. The
folder for 2007-08 is about to be finalized and will be availed to the WASC team as an exhibit
during the forthcoming visit. Pertinent issues arising out of these meetings are communicated
to relevant stakeholders for further discussion or endorsement in face-to-face meetings or
electronically. The use of paper, email, as well as telephonic messages has greatly boosted
attendance in all units. Agendas and minutes are distributed in advance. The new measures
have resulted in a more inclusive and timely communication process, however the division is
yet to perfect the use of minutes for effective follow up. Training for administrators and leaders
in such areas as delegation and time management will be factored into the next professional
development cycle. A review of leadership and communication will now be undertaken
annually at the end of each academic year.

Although most of the team’s recommendations focused on faculty governance, they did stress
the importance of improved communication across the university. As described above
considerable progress has been made with the faculty. The university has had a long term
program for student leaders that begins with the election and taking of office of new team
leaders. Each year approximately 60 students are engaged in a leadership retreat that focuses
on the governance structure of the university, decision-making processes as well as budgeting
and planning. While most of the leaders obtain this information it is not always transferred to
the general student population.

As suggested above a more formal structure is needed to effectively communicate with the
general student population. Assessment of student’s receiving information by e-mail revealed
that most students do not use their university email addresses; consequently, they do not
receive information. See the KENET E-Readiness report. Bulletin boards and an expanded
Campus this Week information bulletin have met with limited success. The university is
currently piloting a program with Google to have Google host student email. Preliminary
findings suggest that this is a viable alternative because the service is more readily accessible;
therefore it will be introduced during Fall 2008. It is anticipated that this is one mode of
communication that will improve as a result. The university is also exploring the use of small
messaging services (sms) to allow students to obtain information via mobile phone. More
students have access to mobile phones and they tend to be more reliable.

While the university tries to improve modes of mass communication, there have been smaller
meetings with the leadership of the student body government to work through some problem
areas that have begun to surface. Additionally, faculty have taken a more active role and met
with student leadership to help them team build. Students have also been part of the EE
Committee and have been placed on the Student Affairs Committee of the Faculty Council but
have yet to meet with them. These have been recent introductions therefore the outcomes
have not yet been assessed.

Because so many things were delayed at the beginning of the year, some information has been
late and sporadic. It was decided to hold a Baraza (Town Hall Meeting) at the end of the year.
A Baraza is typically called by the chief to inform the community. We felt that if all members
received the same information at the same time perhaps it would minimize misinformation.

                                                               USIU EE Report           Page 37
There were a lot of actions that occurred in June and July. Some had already been
communicated in smaller groups, some by e-mail and some were governmental regulations
that needed to be explained. The various items covered included the CHE reaccreditation
changes and its impact on each governing body. Other rumors that had been floating were also
presented including tuition increases, the New Tobacco Act, the Educational Effective Review.
The initial informal feedback was positive. A climate survey is planned for Fall 08 to begin to
determine the impact of some of the changes that have occurred over the past two years.

Shared governance still remains a somewhat elusive concept with many members of the
university community. Heretofore, shared governance has simply translated to each group
feeling that they had a management function rather than functioning in an advisory capacity on
some issues and decision-making on appropriate matters. This was also indicated in the
feedback from the Commission for Higher Education. Several ongoing forums have provided
opportunities to help the community understand shared governance structure and what it
means to have a shared governance process. This has been discussed in the leadership retreat
with students, numerous meetings with faculty, during the Board orientation and discussions
with Board members following the CHE Reaccreditation visit, and more recently during the
Baraza within the context of describing the approved changes in governance structures by CHE.

Curiously, the question that generally surfaces is, “Who owns the University?” It has been a
difficult concept to grasp that the university owns itself. The misperception is that it is owned
by someone or some organization in California. It has been difficult to dispel this belief but
progress is being made. There are several ideas that will be tested in the upcoming academic
year to demystify USIU. During the orientation of new students which usually includes parents,
the history and ownership of the university will be added. Currently, orientation also covers
the governance structures; however, there is also an opportunity to include the concept of
shared governance in the first year experience class so that students have an opportunity for
discussion and clarification. Orientation of new faculty and staff will also address this concept.
It will also need to be reinforced particularly in an environment that grapples daily with
ownership issues that are steeped in controversy and conspiracy theories.

Admittedly, this has been a very difficult year in the country; however, in some ways the post
election crisis provided a need for all facets of the university to communicate with each. All
groups were involved in the decisions around campus closures, plan of action for possible
future closures, getting the community to communicate with each other once they returned
and supporting affected communities. Moreover, beginning to accept each other and
reinforcing our learning outcome of multicultural awareness and acceptance was indeed put to
the test. The university community did come together when many others were fragmenting.

The university has made significant progress in improving communication considering all of the
structural readjustments that had to occur. Most of the groups are moving toward reviewing
their constitutions. This is a very positive step in becoming an independent institution since
most constitutions were mere modifications of the constitution of the parent campus. While
they provided a structure, our new independent status is providing the impetus to create
structures that can help each constituency operate more efficiently and effectively within the

                                                               USIU EE Report           Page 38
university structure. CHE’s willingness to allow us to operate in a totally distinct way also gives
rise to hope of change. The historic constraints that the team mentioned in their report are
beginning to be lifted in the minds of the members of the university community. This is
probably the most important step toward creating a university with its own culture and
character. The shared governance process is taking root.

                                                               USIU EE Report            Page 39

This essay integrates and reflects on the key issues and achievements that unfolded during the
Educational Effectiveness Review self study and tracks the impact of the entire quality
assurance process on the development of a learning centered environment at USIU. The section
also provides a road map for our safari to academic excellence. This has been a tumultuous
journey plagued with detours, bad roads and sometimes dead-ends. And yes, the journey

USIU has been an institution in transition throughout the entire review cycle. At the time of the
Institutional proposal it was transitioning from a campus of USIU-San Diego to becoming an
independently accreditable unit of Alliant International University. The capacity review
witnessed the movement from that status to one of independent university. The Special Visit
Report noted it was a pivotal time in USIU history, an opportunity for the community to
establish its own character and identity. At the end of this Educational Effective Review cycle
the university is beginning to refine its unique character and place in higher education. The
WASC accreditation process has facilitated this growth to maturity by constantly challenging
the institution.

When USIU began this journey toward a more independent path, the institutional proposal
focused on the activities we felt were most essential to developing a quality institution and
improve the learning outcomes for our graduates. In retrospect, the plan may have been too
ambitious in light of the fact that not only was the WASC accreditation process new but we
were also novices in how to engage in many of the required elements of the educational review
process. Attempting a strategic plan, motivating faculty and preparing an outcome based
assessment process along with improving the program review procedures was somewhat
unrealistic. This was especially true in light of the fact that most of these processes had been
handled by the San Diego campus and merely adopted by the Nairobi campus. Faculty had little
involvement in curriculum design and program review consequently, the expertise was not
available. This was further compounded by the paucity of full time faculty at the Nairobi
campus to engage in such a process at the time.

Many other issues began to come to light during the CPR Review. It was apparent that there
was insufficient data available to conduct many of the activities proposed. Some problems
encountered were due to lack of human capital while others were infrastructure problems that
plague the country. For example, just finding graduates was difficult because of lack of home
addresses. In Kenya all mail is delivered through a mailbox; some former students only used the
USIU postal box. These structural issues along with turnover among key personnel plagued the
collection of data for the EE Review. The WASC CPR Report did serve to guide the university in
developing structures needed for data collection.

However, the university has been able to address many of the inherent problems to move
toward accomplishing most of the objectives identified in the proposal. It is anticipated that
future Institutional Proposals will build on our experience and we will propose more

                                                              USIU EE Report            Page 40
manageable objectives in the future. Additionally, many of the processes have become
institutionalized so that information is not dependent on selected individuals. As we expand
this process into the entire community, we will develop capacity and sustainability. There is
however, a need to prepare more detailed documentation of this process so that future
reviews will have a much shorter learning curve.

The Special Visit Report clearly identified what the university needed to do to complete the EE
Review, this served as a guide throughout the process. Moreover, referrals to experts that were
willing to come to Kenya helped us to understand and move through the process with increased
clarity and speed. We found that although our faculty attended WASC Workshops, the local
workshops focused on how to’s and practice. Models and examples helped faculty to see and
internalize the linkages in aligning learning outcomes and to conduct program assessments and

The four analytical essays within this EE Review Report herald our transition to a learning
institution. Looking back to 2003 when our journey towards the Educational Effectiveness
Review started, it is remarkable to acknowledge that indeed, this has been a voyage with a dual
purpose; development of high caliber students and pertinent institutional capacity building.
This five year journey has not only been both enlightening and challenging, but ultimately
rewarding. It has presented us with an opportunity to view ourselves from a different mirror
which in several cases has magnified both the distortions and the reality. Subsequently, we
have been able to specify what we want our students to have when they exit, how to measure
if they have it, and how to discover what they do with it… a very empowering feeling.

All along this journey, we have not simply come across many mileposts but have in fact
reconstructed and left evidences of landmarks at those posts. One such landmark was
“becoming an independent university” from Alliant International. Herein we redefined our
purpose and identity. We also initiated our strategic planning process that would lead us
towards our destination. Even more striking and within this vision, we have been able to
embark on “developing a learner centered environment”. This is especially evidenced by the
development and alignment of our learning outcomes, followed by the development of
assessment plans and subsequent programs assessments, and finally, improvements on our
program review guidelines and actual program reviews of select programs.

On this journey, we have also deliberately navigated our resources towards “supporting student
learning”, including constructing a new library, developing alternative sources for funding,
restructuring our institutional research, but most importantly, developing our human capacity.
And finally, we are definitely committed to “developing an organizational structure committed
to learning” as may be evidenced from the governance and the decision-making structures that
have been entrenched to improve communication across the constituencies of the university.

But along this journey too, we have met obstacles on which we have had to spend enormous
time and financial resources. In some cases, these obstacles have momentarily derailed us. For
example, on becoming an independent university, our separation from Alliant required a lot of
time and resources to meet legal requirements for aligning our local and international

                                                             USIU EE Report           Page 41
management structures. We also had to grapple with an identity crisis and at one point; we
were forced to postpone the start of the strategic plan by a year.

In developing a learner centered environment, we did not only realize that we had to retreat
from our ongoing program reviews to first develop learning outcomes, but we also had to
creatively develop our internal capacity to make this a reality.

Even in our refocusing of resources to support student learning, the construction of the library
was financially challenging. In addition, in the middle of developing our alternative funding
sources, we experienced a key staff turnover that detoured the process until replacements
were hired. But more challenging has been the dearth of the pool from which to source our
human resources, especially for faculty and key administrative positions. This has not only
meant an expensive recruitment process, but it has also forced us to dig deeper to fund our
professional development strategies.

And finally, while developing organizational structures committed to learning, our governance
landmarks seem to have not been as challenging. However, we still had to spend a lot of time
trying to differentiate the American “faculty senate” system from the Kenyan public university
version and to also develop “built-in” interactive communication structures that included
participation of the VC and DVCAA in faculty council deliberations, and having faculty council
committee chairs serve on some of the board of trustees committees.

Out of the enlightening moments, and in spite of these challenges, we have become much
stronger, more determined and, most importantly, poised to become “a premier institution of
academic excellence with a global perspective.” We now view ourselves as the trail blazers in
educational effectiveness in the region and continue to position ourselves strategically to meet
this obligation for our students, our immediate community and our region.

Kenya Educational Network. (2007). E- Readiness survey of higher education institutions in
Kenya. Nairobi: KENET.
Ministry of Education. (2007). The national strategy for university education 2007-2015.
Nairobi: Government of Kenya.

                                                             USIU EE Report            Page 42
APPENDIX A: WASC Recommendations and Responses
1. Make strategic communication a priority for developing an improved campus climate with
   appropriate assessment of the planned approach(CFRs3.8, 4.1)
   Various communication strategies have been introduced including involvement of the
   academic administration in the newly formed Faculty Council, small groups, Baraza, better
   accessibility to e-mail, sms, and others as presented in Section 4.

2. Ensure appropriate and rapid distribution of a printed version of the revised Faculty
   Handbook (CFR3.3).
   This was completed on 27 January 2007 and faculty signed a letter acknowledging receipt.

3. Provide the faculty new training opportunities for developing governance skills using the
   tradition of participative shared governance in American higher education as a point of
   reference (CFR 3.11).

   In the process of reconstituting the Faculty Senate and revising the faculty senate
   constitution, the Faculty Task Force did considerable background research on the
   governance structure of several American universities, the Vice Chancellor also gave a
   presentation on the differences between the American and Kenyan systems, a member of
   the Board with significant American higher education experience conducted a workshop
   with the faculty on the role of the faculty in governance systems in higher education in the
   United States. More detail on this is provided in Section 4.

4. Ensure an open, transparent, and consultative process for creating the new strategic plan
   that builds on the work of the existing plan and captures this pivotal moment in USIU-
   Kenya’s history. (CFR 4.1)
5. Develop a comprehensive academic plan through a widely consultative process (CFR 4.1)

   As agreed at the August meeting held at WASC Headquarters, this process would be
   delayed in order to get the other pressing issues such as communication, revitalizing the
   Faculty Senate, and a better understanding of the educational effectiveness process by
   faculty, administration and other members of the university community. This will also
   facilitate the development of a plan with informed input.

6. Create a Center for Teaching and Learning charged with developing a sustained program of
   faculty development on educational issues, including student learning outcomes
   assessment (CFR 3.4).

   This has been established and described in section 2.

7. Identify and harmonize learning outcomes and objectives at the individual student, course,
   program and institutional levels (CFRs 2.2,2.4)
8. Development and implement a comprehensive plan for assessment of student learning
   outcomes at all levels(CFR 4.4)
   This is thoroughly described in Section 2.

                                                             USIU EE Report            Page 43
APPENDIX B: List of Exhibits

1.1          Annual Plan AY07/08
1.2          Faculty Views on Uniqueness
2.1          Efforts to Improve Course Files
2.2          CELT Terms of Reference
2.3          Education Effectiveness Committee
2.4          Faculty Development Workshops
2.5          Program Assessment/Review Guidelines
2.6          PLOs for all programs
2.7          Curriculum Alignment Matrixes
2.8          Analysis of High School Scores
2.9          2006 English Report
2.10         GE 2008 Assessment report
2.11         Odendo and Wambalaba 2006
2.12         2008 Math Report
2.13         2006 Community Service Report
2.14         2008 Community Service Report*
2.15         2003 – 2008 IT Competency Report
2.16         Sample Assessment Plans
2.17         Faculty Workshops
2.18         Rubric for Program Assessment Report
2.19         2008 Changes in Journalism Program
2.20         Rubrics for Assessing Program Review
2.21         07/08 IST Review Report*
2.22         Psychology External Reviewer Report
2.23         07/08 Psychology Action Plan
2.24         Recent Five Year Faculty Research Profiles
2.25         Case Studies Report
2.26         The Spencer Foundation Proposal
2.27         Symposium Program
2.28         Exit Survey Report
3.1          TPM4 program
3.2          Redefining Research and Scholarship
3.3          Faculty Survey Report
3.4          Faculty Salary Review Report**
4.1          CHE Re-Accreditation Report
4.2          Board Committee Responsibilities
4.3          Board Manual
4.4          Board Activities
4.5          Faculty Council Constitution
4.6          Faculty Council Report
4.7          Faculty Council Committees

                                                          USIU EE Report   Page 44

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