IER Case Study

Campus Labs All-Star Award Winner: Dallas Baptist University

Title: Expanding Vision and Goals by Leveraging Data


Dallas Baptist University works with comprehensive annual reporting, program reviews, and accreditation processes and systems. In 2014, DBU desired to develop a comprehensive approach to Institutional Effectiveness and Research that would incorporate communication, collaboration, and coordination. With that goal in mind, the Institutional Effectiveness and Research department began searching for a solution that would align their processes with their reporting and workflow requirements. They sought to find a software that could meet five requirements: (1) allowed for Program/Department Planning and Review, (2) met SACSCOC Accreditation Requirements, (3) produced a variety of customized reports, (4) interpreted data more effectively, and (5) a user-friendly software that would also streamline all of their data collection and reporting processes. DBU also wanted to find solutions that would be accessible and useful to faculty and staff in their own data management and reporting needs.

After three companies were identified in April 2014, a taskforce of seven stakeholders on campus was asked to review each company’s software program. In July 2014, after demos from each company and multiple meetings with stakeholders, Campus Lab’s Compliance Assist software was selected as the number one choice to serve as DBU’s online platform for entering Annual Reports, Program Reviews, and Accreditation Reports because it was the only software that offered a solution for all five requirements. Implementation was a seamless partnership between Campus Labs and DBU, allowing for the first cycle of Annual Reports to be entered in Compliance Assist in 2014-2015.

Data Collection Across Campus      

The English Department had previous success using a system of online rubrics data and analysis that integrated with their LMS.  After losing access to the system, DBU needed to find another tool that would allow for rubric assessment and scoring. They also wanted the ability to collect and aggregate data from common departmental rubrics so that they could measure and report on learning outcomes in this area, and they needed a system that would integrate with their LMS.

Based on initial satisfaction using the Compliance Assist platform for annual reporting, program review, and accreditation reporting, DBU turned to Campus Labs once again for a solution. This resulted in the English Department making the decision to pilot the use of Campus Labs Rubrics in 2016 to replace their old processes. After successful implementation, Baseline Rubrics quickly became integral to the English Department’s data collection, analysis, and reporting processes.

Rubrics usage was then expanded with many departments and programs, including the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Christian Faith, and the Gary Cook School of Leadership, finding Rubrics to be an extremely useful tool. DBU was able to leverage the use of rubrics for assessment by having a tool available to meet their needs.  The additional usage of the LMS Integration available with Rubrics helped to get faculty buy-in and ease the transitions.  “It’s a big deal when it is linked to the LMS,” stated Carol Reid, Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness and Research. “For faculty to be able to go into their LMS course and go directly into Rubrics from there to conduct assessment, is really strong for the ease of use of the product.”  Paired with personalized training and outreach, they were also able to expand these practices to their adjunct population as well.

Various units have also widely adopted Baseline Surveys to complement their data collection. The Office of Institutional Research has helped design and deploy surveys for both academic and non-academic units to collect assessment data. In fact, the College of Education deployed surveys to the principals of local schools to gather assessment data on student teachers. 

Leveraging the Data

With widespread adoption of both the Rubrics and Baseline Survey data collection tools, what did they do with all the data? DBU realized the value of these data collection processes and proceeded to expand their vision and goals regarding leveraging the data they have collected for many years to enhance student learning across the University.

Over time and with the use of the various Campus Labs solutions to address their reporting and accreditation needs, DBU realized the positive impact that efficient and effective use of data can have on student learning and program improvement. Their goals evolved from simply using good data management software to strengthening their programs through continuous data collection, analysis, and reporting on student learning outcomes. “Because of the way Campus Labs makes it possible for us to share and use data, it has made us much more aware of what we are seeing in our students and understanding what we need to do next to help them get better and help us get better at teaching them,” according to Rebecca Dark, Associate Academic Dean/Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness and Research.

  • The English Department was able to act on qualitative data from their graduate students who indicated that they felt underprepared on certain issues or skills when entering graduate school. The English Department introduced a new undergraduate course in Critical Theory and have tracked assessment scoring results related to the aforementioned issues. Since the introduction of the new course, the program has seen repeated improvements in student learning on these issues.
  • The BBA Entrepreneurship program was able to see that students needed to improve their ability to assess business opportunities. In response, the program director was able to develop more detailed instructions on SWOT analysis through classroom activities to enhance student’s achievement.
  • The Political Science Department was able to see that their students were underperforming in the application of acquired knowledge. The program was able to develop a new instructional activity to reinforce application of knowledge and improve student learning.

Campus Labs has facilitated their ability to enhance learning environments and student achievement. With access to data and data visualizations, DBU can see trends in student learning that wouldn't have been seen otherwise. “It’s helping us to become a stronger campus in our assessment practices,” said Rebecca Dark.

Specifically, Compliance Assist and Planning helped them to exceed their initial goal of streamlining processes and systems. These systems have allowed them to standardize reporting processes across the University and has created campus-wide understandings on the language and goals of assessment. DBU was able to improve the quality of the data they are collecting by revising Planning templates and better explain assessment practices and tools to faculty. This approach has empowered faculty and staff in the collection, analysis, management, and reporting of data on program success and learning outcomes.

After realizing the full potential of their Campus Labs Solutions, DBU has developed additional goals regarding the improvement of academic programs and students' achievement of core competencies through collecting, analyzing, reporting on, and archiving their General Education learning outcomes. The assessment professionals took a critical look at the outcomes and collection processes associated with their University Core Competencies. They discovered that some of the outcomes were too bulky and not easily measured, thus the data was hard to collect.  This review helped the assessment team to break down and rewrite some general education learning outcomes to make them more measurable and meaningful.

Setting the Stage for Better Outcomes

DBU also found success when dealing with SACSCOC. “The evaluator on our site visit, when looking at our annual reporting process, was thrilled about the way the different programs worked together and how that was implemented,” said Rebecca Dark. But their relationship with Campus Labs is much more than simply collecting data. “All of these tools will help us to close the loop,” stated Carol Reid, Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness.

 In fact, DBU’s approach and partnership with Campus Labs has helped them adapt to new reporting needs in a quick and efficient manner. When SACSCOC released new, more stringent guidelines emphasizing the measuring and tracking of student learning data as well as using that data to drive improvement of instruction and learning, DBU was eager to adopt the Campus Labs Outcomes tool.

Now, all academic programs, departments, and colleges/schools are being encouraged to use Outcomes for collection, analysis, and archiving of learning outcomes data. Outcomes has become a far more important tool than initially expected, and now their goal is to see it utilized by all academic departments and programs to meet SACSCOC expectations.