Institutional Assessment

Why We Assess

The Kalamazoo College mission is to “prepare our graduates to better understand, live successfully within, and provide enlightened leadership to a richly diverse and increasingly complex world.” 

However, the skills needed to achieve these goals are constantly evolving. Institutional assessment exists to help the College reflect on its successes and take note of the gaps in our academic programming. This culture of assessment further empowers our faculty to be innovative in their teaching, keeping K at the forefront of education. 

What We Assess

After carefully surveying faculty, staff, alumni, and students, the College has ascertained four key skills that each student should obtain prior to graduation. These institutional learning outcomes (ILOs) were selected to ensure that our students have the necessary abilities to thrive in the modern, global workforce.

student presenting their thesis

Communicate Effectively

The ability to translate one’s vision for the future into terms that are easily understandable is the marking of a good leader. Learning to successfully articulate one’s ideas is a critical skill that sets our students apart in the workforce and empowers them to be pioneers in their field. 

students solving an economics equation

Address Complex Problems

As the world becomes increasingly complex, the challenges our students face become more intricate. Developing critical thinking is a central tenet of a Kalamazoo College education; we want our students to creatively innovate and envision solutions to today’s most pressing problems.

three students and a professor looking at a laptop

Collaborate Successfully

To be effective leaders, students need to also be listeners and collaborators. At K, we want our students to learn how to cooperate with people of all beliefs and backgrounds so that they can go on to become team players, coalition builders and community organizers.

students walking in Bonn Germany

Demonstrate Intercultural Competency

We live in a deeply interconnected world that cannot easily be compartmentalized by borders. It is central to our mission that students expand their sense of community to become conscientious global citizens who can empathize with and appreciate richly diverse cultures.

How We Assess

The Institutional Assessment Committee has partnered with the Higher Learning Commission to develop our Assessment Academy project, which evaluates the success of K’s institutional learning outcomes. Each department and unit of the College is additionally expected to set its own measurable goals that align with the College’s priorities. 

The Office of Institutional Research further conducts campus-wide surveys to assess the effectiveness of the College’s academic programs. To reliably evaluate success over time, the College regularly administers nationally-recognized surveys, including the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), and the Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s (CIRP) freshman and senior surveys.