Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership


This qualitative multi-case study identified institutional structures and assessment processes that support general education learning outcomes assessment initiatives at three community colleges accredited by the Higher Learning Commission under the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). In support of this purpose, data collection involved semi-structured interviews with three types of positions – Chief Academic Officer, lead administrator for assessment, and faculty holding a leadership position in support of general education assessment. Documents related to assessment and accreditation status were also reviewed to allow for comprehensive collection of evidence and triangulation of data.

Primary topics within the five guiding questions for this study included (a) institutional structures that support assessment, (b) processes to accomplish assessment of general education learning outcomes, (c) ways senior leaders support assessment, (d) elements that allowed an institution to reach the results and implementation stages of assessment, and (e) steps taken to improve student learning based on assessment results. Upon analysis of the data gathered, four strategies emerged as ways community colleges could be better prepared to use assessment results, implement improvement efforts, and document subsequent changes in student learning. These strategies are to (a) spread and connect responsibilities for assessment to adjunct faculty and administrators across the institution, (b) locate where general education learning outcomes are present in the curriculum, (c) link resources invested in assessment efforts to corresponding results to justify the investment, and (d) communicate assessment successes and challenges to the President and Board of Trustees to ensure active and authentic participation in local and national dialogues regarding student learning.