A Way Toward Ensuring a Relevant Undergraduate Curriculum: BSN Curriculum Assessment Plan

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Steven J. Palazzo, PhD, MN, RN, CNE
Department of Nursing, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, USA
Nancy C. Sharts-Hopko, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, CNE
M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA
Lynnette Leeseberg Stamler, PhD, MEd
College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA

Introduction: Comprehensive nursing program evaluation is a requirement in nursing education. Nursing programs are expected to demonstrate integration of accreditation standards into their evaluation plans and base program improvement from data collected from these criteria (Suhayda & Miller, 2006). There is a paucity of evidence-based literature specific to systematic nursing program evaluation protocols (plans). Evidence-based strategies suggest collecting and trending data to predict NCLEX success (which is one of the benchmarks for nursing program success set by CCNE) is possible (Nibert & Young, 2001; Nibert, Young, & Adamson, 2002; Sewell, Culpa-Bondal, & Colvin, 2008; Davis, Grinnell, & Niemer, 2013). Recently, schools of nursing are using frameworks, such as the CIPP (context, inputs, process, and products) model, to guide decision-oriented evaluation planning (Escallier & Fullerton, 2012). Setting clear benchmarks to measure student success and program effectiveness is part of the nursing accreditation process (CCNE, 2013). The challenge is incorporating the standards and criteria from multiple stakeholders into a single comprehensive assessment plan. It is essential that schools (colleges) of nursing create a cultural norm that advocates for and supports all aspects of data-driven curricular decisions that improve the quality of the curriculum (Suhayda & Miller, 2006).

The College of Nursing has an undergraduate curriculum committee. The purpose of Undergraduate Curriculum and Assessment Committee (UCEC) is to assure a quality undergraduate program by reviewing and recommending action on undergraduate curricular matters. Escallier and Fullerton (2012) advocate for creating evaluation standing committees to better delineate authority, responsibility, and accountability. Gard, Flannigan, and Cluskey (2004) state that a standing committee responsible for the oversight of the evaluation process is effective method for evaluating nursing programs.

Purpose:To organize and lead a team to create and operationalize a single comprehensive systematic internal and external BSN curriculum assessment document. This project was created as part of the Emerging Educational Administrator Institute (EEAI) and addresses the Educational Academic Mission category of the institute.

Project Goal:To develop as an educational administrator; use responsive-situational leadership perspective (Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson, 2015) to achieve stated outcomes; and, engage and inspire others to achieve the College of Nursing goals through purposeful and strategic BSN Curriculum Assessment Plan subcommittee involvement. A responsive-situational leader inspires others to achieve and sustain purposeful and value-based outcomes by using situation-specific engagement strategies to enhance a person’s agency based on the principles of Hersey, Blanchard, & Johnson, 2015.

Methods: The UCEC Chair formed a sub-committee, BSN Curriculum Assessment Plan Workgroup, in October of 2016 to develop and design a comprehensive internal and external assessment plan for the undergraduate curriculum to identify strengths and challenges in the curriculum. The BSN Curriculum Assessment Plan is designed to identify gaps in the curriculum, create and or update internal and external survey forms, create a systematic method of collecting, collating, analyzing, evaluating, and disseminating data from a central office. The workgroups mission is to create a plan that realizes the importance of a curriculum that is logically organized, scaffolded appropriately, internally consistent, and implemented as intended.

Results to Date: The establishment of a BSN Assessment Plan workgroup within the Undergraduate Curriculum and Assessment Committee (UCEC); a framework has been developed to guide BSN program assessment; the creation of a BSN curriculum assessment plan document (draft).

Projected Outcomes and Deliverables: The promotion of a culture that supports innovative pedagogy, continuous quality improvement, and accountability for student learning outcomes; advocate for work load unit (WLU) allocation for a BSN Director of Assessment; advocate for staff allocation to support onging BSN assessment; and, contribute to the CCNE self-study report.

A BSN Curriculum Assessment Plan (document) manual aligned with the College of Nursing’s strategic plan); conceptual framework for assessment (objective-based model), context, input, process, and product (CIPP) Model (Stufflebeam, D.L., 2000; Suhayda & Miller, 2006); data tracking mechanism (Excel); Curriculum Action Form; Content Mapping of the curriculum, and, end-of-year reports.

Sustainability:Create the position of Director of BSN Assessment and allocate a percentage of a staff person’s time to the BSN assessment.

Outcome Dissemination:An end-of year report to admiration, faculty, staff, and students; CCNE self-study report; and College of Nursing’s annual report of scholarship.

Conclusions: Responsive-situational leadership strategies were successful in leading a team charged with examining the current BSN curriculum, identifying gaps in the curriculum, and formulating a plan of action to address identified gaps. Additionally, the team was charged with creating a handbook for use as a guide for continuous quality improvement of the curriculum and a mechanism for collating and disseminating curricular data. Although this is a continuing process with an anticipated completion date of September 2017, there have been significant strides made to date. A team has been assembled, a framework has been created to guide the work of the team, and a BSN Curriculum Assessment Manual has been developed. We anticipate presenting our work during our college’s fall retreat in September 2017 and gaining approval to proceed with our curriculum assessment plan beginning the 2017-18 academic year.