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ERIC Number: EJ846876
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1553-7544
The Art of Self-Reflection
Villano, Matt
Campus Technology, v20 n1 p38-40, 42-44 Sep 2006
Metaphysically speaking, the idea of self-reflection has been the subject of discussion for thousands of years. The idea carried human beings through the Renaissance, and an entire movement tied to it sparked a sociopolitical movement called the Enlightenment. In more recent times, thought leaders such as Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud all have opined on the subject of people's ability to look inside themselves and act accordingly. It is, as Kant once wrote, the very thing that makes humans "rational animals." The art of self-reflection is alive and well in academia today. College and university administrators apply the same philosophical tenet to their own operations, utilizing a variety of methods to figure out how to maximize efficiencies and minimize waste. By reflecting on their priorities, goals, and processes, schools can get a better sense of important quantifiable data such as student matriculation, average class size, employee benefits spending, financial aid awards, and research dollars, to name a few of the more commonly aggregated and mined data. Administrators no doubt are familiar with the process termed "institutional assessment," but they may not fully realize just how critical it is to their school's ability to meet its institutional goals and fulfill its mission, not to mention meet its more routine--but no less essential--needs. Though institutional assessment practices are not perfect, many of them have helped schools get a better sense of how performance varies over time. In the past, in fact, staffers at most schools carried out many assessment functions by hand, cross-referencing spreadsheets and other forms of paperwork in an attempt to chart mission-critical performance. Nowadays, however, a growing number of schools are embracing data-driven web-based interfaces and new data analysis techniques to ease the process. This article describes how schools such as Texas A&M University, the University of Central Florida, the University of California-Davis, Western Washington University, and Flagler College (Florida) are utilizing new advances in institutional assessment tools in order to improve performance across the board. While some of these colleges and universities are using homegrown systems, others have turned to the vendor community for help.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A