Academic Quality at DeVry University
DeVry University has a long history of providing quality, integrity, and innovation in higher education. We have helped students earn associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in a variety of in-demand fields for over 80 years. With more than a quarter-million alumni, we are proud to be one of the largest private, degree-granting, regionally accredited higher education systems in North America.
The DeVry University Academic Annual Report
For decades, DeVry University has publicly reported the rates at which our students graduate and become employed in their chosen fields. We also have a report that reflects our commitment to providing a thorough and straightforward overview of our academic initiatives and progress.
The DeVry University Academic Annual Report confirms commitment to academic quality and our student-centered approach to education. It also presents opportunities for improvement as we strive to attain the highest standards possible for all our students.
Laying the Groundwork for Academic Quality
The rigors of academic coursework…funding a college education…fitting studies into a full and busy life…these are the hurdles many students—especially non-traditional students—face when they pursue a degree. At DeVry University, we are committed to helping students succeed by providing accessible education that includes ongoing support and student services.
- Articulations. DeVry University partners with community colleges, making the most of previously earned credits, to help provide pathways to four-year universities for hardworking students. We also work directly with employer education programs to build on employee training as a fast-track to a degree.
Measuring and Improving Academic Quality
In our on-campus and online classrooms across the country, we have great expectations for our students to become lifelong learners and valuable professionals in the 21st century workplace. The success of our students is directly linked to the strength of our curriculum, learning methods, and faculty. In addition, student services outside the classroom, such as academic advising and career guidance, play a major role in helping students complete their degree program and secure, fulfilling careers after graduation. By participating in the prestigious Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), DeVry University engages in three AQIP action projects each year designed to produce clear evidence of our commitment to improving academic quality. Projects have included:
- Project Action. The goal of this project is to implement assessment plans across the institution to help measure student success against standard benchmarks and gauge improvement in learning over time.
- Project Honors. This action project is designed to engage high-performing students and contribute to our overall efforts to raise student persistence and retention.
- Project Scholar. The goal of this project is to evolve our faculty model to influence student learning outcomes through advising and welcome calls.
The Five Tenets of Academic Quality
Advances in Curriculum and Innovation
Technology shapes our interactions with the world and the classroom. Under this tenet, we explore ways to advance our curriculum by evaluating the newest pedagogies and technologies as tools to deliver world-class learning experiences to our students. This includes:
- Learning Methodologies. From the eLearning platform to experimenting with Massive Open Online Courses and information literacy, our learning methodologies help create a dynamic, student-centered, active learning environment and foster the life skills necessary in a global environment.
- Library Resources and Information Literacy. The DeVry University Library—a network of campus libraries and online resources—offers a comprehensive range of learning resources and tools and a strategic approach to information literacy. During a course of study and through reference services like Ask-a-Librarian, students are provided with instruction in information literacy and opportunities to practice and hone their related skills.
- Academic Success Centers and Online Tutoring. Studies show that tutoring—and specifically drop-in tutoring services—effectively improves a student's persistence and GPA. All DeVry University students can take advantage of the Academic Success Centers as well as access the online tutoring resource Smarthinking.™
Student Learning Outcomes and Experience
We want our students to succeed academically and become leaders in the workforce who inspire change and have a worldview. This tenet incorporates experiential learning and connections to industry into the educational process as a way of setting students on paths of self-discovery and helping them develop skills that employers seek in the workforce:
- Standardized Assessments. We periodically use standardized assessments in the education process: Major Field Tests, to measure the knowledge, analytical, and problem-solving skills gained by students in their field of study; and Course Level Assessments to track student scores and evaluate skills in applying specific course knowledge.
- Experiential Learning. Our study abroad and domestic learning programs offer distinctive courses that provide transformative experiential learning. Through domestic and foreign travel opportunities students have exposure to global workplaces and make powerful, long lasting connections with companies and peers in the U.S. and throughout the world.
- Clubs and Competitions. We create opportunities for students to participate in industry related clubs and competitions to stretch their academic knowledge. By networking with peers and participating in industry events, students hone their skills and obtain a wealth of experience that enhances their portfolios.
Faculty Development and Engagement
Faculty members are at the heart of our institution, and they often engage in meaningful activities that have an impact in their fields and in the classroom. This tenet highlights how faculty members engage with students; collaborate with each other and their larger academic communities; and connect with the world around them. This includes:
- Faculty Development. Long known for industry experience, and an ability to impart to students real-world practices from the field, our professors are also first-rate academicians who are passionate about teaching. In recent years, DeVry University has made significant progress in strengthening the role that our faculty play in maintaining academic quality.
- Investment in Growth and Development. With 650 full-time faculty members and thousands of other faculty, DeVry University has plans to increase the number of professors with Ph.D.s. In addition, our new faculty chair position, annual Faculty Symposium, and DeVry University Journal of Scholarly Research create opportunities for faculty development and promotion.
- Evaluation and Assessment. DeVry University students provide ongoing feedback about our faculty programs, services, and classroom settings. Through student satisfaction measurement tools, such as Net Promoter Score assessments, we can determine the quality of our courses and programs. DeVry University’s 2014 Course Net Promoter Score was 52.3, which is considered excellent.
Student Degree Completion and Support
Providing our students with the personal and academic support they need is essential to helping them complete their programs. This tenet highlights how we adapt and customize levels of support to help students reach their goals:
- Student Persistence and Graduation. Since 1975, more than 260,000 degrees have been awarded from DeVry University. Through tracking and early intervention, we have improved persistence rates (a student's enrollment from one semester to the next) and the first-year retention rate, and we continue to work to improve graduation rates. By investing in programs aimed at retention and support, we are striving to help students—particularly our underserved populations—make it to graduation.
- Student Support. Our goal is to continuously enhance the quality of services and the education we deliver to our students. A key student support tool, ASPIRE, provides free, 24/7 counseling services to students and their families. Additionally, we are piloting programs such as Faculty Advising and Calling Campaigns to connect students to our professors early and often, so they feel welcomed and supported during the times they need assistance the most.
Student Engagement to Graduation and Beyond
Graduation day is a significant milestone for our students – but because we are a career-focused university, it is simply the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship with them. This tenet reflects our engagement with alumni and our ability to provide them with ongoing support:
- Student Career Progression. At DeVry University, we evaluate our effectiveness based on the number of graduates we prepare for today's marketplace. To this end, our career services advisors help students by working with them to develop career readiness plans and provide tools that will support their success. We also invest significantly in promoting alumni networks through our alumni association.
- Alumni Community and Engagement. To foster the growth and success of future alumni, we have a full-scale alumni engagement plan that includes the DeVry University and Keller Alumni Association, a bi-yearly alumni survey, and active social media engagement. DeVry University values alumni feedback and uses input to improve our initiatives to students and alumni and foster a community of thriving lifelong learners.