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 have now published a report that reflects our commitment to also provide a thorough and straightforward reporting on our academic initiatives and progress.
The DeVry University Academic Annual Report confirms our high standards, our 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. Following is a summary of this comprehensive report.
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 an 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.
One of a few selected schools for 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 Snapshot. The goal of this project is to help students learn more effectively, measure student learning outcomes, and gauge improvement in learning over time.
- Project Delight. This action project is designed to improve many of our student services by providing service training for all DeVry University faculty, staff, and management.
- University College. An engaging first-year experience, the goal of this project is to improve student progression from one semester and year to the next and to promote career success and lifelong learning.
The Five Tenets of Academic Quality
Learning Methodologies. From the eLearning platform to information literacy, our learning methodologies help foster a dynamic, student-centered, active learning environment and foster the life skills necessary in a global environment.
- eLearning Platform. Providing a common course structure, communication vehicle, and centralized set of course resources for all our courses, the eLearning platform supports our blended learning modality. An early adopter of technology-driven education and blended courses, DeVry University is continually seeking to improve the platform, course creation, and delivery process to provide the best possible active learning environment for all students.
- Library Resources and Information Literacy. The DeVry University Library—a network of 25 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 the related skills.
- 21st Century Learning Initiatives. DeVry University has planned a three-year, $19 million investment in high-tech classrooms to ensure students are well equipped for the workplace of the future and to best facilitate active learning. Three leading-edge initiatives—Advanced Technology Classrooms, eLab2, and DevStudio2.0—are helping us meet our goals to foster collaboration, increase student interaction, mimic real laboratory, studio and high-tech work environments, and provide dynamic learning experiences for students.
Outcomes Assessment Initiatives. To continue our legacy of academic quality, DeVry University has introduced initiatives to measure and improve our student learning outcomes.
- Writing Assessment Program (WRAP). In the information-rich workplace, employers are placing greater value on writing and communication skills. The Writing Assessment Program, which has shown clear evidence of success in the four years since it's been implemented, evaluates students' ability to think critically and communicate in writing. WRAP also allows us to calibrate writing instruction across the system to ensure that all students receive the same rigorous writing instruction.
- Capstone Project Course. A valuable experience in team building, skills application, and cooperative effort that is essential in today's workplace, the senior seminar/capstone course that's part of every DeVry University program also helps develop intellectual curiosity, independent learning, critical thinking, and decision making. Another valuable outcome of this initiative is the resulting electronic portfolio, in which students can showcase their best work for potential employers.
- Standardized Assessments. DeVry University is piloting three standardized assessments to be given periodically in the education process: The Education Testing Service (ETS) Proficiency Profile®, which documents a program's effectiveness for accreditation purposes; Major Field Tests, to measure the knowledge, analytical, and problem-solving skills gained by students in their field of study; and the iSkills™ Assessment, which measure information and communication technology literacy.
- University College. A pilot program, University College is a comprehensive first-year educational experience that provides freshmen with the skills and support they need for early success. Learning outcomes from the University College pilot will be used to track the program's effect on student progression, GPAs, and withdrawal rates.
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 and 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 700 full-time faculty members and thousands of other faculty, DeVry University has plans to grow its full-time group as well as significantly increase the number of professors with Ph.D.s. In addition, the new dean of faculty position, the annual Faculty Symposium, and the new faculty development and advancement system has formalized opportunities for faculty development and promotion.
- Evaluation and Assessment. Through the DeVry End of Course Evaluation and our Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), DeVry University students provide ongoing feedback about our faculty programs, services, and classroom settings. In the 2009 evaluations, DeVry University's undergraduate, graduate and adult learner students were more satisfied with DeVry University's faculty than their counterparts were at all other four-year private universities surveyed.
Student Persistence and Graduation. Since 1975, more than 260,000 students have graduated 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, like University College (see above) and Student Central, we are striving to help students—particularly our underserved populations—make it to graduation.
- Student Central. Through this one-stop student solutions center, students are provided with a "success team," consisting of a student success coach (academic advisor) and a student finance consultant, that's an available and reliable support system. All DeVry University locations are launching Student Central, and data shows that student satisfaction rates have significantly improved as a result.
- 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 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 work closely with students to help them individually hone their job search skills. 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.