Western University of Health Sciences Institutional Research and Effectiveness - IRE Western University of Health Sciences
Institutional Research and Effectiveness - IRE

Assessment Home

Welcome to Western University of Health Sciences’ Assessment Website

At Western University, we are motivated to continuously define and refine our institutional culture of evidence while using evidence-based decision making to create and reach our goals as a university. We invite you to look at our assessment strategy, tools, and results. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE).

Assessment Role

IRE’s role in the assessment of Western University’s Institutional Learning Outcomes is in the development of a sustainable and applicable assessment strategy involving all fourteen Western University programs. In addition to being the lead office in direct contact with our accrediting agency (WASC), IRE also aids college programs by providing methodological support, statistical support, assessment organizational support, and direct assessment feedback.

What is Assessment?

Assessment is the collection and use of evidence to improve a product or process (Allen, 2004). For Western University of Health Sciences, the goal of institutional assessment is twofold: 1. Gather evidence to demonstrate whether or not students within the various programs are achieving institutional outcome goals, and 2. Improve program curriculum by documenting structural changes affecting outcome goals, academic cultural climates, and pedagogical advancements. 


Assessment is…

Assessment is NOT….

  • an ongoing process
  • systematic
  • a way to demonstrate program effectiveness
  • focused on student learning and development outcomes
  • valued by university leadership, sponsors, and accreditors
  • useful for program faculty and leaders
  • useless (except if poorly done)
  • an end goal
  • the only information considered when evaluating programs
  • individual faculty performance evaluation
  • student course grades
  • only feedback and opinions


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Why do it?

Western University of Health Sciences is strongly motivated to inform our students, faculty, employees, investors, and the greater community at large that our students are not only successful within the realms of graded work, preceptor evaluations, board examination pass rates, and job placement, but also in the institutional learning domains that unite the nine colleges into a functioning university. The institutional learning domains contain eight elements that, when harmoniously combined, create a professional health scientist ready to serve the community. Our assessments of the Institutional Learning Outcomes inform us whether or not the learning outcomes Western University has set are being achieved by all programs. The assessment process allows us to create a body of evidence to help support our goal that students are achieving mastery in these non-tangible skills. The bottom line is: Western University wants to demonstrate our students are learning.





  • Validation of the fact that the institution is meeting its mission and goals
  • Legitimate justification for changes, enhancement and decision making


  • Coherent courses within a program
  • Interdisciplinary cooperation within or across programs
  • Increased departmental conversations among faculty


  • Consistency of standards between courses
  • A holistic overview of the courses
  • Validations on both what we are teaching and why we are teaching it
  • Opportunities to refine course criteria and benchmarks
  • More rigorous curriculum review focusing on student learning outcomes
  • A more learning-centered, student-responsive classroom environment


  • Opportunities to refine teaching practices, syllabi, daily activities, and assessments based on target Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
  • More Learning-centered instructions
  • More productive conversations and better decision makings on students’ learning
  • Greater satisfaction as educators with the evidence of the differences they have made in regards to the students’ education
  • Future instructional development with a larger view of students’ needs and accomplishments


  • Academic and professional programs based on both students’ needs
  • Clarification on courses’ and program’s expectations
  • An effective learning process
  • Systematic feedbacks about their own progress
  • An understanding of their own strength and weakness as students
  • To become more self-reflective learners


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Assessment and Program Review Committee

Western University created an Assessment and Program Review committee with the sole purpose of furthering the development of our assessment culture. The committee is made up of representatives from all of the nine colleges, IRE’s Senior Assessment Analyst, and is chaired by the Director of IRE. It is from this committee and the guidance of the Provost that Western University’s assessment strategies are developed.

Juan Ramirez, Ph.D.   (Chair)
Chair of Assessment Committee
Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness

Elizabeth Andrews, DDS, MS
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
College of Dental Medicine

Mary Lopez, Ph.D., RN
Associate Dean for Administration and Research
Assistant Professor
College of Graduate Nursing

Linda Garavalia, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Assessment / Professor
College of Pharmacy

Susan Mackintosh, DO, MPH
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
College of Osteopathic Medicine

Donna Redman-Bentley, PT, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research
College of Allied Health Professions

Neil Patel, Ph.D.
Senior Assessment Analyst
Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness

Kathleen Satterfield, DPM, FACFOAM, MAPWCA
Assistant Dean, Pre-Clinical Curriculum & Outcomes Assessment
Associate Professor of Podiatric Medicine, Surgery & Biomechanics
College of Podiatric Medicine

Peggy Schmidt, DVM, MS, DACVPM
Associate Professor, Director College Outcomes Assessment,
Population Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine

Kimberly DeKruif
Assistant Vice President of University Enrollment/Registrar
University Student Affairs

Stephanie Amonoo-Monney, MPA
Assessment Analyst
College of Optometry