Ongoing Cycle of Assessment and Institutional Improvement

Bellarmine University administrators, faculty and staff identify outcomes for all programs, assess the success in achieving these outcomes, and use data collected to improve programs and student learning. This ongoing cycle of assessment flows from the University's Mission, as well as the individual mission that guides each program. Learning outcomes in academic programs align with requirements of accrediting or external review bodies as appropriate, as well as disciplinary and pedagogical benchmarks.

Cycle of Assessment

Assessment of each academic program is detailed in annual reports submitted each May to the Office of Academic Affairs. Deans from each school and/or college review these reports and discuss both successes and opportunities for growth with department and program chairs. The Vice Provost for Assessment reviews all annual reports, corresponds as necessary with chairs and deans, compiles summary reports for each area and submits them for review by the Provost, who forwards a summary of key information to the President for review.

Administrative unit assessment is organized by the individual divisions. The annual cycle within each division typically includes a goal-setting period, regular meetings to monitor these goals, written reports about the success of strategic outcomes and initiatives, as well as dissemination of findings to the wider campus community through regular meetings of the task forces and committees designed to oversee components of institutional effectiveness. The Office of Human Resources also coordinates performance management evaluations of all staff and supervisors once per year.

Institutional Improvement

The University community engages in several overarching and comprehensive initiatives to further enhance student learning and to ensure continuous improvement across the institution.

Academic Programs

Annual changes to academic programs are noted in the Appendix to the Course Catalog.

Strategic Planning

With the arrival of Bellarmine's new President, Susan M. Donovan, Ph.D., the University commenced a strategic planning process to "establish a new vision for Bellarmine's future and chart our course to its realization." Click here to learn more about the Strategic Planning initiative.


Bellarmine's decennial reaffirmation of accreditation is slated to occur at the end of 2018. A team of University faculty, administrators and staff who are deeply involved in the measurement of institutional effectiveness, as well as other standards, worked throughout academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17 to compile and review the assessment data produced by individual schools, colleges and departments as part of their ongoing assessment activities. This team's task was to produce in narrative form an honest appraisal of Bellarmine's culture of assessment and commitment to institutional effectiveness. The University submitted its off-site 10th Year Report to Bellarmine's regional accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), in September 2017. The team visit by peer accreditors occurred on February 20-22, 2018. The Commission on Colleges will vote on Bellarmine's reaffirmation at its next meeting in December 2018.

Liberal Education Task Force

Nationally, much emphasis is being given to liberal education—a holistic education that meshes work in a major with a general education/liberal arts curriculum. The Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) program, a national public advocacy and campus action initiative of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), serves as a foundation for Bellarmine’s current review of its general education curriculum (last revised in 1996). As part of the review process, faculty and staff participated in various conferences and institutes during academic year 2015-16, including the AAC&U Institute on General Education and Assessment, the SACSCOC Summer Institute on Quality Enhancement and Accreditation and the AAC&U Institute on High Impact Practices. Since that time, Faculty and administrators have convened a Liberal Education Task Force (LET) whose charge is to finalize new general education Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs).

Quality Enhancement Plan

The QEP Development Committee, in collaboration with Dr. Graham Ellis (Vice Provost for Assessment,, the Liberal Education Task Force and other Bellarmine constituencies, worked throughout academic year 2016-2017 and the beginning of 2017-2018 to coordinate the decision, made as a whole community, about the topic for the University’s next Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The QEP is a required element of the 10th Year Report to SACSCOC. This work was completed prior to the arrival of the on-site committee for Bellarmine's decennial reaccreditation by SACSCOC.

The most recent Quality Enhancement Plan Fifth Year Impact Report can be found here. The new QEP, Inclusivity through Community Engagement, was shared with the SACSCOC visiting team in February 2018. Bellarmine is in the process of finalizing the QEP based on the recommendations from the SACSCOC on-site committee (visiting team).

For information on other University assessment protocols or any of the initiatives noted above, please contact Dr. Graham Ellis (