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Libraries help pioneer new university-wide assessment

Christine Wolff (center) presented a poster highlighting the Libraries' MAAP matrix at an assessment fair held by the Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey (VALE), held in July in the Busch Campus Center. Christine is the Project Coordinator for Planning and Organizational Research in the Rutgers University Libraries.

How can units across Rutgers determine whether or not they are contributing substantially to the larger goals of the university? Can RU departments, offices, and divisions find common criteria to demonstrate their value to undergraduate students and the other communities they serve?

In the interests of forging reliable, data-driven measures to answer questions like these, the university has developed the new Rutgers Mission Alignment, Assessment, and Planning system (MAAP). The objective of MAAP is to clarify the contributions of various programs and units to the fulfillment of the Rutgers-New Brunswick undergraduate educational experience mission/goals, and to facilitate and encourage assessment and alignment of outcomes and progress toward those goals.

The MAAP system is a constructive response to the growing pressures for accountability, assessment, and transformative change in higher education. The approach unites academic, student affairs, and administrative units in clarifying and assessing their individual contributions to the core undergraduate education mission and goals and creates a process for integrating a cross-campus view of these units' contributions to the undergraduate educational experience.

The Libraries are proud to have served as a pilot participant in the new MAAP system. In spring and summer 2012, the Libraries planning and assessment office took data from a variety of surveys and studies of the Libraries services and matched them to criteria in the MAAP system. The resulting report highlighted the fifteen areas where the Libraries make the strongest contributions to university missions and goals.

Brent Ruben, the co-chair of the MAAP initiative and Executive Director of the University Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, praised the Libraries for their pioneering work in applying the MAAP criteria to their activities. "The RU Libraries were one of the units invited to participate in the pilot phase of the MAAP effort and their contributions to the pilot program have been exceptional," said Brent. "In a very short time, the RU Libraries have become a model as to how to engage the MAAP system, and how to productively integrate the framework with strategic planning and other library initiatives to create very beneficial synergies for the RU Libraries and the university at large."

To view the Libraries MAAP matrix, which includes links to short reports on fifteen areas of service to university missions and goals, please see:

To learn more about MAAP, please see:

Posted September 12, 2012