The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2001 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Outcome assessmentof an institution?s mission: Community service and students? perceptions ofcaring faculty

David López, Ed.D., RRT., LomaLinda University, School of Allied Health Professions, Department of CardiopulmonarySciences, Loma Linda, CA.

Background: Respiratory careeducation programs are required to provide outcome data and assessment on studentperformance. There is more than just grades and class standing that reflectthe total education sought by institutions of higher education. This study soughtto discover students? perspectives of a health science institution?s mission.A set of models for understanding the institutions mission were developed bycomparing the relationships between students? expectations and the universitiesdocuments and statements.

Methods: A qualitative inductivegrounded theory design was used so that themes could emerge. Relevant informantswere: students (via interviews and focus group); institutional documents; andinstitutional publications. Fourteen senior occupational therapy students wereselected from the institutions School of Allied Health Professions (Loma LindaUniversity, LLU). A combination of triangulation and constant comparisons wasemployed in the analysis of this study. Students? expectations, students? perceptions,and the university?s expectations (i.e., goals for the ideal graduate), as reflectedin its mission statement, were compared.

Results: Six main categories(themes) emerged from students? perceptions of their experiences related toinstitutional mission. In addition, sixteen subcategories (sub- themes) emerged,which helped to clarify the main themes. The main categories were: (1) expectationsof a specific worldview; secular or sectarian, (2) reasons for selecting theinstitution; (3) institution-wide programs and activities; (4) diversity; (5)the occupational therapy professional program; and, (6) LLU?s promotion of itsmission.

Conclusions: Analysis anddata comparison revealed that students expressed that their experiences with/ofboth a caring faculty and community service furthered the institution?s mission.Students perceived the institution?s mission as relevant when their expectationsof worldview and the institution?s expectations were congruent. Students? expectationswere actualized through caring faculty and community service. Students? reportslead to the development of an inventory of: (1) their concept of caring faculty(perceived as positive); (2) their concept of non-caring faculty (perceivedas negative); (3) actual behaviors associated with caring faculty; and, (4)actual behaviors associated with non-caring faculty. Finally, a conceptual modelwas developed to assist the university in realizing it?s mission. Congruenceoccurs when students experience caring faculty and community service. Caringfaculty and community service could enhance conveying a respiratory care?s programmission.

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