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Data-Driven Decisions

Data-Driven Decisions


An increase in the number of online graduate students led the faculty to request the hiring of a new position, a graduate advising coordinator. This request was made in Fall 2014 and in January 2015, our new position was granted, and a new person was hired.

Given that graduate programs are online we now have the ability to hire course instructors who live far away. We received permission to hire a "visiting" assistant professor of education. This individual is the first employee of Carson-Newman who lives more than 3 hours away and will not have an office on campus.

Due to feedback from students and faculty, a structure was implemented in an effort to streamline coursework in order to serve our growing population. This led to the implementation of a set course rotation for each cohort, the creation of an information packet for each candidate to receive upon admission and a more structured process of course procedures for adjuncts.


Based on candidate feedback, EDUC 451 was changed to EDUC 205 and moved in the curriculum rotation so that candidates would take the course earlier in their program. Candidates create a toolkit of strategies/activities that can be used with struggling readers. Candidates noted the usefulness of this toolkit and recommended moving this course to earlier in the program so the toolkit could be used across multiple practica settings.

Due to the need to better track candidate progress as well as to assess programs Taskstream was launched Spring 2016. A key assessment was identified for each course, and some of these also served as key program assessments.

Faculty determined that going forward, there would be a time set aside each year to review data. While this had been done primarily via committee structure, a new approach would be implemented to involve everyone.

Given that data were stored in various formats and databases, faculty requested that data be made available to analyze and review each year.


In August 2016, data were analyzed, and faculty determined a restructuring of Taskstream was necessary. Data were structured by the three transition stages of each program. An examination of data revealed gaps in some programs. Some programs required a professional development plan, where candidates assessed themselves against clearly stated standards, which was done at three different points in their programs. Faculty determined that professional development plans should be required for all programs at the three transition

points and then worked to create, revise, and/or refine the professional development plan for each program.

At the end of the Spring 2017 semester, after a year of collecting data in Taskstream via the transition stage structure, feedback from faculty and students clearly indicated that Taskstream should be structured by program rather than transition stage. The summer would be a time of restructuring with the new structure to be implemented in Fall 2017.

In order to clearly indicate when Reading Specialist candidates passed the appropriate licensure exam, a zero-credit course was created. Receiving a "P" for this "course" would now indicate on each candidate’s transcript the passing of our state-required exam for the Reading Specialist endorsement.

Data were placed in a common repository in multiple files for faculty to review and analyze. After a thorough examination of the data, faculty determined that a fact book would provide a more streamlined presentation of the data. Going forward, a yearly fact book of data will be created and shared. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we decided to reformulate the data and spent the summer of 2017 creating the fact book, which faculty reviewed during a newly instituted "data week" in August 2017. Based on a review of the data, reports for each program were created.

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