Institutional Assessment Capstone

January 2019 – May 2020

Adopted in 2015-2016, the current UT Austin institutional assessment cycle was designed to include four years of assessment and a fifth year (2019-2020) for reflection. The reflection year is meant to provide space for the university’s academic programs and academic, student, and administrative support units to look back on the past four years of assessment and consider how their future assessment efforts can be more meaningful, effective, and efficient.

  • As part of the reflection year, academic programs and support units will not report outcomes assessments results for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • In other words, programs and units will not be required to identify outcomes for assessment, report the results of those assessments, or identify next steps for improvement in 2019-2020.
  • 2018-2019 findings will still need to be reported in TracDat by October 1, 2019. Next steps will not be required.

With the guidance and support of the Office of Strategic Academic Initiatives (SAI), programs and units will engage in a critical reflection and planning process – an Institutional Assessment Capstone – in order to strengthen our program, unit, and institutional assessment processes.


The Institutional Assessment Capstone will be the culminating experience of UT Austin’s 2015-2020 assessment cycle. Guided by the work of Graham Gibbs (1988), academic programs and academic, student, and administrative support units will collaborate with each other and SAI to reflect on their assessment work over the last four years, submit a summary of those reflections, and begin planning for the next institutional assessment cycle.


Source: Reflective Writing: About Gibbs reflective cycle, Oxford Brookes University.


The Institutional Assessment Capstone will proceed through several phases. In 2019-2020, academic programs and academic, student, and administrative support units will:

Date Description
Spring 2019
Continue implementing 2018-2019 program/unit assessments (due 10/1).
Attend optional Town Halls, Assessment Cafés, and Productive Reflection Workshops (see calendar below).
Reflect on assessment experiences in the last four years (2015-19) for Reflection Summary (due 11/1) that will summarize strengths, challenges, and opportunities for growth within programs/units.
October 1, 2019
Submit 2018-2019 findings into TracDat. Next steps not required.
November 1, 2019
Submit Reflection Summary to SAI. 2019-2020 assessment plans not required.
Spring 2020
Create a preliminary program/unit assessment plan for the 2020+ assessment cycle using the Reflection Summary and SAI’s feedback on it.
Fall 2020
Submit assessment plans for 2020-2021 into TracDat.

Note: Discussions about the next assessment cycle and its requirements are taking place in spring 2019 between the Institutional Assessment Working Group and SAI. We expect to announce a blueprint for the next cycle in fall 2019.

Reflection Roadmap

The only firm requirement of the Institutional Assessment Capstone is that programs and units submit a Reflection Summary to SAI by November 1, 2019 (2018-2019 assessment results will be due October 1, 2019, in TracDat). Aside from that, programs and units will be free to choose their level of engagement with the capstone experience.

SAI will sponsor numerous events to support this work and guide your unit on the path to productive reflection.

Event Dates Description
Institutional Assessment Capstone Town Halls
Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302
February 11, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.
February 14, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Opportunity for all faculty and staff to hear more, ask questions, and share concerns about the 2019-2020 assessment capstone
Assessment Cafés
FAC 328
February 19, 2019 from 12:30 – 2 p.m.
February 28, 2019 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
March 11, 2019 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
90-minute small group sessions in which attendees participate in open discussions on various aspects of assessment; lunch provided by SAI, but space is limited; attendees must RSVP; click here for more information
Productive Reflection Workshops
March 25 – April 19
60-90 minute guided workshops designed to train faculty/staff in leading productive reflection efforts in their programs/units
Completing the Reflection Summary Workshops
October 7 – October 25
60 minute sessions focused on finalizing the program- and unit-level Reflection Summary

In addition to the sessions described above, SAI staff will coordinate with liaisons in all of the colleges, schools, and areas to organize events geared towards the unique needs of each area. Information on those events will be forthcoming as it becomes available.

Mailing Address

Jeff Freels, Ph.D., Director of Institutional Assessment
The University of Texas at Austin
1616 Guadalupe Street, Rm 6.422
Stop D7600
Austin, Texas 78701