Appendix 23 | EMBA Assessment Learning

April 1, 2008


Mission Statement of Neeley School of Business

At the Neeley School of Business, we are committed to:
  • Developing ethical leaders with a global perspective who help shape the business environment.
  • Developing and disseminating leading edge thought in order to improve the practice of business.

Learning Objectives of the EMBA

The Executive MBA program is designed for experienced managers and executives. Therefore, we have developed the following learning objectives for the EMBA program that are derived from the Neeley mission statement. These objectives were written after discussions with applicants, students, alumni, and representatives of corporate sponsors about necessary learning outcomes from an EMBA program. These discussions clearly indicated that the large majority of our stakeholders wanted to enhance the students' ability to make strategic business-unit decisions and learn to improve their leadership skills.

  • Learning Objective 1 - Each student will learn to make appropriate business-unit strategic decisions.
  • Learning Objective 2 - Each student will learn his/her present level of development in the leadership skills of strategic vision, analysis, decision- making, communication, teamwork, and influence over others.
  • Learning Objective 3 - Each student will learn to assess the gap between his/her present level of development in leadership skills and a desired level of development.
  • Learning Objective 4 - Each student will learn how to write and implement a development plan to improve his/her leadership skills.

Competencies to Be Developed

Based upon these learning objectives, we have identified the following student competencies that we will measure.
  • Competency 1 - Strategic decision making
  • Competency 2 - Knowledge of present level of leadership skills of strategic vision, analysis, decision making, communication, teamwork, and influence of others
  • Competency 3 - Ability to determine the gap between existing levels of leadership skills and the desired levels of leadership skills
  • Competency 4 - Ability to design and implement a leadership skill development plan

Assessment Measures

We are using the following measures to assess how well the students are meeting the program's learning objectives and developing the competencies necessary to meet these objectives.
  • Grades on Individual Case Analyses in the Corporate Strategy Course
    The corporate strategy course is taught during the last session of the program. As part of this course the instructor assigns three Harvard Business cases that students must complete individually. Each of these three cases requires the student to do a strategic analysis of the firm and write a strategic plan. These three cases have different deadlines during the course. We will use the grades assigned to each student by the instructor as measures of strategic decision making demonstrated by the student. These three grades contribute to the class grade but are only one part of that grade. These grades will be used in association with learning objective #1 and competency #1.
  • 360 Survey Results, Faculty Leadership Skill Evaluations, Teamwork Ratings
    We have developed and have used several measures of leadership skills of the students. These are:
      1. 360 Surveys -- we have developed a 90 item survey of nine leadership skills that is administered electronically to managers, peers, and direct reports of each of the students. See Attachment #1. The results of these surveys are analyzed and printed in an individual report for each student. A professional coach meets individually with a student and reviews the results of the surveys. These results are in the form of scores from each of the respondent sources for the leadership skills of strategic vision, analysis, decision making, communication, teamwork, influence of others, adaptability, execution, and business knowledge
      2. Faculty Leadership Skill Evaluations - we have linked each class in the EMBA program to one of five of the six leadership skills upon which the EMBA program focuses (strategic vision, analysis, decision making, communication, and influence of others). Attachment #2 is a grid that represents the matrix of classes and leadership skills. Upon the conclusion of each class, the instructor provides both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of how well each student has demonstrated the leadership behavior linked to that class. See Attachment #3. The EMBA staff has developed an electronic folder for each student. We place all of the faculty leadership assessments into this folder and email all assessments to students as they occur.
      3. Teammate Ratings - we measure the sixth leadership skill, teamwork, through ratings of six teamwork behaviors that are supplied electronically by all members of a student team. Each student responds about every other member of his/her team. The EMBA staff reviews, accumulates, and returns to each student the ratings supplied by his/her teammates. See Attachment # 4 for teamwork survey items.
    These measures are used to assess learning objective #2 and competency #2.
  • The Acceptance by a Professional Coach of Student's Leadership Action Plan
    After completion of the Executive Leadership course that discusses both leadership development and the components of development plans and also the meeting with a professional coach who interprets the results of the 360 surveys, each student is required to work with his/her coach to develop a Personal Leadership Action Plan. This plan requires the student to: a) specify one or two leadership skills that he/she wishes to improve, b) specify a series of actions to develop each leadership skill, c) sources of information to develop the skill, and d) measures that can be used to assess how well the leadership skill has been demonstrated by the student. See Attachment #5. The student submits the written plan to his/her coach who reviews the plan and either returns the plan to the student for further development or accepts the plan so the student can start implementing the plan. This acceptance of the plan by the coach is used to assess learning objective #3 and competency #3.
  • The Rating of Professional Coach of Student's Understanding of Self- Development of Leadership Skills
    After the professional coach has accepted the student's Personal Leadership Action Plan, the student implements the plan during the spring semester of the first year of the program. This implementation is done with at least monthly interaction between the student and his/her coach about how the implementation is proceeding. Because the development of a leadership skill is usually a lengthy process, we do not expect that each student will complete the leadership action plan during the semester. The final meeting between the student and the professional coach occurs at the end of the spring semester at which time the two parties discuss what the student has learned about writing and implementing a leadership development plan. Based upon all of the interactions that the coach has had with the student, the coach will rate the student on a three - point scale that measures the level of understanding of leadership skill self-development demonstrated by the student. See Attachment #6. This rating will be used to assess learning objective #4 and competency #4.

Target Goals

We have set the following levels of attainment for each of our assessment measures:
  • Learning Objective #1 - Each student achieves an average grade of 80 on the three strategic cases of the business strategy class.
  • Learning Objective #2 - Each student will receive the results of the various measurements of leadership skill: 360 surveys, faculty evaluations, and teammates' ratings of behavior.
  • Learning Objective #3 - The professional coach of each student accepts his/her Personal Leadership Action Plan.
  • Learning Objective #4 - Each student receives a rating of Adequate Understanding from the professional coach on a scale measuring the student's understanding of the self-development process.

Review of Assessment Data and EMBA Program's Effectiveness

The EMBA director and associate director will gather all of the measures from all sources and evaluate whether or not the target goals were attained by the students in each graduating class. These data will be continued with student evaluations and comments to evaluate the courses and components of the EMBA program. The director and associate director will develop recommendations for changes in the program. These recommendations will be discussed with the Neeley EMBA faculty and decisions will be made as to specific changes in the program's courses and its activities.

Attachment 1
Attachment 2
Attachment 3
Attachment 4
Attachment 5
Attachment 6