Book Reviews

Book by Richard Alfred, Christopher Shults, & Jeffrey Seybert
Review by Michael H. Turpin 
Director of Student Services and Dean of Institutional Planning 
Kilgore College

In the updated 3rd edition of this important text, Richard Alfred, joined by two new collaborators, Christopher Shults & Jeffrey Seybert, presents a concise yet thorough manual on identifying, measuring, and reporting 16 core indicators of effectiveness. In 65 pages of actual text, the authors present the context in which assessment occurs, define key terms, identify and explain the 16 core indicators, and give suggestions for reporting institutional outcomes. This brief and easily-read treatise offers a wealth of critical information (even to advisors who cringe at the thought of assessment at the institution level). 

Alfred, Shults, and Seybert note that challenges such as globalization, the emerging economic super powers of China and India, advances in technology, changes in the American workforce, and greater demands for accountability are shaping the way virtually all higher education professionals conduct their business in the 21st century. Academic advisors cannot and must not plead ignorance to these forces in this dynamic time. 

For each core indicator, the authors explain the issue, suggest the frequency of data collection, and identify primary methods of data collection. Secondary methods are given for some core indicators. The reader should note that some indicators, such as responsiveness to community needs, value added to the community, and transfer rates, do apply uniquely to community colleges. Other indicators, such as persistence, student goal attainment, and general education competency, apply to all higher education institutions. In this regard, advisors at all levels of post-secondary education can benefit from the information found in this text.

Catalogs featuring the latest in higher education publications are often filled with books on planning, assessment, and institutional effectiveness. What makes Core Indicators of Effectiveness for Community Colleges so appealing is its accessibility. The authors have crafted a text that is understandable and a “quick read” for advisors with varying levels of knowledge regarding assessment. For the novice, it is a primer. For those who already know the basics, it is a guide for deeper understanding. For the advising administrator and others with some assessment expertise, it is a resource and tool to help with training others. This one is a “must have” for advising personnel who want to get the essentials of assessment.

Core indicators of effectiveness for community colleges (3rd edition). (2007) Book by Richard Alfred, Christopher Shults, & Jeffrey Seybert. Review by Michael H. Turpin. Washington DC: Community College Press. 74 pp., $33.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-0-87117-381-2
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