Revising The Five Dimensions
Proposed Re-Articulation of The Five Dimensions of a Saint Louis University Education (2012)
Adopted in 2002, The Five Dimensions of the Saint Louis University Experience were derived from SLU's mission and articulate the University's conception of holistic student formation rooted in our Jesuit heritage. As a conceptual educational framework, the Five Dimensions describe the categories of learning and development in which individual academic and co-curricular units may plan for, and assess, student progress toward measurable outcomes of performance.
However, in using The Five Dimensions as a resource in the effort to define University-wide undergraduate student learning outcomes, the task force identified a number of limitations of the Dimensions as originally articulated. First, the goals articulated as part of each of the Five Dimensions are too broadly stated to support assessment of student achievement. The goal statements include no standards of expected performance or development and no specific targets to which appropriate assessments can be developed (a summary of the limitations of Five Dimensions is included in the University's 2012 HLC Self-Study). The extent to which any one program can or should attempt to advance students toward all five of the Dimensions also is unclear.
As a result of these challenges, a growing number of academic units no longer use the Five Dimensions in planning and assessment. In fact, as an expression of the dimensionality of a SLU education, The Five Dimensions themselves are not student learning outcomes; rather, the Dimensions continue to serve as an educational framework in which the University-wide undergraduate student learning outcomes are established.
Accordingly, we recommend the following modifications:
- Amend the full title from "The Five Dimensions of the Saint Louis University Experience" to "The Five Dimensions of a Saint Louis University Education" to emphasize the focus on formal educational programs.
- Remove the text associated with each dimension, which contained statements that implied that the Dimensions themselves were specific student outcomes. That simplifies each Dimension to a category heading.
- Amend the category headings to a single word, each representing a single dimension of a SLU education; "Communication," "Service," and "Values" have been removed as formal headings but are assumed to be elements of the revised Dimensions, and will be evident in the University-wide undergraduate learning outcomes.
Therefore, as part of this outcomes project, we propose that the Five Dimensions be modified as follows: