ACS Self-Study Tool for Chemistry in Two-Year College Programs
Two-year programs are under increasing pressure to perform self-assessments and document their outcomes. The self-study tool is a resource that facilitates the identification of strengths and opportunities for growth in the context of the ACS Guidelines for Chemistry in Two-Year College Programs.
Developed and tested by two-year college chemistry faculty, the ACS self-study tool can assist with a variety of activities, including:
- Internal program or departmental review
- Strategic planning
- Background for funding requests
- Support for college accreditation
Available in Microsoft Word 2010 or Word 97-2003 format, the tool provides a framework to develop a comprehensive portrait of chemistry and chemistry-based technology education at a given institution.
The self-study tool is for self-assessment purposes only. Institutions do not need to share their results with ACS, and ACS does not evaluate institutions based on the self-study tool.
Tips for using the self-study tool
The ACS self-study tool compiles information about the resources and activities of chemistry education in a two-year college program. Here are some tips for getting the most out of this resource:
- Decide what you want to accomplish.
The self-study tool compiles a broad range of information to suit a variety of goals. New goals may arise as you work, but having a goal in mind at the start will help you focus your efforts.
- Complete only those sections that help you with your goals.
Not all sections of the self-study tool are applicable to all programs. You may skip those sections that do not support your goals.
- Share the tool internally.
Users of the self-study tool have reported that collaborating with colleagues and administrators fosters rich discussion about the status and future of the program. Even those users who complete the self-study tool on their own have found great value in sharing the results with colleagues and administrators.
- Use the Guidelines.
The self-study tool is based on the ACS Guidelines for Chemistry in Two-Year College Programs. You may find it useful to refer to the Guidelines as you work. You can download the guidelines or request hardcopies from the ACS Office of Two-Year Colleges.
- Work on one section at a time.
With the exception of Section XII, the self-study tool sections can be completed in any order. Users of the tool have recommended starting with whichever section seems easiest, putting the tool aside for a day or two, then starting another section.
- Plan ahead.
A number of factors affect how long it takes to complete the self-study tool, but previous users averaged 15-25 hours. Plan accordingly.
- Be honest and complete.
Any self-assessment is only as good as the information you put into it. Providing complete information and looking at it with an open mind will result in more robust results. Remember that the only people who will see the self-study report are those you share it with.
- Ask for help.
If you need help at any time, email the ACS Office of Two-Year Colleges at 2YColleges@acs.org or call 1-800-227-5558, ext. 6108. Staff will be happy to answer any questions regarding the self-study tool.
ACS review of self-study reports (optional)
ACS offers an optional review process for those interested in a second opinion of their self-analysis. We accept a limited number of self-study reports for review. Reports are reviewed by the Self-Study Review Panel, a group of two-year college chemistry faculty with experience in the use of the tool.
The Self-Study Review Panel reviews submitted reports, compiles strengths, suggests opportunities for continued growth, and identifies resources that can support two-year college chemistry education.
Participants in the review process receive customized feedback based on the Self-Study Review Panel review. They will also be able to seek in-depth assistance from panel members regarding completion of the self-study tool and implementation of their results.
Please contact the ACS Office of Two-Year Colleges for more information on participating in the review process.
Webinar: Overview of Self-Study Tool and Review Process
On June 28, 2013, a webinar was held for the participants in the 2013 review cycle. Whether you are a part of the review cycle or just curious about the tool, view the recording for more information.
Feedback from our pilot users...
“This was the most useful assessment tool I have used.”
“It was quite easy to use and helped us… define what we wanted. We are now using it to present our needs to the administration backed with data that shows where our program is lacking.”