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Overview and General Information (Dean of the College Office)

The College routinely collects and analyzes data to inform practices that support deep learning and the successful accomplishment of Pomona's educational mission.  Research on the student experience revolves around a core set of institutional and general education goals.  

Institutional Learning Goals

Through close faculty, staff, and student interactions within a residential community, Pomona College seeks to produce graduates who posses: 

  • A depth and breadth of knowledge and the agility of mind to make connections within and across disciplines;
  • The capacity to find, identify, and pursue their intellectual passions; and
  • A commitment to employ their knowledge and skills as leaders, scholars, artists, citizens and custodians of the natural bear their added riches in trust for humankind.

Goals for General Education

Upon completion of the general education requirements, Pomona students should be able to:

  • Critical Inquiry: Engage the work and ideas of others; articulate nuanced, reflective positions and present them in a sustained, persuasive manner to a specific imagined audience;
  • Foreign Language: Communicate in a language other than English with basic proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking;
  • Physical Education: Experience physical activity and appreciate its relationship to health and wellness;
  • Area 1: Analyze, create or perform works of the human imagination, critically examining form, style, content, and meaning; 
  • Area 2: Study the organization of societies and the factors that motivate the actions of human beings, as individuals and as creators of communities and institutions;
  • Area 3: Investigate the diversity of human experience, thought, and values over time and across cultures and societies;
  • Area 4: Apply scientific ideas and methods to understand the natural world and its inhabitants;
  • Area 5: Use quantitative analysis or deductive reasoning as tools for problem solving and creating knowledge.


A multitude of methods and sources of data form the basis of Pomona's ongoing inquiry into the educational experience and student learning, including a sample of reports compiled below to illustrate common themes in Pomona's mission-centered, data-driven practice [campus login required].  In addition, reviews of Pomona's goals for student learning are conducted by the Teaching and Learning Committee (TLC) on an on-going basis.

Area 1: Trends in Arts and Humanities [pdf] (2014)

Institutional and GE Learning Goals: Trends Over Time [pdf] 

Student Learning Outcomes: Comparative Gains During College [pdf] (2010 Senior Survey)

Student Learning Outcomes:  A Comparative Look at their Importance to Students and Gains During College [pdf] (2008 Senior Survey)

Alumni Perspectives on Learning Outcomes [pdf] (2005 Alumni Survey)

Gains in Skills and Abilities During College [pdf] (2003 Enrolled Students Survey)


Research on Learning Outcomes

Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering [pdf] (National Research Council, 2012).

Improving Undergraduate Learning: Findings and Policy Recommendations from the SSRC-CLA Longitudinal Project (Arum, Roksa & Cho, 2011).  A summary of data and key themes from Academically Adrift (Arum and Roksa, 2011).

Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education. A large-scale multi-year effort investigating factors that affect outcomes in liberal arts education.

High Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter  (G. Kuh, 2008; excerpt posted by AACU).


Assessment in a National Context

Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile [pdf]  (2011).  The Profile makes explicit what students should be learning at each degree level in five areas:  Broad integrative knowledge; specialized knowledge, intellectual skills; applied learning; and civic learning.

New Leadership for Student Learning and Accountability [pdf]  (2008). A statement of principles and commitments developed jointly by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Assessment: A Fundamental Responsibility [pdf] . Statement signed by nearly 100 public and private institutions, including Pomona College and other members of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE).