Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) seeks to transform our students through academic programs preparing them for lives of leadership, service, and faith. Because of this, we seek to integrate many elements throughout our educational activities. Through our many opportunities for leadership cultivation, our students are exposed to the best practices that support community engagement. Through our Workship programs, we strategically connect our students with opportunities to connect their talents and passions with non-profit organizations across the areas we serve. Through our emphasis on being a Christ-first university, we develop intellectual discipleship in the relationships between students and faculty, as well as staff.
Our academic programs document our belief that transformational education includes all aspects of our work, producing graduates who are equipped both professionally and personally. We demonstrate this belief in a number of ways, including our Strategic Planning processes and our regular Academic Program Reviews. Through these processes, we monitor a variety of goals and outcomes.
PBA’s current catalogs provide consistent information regarding our mission statement and the availability of locations and programs available at branch campuses. Archived editions of the catalogs are made available electronically and in the Warren Library.
The mission of Palm Beach Atlantic University is to prepare students for lifelong learning and leadership by offering excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of study in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences and selected professions. Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, independent university dedicated to the intentional integration of Christian principles. As a community of learners, the University provides students with a rigorous educational environment that leads to intellectual, spiritual and personal character development.
PBA documents successful student achievement by monitoring broad measures such as student retention, graduation rates, and external measures of student success. During enrollment students are encouraged to participate in high impact practices including research and internships.
The University monitors outcomes as follows:
Goal #1 Faculty involved in scholarly activity in their discipline are encouraged to include undergraduate and graduate students as appropriate. (IO1)
The University provides $47,000 per year for research grants under the Quality Initiative (QI) Faculty and Student Research Grant program. In addition, the Development Office works with faculty to secure external community grants.
The University web highlights faculty and student research projects, especially those showcased at the annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference (IRC) held each March. A print document, Enlightening Minds: Research Review, is also available on the web. Faculty and student research projects are featured as well as citations for books and articles published, conference presentations, and other related work.
The Associate Provost for Instruction provides oversight of the QI grant program as well as facilitation of the IRC. Both of these events have been produced for the past seven years and were begun under the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. A planning group consisting of representatives from across campus assists in the production of the conference. The director of publications in the Marketing office is a key player in producing Enlightening Minds.
Goal #2 A number of University programs recognize the value of internships and require them of their students. Other programs offer internships as an option. Students are encouraged to take advantage of this community-based learning opportunity. (IO1)
Experiential learning via internships, field experiences, student teaching, or clinical placement are all high impact practices as defined by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). PBA students rank these equivalent to peers at Carnegie classification institutions. PBA’s strategic plan includes a major section for engaged learning initiatives. Sixty-six percent of recent bachelor’s graduates completed at least one course of this type. The 2017-2018 Fact Book includes data on the number and majors of students involved in internships in a given year. The percentage of students engaged in this high impact practice has been growing.
The 2017-2018 Fact Book is available on the external web for all to view. It is also on the University intranet with an option for faculty, staff, or students to retrieve specific data as needed.
Internships are created by faculty in specific programs. In addition, the Career Development Office in the Student Development department houses a repository of internship opportunities. Staff collaborates with faculty in the Schools to ensure integrity and value in the internship experience.
Goal #3 Freshman to sophomore student retention will reach 80%. (IO2)
The University tracks student success in coursework and persistence in continued re-enrollment. Services and personnel are focused on these efforts. The freshman to sophomore retention goal is 80%. This goal was created in 2012 and is expected to be met by 2022. During this time the University has added Waypoint (early alert system) and Developing Christian Leaders (student leadership program) as well as contracting with Ruffalo NoelLevitz for financial aid modeling. The benchmark expectation is 70%. Recent retention history can be found in the 2017-2018 Fact Book. The rationale for this goal can be found in the Horizon Group data, the University’s comparison group of peer and aspirant institutions. The National Collegiate Retention and PersistencetoDegree Rates study by ACT provides national averages by admissions selectivity and institutional type. These data, compiled annually from the ACT Institutional Data Questionnaire, provide additional justification for this goal. Of the many data points in the study, the following are most applicable to the University:
Table 1 National First-to-Second Year Retention Rates by Institutional Type
|Degree Level/ Control||N||Mean (%) SD*|
|MA/MS/MBA/1st Professional Private||411||73.4% 13.2|
Table 4 National First-to-Second Year Retention Rates by Level of Selectivity
|Admissions Selectivity||N||Mean (%) SD*|
* Institutions whose admissions selectivity is Traditional, have ACT middle 50% scores in 1824 range.
The University provides retention information to the general public through annual preparation and posting of the Common Data Set Initiative, a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. These data are published in numerous surveys. The University and College Accountability Network UCAN is one of many organizations that display information from the Common Data Set. The UCAN site is sponsored by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. There are more than 550 profiles on this site and close to 5 million profile pages have been viewed since the site launch in 2007.
The University Retention Committee meets regularly to share efforts and results in improving student success and persistence in enrollment.
Following each semester, the Academic and Student Support group meets to review a compilation of data from the separate units providing academic and student support and how services have impacted all student groups, particularly freshmen.
The University’s Enrollment Committee reviews cohort retention in planning for subsequent years’ retention.
The Provost’s Administrative Council (PAC) receives regular reports on retention and academic support efforts. They also review the course completion reports and discuss courses that produce more D, F, and W grades than others.
During the summer months and until enrollment verification in the fall semester, the Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness produces a weekly retention report for the Dean of Students to use in Cabinet meetings and with the PBA Leadership Group to keep all stakeholders apprised of changes in the groups represented.
The President reports regularly to the Board of Trustees on progress to this goal. In September he provides data charts in a presentation. In September, December, and April the Board receives the Trustee Dashboard on which retention is highlighted.
Goal #4 Full-time, first-time, degree/certificateseeking undergraduate students seeking a bachelor’s degree will graduate at 60% in six years (150% of the normal or expected time for completion). (IO3)
The University tracks four-year, six-year, and eight-year bachelor’s degree graduation rates as required by IPEDS. In addition to the national report, the University also tracks graduation by PBA School, for non-traditional student groups, and through the NCAA Graduation Rate and Academic Success Rate report
The graduation goal as measured by IPEDS for the six-year baccalaureate degree is 60%. The benchmark is 50%. Recent history for graduation rates can be found in the 2017-2018 Fact Book.
Rationale for the 60% goal can be found in graduation rate data from the Horizon Group, the University’s comparison group of peer and aspirant institutions.
The National Collegiate Retention and Persistence-to-Degree Rates study by ACT provides national averages by admissions selectivity and institutional type. These data, compiled annually from the ACT Institutional Data Questionnaire, provide additional justification for this goal. Of the many data points in the study, the following are most applicable to the University:
Table 5 National Persistence-to-Degree Rates (6-Year Graduation) by Institutional Type
|Degree Level/ Control||N||Mean (%) SD*|
|MA/MS/MBA/1st Professional Private||298||54.8% 16.4|
Table 8 National Persistence-to-Degree Rates (6-Year Graduation) by Level of Selectivity
|Admissions Selectivity||N||Mean (%) SD*|
*Institutions whose admissions selectivity is Traditional, have ACT middle 50% scores in 1824 range.
Through the Independent Colleges and Universities in Florida (ICUF) and Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP), the University is able to receive annual reports on graduation cohort groups that include quarterly earnings.
The University also provides graduation data to Student Achievement Measure (SAM). This product utilizes data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center to “… track student movement across postsecondary institutions to provide a more complete picture of undergraduate student progress and completion within the higher education system. SAM is an alternative to the federal graduation rate, which is limited to tracking the completion of firsttime, fulltime students at one institution.” The SAM Project is a joint initiative of the six national higher education presidential associations: the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Landgrant Universities (APLU), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
A final way in which the University communicates graduation successes to the general public is through Standout Sailfish, a digital repository and Q&A of recent graduates and their accomplishments.
Faculty in individual Schools at the University are aware of and discuss graduation rates on a regular basis.
The Provost’s Administrative Council (PAC) receives regular reports on University’s graduation rates and comparison to other institutions via the IPEDS Data Feedback Report.
The President reports regularly to the Board of Trustees on progress to this goal. In September he provides data charts in a presentation. In September, December, and April the Board receives the Trustee Dashboard on which graduation rate is highlighted.
Goal #5 Students will meet the benchmarks established by external organizations for success in licensure or certification requirements. (IO4)
Programs at the University prepare their graduates for various external measures of success at or after graduation. These include:
Gregory School of Pharmacy – Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D)
Pharm.D. graduates from the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy must pass NAPLEX before they can become licensed pharmacists. Such is required by all state boards of pharmacy.
Goal: 87.5% pass rate on NAPLEX the first time it is taken.
Rationale for Goal: The average state (FL) pass rate was 82.13% in 2016 and 83.78% in 2017. The national average was 85.86% in 2016 and 87.95% in 2017.
Recent History: In 2017, 87.93% of PBA graduates passed NAPLEX the first time they took it.
School of Nursing – Bachelor of Nursing (BSN)
The NCLEXRN is a national licensure exam required for licensure as an RN in all 50 states.
Goal: CCNE Accreditation minimum: 80%. PBA minimum goal: 85%. PBA aspirational goal: 95%
Rationale for Goal: The PBA minimum goal is based on the Average National Passrate. The PBA aspirational goal was established because PBA has always been substantially higher than the National rate.
Recent History: The NCLEXRN was made more difficult in 2013. National passrates fell more than10%. PBA had been enjoying scores ranging from 95% - 100% prior to this change. Since the change we have been seeing gradual increases each year. Class of 2017 met the aspirational goal with a 95% pass rate.
School of Education and Behavioral Studies - Education
School of Education students must pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam in order to be a certified Florida school teacher. Palm Beach Atlantic Elementary Education students must pass all sections of the Elementary K6 Subject Area Exam in order to student teach.
Goal: 70% pass rate on first attempt for all four Elementary K6 Subject Area Exam sections.
Rationale for Goal: The 2016-2017 state averages were: Language Arts 55%, Social Studies 63%, Science 63%, Mathematics 60%.
Recent History: In 2016-2017 the pass rates for PBA Elementary Education students’ first attempt were: Language Arts 90%, Social Studies 87%, Science 77%, Mathematics 74%.
School of Education and Behavioral Studies - Athletic Training
Goal: Athletic Training majors are required to pass the national Board of Certification (BOC) exam to be eligible for state licensure as an Athletic Trainer. In an effort to increase success on the BOC and to improve professional placement postgraduation, in 2016-2017 the Athletic Training Program shifted from a preparatory model for postgraduation BOC exam to a pregraduation focus on passing the BOC.
Rationale for Goal: In 2016 the Commission for Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) implemented a new standard (Standard 11) requiring programs to meet or exceed a three year aggregate of 70% first-time pass rate on the BOC exam. This standard was first implemented in the 2016 calendar year and the PBA Athletic Training Program (ATP) was placed on probation for the 2016 and 2017 calendar years based on a <70% aggregate pass rate.
Recent History: To address Standard 11 and improve program outcomes, changes were implemented in ATR 4313 Seminar in Athletic Training. Requirements include but not limited to 1) increased rigor in competency testing, 2) expanded use of benchmarked practice exams and 3) a pass/fail requirement to pass the BOC throughout the curriculum. These changes intended to maximize student capacity to pass the BOC on the first attempt but also to do so in a time frame that would increase their opportunity for professional placement following graduation. Following implementation of this new plan, the program posted 100% first time pass rates for both the 2017 and 2018 graduating cohorts and have a current three year aggregate first-time pass rate of 92% and 100% pass rate regardless of attempts. Professional placement has not been benchmarked internally or nationally prior to 2016 however, PBA’s placement rates in graduate school or employed in a related field for 2016 graduates = 100% and 2017 graduates = 80%.
Benchmark: Benchmark for professional bachelors' programs: 2016- 81% pass rate and 94% pass rate regardless of attempts and 2017- 85% first time pass rate and 90 % pass rate regardless of attempts. The PBA ATP exceeds both 2017 benchmarks. Please see https://caate.net/programoutcomes/ for more information.
School of Education and Behavioral Studies - Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, Family Counseling
Mental Health Counseling graduates, and Marriage, Couple, Family Counseling graduates must continue their professional profession after graduation with the Master of Science degree by documenting 1500 direct client hours while receiving no less than 100 hours of clinical supervision in no less than two years. Graduates have a maximum of five years to obtain the required supervised clinical hours before becoming eligible for Florida licensure.
Goal: Sixty percent (60%) of graduates are engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners or as registered interns. Thirty percent (30%) of graduates attain licensure within five years of graduating.
Rationale for Goal: The average percentage of graduates from 2010 to 2015 engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners or as registered interns in the state of Florida was sixty-nine percent (69%). The average percentage of graduates from 2010 to 2015 who attained licensure was thirty-two percent (32%).
Recent History: Of the 440 graduates from 2010 through 2015, 69% are engaged in clinical work as either licensed practitioners, or as registered interns actively working towards their state license. Note that graduates can delay indefinitely registering as an intern and once registered are not eligible for licensure in less than two years and have up to five years to complete their clinical training. On average 32% of graduates are licensed yearly.
Benchmark: Approximately 30% of the graduating class should be licensed after five years.
School of Education and Behavioral Studies - School Counseling
School Counseling students must pass the Guidance & Counseling Florida Teacher Certification Exam in order to be a certified school counselor in a Florida public school.
Goal: 80% pass rate
Rationale for Goal: The average Florida state pass rate on the Guidance & Counseling exam was 80% from December 2012 through December 2017.
Recent History: Out of 59 graduates, 2 students relocated out-of-state and 14 students either did not apply for certification, changed their career path, or obtained employment in a setting not requiring state certification. Comparison with FL state pass rates results in 43 out of 59 graduates successfully obtaining certification in Guidance and Counseling from the Florida Department of Education. Therefore, from December 2012 through December 2017, the pass rate for PBA School Counseling graduates was 73%.
Benchmark: 70% pass rate
In addition to these program-specific measures, the University contracts with GradLeaders to participate in The Outcomes Survey, an online tool for gathering employment and graduate school admissions data from new college graduates. Students respond to the questions before they graduate and then three months, six months, and one year following graduation. Graduates are surveyed in regards to engagement in career exploration, experiential education’s role in securing their first-destination occupation, and motivation for pursuing a college degree and occupation.
The University convenes an Accreditation Council at least once per year to discuss common concerns about program accreditation and to share lessons learned that may help other groups.
Discussions about program accreditation and other external standards are common in the Provost’s Advisory Council. Cabinet members are called upon to participate in onsite accreditation visits, and results of this involvement is reported to the University Board of Trustees.
Goal #6 Preparation for future advancement is evidenced by the 10-year average across all PBA Schools, of enrollment in graduate programs, 33%. (IO4)
Graduate school enrollment data is provided by the National Student Clearinghouse which verifies enrollment of PBA graduates by semester. Some programs encourage graduate study, while it is less preferred in others. Therefore the better data is by School. The School of Arts and Sciences had the highest overall percentage of graduates who enrolled in graduate school at 46% and the School of Communication and Media had the lowest overall percentage at 15%. Nevertheless, a University-wide average of 33% can be a meaningful benchmark.
In addition, the University contracts with GradLeaders to participate in The Outcomes Survey, an online tool for gathering employment and graduate school admissions data from new college graduates.
Students respond to the questions before they graduate and then three months, six months, and one year following graduation. Graduates are surveyed in regards to engagement in career exploration, experiential education’s role in securing their first-destination occupation, and motivation for pursuing a college degree and occupation.
The 2017-2018 PBA FactBook contains information about graduate school enrollment. This will be modified in the 2018-2019 edition to contain School-specific data.
The University reports the percentage of graduates of 4-year programs who typically continue their education within one year of receiving their bachelor’s degrees in the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges.
Deans and faculty in the individual Schools at the University are aware of and discuss graduate school enrollment on a regular basis. Many graduate programs enroll in the fall semester only, therefore, the Provost’s Administrative Council (PAC) reviews graduate school enrollment at their November meeting. In addition, the Provost reports this data to the Academic Programs Committee of the Board of Trustees at their December meeting.
Goal #7 Average indebtedness for undergraduate students will remain below that for other private, nonprofit graduates. (IO5)
PBA students benefit from a strong financial literacy program as reflected in the University's three-year cohort default rate (CDR) of 5.5%. Likewise, PBA is ranked 12th for lowest CDR among the 31 Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) schools. In addition, the 2016 Common Data Set report recorded $24,086 in average federal undergraduate student loan debt upon graduation, which is lower than the averages for PBA's peer and aspirant institutions, all Florida schools, and the nation. These are direct evidences that students are effectively educated regarding borrowing and managing debt and repayment of loans.
Average debt levels for all graduating seniors in the United States with student loans fell to $28,699 in 2016, a 2.4% decrease from $29,400 in 2012.
Public colleges – average debt of $27,291 in 2016, a 6.8% increase from $25,550 in 2012.
Private nonprofit colleges – average debt of $31,818, a 1.5% decrease from $32,300 in 2012.
PBA 2016 Graduating Seniors average debt $24,086, a 16.8% increase from $20,613 in
Average debt is publicly disclosed in a variety of venues including the FAFSA process for prospective and returning students. It is included in the Common Data Set and national surveys such as U.S. News, Peterson's, and College Board.
The University Financial Aid Office, under the supervision of the Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration/CFO, is responsible for providing information and guidance to help student borrowers understand how to manage their debt and repay their loans in a number of ways.
The University requires both entrance counseling and exit counseling for all students who decide they want to utilize a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan. Entrance counseling, exit counseling, and the Master Promissory Note are completed at www.studentloans.gov or during a group session. PBA also encourages senior student borrowers to complete exit counseling through the use of reminder notices sent via email and posted at various locations around campus.
Palm Beach Atlantic University has partnered with the i3 Group to assist current and former students. The i3 Group is a counseling service that will answer questions as well as assist current and former students with their Federal Student Loans. The i3 Group’s goal is to provide quality customer service while helping the student stay informed of the status of their loan, provide alternative repayment options and to promote solutions to every student to avoid default.
Financial Aid staff connect with First Year Experience instructors in order to schedule financial aid seminars for students in each of the First Year Experience classes and provide a handout. This effort targets all traditional age freshmen and some transfer students, depending on the amount of transfer credit each has.
Nontraditional and graduate students, inclusive of students in online programs and at the Orlando instructional site, receive information at Open House meetings held online and onground and, then, from Financial Aid as needed.
The Financial Aid staff are always available to meet with any student on campus to provide counseling and to answer questions related to aid. In addition, the PBA intranet, myPBA, contains pertinent information and links for student use.
For additional information, contact Carolanne M. Brown, Assistant Provost for Accreditation, Assessment, and Research/SACSCOC Liaison at email@example.com.
To view PBA’s current accreditation statement, please click here.