May 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Program Outcomes

Students are informed of institutional-level outcomes, program-level outcomes, and course-level outcomes in the following ways:

  • Institutional Outcomes are published below
  • Program Outcomes are published in the Academic Catalog within each program section
  • Course Outcomes are published in course descriptions within this catalog and in each course syllabus

Institutional Outcomes (ILO)

Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILO) identify Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design’s overarching goals and competencies, which include cultural competence, communication competence, design competence, and critical thinking. These outcomes further support and advance RMCAD’s Mission Statement. RMCAD’s Institutional, Programmatic, and Course-level Learning Outcomes are determined by the Program Review and Assessment Committee, the faculty, and the Program Department Chairs. The Curriculum Committee provides the final approval for all academic learning outcomes.

Cultural Competence:

RMCAD ILO: Cultural competence includes fostering collaboration in a diverse community, integrating ideas sensitive to cultural foundations and a global context, contextualizing knowledge to stimulate awareness of ethics and diverse viewpoints, and incorporating inclusive, equitable, and sustainable practices.

“Diverse” addresses a wide spectrum including both cultural and intellectual diversity and is supported and advanced through RMCAD’s Diversity Statement and Diversity within the Curriculum policy. This institutional learning outcome serves to further foster an inclusive, equitable, and accessible learning environment and cultivate a community that actively embraces and promotes the diversity of its students, faculty, and staff. Cultural competence directly supports RMCAD’s Mission Statement by advancing a “community-oriented global learning environment” and “preparing learners to be forces of change in their industries, communities, and the world.”

Communication Competence:

RMCAD ILO: Communication is a prepared, purposeful, written, oral, auditory, or visual presentation designed to increase knowledge, foster understanding, or promote change in the listeners’, viewers’, and/or participants’ attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors. Communication occurs through both intrapersonal and interpersonal communication with emphasis placed on professional practice in the realm of critique.

Communication competence fosters the engaged exchange of ideas through curricular and co-curricular experiences that facilitate and encourage an “innovative, rigorous and community-oriented global learning environment”.

Design Competence:

RMCAD ILO: Design Competence is the application of incorporating theories and concepts, technology, tools, and skills as they relate to art, design, music, aesthetic thinking, and creative problem-solving. It includes the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly apply theories and concepts and integrate the use of technology, tools, and skills for sustainable practice.

Design Competence remains a key concept driving all of RMCAD’s degree offerings. Through the application of technology, tools, and skills in aesthetic thinking and problem-solving, students actively engage in innovative processes beyond traditional analytical and investigative thinking. Design competency serves to prepare “learners to be forces of change in their industries”.

Critical Thinking:

RMCAD ILO: Critical thinking is a practice characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events in a conceptual, ongoing, and iterative process engaged in the formulation of questions, opinions, and conclusions, before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion. Critical thinking includes the ability to challenge assumptions, objectively contextualize information, identify problems, and conceptualize responses through various activities including critique.

Critical thinking directly supports the preparation of students for positions of influence, leadership, and entrepreneurship by instilling in students reflective and independent thinking. Students learn to engage in ideation through the constant questioning of ideas and assumptions and learn through their course of study how to observe the world more closely sifting through the multitude of complex and layered elements and meanings. This process of observation, analysis, problem-solving, and action provides a learning framework to advance learners’ ability “to be forces of change in their industries, communities and the world”.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program outcomes represent broad statements that incorporate many areas of interrelated knowledge and skills developed over the duration of the program through a wide range of courses and experiences. Program learning outcomes represent the big picture, describe broad aspects of practical understanding and demonstrated behavior, and encompass multiple learning experiences. Program learning outcomes directly support institutional learning outcomes. The program learning outcomes are published in the catalog under the Program Degrees.

Course Learning Outcomes

Course learning outcomes are the broad objectives reached at the conclusion of a course or term-level class. Course learning outcomes directly support program and institutional learning outcomes. These are published on the course syllabus and in the “Course Descriptions” located in the RMCAD catalog.


RMCAD utilizes rubrics that serve as a scoring tool explicitly describing the criteria, descriptors, and performance levels associated with learning outcomes.

  • Program Learning Outcome Rubrics include the criterion for the broad learning achieved at the conclusion of a program. Program Learning Outcome Rubrics are utilized by the department to gauge the overall performance of its graduates in various activities such as portfolio reviews.
  • Course Learning Outcome Rubrics include the criteria for course learning outcomes, the descriptors, and definitions identifying the characteristics tied with each criterion, and a rating scale for performance levels that identifies learners’ levels of proficiency within each criterion. Course Learning Outcome Rubrics include program and institutional outcome alignment. Rubrics for Art Education and Interior Design also include programmatic accreditation alignment. Course Learning Outcome Rubrics are utilized by the department in activities related to course-level learning assessment.
  • Grading Rubrics serve to provide feedback to students on a multitude of activities such as assignments in the form of papers, projects, and presentations. Grading rubrics distill the course learning outcomes and apply them to specific assignments identifying the criterion for a given assignment, the descriptors, and definitions identifying the characteristics tied with each criterion, and a rating scale for performance levels that identifies learners’ levels of proficiency within each criterion as evidenced in the assignment. Grading rubrics provide students with specific elements of criterion with which they may focus on continuous improvement.

Assessment, End-of-Course Evaluations, + Student Satisfaction Surveys

The Program Review + Assessment Committee (PRAC) oversees all learning outcome assessment activities and Academic Program Review (see the Academic Affairs Handbook for more information). These assessment activities measure the overall achievement of program and course learning outcomes across a multitude of learners whereas individual student grades provide students with particular information about their unique academic progress and achievement.

Learning assessment activities conducted by the Program Review + Assessment Committee (PRAC) inform faculty and departments of the quality and accessibility of the curriculum and instruction. Through these evaluation activities, faculty and departments can identify action steps toward improving overall student learning.

All students are encouraged to complete End-of-Course Surveys. Enrolled students receive invitations to utilize these course evaluations through their e-mail accounts.

Evaluations are anonymous. End-of-Course Surveys address course content, instructional methodology, and student experience, and provide a mechanism for students to engage in curricular and instructional improvement. End-of-Course Surveys serve to apprise faculty and departments of individual and collective student feedback which will inform decision-making and future action steps for improvement.

RMCAD periodically administers Student Satisfaction Surveys and encourages all students to participate in these evaluation activities when they occur.

Learning Outcome Changes

Changes to Institutional, Program, and Course Learning Outcomes must be vetted and approved by the Curriculum Committee prior to implementation into the curriculum.