Student Goals & Achievements

College

Wake Forest College is a distinctive academic institution that embraces the liberal arts tradition within the context of an internationally recognized research university. The College honors the ideals of liberal learning, which encourage students to adopt habits of mind that ask “why,” that evaluate evidence, that are open to new ideas, that attempt to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, that accept complexity and grapple with it, that admit error, and that pursue truth. The College believes in the development of the whole person and is committed to sustaining an environment where beliefs, assumptions, and ideas are examined thoughtfully and critically in a climate of academic freedom and inclusive excellence.

The College strives to be a dynamic and diverse learning community, valuing knowledge, experience, and service for the benefit of humanity in the liberal arts tradition and it expects to prepare all its students, who must meet a core liberal arts curriculum requirement, a major requirement, and a 120 credit hour requirement to graduate, to be active and informed members of the world in which they live. In line with these aims, the College assesses baseline student achievement using the following criteria:

First-Year Retention Rate: Because the retention rate measures how many first-year students will return for their second year of school, it provides the College with a valuable tool to determine whether the College is living up to the expectations for student success we set when recruiting students. The first-year retention rate is a well-respected, national best practice gauge of student success.  This means not only can we assess internally across student diversity and across time how we are measuring up; we can also track our first-year retention rate against peer and aspirational schools as well. The first year retention rate in the College has consistently topped 94% for the most recent cohorts of entering students (2015-2019). The College aims to maintain a minimum first-year retention rate of 94% which falls within the range of reported data on first-year retention rates from a select group of IPEDS comparative peer institutions.

First Year Retention Rate 2015-2017 2016-2018 2017-2019
Wake Forest College 94% 95% 95%
Peer Average 96% 96% 96%

*Three-year cohort averages

6-year Graduation Rates (overcoming challenges emphasis): Even more than the 4-year graduation rate, which offers insight into how many students are finishing their degrees in a timely manner, the 6-year graduation rate measures institutional commitment to ensuring our students complete their education at Wake Forest despite challenges along the way. In addition, the 6-year graduation rate is a nationally recognized metric that helps identify those schools most committed to ensuring the academic success of their student body.  It is widely understood that student persistence toward completion of their educational goals is a key gauge of student academic success, and therefore of institutional success as a whole. The 6-year graduation rate in the College has topped 87% among the most recent cohorts (students entering between 2010-2014).  The College sets a minimum 6-year graduation rate threshold of 87% which falls within the range of reported data on 6-year graduation rates from a select group of IPEDS comparative peer institutions.

6-year Graduation Rate 2010-2012 2011-2013 2012-2014
Wake Forest College 88% 87% 87%
Peer Average  91% 91% 91%

*Three-year cohort averages

Participation in Study Abroad Experience: Study abroad encompasses a constellation of documented high-impact education practices that form the basis of a liberal arts education as valued at Wake Forest. As broadly conceived and carried out in the College, this particular aspect of global learning connects diverse disciplines, cultures, languages, objectives, and pedagogies. By tracking study abroad participation rates, we can evaluate and assess our students’ opportunities for developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities to study, live, and work effectively in cultures other than their own.

Over the last decade, the number of undergraduate students in each graduating class who participated in study abroad has risen ten percentage points, from 55% in the class of 2011 to 65% in the class of 2020. In cooperation with Global Programs and Studies, the College aims to maintain a minimum of 63% participation in study away among each graduating class.

Study Abroad Rate by Year
2011 55%
2012 53%
2013 51%
2014 53%
2015 54%
2016 56%
2017 55%
2018 61%
2019 61%
2020 65%

*Percent of students per graduating class who studied abroad.

Divinity School

School of Divinity’s Mission Statement:

Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a graduate, professional school that is Christian by tradition, Baptist in heritage, and ecumenical in outlook. Consistent with Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence and in the spirit of the University motto, Pro Humanitate, the School of Divinity prepares leaders informed by a theological understanding of vocation. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.

Goals for the Master of Divinity and Joint Degrees (J.D./M.Div, M.Div./M.A. in Bioethics, M.Div./M.A. in Counseling, M.Div./M.A. in Education, M.Div./M.A. in Sustainability):

The faculty of the School determines, assesses, and, where appropriate, revises the degree program’s curricular goals. Students who graduate with the Master of Divinity degree or with any of the School’s joint degrees shall demonstrate a broad variety of competencies for religious leadership that promotes justice, reconciliation, and compassion, including:

  • Academic integration of Christian traditions, theologies, scriptures, and practices;
  • Sustained vocational reflection and spiritual formation that inform ministry in pluralistic contexts;
  • Innovative application and embodiment of a range ministerial practices for a continually transforming religious world;
  • Theologically informed analysis of social, cultural, political, and ecological systems within a variety of particular settings.

Student Achievement:

The School of Divinity is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS). The SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation Standard 8.1 (Student Achievement) requires institutions to identify, evaluate, and publish goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution’s mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. The standard also indicates that the institution should use multiple measures to document student success.  The ATS Standards of Accreditation also require that institutions identify, assess, and publish goals and outcomes for student achievement (General Institutional Standards 3.1 and 6.5 and Educational Standard 6).

Where data are available, student achievement in the Master of Divinity degree program is compared with that of the School’s peers (as established through ATS annual data reports and comparisons of the School of Divinity’s graduating student surveys with those of peer schools–with performance targets established at or approximate to the mean of those peers).

The School submits and subsequently receives graduation and placement data through an annual School Information Report (SIR) compiled and shared by ATS with member schools. The information compiled in the SIR is based on data reported by each school through the ATS Annual Report process. The SIR details graduation and placement rates for the previous 10 years.

Also, graduating students complete a Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ) each year. Data from this questionnaire provides useful information regarding student satisfaction and achievement. Data received through the GSQ, coupled with ATS SIR data, support School of Divinity faculty and administrative leaders as they assess the effectiveness of  the school’s Master of Divinity degree program in meeting the aims outlined in the mission statement and curricular goals (outlined above).

Graduation Rates

As a measure of program success, the School of Divinity tracks graduation rates. In particular, the School tracks the percentage of students who complete the Master of Divinity degree within 6 years, a standard established by ATS as an appropriate measure across ATS member schools. The following chart, excerpted from the 2020 ATS SIR, shows the percent of students completing the degree within 6 years (over the last 5 years) and compares the School of Divinity’s rates with those of ATS schools in similar ecclesial families.

Graduation Rates By Degree and Ecclesial Family for 2019
WFU School of Divinity All ATS Schools Evangelical Schools Mainline Schools Roman Catholic/Orthodox Schools
Master of Divinity 86% 62% 51% 72% 72%

**From the 2019 ATS SIR reporting graduating rates from the last five years along with 2019 comparisons with other ATS Member Schools.

As the above chart demonstrates, Wake Forest School of Divinity’s 2019 graduation rate for students who completed the degree in less than 6 years was 86%; the 2018 rate was 100%; and the 2017 rate was 80%. The three year average graduation rate is 88.67%. As noted in the secondary chart, the 2019 graduation rate compares favorably with and exceeds those of other ATS member schools.

The School of Divinity’s graduation rate goal is to meet or exceed the graduation rates of all ATS member schools (Mainline, Evangelical, and Roman Catholic) because the School of Divinity is an ecumenical institution that enrolls students from diverse denominations and traditions.

In addition, a significant majority of Wake Forest students complete the Master of Divinity degree within 3 to 4 years (or 6 to 8 semesters). The School of Divinity supports students to complete their degrees within this general time frame (3 to 4 years) by encouraging full time enrollment status and designing the degree program so that most students can graduate within that time frame by completing on average 12-14 credit hours per semester. Financial aid plans are designed to support students through six semesters of enrollment.

Each year, a small percentage of students (10-15%) are accepted into one of the School’s joint degree programs, with the result that they will graduate from both programs in a total of about four or five years. A few MDiv students withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons each year, or they transfer to another theological school. Very few MDiv students become academically ineligible (fewer than 5% per year). Given these factors, we set as a threshold that at least 80% of our entering MDiv students complete their degree within three years of matriculating.

Placement Rates

Placement rates indicate student achievement by signaling that student qualifications, skills, and credentials are recognized by varied employment contexts. As the chart below from the 2020 SIR shows, the School has achieved on average a 96% positive placement rate for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019. ATS categorizes placement as “vocational placements” (ie. congregational ministry, chaplaincy, and other traditional ministry leadership settings), “non-vocational placements” (ie. public school employment, non-profit leadership, employment in public service), and “went on for further study.”

**From 2020 ATS SIR showing overall 2019 placement rate and positive placements over the last 8 years.

As ATS indicates in the chart “[P]ositive rates can be an important measure of your school’s mission because they reflect the percentage of your graduates actually using their degrees in ministry, non-ministerial work, or further study.” Wake Forest Divinity School’s placement rate compares favorably with placement rates in all ATS Schools (again, per the above chart).

Specifically, our threshold is for 90% of our MDiv graduates within 10 months to be employed in vocational or non-vocational settings (per ATS nomenclature outlined above) or to be enrolled in further study. This threshold recognizes that some students will take on short-term positions or positions not specifically related to the MDiv degree. In rare instances, graduates may also choose not to seek employment.

Graduating Student Questionnaire

Demographic and program satisfaction data for each graduating class is collected through the Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ). The GSQ is administered through ATS. The GSQ provides information about student satisfaction with the degree program, debt load upon graduation, and job placement. The GSQ is self-reported by graduating students using a survey asking students to rate their satisfaction on a 1 – 5 scale where 5 indicates the program was “very effective” at a particular learning outcome or other goal. Coupled with placement data (above), the GSQ provides the School of Divinity with a useful picture of program effectiveness and student achievement. The School of Divinity had 100% participation rates for the years 2016-2017, 2017-18 and 2018-19. The GSQ measures educational growth in terms of student-perceived personal growth and skills effectiveness.

Specifically, we aim for average scores of 3.0 or above in each of the educational effectiveness categories reported through the GSQ. Our program is designed to equip graduates to be effective religious leaders and to cultivate personal professional growth. It is the School’s expectation that students will experience the MDiv curriculum as moderately to very effective in equipping them to lead in diverse ministry settings so the benchmark is set at the middle of the self-reported scale. This benchmark is based on the diverse vocational goals students bring into the program and the breadth of course offerings available to students. In cases where the School does not meet the GSQ benchmark, faculty explore curricular adjustments to improve effectiveness. Examples include offering additional courses in particular curricular areas where the average scores are lower than the benchmark.

GSQ 2019-2020

As the chart below indicates, students on average indicate confidence in the program’s effectiveness in cultivating the ministry and leadership skills areas at the center of the Wake Forest School of Divinity mission and curricular goals. These results have remained consistent over time, as indicated by the data from 2018-2019 and 2017-2018 (below).

GSQ 2018-2019

GSQ 2017-2018

In the 2017-2018 GSQ, students indicate that their educational program was effective in terms of affording them opportunities for developing skills relevant to their vocational aims. The only area in which the School did not meet the threshold of 3.0 was in “ability to administer a parish.” To improve educational effectiveness in this skill area, the School added an additional leadership and administration course to its curricular offerings.

Graduate School

Reynolda Campus

The Graduate School measures student success using the following three metrics: meeting learning objectives, degree completion, and clarity of career path.

1. The Graduate School at Wake Forest has a goal that its graduating students will meet the student learning objectives established by each individual program.

The mission of the WFU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is to train and mentor future leaders in research, teaching and innovation for serving humanity (Graduate School Bulletin, 2020-21, Page 11).  To meet this lofty goal, the student must first succeed in the training ground of the specific graduate program.  These programs can be quite disparate at Wake Forest (spanning filmmaking, religion, and physics).  Therefore, we use each program’s student learning objectives as a means for comparing student performance across programs, and hence the overall performance of the program and Graduate School.  Each of the graduate programs (column 1) listed in the table below sets at least 3 learning objectives (column 3) for its graduating students.  At the time of graduation, each individual is rated by the mentor and/or director of the graduate program across those objectives as follows:  1-does not meet expectations; 2-meets expectations; 3-exceeds expectations.  Two programs (Interpreting and Translation Studies, Education) use a 5-point scale where 3 is equivalent to meets expectations.  For clarity, the scores for these programs have been converted to the 3-point scale.  The goal for each program, therefore, is an average of 2.00 or better in column 4.  Obviously, all programs met this goal in Academic Year 19-20.  For example, Bioethics had 8 graduating students.  They were each scored on 4 learning objectives.  The average for those 32 scores was 2.75 (or approximately 75% of the scores were 3, and 25% were 2).  Students in Bioethics easily exceeded the 2.0 goal.  The performance for all students in the Graduate School is given in the bottom row.  The average score for 177 graduating students over 682 scores was 2.52.  On average half of the scores were 3, and half 2, well above the goal of 2.0.

2. The Graduate School at Wake Forest has a goal of exceeding the completion rates for the national average for each degree as published by the Council of Graduate Schools.

The average 2-year MA completion rate for graduate schools nationwide is 45% and for the MS is 40% (Completion and Attrition in STEM Master’s Programs, Page 18).  While the national completion rate might seem low, students for various reasons might enter a third year in a two year program (simply to complete or defend the thesis in many cases).  The table below (Table 17 from the Academic Year 2019-2020 WFU Annual Report) indicates that the graduating class of 2020 at Wake Forest had a 2-year completion rate of 79% for the MA and 85% for the MS in 2020.  These rates are significantly better than the nationwide average, but they could fluctuate due to the small number of graduates in some programs and/or extenuating circumstances.  For example, while the completion rate for the MAEd appears low for 2020, please note that this is a 1-year completion rate (WFU’s MAEd is a 13 month program), and student teaching experiences in local schools were hampered by COVID in the spring of 2020.

The 10-year PhD completion rate for graduate schools nationwide is 55% (A Data-Driven Approach to Improving Doctoral Completion, Council of Graduate Schools, 2007, p. 6).  The table below (Table 17 from the Academic Year 2019-2020 WFU Annual Report) indicates that the 7-year completion rate for the PhD at Wake Forest is 54%.  Wake Forest likely exceeds the national 7-year completion rate for the PhD (which would be less than the reported 10-year rate).

3. The Graduate School at Wake Forest has a goal of less than 10% of graduating students with undecided career paths upon graduation.

The mission of the WFU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is to train and mentor future leaders in research, teaching and innovation for serving humanity (Graduate School Bulletin, 2020-21, Page 11).  As such, we find it imperative that students stay the course once they complete the degree so that they may have a significant future impact in the field.  While 100% of students with career paths related to their graduate work is ideal, 90% is a more realistic and attainable goal (and is equivalent to the Wake Forest historical low measured in 2016).  Surely some students will change their focus during or after graduate school each year.  As the graph below demonstrates, less than 10% (6.6%) of Wake Forest graduates had unknown career paths upon graduation in 2020 (yellow bars).  See Table 16 from the (Academic Year 2019-2020 Annual Report,) and the archived reports from previous years here: Graduate.wfu.edu/annual-reports,

Bowman Gray Campus

The 2020 Graduate School Annual Report for the biomedical sciences programs administered on the School of Medicine campus summarizes number of graduates, achievements, and time to degree by each graduate program. The data tables included in Table 2 below show 112 graduating students for 2020.

Current Wake Forest Graduate School policy states that the total allowable time for completion of degree is 7 years for PhD students and 6 years for MS students. We aim to achieve an average of 5 years for degree completion for PhD students and 2 years for MS students. Given that NIH focuses on the time to degree for research-based programs and our peers regularly report on graduates’ time to degree, we seek to use a similar metric when comparing ourselves to other biomedical programs. The average time to degree for the PhD was 4.96 years for those graduating in 2020. For the MS degree, the average time was 1.53 years.

Table 1 .

Class of 2019/2020: Average Years to Degree Completion by Program

Degree Program PhD MS
Addiction Research and Clinical Health (ARCH) 1.11
Biomedical Engineering (BMES) 4.67 1.94
Biomedical Sciences (Research) 1.60
Biomedical Sciences (Pre-medical Postbac) 1.12
Cancer Biology (CABI) 6.35
Clinical and Population Translational Sciences (CPTS) 1.94
Health Disparities in Neuroscience-related Disorders (HDND) 2.03
Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology (IPP) 4.35
Molecular Genetics and Genomics (MOGN) 6.85
Molecular Medicine and Translational Science (MMTS) 4.31
Neuroscience (NEUR) 5.02 1.69

TOTAL

4.96 1.53

As our programs are different sizes, our goal is to see 80% of admitted students graduate from their respective program within the time frame that the Graduate School policy allows, ie, 7 years for doctoral students, and 6 years for master students. We are currently meeting our goals in this area.

Table 2.

Class Graduation Year On Time Graduation Rate
2018 87%
2019 90%
2020 96%

School of Law

Student achievement at Wake Forest Law is evaluated and guided by our mission to prepare professionals to meet the legal challenges of the future with confidence, character, and creativity.

Wake Forest Law confers four degrees: Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), Doctor of Judicial Science (SJD), and Master of Studies in Law (MSL). Student achievement in all programs is demonstrated by strong graduation rates.

Other indicators of achievement for JD students include bar passage and employment outcomes. These indicators are not applicable to our LLM, SJD, and MSL programs. Bar passage is not applicable to these non-JD programs because these students are primarily already lawyers or in careers that do not require bar membership. In addition, the students in LLM, SJD, and MSL programs typically use their Wake Forest Law degree to improve their performance at their existing employment; hence, employment data would not reflect the achievement of students in these non-JD programs. Other indicators of achievement for LLM, SJD, and MSL students include their self-reported gains in legal analysis while attending Wake Forest Law.

Juris Doctor

As an ABA-accredited law school, Wake Forest Law reports annually on its JD curriculum, program operations, and outcomes by completing an American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Questionnaire. This report includes a yearly analysis of the bar passage and employment rates of JD students, along with many other metrics.

Graduation

The overwhelming majority of JD students who matriculate to Wake Forest Law graduate within three years. Our admissions process ensures that our students exhibit the traits and attributes for success in law school and thus have our confidence in their ability to graduate.

Very few JD students become academically ineligible. In fact, none have for the matriculants analzyed in the tables below. Yet, each year, some JD students decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another law school. Given these factors, we set the threshold that 80% of our entering JD students finish their law school career at Wake Forest Law within three years of matriculating.

The following tables detail the graduation rates of JD students by entering cohort for the last three graduating classes.

Juris Doctor Total Grads
# %
Fall 2015 Matriculants 137 97.9%
Fall 2016 Matriculants 152 94.4%
Fall 2017 Matriculants 141 93.4%
Total 430 95.3%

Bar Passage

To remain an ABA-accredited law school, we must ensure that at least 75% of our JD graduates who take a bar examination pass within two years of their graduation. Wake Forest Law has always significantly exceeded that standard, which is consistent with our mission to prepare JD graduates to join the practice of law. We also recognize that some JD graduates decide to pursue careers not requiring bar admission. Our threshold goal is that 80% of our JD graduates pass the bar within two years of graduating.

This two-year goal of 80%, with collection and examination of data after one year, leads the law school to provide high-quality bar exam support for all graduates, not just first-time takers.  Furthermore, it recognizes that we aim for the vast majority of our graduates to practice law. The bar passage rate for Wake Forest Law JD graduates is consistently strong and above the state and national averages. We pride ourselves on preparing our JD students for success on the bar through our curriculum and bar support programing.

Starting in 2018, the ABA began requiring law schools to report pass rates based not just on first-time test takers, but also  the pass rate over a two-year period, which we use as our threshold measure. Using that metric, Wake Forest Law’s pass rate was 94% for 2015 graduates, 95% for 2016 graduates, and 93% for 2017 graduates.

We continue to monitor how our JD graduates perform the first time they take a bar examination. The following table compares Wake Forest Law’s first-time bar pass rate in all US jurisdictions with the first-time pass rate for all ABA-accredited law schools that calendar year.

In addition, Wake Forest Law JD graduates pass the North Carolina bar examination well above the state average. The July 2018 pass rate for Wake Forest Law graduates was 74%, compared with an overall state pass rate of 57%.  In July 2019, the pass rate for Wake Forest Law graduates was 93%, whereas the overall North Carolina pass rate was 80%.  The July 2020 Wake Forest Law pass rate of 94% again exceeded the 83% pass rate for all North Carolina test takers.

Employment

The ABA also requires Wake Forest Law to disclose standardized and detailed employment statistics. These statistics are another measure of JD student success. ABA standards state that the objective of a law school academic program is to prepare students for the practice of law, although it has not adopted a specific outcome standard for law graduate employment.

Specifically, our threshold is for 80% of our graduates within ten months of graduation to be employed as lawyers or in jobs that advantage applicants with JDs. Like our goal for bar passage, this threshold recognizes that we intend for most of our graduates to be employed as lawyers or in JD-advantaged jobs within ten months after graduation, while also recognizing that some students will decide to pursue additional education after law school, take on part-time, short-term positions, or employment not requiring a JD, or choose not to seek employment.

The employment rate for new JD graduates in full-time, long-term positions, measured at 10 months following graduation, has increased steadily over the past 5 years. For the Class of 2019, 90% of our JD graduates were employed in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar passage or for which a JD was preferred. This marked a slight increase over the Class of 2018, which had an 88.1% employment rate for comparable positions. For the Class of 2017, the relevant employment rate was 89.8%.

Master of Laws (LLM)

The Master of Laws (LLM) degree is designed for attorneys who hold a first degree in law from a country outside of the United States. The program can be completed in two to four semesters. Graduation requirements include maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, completion of required and elective courses, and the successful submission of writing requirements.

One measure of student success is measured in the overall graduation rate of matriculants from each entering cohort. Very few LLM students decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another law school. Even fewer LLM students become academically ineligible. Given these factors, we set the threshold that 90% of our entering LLM students finish their law school career at Wake Forest Law within two years.

The following table details the graduation rates of LLM students by entering cohort. Each cohort exceeds our threshold.

Master of Laws (LLM) Total Grads
# %
Fall 2017 Matriculants 18 100%
Fall 2018 Matriculants 23 100%
Fall 2017 Matriculants 16 100%
Total 57 100%

*One student is pending graduation in May 2021.

Another measure for these graduate level students is their self-reported progress in (1) understanding the fundamental legal concepts and principles; (2) identifying and framing potential legal issues; (3) applying relevant legal issues to new fact patterns; (4) communicating legal analysis in a clear an organized manner; (5) sorting large amounts of information into a useful format; and (6) developing a deep understanding of legal topics or principles.

LLM students are licensed attorneys and working professionals. This program is meant to enhance the knowledge and experience they have already gained through prior education and work. As such, we believe that their own evaluation of their understanding from their courses is key in understanding and demonstrating their overall success. Our threshold for these six indicators is a semester mean of 3.5 on a self-reported scale of 0 to 5: (0) Not Applicable, (1) No apparent progress/negligible gains, (2) Slight progress/small gains, (3) Moderate progress/some gains, (4) Substantial progress/large gains, and (5) Exceptional progress/outstanding gains.

It is the law school’s expectation that students will experience more than moderate progress, therefore we have set the benchmark to be slightly higher than the middle of the self-reported scale. The following table details an average of these self-reported progress means across all LLM specific courses in the program for the past three years. In each year, the mean exceeds the benchmark.

Fall 2017 Mean Fall 2018 Mean Fall 2019 Mean
Understanding of fundamental legal concepts and principles  

4.18

 

4.31

 

4.04

Progress identifying and framing potential legal issues  

4.14

 

4.34

 

4.03

Applying relevant legal issues to new fact patterns  

3.97

 

4.26

 

4.17

Communicating legal analysis in a clear and organized manner  

4.05

 

4.32

 

4.13

Sorting large amounts of information into a useful format  

3.95

 

4.30

 

4.17

Developing a deep understanding of legal topics or principles taught  

4.04

 

4.33

 

4.20

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

The Scientiae Juridicae Doctor (SJD) is designed for attorneys who hold a first degree in law from a country outside of the United States as well as a Master of Laws degree. The program requires coursework as well as an extensive dissertation project completed under the supervision of a tenured faculty advisor. The program can be completed in two to five years. Graduation requirements include maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (or pass) or higher and successfully defending a dissertation to a committee of faculty members. SJD students may begin their program in the Fall or Spring semester.

One measure of student success is measured in the overall graduation rate of matriculants from each entering cohort. As working professionals, SJD students may decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another law school. Few SJD students become academically ineligible. Given these factors, we set the threshold that, overall, 75% of matriculated SJD students finish their law school career at Wake Forest Law within five years.

Entering cohorts of SJD students ultimately move through the program at varying speeds. Due to this, graduation data is provided for the most recent entering cohorts from which all matriculants have graduated, or withdrawn from the program. The following tables detail the graduation rates of these SJD students by matriculation cohort. Although rates vary by cohort, the overall graduation rate of the students detailed in these tables is 92%, or eleven out of twelve.

Doctor of Juridical

Science (SJD)

Total Matriculants Total Grads
# %
Fall 2015 Matriculants* 5 4 80%
Spring 2016 Matriculants 1 0 0%
Fall 2016 Matriculants 6 6 100%
Total 12 11 91.7%

*One student is pending graduation in May 2021.

Another measurement of success for these doctoral candidate students is the final products of their degree: producing a dissertation of publishable quality that contributes in an original manner to the law and a presentation of their work to the law school community. Success with these metrics is defined as faculty approval of the defended work and successful completion of the public presentation where members of the law school community may raise questions about the work that has been done.

For the reasons given for the graduation threshold of 75%, we set the threshold of 75% for SJD students producing a dissertation meeting the above standards. As a small, individually directed program, these thresholds are deemed met when the student’s faculty advisor signs off on the final grade for their work and approves them for graduation. The three-year combined overall graduation rates of the program (92%) show this standard was met, as reflected in the tables above.

Master of Studies in Law (MSL)

The fully online Master of Studies in Law is designed specifically for and uniquely tailored to working professionals who need to understand better the law to manage risks more efficiently and effectively. The program is offered on a part-time basis, and students may take between three and six credit hours per semester. Students transferring credit may complete the degree in as little as 21 months (five semesters). Students without transfer credit may complete the degree in as little as 24 months (six semesters). Students must complete the program within five years of matriculation. Graduation requirements include maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher, and completion of required and elective courses. Students may matriculate into the MSL program in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters.

One measure of student success is measured in the overall graduation rate of matriculants from each entering cohort. As working professionals, MSL students may decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another graduate level program. Few MSL students become academically ineligible. Given these factors, we set the threshold that 75% of our entering MSL students finish their program at Wake Forest Law within five years.

The program has operated as a fully online and asynchronous degree for working professionals since 2016. Entering cohorts of MSL students ultimately move through the program at varying speeds. Due to this, graduation data is provided for the most recent entering cohort (in the current online iteration) from which all matriculants have graduated or withdrawn from the program. The following table details the graduation rates of MSL students for the most recent cohort with complete graduation data and demonstrates exceeding the set benchmark.

Master of Studies

in Law (MSL)

Total Grads
# %
Fall 2016 Matriculants 21 80.8%
Total 21 80.8

Another measure for these graduate level professional students is their self-reported progress in (1) understanding the fundamental concepts and principles; (2) identifying and framing potential legal issues; and (3) recognizing the relevance to the workplace of the concepts and principles in this area of law. Students in this program are working professionals.

This program is meant to enhance the knowledge and experience they have already gained through prior education and work. As such, we believe that their own evaluation of their understanding from the courses is key in understanding and demonstrating their overall success. Our threshold for these three indicators is a semester mean of 4.0 on a self-reported scale of 1 to 5: (1) Poor, (2) Fair, (3) Good, (4) Very good, (5) Excellent. It is the law school’s expectation that students will experience more than good progress, therefore we have set the benchmark to be slightly higher than the middle of the self-reported scale. The following table details these self-reported progress means across all courses in the program for the past three semesters.  In each year, the mean exceeds the benchmark.

Spring 2020 Mean Summer 2020 Mean Fall 2020 Mean
Understanding of fundamental legal concepts and principles  

4.32

 

4.37

 

4.44

Progress identifying and framing potential legal issues  

4.31

 

4.35

 

4.37

Recognizing the relevance of legal concepts and principles to the workplace  

4.41

 

4.44

 

4.43

School of Medicine

Consistent with the mission of the WFSM to train leaders in healthcare and biomedical science, the Office of Medical Education monitors student achievement and performance throughout the medical school.

Physician Assistant (PA) Program

The Wake Forest PA (WFPA) Program evaluates success with respect to student achievement consistent with its mission to produce highly capable, compassionate PAs who make significant contributions to the health care community.

The PA Program documents successful student achievement in relation to its mission by monitoring and reporting the percentage of each cohort of graduates that pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) on the first attempt. Because all 50 states mandate that PAs pass the PANCE in order to obtain licensure, the Wake Forest PA Program prioritizes the importance of demonstrating PA graduates’ ability to actually enter the profession.

Since 2013, the percent pass rate for PA Program first-time takers of the PANCE has been at or above the national first-time pass rate. As illustrated in the table below, over the past five years the average first-time pass rate for WFSM PA Program is 99%, and the national average is 96%.  (See Table 1)

The program expectation for graduate performance on PANCE is a 90% or higher pass rate on the first attempt.  This benchmark, established in 2010, was based upon published work in the PA education literature.  The PA program expectation exceeds the ARC-PA’s <85% alert value, which requires mandatory program action.

The program also uses the national mean for first time test takers as a surrogate marker of our competitiveness.  Thus, our cohorts’ surpassing the national mean each year serves as an additional measure of success.

Table 1. PANCE Pass Rates – First Time Examinee

Class Graduating Year Number of First Time WFPA Takers WFPA Program First Time Take Pass Rate National First Time Taker Pass Rate for the Class Graduation Year
2015 59 100% 96%
2016 89 99% 96%
2017 86 100% 97%
2018 87 99% 98%
2019 84 98% 93%
2020 86 98% 95%

First Year First Time Taker Average Pass Rate for Wake Forest PA Program (average last 5 years): 99%
First Year National First Time Taker Average (average last 5 years): 96%

The pass rates are updated annually and published on the https://school.wakehealth.edu/Education-and-Training/PA-Program/Curriculum-Overview.

The program also measures student success by evaluating graduation rates. Table 2 reflects graduation rates by cohort, based upon the numbers of students who graduated on-time (with their starting cohort). The PA Program’s on-time graduation rates have ranged from 94 to 99% over the past five years. The on-time graduation benchmark for each cohort is established by comparing that cohort to the five prior cohorts. The threshold for a cohort is to fall within 1 standard deviation of the mean of the combined on-time graduation rates of the prior five cohorts. For example, the threshold for the class of 2020, based upon the graduation rates for classes 2015-2019, was 96%. For every group listed in the table, the threshold was met. In addition, the PA Program is able to utilize an additional benchmark of the mean on-time graduation rate for all PA programs, as posted in the most recent PA Education Association (PAEA) Program Survey. , the total program on-time graduation average was 93.5%. In comparison, every graduating cohort listed in the table below exceeded this percentage.

Table 2.

Class Graduation Year On Time Graduation Rate
2018 97%
2019 94%
2020 96%

Doctorate of Medicine (MD)

The success of graduating students in placement for residency training is monitored and reported annually. The 2020 Match Rate was 100%.

The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP; The Match) is a private, non-profit organization that implements the process by which the preferences of MD student applicants for U.S. residency positions are matched with the preferences of residency program directors.

While WFSM seeks to match 100% of its students with residencies, our Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Committee (UMECC) chose a performance metric of 95% of the 5-year average national match rate for allopathic US seniors into PGY-1 positions. The UMECC determined this approach to evaluating our Match Rate is meaningful because it highlights the excellent training provided by WFSM that makes our students and graduates highly competitive for residency training positions.

Table 3. Match Results for MS2016 through MS2020

Year US Match Rate WFSM Match Rate US past 5-year average 95% of US past 5-yr average
2016 93.8 97.2 94.2 89.5
2017 94.3 99.1 94.0 89.3
2018 94.3 98.1 94.1 89.4
2019 93.9 98.3 94.0 89.3
2020 93.7 100 94.0 89.3

The Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Committee (UMECC) and the Faculty Executive Council monitor student performance on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The percent pass rate for WFSM first-time takers of USMLE Step 1 has been has been within one percentage point, or above the national mean over the past five years.

Our UMECC has selected student performance on the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK and CS exams as meaningful metrics since they allow us to compare our students’ achievements against a national sample of students to gauge effectiveness of our curriculum and guide us in ongoing curriculum improvement.

Step 1 assesses the students’ mastery of important concepts of the basic science and their ability to apply those concepts to the practice of medicine. In addition, the Step exam scores have been a crucial data point for our students in residency applications as they interview for positions in The Match.

Step 2 CK assesses students’ ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science to practice of medicine safely and competently under supervision.

Step 2 CS uses twelve patient encounters with standardized patients to assess student clinical skills to gather and interpret relevant patient data as well as their communication and interpersonal skills.

We monitor our student scores on aggregate through relevant UMECC subcommittees.

Table 4. USMLE Step 1 – First Time Examinee

Table 5. USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge – First Time Examinee

Table 6. USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills – First Time Examinee

Our UMECC has set a threshold of 80% for our . The UMECC believed that this is a meaningful metric, reflecting the fact that our program’s curriculum and student support processes allow the vast majority of our students to successfully complete our MD program curriculum within four years of matriculation.

Table 7.

Class Graduation Year Graduation Rate
2018 95%
2019 97%
2020 99%


Department of Academic Nursing

The achievement of students at the Department of Academic Nursing (DAN) is gauged by 1) on time graduation rates (Table 8), 2) achievement of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Essentials (2006) (Table 9), 3) dissemination of the scholarly project (Table 10), and 4), specific to the Nurse Anesthesia Program, successful completion of the National Certification Examination (NCE) administered by the National Board of  Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) following graduation from the program (Table 11). The DAN has maintained excellent, on time graduation rates (see Table 8), 2) achievement of the DNP Essentials (see Table 9), 3) dissemination of scholarship (Table 10), and 4) NCE pass rates (Table 11) for comparison to national NCE mean scales and mean subscale scores.

The DAN graduation rates is averaged at 97% over the past three years. The DAN has set a minimum graduation rate of 90% as its benchmark. This exceeds the national standard of 80% over a 5-year running average set by the Committee on Admissions (COA) for nurse anesthesia programs. And this data includes the Post Masters DNP inaugural Class of 2020 (Table 8).

Table 8. Department of Academic Nursing Overall Graduation Rate

Class Graduation Year Graduation Rate
2018 96%
2019 100%
2020 94%

Table 9. Positive Agreement of Achievement of AACN DNP Essentials by Graduating Class

DNP Essential Class of 2020
I. Scientific Underpinnings for Practice 100%
II. Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking 100%
III. Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods
for Evidence-Based Practice
100%
IV. Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care 100%
 V. Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care 100%
VI. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes 100%
VII. Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health 100%
VIII. Advanced Nursing Practice 100%

Table 10. DNP Student Dissemination of Scholarly Project

Class of 2020
Student Scholarly Dissemination of Project 100%

The mandatory threshold pass rate set by the Council for Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Programs (COA) for first-time NBCRNA NCE test takers as defined in the policy is 80% over a 5 year running average. This threshold was adopted by our program as a marker for successful student achievement of program outcomes and our program consistently exceeds this threshold (Table 11). This metric is meaningful as it represents didactic and clinical program excellence.  The NCE pass rates are published and updated annually on the program website. This metric is a summary statistic of the quality of the didactic and clinical curriculum and provides a national benchmark for comparison to national NCE mean scales and mean subscale scores.

Table 11. DAN Nurse Anesthesia NBCRA NCE Performance Scores

School of Business

The Wake Forest School of Business has a performance-based culture. As such, the School identifies expected outcomes for its educational programs, assesses achievement of those outcomes, and is responsive to under-performance against targeted outcomes while simultaneously pursuing continuous improvement in its programs. Relative to student achievement outcomes, the School places primary emphasis upon learning outcomes as it pursues its mission to help businesses create a better world through developing passionate, ethical business leaders who get results with integrity, and thought leadership that is visible and positively impacts the practice of business. It is through a focus on learning outcomes that the School attends to its commitment to produce responsible and impactful members of society. At the same time, the School believes it has an obligation to each of its students to facilitate achievement of first destination outcomes, which translates as corporate employment for the majority of graduates. Finally, the School is committed to achieving on-time graduation across all its programs; given the real and opportunity costs associated with higher education, the School believes it has a moral obligation to shepherd students to the successful completion of degrees in reliably predictable time frames. These, then, are the primary indicators of student achievement within the School of Business: (1) learning outcomes, (2) employment outcomes, and (3) on-time graduation. Each is addressed in turn below.

Learning Outcomes

For each of its business degree programs, the School of Business pursues four broad learning goals, or “pillars,” with a total of ten distinct learning objectives:

  1. Pillar: Impactful. Our graduates are able to make immediate, meaningful contributions to their organizations through their ability to:

1.a    Learning Objective: Think Strategically. Graduates work with large volumes of data, extract the business intelligence from this information, and formulate appropriate business strategies from this intelligence.

 1.b   Learning Objective: Act Practically. Graduates create and manage  the execution of realistic plans with wisdom to achieve strategic, operational, and tactical objectives.

 1.c    Learning Objective: Communicate Effectively. Listen actively and consider the purpose, audience, desired action, best channel and appropriate tone for every communication.

  1. Pillar: Professional. To produce value in the broadest economic, cultural and professional settings, our graduates:

    2.a    Learning Objective: Create Value for Others. Graduates understand the nature, function, benefits, limits, and sustainability of market economies, and can create value within them.

    2.b    Learning Objective: Embrace a Professional Identity. Graduates understand what honorable business is, and embrace an integrated identity as members of the noble profession of business.

    2.c    Learning Objective: Steward the Profession of Business. Graduates understand and commit to stewardship of the honor, traditions, and productive and innovative culture of their profession, and work to strengthen their community using the skill and expertise of their professional training.

  1. Pillar: Honorable. To achieve high levels of performance while maintaining the highest standards of individual character, our graduates:

    3.a    Learning Objective: Lead Ethically. Graduates build and lead teams to achieve results in ways that motivate and value integrity; foster personal, professional, and organizational accountability and responsibility; and provide value to society.

    3.b    Learning Objective: Exhibit Personal Strengths. Graduates exhibit ethical and psychological strengths necessary to embrace opportunities, overcome challenges, and succeed with integrity.

  1. Pillar: Global. To effectively lead across cultural and geographical boundaries, our graduates:

    4.a    Learning Objective: Leverage Diversity. Graduates understand how differences contribute to problem-solving and teamwork, and effectively engage those differences.

    4.b    Learning Objective: Demonstrate a Global Mindset. Graduates are able to analyze complex global challenges, take responsible action in global contexts, and evaluate the consequences of that action.

The Wake Forest School of Business targets ten overarching learning objectives beyond the customary discipline-specific learning objectives common to most business degree programs. These learning objectives are informed heavily by our understanding of the marketplace for talent, and the distinct needs and desires of firms recruiting School of Business students and graduates. Consistent with accreditation requirements, learning outcomes are assessed frequently but not necessarily every year. The performance data provided here are those data that were most recently collected as part of a pre-determined assessment strategy for each specific degree program. Representative sampling of student performance against targeting learning outcomes is allowed within the assessment framework. As is common within business higher education, the School defines acceptable learning outcomes performance as 80% of assessed students meeting or exceeding the learning goal. Performance levels below 80% trigger immediate attention and reassessment at the earliest opportunity.

Learning Objectives
Think

Strategically

Act Practically Communicate

Effectively

Create Value for Others Embrace Professional Identity Steward the Profession of Business Lead Ethically Exhibit Personal Strengths Leverage Diversity Demonstrate Global Mindset
BS

in

Business

96%

(Spring 2020)

96%

(Spring 2020)

97%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

97%

(Spring 2020)

97%

(Spring 2020)

88%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

MS

in

Management

83%

(Fall 2019)

90%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

90%

(Spring 2020)

56%

(Spring 2020)

90%

(Spring 2020)

97%

(Spring 2020)

90%

(Spring 2020)

93%

(Spring 2020)

93%

(Spring 2020)

MS

in

Accountancy

See table below See table below See table below See table below See table below See table below See table below See table below See table below See table below
MS

in

Business Analytics

71%

(Fall 2019)

93%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Fall 2019)

96%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

39%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

Winston-Salem

MBA

67%

(Fall 2019)

96%

(Fall 2018

86%

(Fall 2018)

100%

(Spring 2020)

88%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

92%

(Spring 2020)

85%

(Spring 2020)

97%

(Fall 2019)

83%

(Spring 2019)

Charlotte Evening

MBA

68%

(Fall 2019)

100%

(Fall 2018)

96%

(Fall 2018)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

88%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Fall 2019)

100%

(Fall 2018)

Charlotte Saturday

MBA

60%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Fall 2019)

100%

(Fall 2019)

76%

(Fall 2019)

88%

(Fall 2019)

88%

(Fall 2019)

95%

(Spring 2018)

90%

(Spring 2018)

100%

(Spring 2020)

100%

(Spring 2020)

Online MS

in

Business Analytics *

N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

The MS in Accountancy degree program earns accreditation from the business accreditor AACSB (www.aacsb.edu) separate from the other degree offerings in the School of Business. Traditionally the MS in Accountancy program has used a unique set of targeted learning outcomes. Those data are provided below. Beginning with academic year 2021/22, the As previously noted, the School defines acceptable learning outcomes performance as 80% of assessed students meeting or exceeding the learning goal. Performance levels below 80% trigger immediate attention and reassessment at the earliest opportunity.* As a recently introduced program offering, the fully online MS in Business Analytics program is in its inaugural year of collecting learning outcomes data. These data will appear in the annually updated version of this table during academic year 2021/22.

 

Demonstrate mastery of technical knowledge (4th-yr students) Demonstrate mastery of technical knowledge (graduate students) Demonstrate ability to research complex technical issues Demonstrate ability to work in teams and diverse environments Demonstrate ability to identify & describe ethical dilemmas Relate an identified dilemma to the accounting profession’s broad economic & societal purposes Relate an identified dilemma to specific relevant ethical standards & practices of the accounting profession
89%

(AY 2018/19)

84%

(AY 2018/19)

86%

(AY 2018/19)

97%

(AY 2018/19)

100%

(AY 2018/19)

100%

(AY 2018/19)

96%

(AY 2017/18)

Employment Outcomes

The School of Business is deeply committed to our students’ first destination outcomes.  Our Market Readiness & Employment (MRE) team is comprised of 20+ staff members who are dedicated to supporting students across all programs.  The MRE team’s primary focus is to maximize student career preparation (based on our READY7 model) and to facilitate employer connections across a wide-range of industries and functions.

Our goal across all programs is to achieve 100% employment by 3-months post graduation.  This goal is aligned with our team’s annual performance review scorecard.  We track and report first destination outcomes at three time intervals — at graduation, 3 months, and 6 months post graduation (see Student Achievement Data). In addition, strong employment outcomes significantly impact overall program rankings which is a broader goal for the School of Business.

Note that employment outcomes for the working professional MBA students are 100% as these students are employed throughout their degree program experience.

On-Time Graduation

Supporting students in pursuit of on-time graduation represents another serious commitment the School of Business makes to our community members. Such degree attainment is a fundamental outcome that enrolled students desire and seek by engaging in their classes and activities. Close counseling and tracking of all students across all degree programs contribute to strong on-time graduation performance (See Student Achievement Data): The pace and rate of success for student degree completion can be assessed in a variety of ways, but for consistency across our degree programs, and in support of high standards for student success, we have defined on-time graduation rates for this purpose as the rate at which students graduated with their matriculation cohort at the expected graduation date as outlined by their standard degree program curriculum.  , in light of our dual commitment to efficient degree progress as well as flexibility based on personal and career needs, we typically seek to meet or exceed a rate of 85%.  Graduation rate data are reviewed annually, with any anomalies triggering analyses and appropriate action. In our online graduate degree programs, noteworthy for their flexible design and working professional student populations, we recognize that authoritative standardized national data on comparable online program completion rates is still emerging but we currently seek to meet or exceed an on-time rate of 60%, and review outcomes each term for appropriate analysis and action.