Select Page

In June 2012, I will have the unique privilege to present at the Annual Forum for the Association of Institutional Research (AIR) in New Orleans, LA. (The content of my presentation is outlined below.) I look forward to this presentation as an opportunity to present and affirm the larger purpose of Institutional Effectiveness (IE) Office in higher education institutions. I ask that you take some time to review my thoughts and provide feedback in the comments sections.

Presentation Abstract

The challenge for many Institutional Effectiveness (IE) offices is to remain engaged in the quality enhancement (QE) process, beyond day-to-day assessment activities and accreditation reviews. This session proposes that the critical role of the IE office is to engage the campus community in developing, administering, and monitoring key QE processes. The presenter will highlight possible strategies, including the role of campus education, analysis of existing information systems, implementation of academic program review processes, and involvement in strategic planning activities, as examples. The end goal is to present the IE Office as a critical QE function in the institution.

Presentation Narrative

Higher education institutions must be positioned to appropriately respond to the growing climate of transparency and accountability. Furthermore, the global economic struggle necessitates that institutions strategize for the future. To be ahead of the curve, institutions must employ a strong institutional effectiveness (IE) model, which initiates quality enhancement (QE) practices and procedures that will lead to systemic improvements.

It is highly recommended that the IE Office serve as a catalyst for such activities. This assumption is based on several factors. First, in most institutions, the IE Office possesses massive amounts of institutional data and/or knowledge. Second, the immense stores of data and/or knowledge should be catalysts for decision-making and change. Last, the IE Office is often seen as a cross-functional department, serving both the academic and administrative divisions of the university. For these reasons, the IE Office should position itself as an agent for developing, administering, and monitoring key QE processes.

Based on the above contention, the following QE strategies will be presented as examples of QE efforts at Southeastern University: education of campus constituents, analysis of existing information systems, implementation of academic program review processes, and involvement in strategic planning activities. It is important to note that these strategies extend beyond day-to-day assessment activities and accreditation reviews.

Education of campus community. The IE Office has taken a proactive role in educating the campus community regarding IE and related practices. The IE Office produced the IE and the Academic Program Review (APR) handbooks, which instruct University constituents in developing and maintaining critical IE processes. The implementation, education, and ongoing maintenance of the IE and APR processes are monitored through two committees—the University Assessment Committee and the Academic Program Review Committee.

Analysis of existing information systems. In collaboration with the Information Technology department and other end-users, the IE Office reviews the University’s critical information management systems (IMS). Serving as a third-party reviewer, the IE Office is able to develop objective conclusions regarding the systems’ integrity and technical merits.

Implementation of academic program review processes. In conjunction with the creation of the APR handbook, the IE Office guides academic units in conducting program reviews. The IE Office spearheads this critical effort by providing leadership, required data, and educational tools.

Involvement in strategic planning initiatives.  In coordination with the Strategic Planning Task Force, the IE Office provides assessment services including administration, analysis, and reporting of surveys, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats) analyses, and focus groups. Furthermore, the IE Office will affect positive change in terms of departmental alignment to strategic goals and initiatives.

Based on the information presented in this session, participants will be able to: (1) identify possible strategies for solidifying IE’s role in quality enhancement efforts, (2) identify opportunities and challenges of a holistic vision of IE, and (3) develop conclusions regarding the impact of their own departments.

Feedback & Follow-up

How might this presentation be improved? Expanded? Do you agree with my ideas? I will regard your feedback as important and will do my best to adjust the presentation based on your feedback. Once the presentation is complete, I will upload the slides for everyone to view.

Thank you in advance!