Integrated Planning & Institutional Effectiveness Asessment


Foundational Planning Documents

In higher education, institutional mission is the most significant anchor point for strategic planning. The University of Scranton's strategic plan is uniquely focused on building a transformational student learning experience, and outlines the ways we are incorporating high impact educational practices, integrated programming, and globally engaging, service-minded student learning opportunities in ways that will transform our students in the Jesuit educational tradition. Continuous improvement is a central theme within the Plan, our planning principles - which articulate the ways in which we will transform administrative structures and processes to provide a strong platform for success - and to the University's integrated planning model and processes.

University of Scranton Mission, Vision, and Institutional Learning Outcomes

Strategic Planning Principles

Strategic Plan Development, Implementation Milestones

Planning & Institutional Effectiveness Model and Glossary

Planning and Continuous Improvement Cycle 

Types of Assessment at The University, Key Processes

Environmental Scanning & Other Documents 

University Planning Committee

The University Planning Committee (UPC) is a longstanding committee that supports the implementation of the University's planning model. It serves as an advisory committee to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, to whom the Planning & Institutional Effectiveness function reports. In this capacity, the UPC recommends annual planning priorities as part of the implementation of the University’s strategic plan, and reviews annual progress of the plan’s initiatives.  The UPC considers, endorses, and makes recommendations related to strategic, tactical, and other significant planning initiatives, and may establish ad hoc committees and taskforces where needed to facilitate University planning. The UPC may also make recommendations in linking planning to related administrative functions. Click here to view the current UPC membership. 

Academic and Administrative Support Plans & Scorecards

The Strategic Plan sets broad institutional goals.  Faculty and leadership of each college and program, University vice presidents and other administrative department leaders guide key support functions to review the strategic goals and planning principles, interpret how their unit may best support and help implement those goals, and connect the plan's goals to planning, assessment, and resource allocation within their units. Unit level planning progress is reported through the University's Annual Report process and other reporting tools, such as planning scorecards. Click the links below to view plans for these areas.

Academic Plans:

The College of Arts & Sciences

The Kania School of Management

The Panuska College of Professional Studies

The Weinberg Memorial Library

Selected Administrative Plans:

Student Formation & Campus Life

University Advancement

Tracking the Strategic Plan: Progress Reporting

The Office of Planning & Institutional Effectiveness coordinates progress monitoring and reporting processes for the Strategic Plan. Academic deans, administrative leaders, and department chairs and directors report progress on their own plans each year via Annual Reporting and other processes.  This information, together with the monitoring of strategic metrics and other institutional assessments, form the basis of analysis for strategic reporting.

Strategic-level reporting is constructed using a holistic approach that values both quantitative data and qualitative reflections.  There are three elements of progress reporting: student outcomes, institutional outcomes, and metrics. Metrics generally fall into three categories:  inputs (such as characteristics of students, faculty, and programs); processes and experiences (such as student retention and graduation rate and participation in high impact programs); and outcomes (student knowledge and proficiencies; attainment of desired benchmarks; post-graduate outcomes and success). 


Supporting the Plan: Institutional Effectiveness Assessment & Research Practices

Institutional effectiveness (IE) is a discipline that intentionally builds links between planning (goal setting) and the evaluation and assessment of our achievement of those goals. This discipline combines both institutional assessment (the practices used to assess achievement of organizational goals, developed through the various levels of the planning process) and educational assessment (the practices used to assess achievement of student learning outcomes, both directly through academic programs, and indirectly through co-curricular and related activities). The University's Comprehensive Plan for Student Learning Assessment outlines our approach to educational assessment; institutional assessment is conducted through a variety of approaches within the Offices of Planning & Institutional Effectiveness and Institutional Research, and other units throughout our administrative structure. Surveys of students and faculty, studies, and data reporting & analysis are common IE tools. 

Guiding Principles for Integrated Planning & Assessment at The University of Scranton

Types of Assessment at the University, Key Processes 

Institutional Assessment Tools:

Metrics & Dashboards: At each level of planning (strategic, college/division, and department), quantitative metrics and other measures of success are defined. Each college, division, and department tracks these metrics and report on progress through scorecards and other annual reporting.  With support from a Metrics Team, these data points are reviewed to identify those which best reflect progress at the strategic level. These strategic metrics are tracked annually by the Offices of Planning & Institutional Effectiveness and Institutional Research, which prepares an annual strategic metrics "dashboard" as part of its annual strategic plan progress update. As planning priorities shift from year to year, so will some of the metrics tracked; new metrics may emerge to help us document progress, and others may change as the programs and processes they reflect grow and change. Learn about the approach and guiding principles, and current strategic metrics.

Annual Reporting: Through the Annual Reporting process, department leaders submit departmental plans and goals, link those goals to strategic and college/division planning initiatives; submit evaluative and assessment information; and provide narrative summary of significant achievements and future opportunities & challenges each fiscal year. In this report, financial, facilities, and staffing resource requests are also made and aligned with strategic and other goals. The report is completed each spring/summer.

Institutional Research Analysis and Reporting: In addition to managing institutional data and reporting, the Office of Institutional Research coordinates the administration of a variety of institutional surveys on a planned cycle. These surveys measure student and faculty experiences and perceptions, providing valuable insights about the educational experience.  Of particular importance for strategic planning are data collected though the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Over twenty questions in this survey map to our strategic plan themes, and analysis from this 2015 administration of the NSSE show strong gains, as well as opportunities for growth, in our students' participation in programs that we seek to enhance through the strategic plan. In addition to these planned initiatives, the OIR regularly conducts ad hoc studies, surveys, and analyses to support institutional planning and decision making. 

NSSE 2015 Strategic Plan DataSet Metrics

Visit the OIR web site to learn more and view recent NSSE and other institutional survey reports.

Tracking High Impact Practices: Many of the goals in the Engaged, Integrated, and Global themes of our strategic plan articulate our intention to expand specific HIP offerings, such as internshipslearning communitiesservice learning & community based learningdiversity and global learning, and undergraduate research. Tracking our HIP offerings and their impact is a meaningful framework for evaluating the success of our strategic plan. Through the administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), and the tracking of a variety of educationalprocess & experience metrics, the Offices of Planning & Institutional Effectiveness and Institutional Research, and OEA report on HIPs at The University. The OEA assists faculty in understanding how to directly assess the content knowledge and proficiencies that can be attained by programs that include HIPs, such as writing intensive and senior capstone coursework.

2014 and 2015 HIP Participation Metrics (Selected)

Undergraduate Participation Rates 2013 to Current

Links to Educational Program Assessment: The Engaged, Integrated, Global strategic plan is all about the student learning experience.  As our student learning assessment program continues to evolve, implementing a common-sense approach to using what we learn about the student experience to meet our goals for improving that experience is essential. Linking these two processes is also an expectation in our regional accreditation standards. The Office of Educational Assessment coordinates the processes for the direct assessment of student learning through program-level assessment, and works together with the Office of Institutional Research and others to identify helpful indirect measures of learning to add context and robustness to that analysis. Through the strategic and support planning processes, High Impact Practice (HIP) priorities are set, and the OEA offers assessment support to these areas.  Many of these data and data sources are also used to measure the progress of goals and initiatives with the strategic plan. A commonly used resource is the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Comprehensive Plan for Student Learning Assessment & Other Resources

Academic Program Review & Disciplinary Accreditations:  Each of the three academic colleges - The College of Arts & Sciences, the Kania School of Management, and the Panuska College of Professional Studies - maintains various disciplinary accreditations. These accreditations demonstrate the quality and rigor of these programs, and the successes of their graduates. For these accreditation activities, departments & programs conduct extensive analysis and reporting, and reflect on the achievement of their goals and assessment of outcomes. Programs that do not hold disciplinary accreditation complete an internal program review. Completed on a five-year cycle, these program reviews gather much of the same information, and ask departments to reflect on current and future goals, program growth opportunities, and use of assessment for continuous improvement.

Accreditation Context

As the Middle States Commission on Higher Education rolls out new accreditation standards, under which the University will fall for its 2018-2019 self-study, we have paid careful attention to the Commission's expectations for institutional planning, and are making conscious choices about our new strategic plan and related processes to be sure we are able to meet them. One of the seven standards, Standard 6: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement, articulates the Commission’s requirement that member institutions to have in place “planning processes, resources, and structures [that] are aligned with each other and are sufficient to fulfill its mission and goals, to continuously assess and improve its programs and services, and to respond effectively to opportunities and challenges.”  In addition to other planning and assessment criteria detailed throughout the other six standards for accreditation, this standard further requires “periodic assessment of the effectiveness of planning, resource allocation, institutional renewal processes, and availability of resources.” Many of the activities described on this page help to fulfill these needs. 

To assist units in understanding connections between their planning and continuous improvement activities and Middle States standards, the Planning & Institutional Effectiveness Office monitors linkages between the strategic plan  and college and divisional support plans to Middle States standards.

Read more about the University's Middle States Accreditation activities via the link on the left.