Integrated Planning & Institutional Effectiveness Assessment
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 continuous improvement processes.
University Planning Committee
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 Reporting process and other reporting tools, such as planning scorecards. Documents describing the planning goals for divisions and colleges are also prepared. Click the links below to view selected plans for these areas.
Selected Administrative Plans/Goals:
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. A Metrics Team is advisory to the recommendation of metrics, and processes for their definition, collection, and 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 rates 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. These are more are described in the Planning & Continuous Improvement Guide.
The University's planning processes are continually evaluated. The University Planning Committee regularly reviews the Planning & Institutional Effectiveness Model, and feedback from those involved in planning is also used to make both incremental and larger-scale changes. Surveys of faculty, staff, and students also offer input about how things are working. An important part of the evolution of planning has been its incorporation of new assessment (educational and institutional) strategies and findings over time.
The University conducts formal campus-wide evaluations of the strategic plan and associated processes at two points in each planning cycle: the mid-point of a current plan, and as part of the preparations for each future plan. The most recent such evaluation occurred in the fall of 2017; click here to view a report of key findings.
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.