Section 2: SACS Core Requirement
The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that (1) incorporate a systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes; (2) result in continuing improvement in institutional quality, and (3) demonstrate the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission. (Institutional Effectiveness)
Western Texas College is committed to achieving its mission and the improvement of programs and services at all institutional levels. In the spring of 2003, WTC initiated a systematic planning and evaluation process as part of its Institutional Effectiveness program. The College patterned its evaluation process on models developed and published by James O. Nichols and Karen Nichols in The Departmental Guide and Record Book for Student Outcomes Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness. In an ongoing effort to improve its Institutional Effectiveness process, the College re-evaluates and adjusts the process, with the most recent adjustment having been made in the spring of 2006. The evaluation itself is designed to generate ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation. In addition, this process is provides a systematic review of programs and services. Overall, it is designed to work in tandem with both the college’s mission statement and its expected educational outcomes.
The Goal-Driven College
By adopting the Goal-Driven College concept in 2003, WTC inaugurated its most comprehensive strategic planning process to date. This process is described in Administrative Policy 5008. In brief, the strategic planning cycle extends over a 28-month period and is centered on the establishment of annual institutional goals. These goals are designed to promote effectiveness in planning and evaluation and to provide for improvement of personnel, policies, procedures, and programs. In conducting its goal-setting processes, the College regards each separate department as a goal-setting unit, and each department establishes and evaluates annual goals as part of the College-wide review.
Since its inception, the college has strived to improve the goal designation process. In 2003, when the Goal-Driven concept was initiated, responsibility for developing and evaluating procedures rested primarily with the Administrative Staff, which at that time included the College’s President, Dean of Instruction, Dean of College Advancement, Dean of Innovation and Development, Dean of Information Technology Services, and Chief Financial Officer. In the spring of 2006, the College established the Institutional Goals Evaluation Committee to assist the Administrative Staff with the 2006-2007 goals planning and evaluation cycle. This six-member institution-wide committee is chaired by the Dean of Institutional Research and Information Technology and includes the Director of Financial Aid, the Director of Human Resources, a representative from Publications and Marketing, and two faculty members (one vocational and one academic).
The 2006-2007 Institutional Goals cycle is described to illustrate the planning and evaluation process at WTC. The 2006-2007 cycle pre-dates to November of 2005, when the Administrative Staff met and reviewed the Four Year Goals of the Strategic Plan. At that meeting, the goals for 2004-2005 were deleted and goals for the last year of the cycle (2009-2010) were added. In effect, this created a Five Year Plan encompassing Fiscal Years 2005-2006 through 2009-2010. In December of 2005, the revised long-range plan was reviewed during the “end-of-semester” retreat, which brings together representatives from every part of the campus to review the previous semester and make preparations for the next semester.
In February 2006, the goal setting and budgeting process for the next fiscal year was initiated. At that time, the President developed several institutional goals for the upcoming year. The newly formed Institutional Goals Evaluation Committee then issued a request for departmental goals. This process involved every part of the campus with each budget area required to submit at least one goal for the upcoming year.
In March 2006, each department submitted goals and assessment criteria to the Institutional Goals Evaluation Committee. These goals were required to meet certain conditions: each should (1) relate to the WTC Mission Statement, (2) be related to a budget account, and (3) correspond with goals listed in the Long Range Strategic Plan or with the President’s goals.
The following table illustrates how one of those goals met those criteria:
Early Childhood Education Goals
10326 – Child Care Development
Early Childhood Education will expand online learning opportunities to meet student needs (2,3)
- Increase Internet offerings to 6 classes within the current degree plan.
- All 6 courses will be offered by the Spring 2007 semester.
- At least 30 students will take online courses.
In this goal model, the number “10326” connects the goal to the budget account number of the Early Childhood Education department. The parenthetical figures in the first text box “2" and "3” (lower right) serve as links to show how the individual goal “connects” to the WTC Mission Statement and its set of goals. In this example, the parenthetical numbers “2” and “3” indicate one goal set by the Early Childhood Education Department will contribute toward two goals listed in the Mission Statement--Goal 2 associated with offering Associate of Applied Science degrees and Goal 3 associated with distance-learning programs that are equivalent in quality to on-campus courses. Finally, the methods to be used to evaluate if the department’s goal is achieved are listed in the second text box (right).
In April 2006, the Institutional Goals Evaluation Committee reviewed each department’s goals, requesting new goals or modifications if it deemed necessary. Next, the committee compiled a list of accepted goals and forwarded the list to the Administrative Staff. The Administrative Staff was then able to refer to this list during departmental budget hearings held in the spring of 2006. Budget Hearing Minutes, 2006. Implementation of the first set of goals for this campus-wide Five Year Plan were then applied during the school year 2006-2007.
Assessment and Evaluation
Following this model, goal assessment and evaluation for the 2005-2006 school year begins during the fall 2007 semester. Several methods of assessment and evaluation, including both direct and indirect, are employed. Additional discussion of the assessment is given in “WTC Assessment Methods.” (LINK) The evaluation of goals for school year 2006-2007 will be due by January of 2008. In February 2008--the end of the Institutional Effectiveness cycle--a comprehensive final report will be produced. This report has a two-fold purpose: to “close the loop” and to document the ongoing planning process.
Evidence of Improvement
The primary evidence of improvement to programs and services can be found in the completion and evaluation report. The report for the 2004-2005 Institutional Effectiveness goals (the latest completed evaluation) is shown in the annual institutional goals document. This analysis discusses many results, including (a) the degree to which the improvement activity was successful or unsuccessful, (b) the reasons for success or lack of success, (c) the impact of the improvement activity on the targeted goal or objective/outcome, and (d) future implications, which can include changes in instruction, assessment, support, procedures, and policies. The following example from the 2004-2005 report illustrates how the goals process can facilitate improvements in services.
Office of the Registrar: Goal Assessment
Use of Results
10132 - Registrar.
Reduce the number of registered students dropped from enrollment due to non-paid status.
(1, 2, 3, 8)
By the twelfth class day, the number of students dropped for non-payment will be reduced by 25%. In the Fall semester, less than 20 students will be dropped and in the Spring semester, less than 15 students will be dropped.
The number of nonpaying students went from 150 in Fall 2003 to 40 in Fall 2004. In Spring 2004, there were 30 and 16 in Spring 2005.
The goals of 20 and 15 were not met. However, significant decreases were realized. The goal is ongoing.
To achieve this goal, the Registrar employed the simple technique of “friendly” telephone calls to “remind” students of the non-payment. As the table indicates, the Registrar did not meet its established assessment criteria and did not achieve its stated goal. In the bigger picture, however, assessment results reveal a significant decrease in student drops, which indicates an improvement of service provided by the Registrar’s office. These improvements can be linked to the adoption of the Goal-driven College concept.
Other examples from the 2004-2005 goals report reveal improvements to student facilities, class offerings, and instructional materials. Similar evidence of improvement in instruction is documented in the College’s review of Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1, Institutional Effectiveness.
Evidence of Support:
Administrative Policy 5008
Goal Memorandum 2006
WTC Mission Statement
Budget Hearing Minutes, 2006
Student Environment Survey
Faculty Environment Survey
Title V progress surveys
Title V SSS marketing survey
Annual institutional goals document