Institutional Effectiveness: How an Integrative Approach Drives Achievement

Institutional Effectiveness: How an Integrative Approach Drives Achievement

Tiffany Rodriguez, Tracey Abell
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9098-0.ch004
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Abstract

Private online institutions have bridged the gap between contemporary student needs and the offerings of traditional institutions. These institutions are attuned to student needs and focus on alignment with current and future trends for employer and societal needs through innovation, entrepreneurship, and commitment to continuous improvement. This focus on improvement begins with an integrative approach to institutional effectiveness. This chapter provides practical examples and evidence for participatory engagement models for institutional effectiveness that empower distance education institutions to deliver adaptive, innovative, engaging, and supportive education for today's diverse learners. The integrative model presented encompasses five primary pillars of institutional effectiveness: strategic planning, assessment and program review, institutional research, external feedback, and accreditation and regulatory requirements. The authors provide sample methodologies that can be implemented at various institutions to avoid silos and foster continuous input and innovation.
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Background

This chapter presents five pillars of an integrative approach to institutional effectiveness: strategic planning, assessment and program review, institutional research, external feedback, and accreditation and regulatory requirements. This chapter explores how each pillar may differ in a distance education model; provides innovative new approaches for programs and services; and demonstrates how to make mission-driven and data-informed decisions more effectively. It offers several specific examples and sample methodologies that can be implemented at a wide range of institutions to avoid silos and foster continuous feedback and innovation.

Specifically, this chapter outlines and provides evidence for a key participatory engagement model for institutional effectiveness that empowers distance education institutions to deliver adaptive, innovative, engaging, and supportive education and services for today’s diverse learners. It examines how mission, vision, and institutional research inform institutional effectiveness and starts with strategic planning to answer key questions that drive student outcomes, including:

  • Is the institution advancing student learning and success?

  • Are strategies and services effective and benefiting diverse student populations?

  • Are resources allocated in a way that ensures the best return on investment for the student and the advancement of the institution’s mission?

Among the outcomes of an integrative model for institutional effectiveness are institution-wide engagement with data, participation in initiatives that impact student outcomes, and a common language around data that contributes to a shared understanding.

An integrative institutional effectiveness model also provides opportunities for celebrating micro-successes that promote engagement and a shared understanding of the institution’s mission to cultivate belonging among students, faculty, and staff. This chapter challenges academic leaders to reconsider what is possible for student outcomes, faculty satisfaction, and institutional innovation amid the current evolution in higher education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Assessment Champion: A subset of faculty who are trained to view assessment as an integrative approach owned by faculty and staff rather than a siloed assessment office.

Participatory Engagement Model: A model for institutional effectiveness that empowers distance education institutions to deliver adaptive, innovative, engaging, and supportive education and services. It examines how mission, vision, and institutional research inform institutional effectiveness and starts with strategic planning to answer key questions that drive student outcomes.

External Feedback: A process that seeks input from multiple angles, including program advisory councils, employers, and professional organizations as well as other educators, all of whom bring unique viewpoints on curriculum delivery and content.

Program Review: An evaluation of the quality of an academic program as a means of ensuring continuous improvement.

Strategic Planning: A process informed by and completed in partnership with institutional research, including assessment and program review, external feedback, and regulatory inputs. In an integrative model, strategic planning emphasizes a holistic understanding of the institution’s challenges and opportunities.

Key Performance Indicators: Success indicators that are specific, meaningful, and promote the use of a common language when assessing the effectiveness of institutional improvement initiatives.

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