Institutional Planning, Assessment, Effectiveness and Research
This year was particularly gratifying for us in IPAER because the University really began to embrace planning and assessment as means for strengthening the academic enterprise and our administrative processes. As a result, we were able to fare very well with our journey towards the Southern Association on Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaccreditation. The SACS Commission on Colleges is the regional accreditation body for institutions of higher education in the southern states. In December 2012, JCSU successfully submitted our Fifth Year Interim Report, which included the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Impact Report. The QEP is helping to strengthen the quality of the freshman year experience through student engagement. SACS accepted our QEP Impact Report without recommendation. I am very pleased that JCSU was praised for effectively demonstrating and documenting sustained support for the QEP.
What was your biggest challenge?
As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), the Fifth Year Interim Report is a review that monitors the institution to ensure ongoing compliance and marks the conclusion of the reporting on the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). As the Office of Institutional, Planning, Assessment, Effectiveness and Research (IPAER) began preparing for the submission of the report, we discovered that our current process of capturing data as well as supporting documentation was inconsistent and limited. Moreover, members of the campus community could not continuously view and modify the information needed for the report. As a result, communication within and between departments was inconsistent and unclear. To address the challenges faced during the Fifth Year Interim Report, JCSU invested in Compliance Assist, a web-based solution to create a comprehensive, systematic and consistent approach to strategic planning, outcomes assessment and accreditation reports.
What is your forecast for the 2013-2014 academic year?
I am excited that Compliance Assist will help us to move forward along our reaccreditation journey more efficiently and effectively by centralizing and streamlining the process for cataloging data. As a collaborative tool, Compliance Assist organizes all relevant data, tracks progress toward each goal and prepares detailed reports – all using proven technology. Every division, department, faculty and staff member can access this online platform to showcase accomplishments. As a result, the campus community will be able to see the connections between unit learning outcomes, divisional goals and the University’s mission. People will be able to see how our Mission-in-Vision is being achieved comprehensively in our academic programs, student support services and our administrative functions. To build on the momentum we gained in 2012-2013 and to strengthen the institutional effectiveness efforts of the University, IPAER will continue to host several faculty and staff development sessions regarding planning, assessment and accreditation.