Standards on Mission, Planning and Assessment

This section covers the most important standards, those that are scrutinized by Middle States.  These are the standards that involve the planning, budgeting and assessment processes, Standards 1, 2, 3, 7, 12 and 14.

The planning and budget process is driven by the university's mission and goals.  The importance of a university's mission and goals is described in Standard 1.  Because mission/goals are linked to planning/budget, our Program Planning Guidelines [PDF] include the mission and goals each year along with the directions for the process.  In addition, this document includes the connection of our goals to the state system's goals.  The process we use satisfies Standard 2:  Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal.  Standard 3, entitled Institutional Resources, expects that resources are allocated efficiently and effectively to meet the mission and goals.  Assessment of the institution [IRP site] (Standard 7) and of the assessment of student learning [IRP site] (Standard 14, and specific to General Education [PDF], Standard 12), is expected to occur to inform the allocation of resources. 

One example of the use of this process is highlighted in the self-study, the reallocation of two tenure-track faculty lines to the English department in order to address concerns raised by the results of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) [IRP site].  The results of this institution-wide survey showed that the students needed more experiences reading critically and communicating.  The two faculty lines were used so that all first-year students could take a more intensive course with 20 students (Writing Intensive First-year Seminar) instead of College Writing with 26 students.  Assessment of this reallocation of resources is on-going, to see if it created the desired change in student learning.

Here is a list of tasks that each member of the Shippensburg family can do:

  1. Be able to paraphrase the University's mission.
  2. Be able to paraphrase the University's goals[PDF].
  3. Review the Program Planning Guidelines, the next edition to be published before the team visit. 
    1. Do you understand the process?
    2. What can we do to improve the process?
  4. Review assessment processes critically to determine how well they inform the planning and budgeting decisions made by your unit.  What changes would you recommend that your unit make to improve its assessment processes?

Our self-study is a comprehensive one with special emphasis on strategic planning, leadership transition and assessment, and thus focuses on standards 1, 2, 3, 7, 12, and 14.  Because of these special emphases, several members of the visiting team have experience in planning, budgeting and assessment and will therefore be excellent resources for us during their visit.  Be sure to prepare to ask them questions on suggestions for improvement so that we can "Make Ship Stronger".