Institutional Effectiveness is a functional unit within ASPIRE.
Institutional effectiveness is a continuous process of improvement stemming directly from UWF’s mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. While definitions may vary, the reason for institutional effectiveness remains constant:
- Improve the quality of planning units and the University;
- Provide evidence of success;
- Make informed decisions about future resources and needs; and
- Meet the criteria and expectations of external stakeholders.
The 2012-2017 UWF Strategic Plan allows the University to focus its planning and assessment efforts on the directions and priorities identified by the University and its multiple constituents. Strategic Directions and Priorities further define UWF's goals and critical aspects of the Mission. The UWF Strategic Plan was developed with input from all cross sections of the University community, endorsed by the University of West Florida Board of Trustees, and accepted by the State University System of Florida Board of Governors.
What is assessment?
Assessment is the process by which information from multiple sources is gathered and critically examined to better understand progress made toward outcomes. Assessment leads to informed decision making, which in turn leads to continual improvement. Assessment is a way to document effectiveness. Continuous improvement and quality enhancement are predicated on a systematic and intentional approach that involves goal setting, measurement and alignment to the goals, and the use of results to inform decision-making. Assessment data provide the needed information to inform that cyclical process. Good assessment results in evidence-based decision making to improve a planning unit—and subsequently the institution as a whole. Improvements may take the form of programmatic changes, teaching modifications, support service modifications, policy and procedure revisions, campus climate or facility improvements, structural reorganizations, and so on.
What is the value of assessment?
Assessment is also a tool that is used to respond to external requests for accountability and responsible stewardship. Many of UWF's disciplines and planning units must provide to external agencies and regulatory bodies evidence of measurement, alignment to mission, and use of results for funding, accreditation, accountability, performance, etc. It is also important to assure students, parents, legislators, and other stakeholders that UWF is a good steward of the resources entrusted to the institution. Assessment has three basic purposes: (1) improve – a formative look at how feedback can shape and form better programs and services within the unit; (2) inform – reflect a clearer picture of what is really happening in a unit that can inform other units' contributions; (3) demonstrate – a summative look at a unit’s accomplishments that can be persuasive to students, faculty, staff, and constituencies. The value of effectiveness is that it provides information that permits planning units to maintain high standards. A unit can best maintain its high standards by building on successes as well as addressing weaknesses and challenges.