Institutional Effectiveness

Texas Southmost College (TSC) engages in a continuous quality improvement process.  The institution’s institutional effectiveness process integrates institution-wide researched-based planning and evaluation activities, which incorporate a review of programs and services, resulting in continuing improvement and demonstrating that the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.

Centrality of Planning and the Institutional Mission
The beginning of separation activities between TSC and UTB has allowed TSC to find new and innovative approaches to the methods used by the partnership in addressing institutional effectiveness and assessment.  As TSC moves to independent operations, institutional effectiveness continues to be a critical process for continuous evaluation and improvement of all TSC units, functions, services and programs.  The institutional effectiveness process at TSC begins with the mission statement and strategic plan, which provides the focus and scope of the college’s activities.  The extensive strategic planning process that was undertaken beginning in November 2011, which culminated with the TSC Board of Trustees approval of the College's strategic plan, Vision 2017, served as the implementation of TSC's institutional effectiveness process.  As a result, Vision 2017 now serves as the foundation for TSC's allocation of resources for activities, programs, and personnel. 

As part of the strategic plan, TSC has developed its unique Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Role and Scope, and Values that will serve to guide the institution over the next five years.  The information obtained from over 350 participants during the community summits and focus group sessions, in which members of the TSC board attended, were compiled.  The TSC Strategic Planning Committee was entrusted to draft the vision, mission, values and goals of the institution for review and consideration by the TSC Board of Trustees. 

TSC Institutional Effectiveness Process

In December 2012, as TSC began the hiring process for the faculty and staff that would be serving at the college beginning in the fall 2013, an institutional effectiveness process was developed and presented to the Board of Trustees. 

The key components of this comprehensive process include a) Strategic planning ad b) Operational planning.  An evaluation component is included within each of these key activities.

Strategic planning allows the institution to develop a long-term direction and focus. As a result, this process serves as the framework for continuous planning at TSC. This allows for the development of objectives by the president, derived from the institutional goals identified in the five-year Strategic Plan.  These objectives serve as key priorities to be addressed within the next year to ensure that TSC’s mission is fulfilled.  In summary, strategic planning serves to identify the intended purpose, direction, and expected outcomes of the College.

Operational planning allows for focused review of educational, administrative, and support programs and services, based on the College’s goals, objectives and expected outcomes.  Individuals at the implementation level are responsible for developing different but complementary plans of action for service and improvement:

  • Institutional effectiveness plans (IEPs) are developed by each college planning unit, to address the effectiveness of programs and services.  The IEPs serve to guide all employees in the design, implementation and changes in procedures and services, based on the previous year’s evaluation and assessment results. 
  • Student outcomes assessment plans (SOAPs) are developed by the faculty, to focus on improving the effectiveness of teaching and student learning.  The results of assessment and student outcomes are used to review and revise their SOAPs, with the ultimate goal of improving student learning.

Each of these plans is developed on an annual basis and includes a review of the previous year’s activities and results.  Linked to the College’s Strategic Plan, they allow for broad-based involvement and participation by faculty and staff. 

Linked to the College's Strategic Plan, they allow for broad-based involvement and participation by faculty and staff.  Both of the plans as well as Academic Program Review activities formally tie budgets to planning.  Each of these processes specifically request units to request and submit recommendations for resources needed to improve programs and services.  All plans and evaluation reports are reviewed by the department chairs, deans or vice presidents, and finally brought to and approved by the president. 

Additionally, technology plays a critical and complementary role in the College's evaluation process.  Technology is being utilized in the implementation and maintenance of the College's Institutional Effectiveness Process.  For example in addition to utilizing Pearson's Online Management System relating to student learning outcomes, TSC has also acquired Compliance Assist.  This software system will allow for a college-wide systematic implementation of key elements of the institutional effectiveness process.

Academic Program Reviews will be scheduled on a six-year cycle based upon different CIP codes of programs undergoing program review in a given academic year.  Annual administrative and operational plans, program review documentation, and student learning outcomes plans, reports of results, and reports of improvements implemented and assessed are being documented and cataloged through the Pearson digital solution, Compliance Assist and other electronic mediums. 

 Institutional Effectiveness 

Training was held for the small number of initial staff that had been hired prior to the opening of the College in the fall 2013 semester.  Additional training and support will be provided to all of the faculty and staff that started with the College on August 26, 2013. 

Beginning with the fall 2013 semester, faculty and staff will engage in the development of plans as part of the operational planning process for TSC.  The College's institutional goals developed as part of the strategic planning process will be further defined to include defined and specific measures and objectives.  The TSC Strategic Planning Committee determined that this specific step should occur after the College a) hired faculty/staff and b) opened the College for classes so that students could also be given the opportunity to participate in the process. 

The TSC Strategic Plan, Vision 2017 is designed to define and support how TSC accomplishes its mission.  This new Plan consists of four distinct institutional goals and their corresponding strategic directions.  The four primary goals of TSC’s Vision 2017 Strategic Plan include:

  1. Pathways
  2. Success
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Institutional Effectiveness

In summary, TSC's new vision and mission statement and the creation of new institutional goals that support these statements now serve as the framework for linking mission to planning.  By coupling these key processes with relevant information acquired through the Institutional Effectiveness Process, the college is positioned to assess and monitor progress through a an ongoing and systematic process of continuous improvement. 

During the fall 2013 semester, institutional goals from Vision 2017 are being further defined with embedded performance measures and standards that will be tracked and monitored to determine the extent to which each goal and its supporting activities and expected outcomes are attained.  These four goals, with their corresponding strategic directions, form the cornerstone that supports the stability and continuity of institutional effectiveness at TSC.

The performance measures for each goal are being developed from benchmark data, analysis of trends, expected outcomes, improvement from baseline data, and institutional expectations.  Utilizing Pearson's all digital solution and Compliance Assist, TSC is measuring and assessing its performance toward accomplishing its mission.  These assessment and data systems are allowing TSC to improve instruction and to enhance the learning experience for students.  For example, when actual outcomes fall short of expected standards, the weaknesses, concerns or issues requiring improvement and attention for timely compliance will be identified, addressed and implemented at the unit, department, program and institutional levels.  The extent to which TSC has achieved its goals and objectives as indicated in Vision 2017 will be communicated via various means, including the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees and to campus-wide constituents, including faculty, staff, and student organizations, as well as in divisional, departmental, and special meetings. 

Institutional Research to Inform Planning

Planning and improvement decisions are the result of the analysis of both outcome metrics and feedback provided by students and other institutional constituents.  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) requires the submission of record level student, faculty, and courses at the beginning and then at the end of each institutional semester.  The THECB uses student record level data to track student progress, movement between institutions, and post-graduation outcomes.  

Student satisfaction has been monitored through a collection of student feedback mechanisms in the form of surveys, evaluations of faculty, focus groups, as well as other less formal mechanisms.  Recurring studies providing student feedback of their satisfaction, attitudes and values are captured through the administration and collection of the following:

  • Incoming Freshman Survey
  • Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • Student Evaluation of Faculty
  • Graduating Student Survey

In the coming year, these surveys will be evaluated and new forms of evaluation will be established.  Student progress is also tracked using both internally produced data like course grade distributions that help faculty and administrators identify trends in high failure rate courses throughout the curriculum so that interventions and improvements can be implemented in an effort to boost student levels of success.  The State of Texas publishes institutional information on the website for the THECB.  In addition, the reports submitted by TSC are audited by the state. 

The data that is submitted to the THECB is aggregated and tracked over time, providing rich sources of data to determine where strengths and weaknesses in both student and institutional performance lie.  THECB data that informs strategic planning includes:

  • Closing the Gaps Accountability System tracking TSC participation, success, excellence, research, and institutional efficiency and effectiveness
  • Existing Program Review Data Resources allow institutions to compare enrollments, number of awards, transfer data, persistence, licensure pass rates, and time to degree against peer Texas institutions
  • Online Resume that includes a 3-year historical view of enrollments, funding, institutional versus peer group costs, financial aid, and graduation and persistence rate compared to peers
  • Carl Perkins Data Resources which detail technical skill attainment, licensure, retention and transfer rates, nontraditional student participation, employment in nontraditional fields, degrees and certificates awarded, and placement rates of graduates by program. 
  • THECB Annual Data Profile which provides data for access by gender, ethnicity, and special populations; retention and remediation by CIP code; graduates by gender, ethnicity and special populations; cumulative outcomes for graduates; and contact and semester credit hours generated by CIP code.  
  • Annual Licensure Report provides the most recent outcomes of student performance on licensure examinations in the seven disciplines requiring students achieve certification in TSC programs.
  • Data resources for Legislative Budget Board Performance Measures include the percentage of course completers, university transfers, percent of students meeting college readiness standards, licensure exam data, and the number of special population students enrolled.
  • Developmental Education Accountability Measures track the attainment of college level competencies by students who entered the institution requiring developmental education.

The resources above that provide data for analysis and consideration help to inform decisions regarding where efforts and attention should be focused with regards to students and their success, as well as the efficiencies of the institution.

As noted above and as part of the institutional effectiveness process, TSC requires ongoing assessment and evaluation of all programs and services.  Individual departments/programs are responsible for the quality and effectiveness of the services and programs they render, making them accountable for their assessment and evaluation as well.  In support of this process TSC will continue to collaborate with the UTB/TSC Partnership's Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Effectiveness (OIRPE) over the coming year and until which time both entities achieve separate accreditation. 

As noted above, TSC's Institutional Effectiveness Process embeds an evaluation component by individual units of the institution, including the office of the president.  Additionally, the measures within each plan address several aspects of TSC's educational environment via campus-wide research and studies, thereby supplementing the assessment of student learning outcomes, which generally occurs at the program level.  Assessment and evaluation are generally divided into two separate areas:  (1) assessment and evaluation of student learning outcomes and student development, and (2) surveys and other constituent studies that provide feedback to decision makers.  Both complement each other and provide TSC with a clear picture of the college’s performance and its impact upon its students, thereby demonstrating its success in the fulfillment of its mission.

As the result of a need for more accountability in demonstrating the personal and cognitive growth and development of its students, TSC has designed student learning outcomes assessment plans to determine the level of achievement and development for each academic program, as well as the general education core curriculum. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 September 2013 12:09