University is in compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.
Texas Tech University instituted a
self-assessment program at the department and college levels in 1996 in
response to recommendations from the 1994 SACS accreditation campus
The academic and student support
departments prepared annual assessment reports using specific benchmarks.
Based on the results of the assessment reports, the departments revised
departmental plans. The assessment reports and plans were submitted to the
Office of Institutional Research. These documents are available in the
Office of Institutional Research in room 344, Administration Building.
Subsequently, in 2000-2001 the
university implemented an institution-wide strategic planning process that
incorporated goal setting, planning, performance assessment, and
accountability. The latter category implicitly includes the idea of using
assessment as a means to identify areas for improvement. The Strategic
Planning Steering Committee developed the university strategic plan, which
laid out nine general, institution-wide goals and identified critical
success factors that would indicate the degree of success over a five year
period. All units of the university were required to develop a strategic
plan and to submit it through the administrative hierarchy for approval. (In
strategic plan terminology, administrative divisions at the
vice-presidential, provost, or college level are areas; those lower on the
administrative hierarchy are referred to as units.) In total, over 160
strategic plans were created. At the end of the Spring Semester 2004, two
rounds of annual assessment had been completed.
In the spring semester 2002, the Office
of Strategic Planning was organized as a unit within the President’s Office.
In fall 2002 workshops were held for area and unit administrators on
preparing the assessment reports, and in the summers of 2003 and 2004
workshops were conducted on outcomes assessment of student learning
outcomes. The workshops were well attended and helped to clarify many
questions regarding the assessment process. As a result, the Office of
Strategic Planning and the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center will
continue to sponsor workshops on outcomes assessment each summer as long as
The first assessment reports (the 2002
Assessment Reports) from the strategic planning process were submitted in
spring 2003. Those reports for the area (college and vice-presidential)
levels are available on the Strategic Planning web site at (http://techdata.irs.ttu.edu/stratreport/).
The reports for 2003 have been evaluated and are posted along with strategic
plans and department home pages at the following site: http://www.irim.ttu.edu/SACSFocusReport/UnitWebLinks.htm
For 2003, reports for the administrative
units (departments, programs, research centers, etc.) have been posted along
with those for areas. Reports will continue to be collected from the unit
level in the future. With two years of area assessment reports available on
line, limited longitudinal comparisons are possible. Deans had access to
unit reports in 2002, which made it possible for them to compare department
performance in 2003 with the previous year. Anecdotal reports from deans are
that for the first time they have reports that allow them to compare
department performance on similar parameters over time.
In the strategic planning process
assessment reports at the unit level are evaluated by area administrators.
That is, departments, programs, research centers and other units are
evaluated by the responsible dean, and college/library reports are evaluated
by the Provost. Non-academic units report to their respective
vice-president, whose reports, in turn, are reviewed at the president level.
This process provides oversight and ensures that all units are setting
goals, measuring progress toward meeting those goals, assessing results, and
responding to the assessments as necessary. Strategic plans for the
university and all areas and units are revised and updated as appropriate
each year. The entire process of planning and assessment is overseen by the
Strategic Planning Council, which sets strategic planning guidelines and
also reviews results. The strategic planning process is administered by the
Director of Strategic Planning, Dr. Gilmour Reeve.
Because strategic planning is relatively
new to Texas Tech University, it will take more time to fully
institutionalize the process at all levels and in all units. Therefore, some
areas and units may have difficulty at this early stage in demonstrating
that they have used outcomes assessment to institute program change. Also, a
number of institutes and centers have failed to submit strategic plans
and/or assessment reports. The Director of Strategic Planning and the Office
of Research Services are working to get institutes and centers to comply
with strategic planning requirements. As a result, some center and institute
directors have decided to terminate operations and others are preparing a
strategic plan that will form the basis for later assessment reports. A list
of institutes and centers and their compliance status is available at
The strategic planning process at the
university level identified nine different goals (see the university
strategic plan at
http://www.ttu.edu/stratplan/universitystratplan.php). Of these goals,
one, Academic Excellence, relates specifically to educational program
Despite these problems, the strategic
planning process seems to be off to a good start, initial results seem
promising, and all units should achieve full compliance within another year
or two. This will represent a major transition for an institution that, in
the past, has not exhibited a strong commitment to goal setting, assessment,
and assessment-based improvement. President Whitmore is working to integrate
the strategic planning and assessment process with institutional budgeting.
He has also changed the appointment of the director of strategic planning
from part-time to a full-time position.
All areas have submitted separate
responses to Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1. The area reports cite unit
reports, and all have implemented some form of outcomes assessment. This
reflects the university’s progress toward successfully implementing
institution-wide planning and assessment.