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2.5 Institutional Effectiveness

The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that (1) incorporate a systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes; (2) result in continuing improvement in institutional quality; and (3) demonstrate the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement In Progress

Narrative of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University is engaged in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide, research-based planning and evaluation of programs and services included in each component of the university. Processes include review of the institutional mission [1], goals, and outcomes, documentation of improvement of institutional quality, and demonstration that the university is accomplishing its mission effectively.

Mission Framework
Contextualizing "teaching, research, and service" in the land-grant tradition, the mission identifies target populations, range and scope of programs and services, and intention of audience delivery as noted in the following excerpts:    
     

  • "Achieving relevance by addressing issues and proposing solutions to needs and aspirations of individuals, families, organizations, agencies, schools, and communities both rural and urban."
  • "Serving a diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population."
  • "Having been designated one of three institutions of the first class in 1984."
  • "Advanced education through the master's degree, advanced educational offerings to include multiple doctoral programs."
  • "Target service areas are the Texas Gulf Coast and the Northwest Houston Corridor."
  • "Public service primarily through the Cooperative Extension program."
  • "Incorporating research-based experiences in both undergraduate and graduate students' academic development."

All planning at Prairie View A&M, whether in academic units, administrative support services, educational support, research programs, or community outreach, is grounded in the realization of such statements from the university mission and the goal of continuous improvement.

Planning: The Historical Perspective
Since the decades following The Centennial Council Report, 1970-1980, the university's initial plan issued in 1969, ongoing planning has been evident. A sample of the products of ongoing planning is included in the table below:



Year

Plan Name

1983

The Texas Plan

1988-1995

Strategic Plan

1992-1997

State Agency Plan

1992

Long-Range Development Plan

1995-1999

Strategic Plan

1997-2001

State Agency Plan

1999-2004

Strategic Plan Update

2000-2006

The Texas Priority Plan

2007-present

Academic Development Initiative, an amplification of the Texas Priority Plan



The assessment process has evolved over time and continues to progress from the early efforts of the 1983 Texas Plan [2] and the 1997-2001 State Agency Plan [3]. Especially in the past ten years, Prairie View A&M has moved toward more thoughtful, research-based evaluation and improvement in programs and services expected of a university designated an "institution of the first class" in Section 14, Article 7 of the 1984 Texas Constitution [4]. Indeed, the university's evolution from three faculty and eight students gathered in a rural frame structure on a former slave plantation to an institution of over 8,000 students, 50,000 graduates, a broad set of highly competitive programs, and widespread respectability for both its quality and appeal to students reflects deliberate planning and assessment. For example, the 1999-2004 Strategic Plan Update listed in the table above led to multiple changes and improvements in services. The Division of Student and Enrollment Services appointed a twelve-member task force from admissions, the office of the registrar, recruitment, and housing to review the division's mission and to set goals for the future [5]. As a result of the plan update, the following improvements were realized for the university:

  • Establishing a student financial aid default management system
  • Centralizing the scholarship operation
  • Increasing by nearly 50% the number of articulation agreements with community colleges
  • Expanding the students' opportunities for internships
  • Implementing the electronic admissions application
  • Acquiring intramural and recreational programs and services in the division
  • Constructing new student housing to replace obsolete facilities
  • Increasing the Panther Advisor Leaders (PALS) program from 75 student participants to 200.

 

Planning also was accelerated due to other changes, including the Texas Legislative requirement that state agencies submit strategic plans, outlined in House Bill 2009 (1991) and revised in 2003 in Senate Bill 1332 [6], and the work of the U.S. Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education in September 2006. Also, the university's commitment to meet standards of specialized accrediting, which has been granted to programs in Architecture, Business, Chemistry, Education, Engineering, Dietetics, and Nursing in the past ten years, requires stringent self-evaluation and demonstration of educational excellence [7].

Starting in 2000, a confluence of three planning initiatives pushed Prairie View to even more aggressive assessment. Published in September 2000, the Texas A&M University System's twenty-year plan known as the TAMUS Integrative Plan featured six azimuths: 1) foster collaboration among system institutions; 2) provide educational access and excellence and nurture educational success; 3) increase the value of our academic programs; 4) increase the value of our scholarship and research; 5) serve Texas and beyond: anticipate and solve critical problems; and 6) enhance acquisition of resources and maximize their effective use [8]. It urged universities to "develop goals that honor the principle 'one size doesn't fit all' and to celebrate the great diversity of the A&M System." In October 2000, the THECB released the Texas Higher Education Plan, commonly known as "Closing the Gaps" and discussed in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.3. This set the stage for greater transparency and a blueprint for change that has come to be associated with the Higher Education Accountability System [9]. Most significant was the development of the umbrella plan of 2000-2006, the Texas Priority Plan [10], and continued plans for improvement in the Academic Development Initiative formulated in 2007 [11]. With its ambitious benchmarks for everything from facilities to new degree programs, the Priority Plan has been a primary guide for Prairie View's planning and evaluation processes in the last decade.

Effects of the Priority Plan: Acceleration of Planning and Assessment
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights found in the late 1990s that while some progress had been made as committed in the Texas Plan of 1983, vestiges of a previously segregated system of higher education continued to exist. Consequently, a broad cross-section of community leaders, state officials, and University personnel agreed upon five pivotal initiatives to change and strengthen Prairie View A&M University in the areas of the mission; academic programs; facilities; recruitment, retention, and graduation; and systems, including technology. Core Requirement 2.4 discusses the process and revision of the University's mission statement to be more inclusive and to eliminate race-specific language.

Implementing the Priority Plan, which set high expectations for growth and change and necessitated the institution's highest ever institutional budget as shown in the plan's component funding [12], accelerated the integration of planning and assessment. In June 2001, one year into the implementation of the Plan, the university's president appointed the University Assessment Council (UAC) [13] to provide broad support for training, identifying needs, reviewing data, and assisting with the management of processes linked to establishing a culture of evidence that would fuel continuous, quality improvement. The Office of Institutional Research supported this work, and by 2002, the closing the loop model, now referred to as the Prairie View A&M University six-question model [14], had been standardized.

The convergence of the Priority Plan components and the University's pre-existing goals increased the need to address educational programs and services. As a consequence, in 2003, all academic schools and colleges as well as selected support units developed what was termed the Quality Enhancement Plan: Strategic Plan Update 2004-2008 to build upon work started in 1999-2004. These reports included outcomes, measures, strategies, and fiscal notes attached to those strategies, as shown in examples from the College of Engineering [15], the College of Business [16], and University Operations [17]. The selected terminology brought attention to the heart of the process: assessment to enhance the quality of programs and services offered at Prairie View A&M University.

In the spring of 2004, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs created the assessment coordinator position to work in tandem with the IEC as well as the Office of Institutional Research. By fall 2005, the university, through the assessment coordinator, reaffirmed the expectations evident in the 1999-2004 Strategic Planning Process. The assessment cycle began with requests for the following: 1) unit mission statements aligned with the University mission; 2) unit core values aligned with university core values; 3) goals, objectives and outcomes; 4) detailed assessment cycles; and 5) results detailing the use of data to improve the unit. By fall 2005, several units completed their first assessment cycle with wide variations in completeness and identification of measures. Examples of the assessment cycle implementation come from the College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology and the College of Nursing [18]. The university's philosophy of assessment was underscored by application of the Continuous Analysis Schematic [19] and aligned each academic course with measurable outcomes and competencies either taught, reinforced, or integrated by the instructor. Units completed additional planning worksheets listing measures, targeted populations, administration period and frequency, purpose, and outcome assessed. Student learning outcomes, reflected in assessment reports referenced in Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.1, show alignment of measures with outcomes and use of results to improve the educational experience.

Additionally, this academic year saw the refinement of the eighteen university goals for 1990-2000 [20] into ten goals for 2005 and forward [21] and a reaffirmation of five core values: access and quality, diversity, leadership, relevance, and social responsibility [22]. As noted in Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.3, Prairie View's rich mix of student activities have outcomes that respond to those values. Back to Basics, Panther Advisor Leaders, the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Program, the Women's Advisory Council Program, sororities and fraternities and other programs celebrate and build leadership, diversity, and social responsibility in students. Around this time Institutional Research was renamed Institutional Effectiveness Research and Analysis and the initial University Assessment Council was renamed the Institutional Effectiveness Council (IEC). Its membership would no longer reflect primarily administrative leadership but would come to comprise the broad institutional constituents that contributed to the Institutional Effectiveness & Assessment Monograph: A Practical Guide to Assessment Planning 2007-2008 [23].

Key components of the Priority Plan have shown both continuing improvement in quality and accomplishment of Prairie View's mission. One was the expansion of University College (UC), a living and learning support system piloted with 600 students in 1999, to the entire freshman class [24]. With the launch of the full-scale UC in 2000, its combination of intrusive advising, academic enhancement and co-curricular activities increased the first-time full-time freshmen retention rate from 67.1% in 2004 to 74.6% in 2008. University College is discussed more fully in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9.

Part 9 of the Priority Plan challenged Prairie View to "strengthen [its] institutional development office," with the benchmark "complete major capital campaign to generate matching funds" from the state [10]. The institution set its target at $30 million and with the help of an external review conducted by Ketchum, Inc. learned that cultivating positive relationships with alumni, training existing personnel, and setting benchmarks were necessary to build fundraising capacity [25]. Beginning in 2002, the alumni database was virtually non-existent, and alumni giving was at the bottom of the scale for public universities similar in size and mission. From 2003 to 2004, following data base development and alumni contacts, the alumni donor support increased from 80 to 247. By 2005, it had increased to 461 and by 2007 it had increased to 1036. These efforts were assisted by careful explanations of the major funding goals for the Prairie View A&M University Capital Campaign, with emphasis on merit-based and athletics student scholarships, support for research, and endowed faculty chairs [26]. As of 2008, alumni participation in the Capital Campaign rose to 21% repeat donors and 79% first time donors. More details about the results of the campaign can be found in Comprehensive Standard 3.10.1.

Beyond the Priority Plan: Refinement of Evaluation Processes
To ensure that all planning initiatives are being addressed adequately, Prairie View A&M reviews its assessment processes not only with regular, internal sessions to educate personnel about best practices but also with external assistance. For instance, in January 2006 key administrators gathered for a strategic planning and enterprise risk management conference [27]. Since 2007, the Center for Teaching Excellence has offered seminars on developing learning communities and the campus Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) [28], and the training calendar for the upcoming year includes workshops on planning, technology, and surveys in assessment [29]. Annual faculty and staff conferences include reports on progress in each unit [30], and new faculty orientation sessions include presentations on learning objectives, rubric development, and course-embedded assessment [31]. Top outside experts such as Dr. Marilee Bresciani have conducted campus workshops, as shown in the institutional review of academic planning and assessment chart for 2001-2010 [32].

The current university president, who was appointed in 2003, has a strong preference for such external reviews. Financial aid, the School of Architecture, the John B. Coleman Library, and the Office of Distance Learning are examples of areas that are benefiting from changes and improvements suggested by outside reviews. Though not yet without student complaints, the Office of Student Financial Aid has made a turn around as evidenced by its having increased awards made to eligible applicants by July 1 from less than 20% in 2005 to over 75% in 2009. After a 2004 review team visited the library to evaluate "the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the unit in achieving its mission, goals, and objectives" and noted tensions between personnel and management, a new library director was hired. In response to reviewers' other observations, more professional librarians and additional educational support resources were brought in [33]. In 2005, four consultants came to the School of Architecture; they praised the internship program and passionate faculty and suggested a study-abroad program and increased faculty positions to keep up with exploding student enrollments [34]. The 2007 review of the Office of Distance Learning found that "the University participates in the use of proven and effective distance learning technologies and instructional approaches and activities target the University’s strengths and serve the core mission of the University" and, among other long-term recommendations, encouraged expanded use of TrueOutcomes for assessing student learning outcomes [35]. Although academic programs already were increasing use of TrueOutcomes, the external review reinforced the importance of this change.

During the 2004-2008 strategic planning cycle, the leadership in schools and colleges as well as in educational support units became more assertive in mining data available from Institutional Research and in utilizing the expertise of their personnel to create instruments, triangulate means of measurement, and distribute results. The Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE), Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP), National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), APES (the university's Academic Program Experience Survey), SOS (the university's Student Opinion Survey), and career services survey are among the most prominent measures used [36], and many are discussed in Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1. Consistent patterns of low performance in these instruments affirmed the emphasis and the approach to the development of the Quality Enhancement Plan, iREAD, a structured, theme-based reading experience that engages students in building intellectual and social capital.

The Budget in Institutional Planning
Financial resource planning is an integral part of the planning process as illustrated in the diagram "From Mission to Budget" and the planning framework [37], which were adopted in 2000 with the implementation of the Priority Plan. Each component of the plan has its own allocation [12] and projected outcomes that have continued when the state legislature renewed its commitment to Prairie View's continued improvement with the Academic Development Initiative (ADI) program [11].

In addition to the Priority Plan/ADI allocation process, tuition and fee changes are handled through a bottom-up approach where in the fall, each unit presents requests based on evaluation of program needs and goals. A tuition and fee committee consisting of the provost, associate provosts, vice presidents, deans and major unit directors reviews the proposals by the end of January and provides their recommendations to the president. The president then reviews the findings and makes a presentation of his "fiscal year philosophy" to the student body, outlining possible increased and encouraging feedback, such as at the most recent tuition and fee public hearing in February 2009 [38]. After the public hearing, the president makes his final decisions that are communicated to the system and Board of Regents for their review and approval.

Budget allocation changes have occurred based on the evaluation of internal and external factors influencing resource availability, the necessity of maintaining fidelity to the university's compact with the system chancellor, the means of ensuring flexibility in fiscal resource allocation, and the overarching mission of Prairie View A&M University. The state of Texas, including appropriations for higher education, operates on a biennial basis, but the operating budget is approved by the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System on an annual basis based on a programmatic budget review presented by the president to the chancellor and the board. An example from 2007 is included here [39].

Achievements, 2000 to 2009, and Looking Ahead
As a result of careful, ongoing, integrated planning and evaluation processes, Prairie View A&M University has realized many improvements to the components of its tripartite mission—teaching, research, and service—since 2000. Selected examples of such institution-wide achievements are summarized below:

 Prairie View A&M Unit or Program

Year

 Result, Change, and/or Improvement

University College

2001

First year students enrolled in College

College of Engineering

2002

Team Center Laboratory project initiated with support from major corporations

Student Development and Support Center

2003

Student Affairs and Enrollment Management offices consolidate in Memorial Student Center

Development

2003

Alumnus, Whitlow R. Greene donates $2.1M for University Scholarships

College of Business

2004

Small Business Development Center Opens

Information Technology Services

2005

Installed new mainframe to support Student Information Systems (SIS); moved financial data to FAMIS

College of Engineering

2005

New state-of-the-art building completed on time and under budget

Project ACCESS

2006

1100th student enters Project ACCESS bridge-to-college program

Merit-Based Honors Scholarship Program

2006

Assistant Provost for Financial Aid named to oversee scholarships

Human Resources

2006

Outside consultants report on salary equity presented to campus staff

College of Business

2006

AACSB accreditation granted

College of Nursing

2006

100% pass rate for students taking national licensure examination

MS Program in Electrical Engineering

2006

22 students enrolled in the program

PhD Program in Electrical Engineering

2006

16 students enrolled in the program

College of Education

2006

NCATE accreditation report communicated to the University

BS in Construction Science

2006

50 students enrolled in the program

School of Architecture

2006

NAAB accreditation approved for another six years

Juvenile Justice and Psychology

2006

Launched the journal Knowledge and Best Practices in Juvenile Justice & Psychology

Research

2007

Ranked 4th among 9 TAMUS universities

Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture

2007

Premiere of the Forever Free documentary, celebrating African-American legislators

Cooperative Extension Center

2007

Families First—Nutrition Education and Wellness System receives CSREES Partnership Award for multi-state efforts

Cooperative Agricultural Research Center

2008

Dr. Raul Cuero received a TAMUS 2008 Patent and Innovation Award

Department of Music and Theatre

2009

University marching band opened the Rose Bowl Parade

Development

2009

$30M Capital Campaign closed at $32M

Athletics

2009

Women's basketball SWAC Conference winners

To continue such achievements in the next decade, in May 2009, all units updated their 2004-2008 strategic plans for the 2009-2013 period. Examples are presented here from the College of Arts and Sciences [40], the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering [41], University College [42], and the John B. Coleman Library [43]. Prairie View A&M University is committed to sustaining its institution-wide, research-based planning and evaluation processes, including the review of mission statements, goals, and outcomes, introducing improvements in institutional quality, and accomplishing its mission.


Supporting Documentation and Links


Core Requirements 2.5

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