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2.0 Core Requirements

3.0 Comprehensive Standards

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Thursday, 03 September 2009 14:15     Assessment of Administrative Support Services

Administrative Support Services

The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas:  administrative support services

Responsible Unit: Division of Academic Affairs/IPAR

Compliance Judgment



Each administrative support services unit is charged with developing clear and measurable annual goals with objectives for their units. At the end of each academic year, each administrative support service unit submits an annual assessment report to the Office of Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research. The vice chancellors, associate and assistant vice chancellors, directors, department heads and others collaborate with the employees in their respective divisions and departments to determine objectives drawn from the divisions' mission statements, which are aligned with the university's mission statement.

Annual Assessment Process: The annual assessment report provides the foundation for each administrative support unit to assess institutional effectiveness and include the following:

  • Vision and mission
  • Goals and objectives
  • Outcomes achieved/results
  • Assessment measurements
  • Assessment procedures
  • Administration of assessment procedures
  • Program improvements

Each unit employs multiple assessment instruments to determine if goals are met. Under each goal, an objective is identified, followed by the outcome achieved, assessment measurements, assessment procedures, the administrative of assessment procedures, and how findings from the assessment data were used to improve the unit.

As an example, in the Division of Research & Economic Development's 2004-2005 Annual Assessment Report [1], the division had a goal of "increasing the percentage of faculty participating in research and writing proposals."  The objective was to "increase the number of proposals submitted to funding agencies by three percent."  As of April 2005, the university submitted 372 proposals totaling $175,201,455.  This represents a 7% increase in the dollar amount requested. Assessment measurements were the actual number of proposals submitted.  The grants administrators recorded the number of proposals submitted to funding agencies each day and tallied the total each week.  The assessment procedures were measured by the director of sponsored programs.

Findings from the assessments data were used to improve the unit by targeting agencies where the most growth had occurred.  In collaboration the directors of research services and sponsored programs began pulling more funding opportunities from those areas of growth.  Assessment procedures in all reports, whether quantitative or qualitative, identify to what extent an objective is met based on the actual outcome.  The Division of Business & Finance set the goal in its 2002-2003 report of completing the year end close procedures and balancing the budget.  The state budget was closed in July and the required state reporting deadlines were met.  The annual closeout procedures were completed and all work papers were filed for audit purposes.  Preparation for yearly closeout requires a significant amount of work.  It also involves heavy interaction with other departments within Business and Finance, UNC Office of the President and Office of State Budget and Management.  This was all successfully completed in an efficient and timely manner.  Assessment measures include feedback from our internal auditor, comptroller, the UNC Office of the President and the Office of State Budget and Management. Assessments are received by the vice chancellor for business and finance, assistant vice chancellor for budget and planning and comptroller through meetings and correspondence received from external customers and agencies.  The assistant vice chancellor for budget and planning and comptroller were responsible for seeing that this goal was met.  One recommendation for improvement indicated that the closeout process should start earlier in the fiscal year.  This recommendation has been implemented for FY 2003-2004.  Sample reports are included as further evidence of this process: Business and Finance 2002- 2003 [2], Business and Finance 2003-2004 [3], Division of Research and Economic Development 2005-2006 [4] and Division of Research and Economic Development 2006-2007 [5].

To ensure a broad-based participation in assessment activities, annual reports are received from various administrative support service units throughout the university including: the Division of Business & Finance; Division of Enrollment Management and Admissions; Division of Human Resources; Division of Research & Economic Development; Division of Information Technology, and the Division of Student Affairs.

Strategic Planning: Engaging in a strategic planning process creates a framework for determining the direction a department/program/unit should take to achieve its desired future.  Planning encourages dialogue between stakeholders and fosters a sense of ownership of the plan's outcomes.  Working together towards accomplishing consensus goals also raises the vision of key participants and encourages them to reflect creatively on future directions.  Further, the strategic plan helps to set priorities as the department/program/unit aligns itself with university goals and with the environment.  Overall, the strategic plan also provides a structure for achieving competitive advantage.  Each unit has completed the strategic planning process to tie in to the university's overall plan.  As an example, the Division of Research & Economic Development developed its strategic plan [6] to provide a structure for continued growth in the sponsored funding area.

The assessment plan includes evaluation, revision of the plan based on findings, and the budgeting of funds for continuous evaluation and program improvement.  Effective program evaluation allows for a continuous feedback loop so that data can be used to identify program strengths and weaknesses as well as make program changes. Assessment results are reported to various sources, e.g., university administration, external funding agencies, and legislators, Office of the President.

Institutional effectiveness clearly allows the university to describe the various organizational processes, structures, policies and practices.  Continuous quality improvement is an outcome of assessing the university's institutional effectiveness.  The university's effectiveness as an institution is measured by the extent to which it accomplishes its mission, goals and objectives.  Therefore, one measure of institutional effectiveness is the systematic assessment and evaluation of academic programs.  Findings from this process are used for continuous program improvement.

Initiatives: Each of the Divisions made improvements based on their assessment process.  Examples include:

  • Based on feedback from student surveys, the university established 24-hour access to all student services -including the library, dining, health and financial processes [7]
  • Findings from Division of Information Technology's 2002 assessment report [8] indicated that training, workshops, and course offerings were insufficient to the campus community. As a result in 2003, additional training opportunities were offered in areas such as Banner, Blackboard, and MS Office. Although still reported as insufficient, efforts were explored to continue employee growth and development.[9]
  • Research clusters were developed by the Division of Research & Economic Development, with input from research faculty. The clusters were designed to improve interdisciplinary teamwork amongst faculty members at the university and facilitate large-scale proposal writing. The original clusters were designed in 2003. Each cluster has two to three co-leads who facilitate large-scale proposal writing. Meetings are held regularly to look at funding opportunities and the clusters have grown from two to three core members to large groups of interdisciplinary faculty [10].
  • In response to student concerns, the Treasurer's Office in the Division of Business & Finance implemented direct deposit for student refund checks. Students had expressed displeasure in years past over the sometimes lengthy wait in receiving refund checks. By implementing direct deposit, students received their refunds quicker, eliminating the waiting in lines. For operational efficiency, there were enhanced internal controls, fewer checks that had to be cut, and less staff time involved in check processing and distribution.

Supporting Documents

[1]        IPAR, Research & Economic Development, 2004-2005 Annual Assessment Report

[2]        IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Business and Finance, 2002- 2003

[3]        IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Business and Finance, 2003- 2004

[4]        IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Research & Economic Development, 2005-2006

[5]        IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Research & Economic Development, 2006-2007

[6]        IPAR, Strategic Plan, Research & Economic Development

[7]        IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Student Affairs, 2006-2007

[8]        IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Information Technology, 2002-2003

[9]        IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Division of Information and Technology, 2003-2004

[10]      IPAR, Annual Assessment Report, Research & Economic Development, 2007-2008

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 January 2010 15:29 )

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