Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future
The organization’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
Co-Chair: Cathy Bell | firstname.lastname@example.org | 230-5124 | WO314
Co-Chair: Frank Smith | email@example.com | 230-5018 | MO317A [May 2008-April 2011]
Pam Bax | firstname.lastname@example.org | 230-5368 | ME107
John Corley | email@example.com | 230-5179 | Maint
Sandy Denning | firstname.lastname@example.org | 230-5090 | WO302C
Duane Jackson | email@example.com | 230-5026 | EV111C
Jonathan Moss | firstname.lastname@example.org | 230-5396 | CA141
Gary Smithe | email@example.com | 230-5361 | ED249
Maralyn Sommer | firstname.lastname@example.org | 230-5320 | MB111
Kathy Taylor | email@example.com | 230-5103 | WO209B
Criterion Two: Core Component 2a
The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends.
Fundamental to preparing for the future is an inventory of the trends that will create multiple new contexts for the organization. Some of the trends will inevitably shape aspects of the organization; others may not. Change often opens new opportunities and closes old ones. In creating its preferred future, an organization must also attend to its history and heritage and to its resource capacity as it determines which new opportunities to grasp. In identifying the trends and understanding which trends will require organizational attention, an organization displays its ability to prepare realistically for its future. While many organizations providing quality higher learning are finding ways to be more nimble and responsive, the predominant culture of colleges and universities has involved careful study and limited risk-taking. In fact, the expectation has been that shared governance, for example, will serve as a check and balance to ensure academic integrity. The effect of shared governance can change if the total organization values innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking. However, even the most entrepreneurial college knows that there are boundaries to what it can and should attempt. The organization defines clearly how its goals are set by recognizing and honoring those boundaries.
Examples of Evidence
● The organization’s planning documents reflect a sound understanding of the organization’s current capacity.
● The organization’s planning documents demonstrate that attention is being paid to emerging factors
such as technology, demographic shifts, and globalization.
● The organization’s planning documents show careful attention to the organization’s function in a multicultural
● The organization’s planning processes include effective environmental scanning.
● The organizational environment is supportive of innovation and change.
● The organization incorporates in its planning those aspects of its history and heritage that it wishes to
preserve and continue.
● The organization clearly identifies authority for decision making about organizational goals.
Criterion Two: Core Component 2b
The organization’s resource base supports its educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.
An organization’s resource base includes human resources as well as financial and physical assets. One test of the realism of an organization’s preparation for the future is its capacity to make a valid assessment of the strength of
its existing resources. Particularly in this time of straitened finances, most colleges and universities are discover- ing that they cannot maintain the quality of all educational offerings, but must instead make very difficult deci- sions about how to delete or merge programs or find partners to share costs. Realistic plans, therefore, will inevita- bly
include a variety of shifts in the organization’s educational programming, but all plans must evidence concern with ensuring the quality of those programs, whether continuing or new, and their consistency with the mission.
It is a fundamental premise that every affiliated organization wants to provide the best education it can. To be able to do this, the organization must know what it does well and create strategies to continue that excellence even as it focuses on improving programs that do not meet the standard the organization has set for itself. Improvement might be as simple as experimenting with a different pedagogy, or it might require significant investment in personnel and learning support. Some organizations may face a future of substantial change—creating new delivery systems, moving to higher degree levels, establishing new instructional sites, recruiting and admitting new student bodies, for example. Some changes will be made to enhance the organization’s financial health, some to be responsive to new educational markets, and others because a profession has changed expectations for the entry-level credential necessary for licensure. How well the organization understands the relationship between its resource base and those changes is also a test of commitment to educational quality.
Examples of Evidence
● The organization’s resources are adequate for achievement of the educational quality it claims to provide.
● Plans for resource development and allocation document an organizational commitment to supporting
and strengthening the quality of the education it provides.
● The organization uses its human resources effectively.
● The organization intentionally develops its human resources to meet future changes.
● The organization’s history of financial resource development and investment documents a forwardlooking
concern for ensuring educational quality (e.g., investments in faculty development, technology,
learning support services, new or renovated facilities).
● The organization’s planning processes are flexible enough to respond to unanticipated needs for program
reallocation, downsizing, or growth.
● The organization has a history of achieving its planning goals.
Criterion Two: Core Component 2c
The organization’s ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.
Every organization of higher learning generates data and information. Participation in financial aid programs inevitably
requires reporting a considerable amount of data. Evaluation, however, is the effort by the people within the organization to make sense of those data. Some organizations have institutional research offices that both gather
and interpret data routinely; the test of their effectiveness is whether their work provides a reliable overview of performance and informs planning and budgeting processes. Other organizations may take a much less formal and
consistent approach to evaluation and assessment, making more challenging the task of connecting the processes to one another and to overall planning initiatives. These organizations should determine whether their approaches
should be more formal and regular or whether they actually provide sufficient evidence about performance to inform sound planning.
An organization affiliated with the Commission should desire to create a future in which it continuously performs better than it has in the past. Without stated goals for its own performance, an organization does not know what it is supposed to achieve. Without dependable and ongoing systems of self-evaluation, an organization is hardpressed to know what it needs to improve. This basic need to create a culture of evidence has led some organizations to implement quality improvement principles. A Baldrige Award is now tailored to higher education. The Commission’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) option recognizes the connection between accreditation and continuous quality improvement. But an organization need not pursue either in order to appreciate the importance of having dependable data to evaluate performance and create strategies for improvement.
Again, it is worth noting that evaluation and assessment processes create data, but it is the interpretation of those data that creates reliable evidence. Data can be interpreted in a variety of ways, depending on the conceptual framework (or at times, the political agenda) brought to the task. Therefore, effective processes make the interpretation of data and information explicit, accurate, and clear.
Examples of Evidence
● The organization demonstrates that its evaluation processes provide evidence that its performance
meets its stated expectations for institutional effectiveness.
● The organization maintains effective systems for collecting, analyzing, and using organizational information.
● Appropriate data and feedback loops are available and used throughout the organization to support
● Periodic reviews of academic and administrative subunits contribute to improvement of the organization.
● The organization provides adequate support for its evaluation and assessment processes.
Criterion Two: Core Component 2d
All levels of planning align with the organization’s mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that mission.
In most organizations, various kinds of planning take place simultaneously. Perhaps the chief executive officer has an organization-wide planning effort that results in a document adopted by the board and published in the
organization’s annual report to constituencies. Within such an organization, academic departments or schools may also create plans. Administrative-function areas usually do their own planning as well. Operational planning
and strategic planning are not designed to achieve the same goals, but unless they are informed by a common understanding of the organization’s mission, they run the risk of allowing areas to function at cross-purposes.
Therefore, successful organizations not only endeavor to create tangible links among these processes, but also insist on grounding all planning in the organization’s mission documents.
The Commission understands that successful planning can result from many different processes. But planning processes disconnected from budgeting processes will doom even the most inclusive and engaging planning effort. Without access to the resources—physical, financial, and human—supported through budget allocations, even the best-laid plans developed to strengthen capacity to fulfill the organization’s mission will come to naught.
Examples of Evidence
● Coordinated planning processes center on the mission documents that define vision, values, goals, and
strategic priorities for the organization.
● Planning processes link with budgeting processes.
● Implementation of the organization’s planning is evident in its operations.
● Long-range strategic planning processes allow for reprioritization of goals when necessary because of
● Planning documents give evidence of the organization’s awareness of the relationships among educational
quality, student learning, and the diverse, complex, global, and technological world in which the
organization and its students exist.
● Planning processes involve internal constituents and, where appropriate, external constituents.