5P4 Using Information and Results
Western collects and analyzes data that is used in decision-making across the campus. The Office of Institutional Research (IR) archives much of the University’s data used by decision makers at different levels. IR distributes and posts on the web an institutional fact sheet each semester. Internal groups then use this information for understanding student profiles, such as credit hours generated, number of majors in programs, and student demographics. Such analyses ground decision-making about marketing, admissions, publicity and class planning. Budget data and the priorities articulated in the Strategic Plan are particularly important information shaping the decisions of those in key administrative positions. The methods used to select, manage, and use information to support student learning and overall institutional objectives are described in 7P1.
The President’s Cabinet is a particularly important group that receives information about the University’s functioning, analyzes it, and makes key decisions. Academic decisions at different levels (e.g. the Deans’ Council or a particular academic department), are based on continuously monitoring demand data and efforts to provide a balanced program at a small but comprehensive university. Other kinds of operational decisions, such as those made by the Registrar’s Office and the Business Office, are made by monitoring input from academic and support units. Governance groups (the SGA, Faculty Senate and Staff Association) make policy proposals to GAC based upon recommendations of committees that gather and analyze data on current issues.
Western annually assesses progress of the
Strategic Plan. A new cycle of planning, based in part on data about results on action items in the previous plan, was initiated in Spring 2006. The accomplishments of students, faculty, and staff are regularly communicated to the university community in a web-based monthly report and in the annual Points of Pride publication.
Western uses information from a variety of sources to determine the best practices and procedures to accomplish institutional goals and objectives set forth in mission statements and the Strategic
Plan. For example, in 2003-2004, when Western selected a new provider for health insurance, it hired an outside consultant who worked with a committee whose members represented different campus constituents. A similar but larger scale process was used to plan enrollment management activities (Category