© 1999 by Dr. Thomas W. MacFarland -- All Rights Reserved
A formal Institutional Effectiveness (IE) reporting process has been part of American higher education since the early 1980s. In the last few years this reporting process has received so much attention from the regional accrediting associations that many colleges and universities now have a separate office for Institutional Effectiveness.
When considering the Institutional Effectiveness process, it may be useful to consider the following constructs:
-- Institutional Effectiveness is comprehensive and it addresses all aspects of an educational institution: teaching and student learning, research, professional and community service, administrative activities.
-- Institutional Effectiveness evolved from the concept of "Consumer Protection" and the notion that the public has the right to know about the effectiveness of its postsecondary institutions, both public and private.
-- Institutional Effectiveness can be a useful tool for attention to quality-assurance issues and processes.
-- Institutional Effectiveness does not exist in isolation and it is not a pro forma activity. Instead, Institutional Effectiveness is most effective when it is linked to planning and evaluation, with participation by a broad array of interested participants (both internal and external to an institution).
-- Institutional Effectiveness supports the decision-making process and it promotes efficiencies that improve student learning outcomes and attention to college and university mission.
To be brief, participation in the Institutional Effectiveness process is now a de facto condition of eligibility for regional accreditation in American higher education and it exists largely to protect the public. Institutional Effectiveness is part of the way American colleges and universities now operate and it demands daily attention by everyone at the institution if the institution is to provide any measured demonstration of its impact on society.