The Morehouse College institutional effectiveness plan is systematic, research based, strategic, integrated, cyclical and driven by vision, mission, goals and outcomes. It also informs a budgeting process that leads to continuous improvement in institutional quality. This plan is shown in a schematic, which outlines a periodic five year cyclical review process supported and synergistic with an annual cyclical process.
Since its founding in 1867, Morehouse has been guided by a vision to provide the best education for its students. The particulars of this vision have changed over time to adjust to changing external conditions. Historically, Morehouse has had strong leadership which articulated a vision for the College, which drove the mission and purpose of the institution. In the last decade, the ninth president of Morehouse, Dr. Walter Massey, articulated a vision that, “Morehouse would be among the best liberal arts colleges in the nation.” This vision was elaborated in his first convocation speech and disseminated and expanded upon during his tenure in a variety of College publications. Our new president, Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, in keeping with tradition, and building on the vision of his predecessor, articulated a new vision for the College in his first convocation speech (September 2007).
In 1996, a committee of staff and faculty convened to review and revise the College’s mission statement. This effort of reviewing the mission statement continued, as the Board of Trustees in February 2003, approved the current mission statement that is published in the College Catalog and other locations outlined in Standard 3.1.1. This new conceptualization of the mission of the College informed a strategic planning process which helped guide the strategic goals of becoming one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the nation.
The five-year Strategic Plan 1996-2001 marked the continuation of the College’s effort to establish a cornerstone by which it sought excellence in the classroom, within the campus community and in affecting change in the world. This document included the College’s strategic initiatives, along with the strategic plans for the president’s office and each of the vice presidential areas. The strategic planning process continued with the development of the College’s next five-year strategic plan, Strategic Plan 2001-2006, comprised of seven goals and thirteen objectives. This strategic plan was approved by the College’s Board of Trustees in November 2002. In 2003, three additional objectives were added.
Strategic planning at Morehouse is not a static process. The Morehouse process incorporates a systematic review of strategic planning goals and objectives on an annual basis, evaluates outcomes, and culminates in the production of a “Strategic Planning Report Card.” In addition, strategic planning informed the recently completed capital campaign, “The Campaign for a New Century.”
During each fall semester from 2003 to 2006, the Office of Strategic Planning collected data on the annual progress made with each of the strategic plan indicators in Strategic Plan 2001-2006. These data are reviewed by members of the Strategic Planning Core Committee in an annual fall meeting. The committee discusses progress with the indicators and makes any changes to either the focus of the plan, or the changes to any objectives or indicators. The collected data and the results of these meetings are recorded in the annual Strategic Plan Progress Reports, and resulting Report Cards, which reflect the institution’s assessment of its progress towards achieving its strategic goals and objectives.
There are several initiatives that emerged from the development and implementation of Strategic Plan 2001-2006. They include:
Comprehensive Program Review
In 2006, the College initiated Comprehensive Program Review Process once every five years, which consisted of an in-depth evaluation of all College units, including academic departments, general education , centers, programs and institutes, and administrative units. Each unit was asked to produce a “self study document” based on a template created by a collaboration between the Office of Strategic Planning and Academic Affairs. Subsequently, each unit’s document was reviewed by an external reviewer(s), who visited campus to review facilities and interview faculty, staff and administrators. Each external review resulted in a report to the unit. Each unit then produced a Follow-up Report which articulated recommendations for improvement.
The synergism and integration of the strategic planning process and the comprehensive program review process is evidenced on many levels, but is best demonstrated in the self reporting by units of their contributions to the goals and objectives of the 2001-2006 Strategic Plan. Further, the development of the college's next strategic plan, which the College is in the preliminary process of developing, will draw significantly from the information and perspectives generated as a result of the recently completed comprehensive program review process. Further, a new capital campaign which is being planned will be under girded by both the comprehensive review and a new strategic plan.
Annual Unit Evaluation
Each summer/early fall, all academic departments and administrative units submit annual reports that identify the established goals/objectives for the year, with the resulting accomplishments and identification of how the results will be used and contribute to future planning.
Annual Academic Assessment
The College has engaged in annual academic assessment since the last reaffirmation in 1998. (See Action Plans and Assessment Reports 2000-2006 below.) However, the reporting of the use of assessment results and the documentation of improvement in courses and curricular is in need of strengthening. The College’s commitment to developing a systematic and continuous process of assessment is evidenced in the Academic Assessment Reports from academic departments, including general education. (See Assessment Reports 2007 below.) The Morehouse Academic Assessment Program requires six steps:
Learning Outcome Development
Use of Results
In order to strengthen both annual unit reporting and academic assessment reporting and analysis, the College recently contracted with Virginia Commonwealth University to employ its on-line assessment/evaluation management program, WEAVEonline. This Web based on-line assessment management program will allow for the systematic reporting, archiving, and analysis of assessment data from all units of the College. An additional feature of WEAVEonline is the alignment of budgeting with recommendations for improvement. The infra-structure for WEAVEonline is being developed for a target start date for initial in-put of information from units in the fall of 2008. The integration of WEAVEonline into our annual institutional effectiveness process is depicted in the schematic.
Budget Planning and Allocation
Budget planning by College units follows and is integrated with strategic and annual planning. This integration assists the College in effectively accomplishing its mission.
Each spring, the Office of Financial Planning, Budgets and Analysis distributes budget planning guidelines to all heads of academic departments and administrative units that manage institutional budgets. (See budget planning documents under sources below.) This period allows for individual departments and units to make requests for additional funding in the BREEZE budget development system for projects that tie into accomplishing the College’s strategic goals . These requests are compiled and submitted to the respective vice president. A subsequent meeting is held with all vice presidents to establish funding priorities for the upcoming fiscal year for the college-wide strategic initiatives and the department and unit projects undertaken to meet the College’s goals. The final budget is approved at the April meeting of the Board of Trustees.