Strategic Planning and Assessment

Strategic planning structureStudent Affairs Strategic Planning and Assessment Structure

The Vice President for Student Affairs sets the vision and priorities for strategic planning and assessment efforts across the division of Student Affairs. She chairs a Leadership Team, comprised of department directors, which meets bi-monthly to share information and review progress toward the goals and objectives. Directors of each department serve on the Leadership Team and work with their staffs to ensure that division-wide objectives and strategies are implemented and lead departmental strategic planning initiatives. Dr. Anderson chairs a Steering Committee to ensure that the strategic plan moves forward and is coordinated across the division. Student Affairs Goal Teams are charged with the development and implementation of division-wide strategic objectives and strategies. The Student Affairs Assessment Committee builds awareness of and expertise in division-wide and departmental assessment efforts, evaluates current assessment efforts in order to coordinate and improve data collection and reporting, and rewards and recognizes assessment efforts across the division. 

Division and department strategic planning

Strategic planning cycle infographic

Goals in the Division of Student Affairs stem from the overall mission of Western Michigan University and in keeping with the university’s strategic plan. They are carried out in the context of our vision, mission and core values, and provide long-term direction for the division. Annually, the student affairs leadership team, under the direction of a steering committee chaired by the vice president of student affairs, reviews and determines strategic objectives and strategies that reflect a broad array of student learning and development outcomes, as well as a spectrum of operational excellence initiatives in keeping with the standards of excellence in our field. Each department in student affairs also has a strategic plan that aligns with and supports the division and university strategic plans. Those priorities are reflected in the division’s strategic plan.

Cover of strategic planning document

Coming Oct. 16

2015-16 planning documents

Strategic plan coming Oct. 16, 2015

Student Affairs Planning and Storytelling retreat May 2015

2014-15 planning documents

2014-15 Student Affairs Goals, Objective and Strategies

2014 Achieving Goals Through Evidence Based Decision-Making

2013-14 planning documents

2013 Student Affairs Points of Pride

Planning and assessment conceptual framework

Assessment and planning are complex activities that involve an intensive, dynamic set of interrelated activities. In order to organize our goal-setting, planning, professional development and to assist in setting division and departmental priorities, we ground our processes in three key documents to help us organize and prioritize as well as evaluate our progress. 

  1. Assessment Reconsidered (Keeling, Wall, Underhile, Dungy, 2008) frames the evolution of Assessment work in the division of student affairs in terms of phases:  esablishing a foundation, creating an infrastructre, and moving to a focus on inquiry and use of assessment.
  2. In Building a Culture of Evidence in Student Affairs, Culp & Dungy (2012) articulate the need to move from a culture of good intentions to a culture of evidence to ensure that the division is providing programs and services grounded in the mission and contributing to student learning and development.
  3. The NASPA/ACPA Assessment Evaluation and Research Competencies help us evaluate the basic, intermediate and advanced level skillsets, aptitudes and attitudes of individuals within the student affairs organization related to planning and assessment work. 

Learning and operational excellence outcomes framework 

Student Affairs outcomes Infographic

All departments in Student Affairs work to promote student learning and to appropriately satisfy the needs of a diverse student population. The mission of some departments is more service-oriented, and, therefore, these departments may focus more assessment on student satisfaction, frequency of use of services and facilities, revenue generation, etc.  Other departments have as an integral part of their mission to enhance and develop student learning and, therefore, may focus more of their assessment on student learning goals and outcomes. The Learning and Operational Excellence Outcomes Framework informs the development of division, department, program and activity outcomes and assessment. 

Student affairs assessment 

“Assessments are worthwhile only if the results are put to good use, and those uses can take place only after careful consideration and discussion. That consideration and discussion, in turn, can take place only if assessment results are communicated usefully, clearly and accurately.”
–Linda Suskie, Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide

Student Affairs assessment recognition

The Student Affairs Assessment Committee is responsible for the development of action items to reward and recognize effective assessment in the division of Student Affairs. The Assessment Committee will review them monthly and recognize assessment efforts throughout the year. Potential recipients may self-nominate or be nominated by a colleague. 

Assessment Star: Recognizes professionals who are new at assessment work or who implement new or significant assessment methods. 

Illuminating Assessment:

  • Applying assessment results to make change in programs, services or policies.
  • Sharing assessment results outside of the unit.
  • Outstanding assessment competency development. 

To nominate yourself or someone else, please complete the form in Baseline

WMU Institutional Assessment 

Program review

Goals, objectives, strategies, tactics
Program Review is a collaborative process that allows the department to focus not only on the stated mission and goals, but also on how well we are accomplishing those goals by measuring efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction, resource allocation, learning outcomes and other items. Program review assists us with continuous improvement of our programs and services, demonstrates our department’s effectiveness, holds us accountable to our students and the University, and helps us better understand the satisfaction and learning outcomes of our students. The resulting self-study and external review forms the basis for the action plan for change and improvement. Program Review is one component of the Strategic Planning and Assessment initiatives in Student Affairs. Non-accredited departments engage in comprehensive Program Review every five to seven years; accredited departments engage in review on the cycle determined by accreditors. Program Review takes place in four stages: preparation, self-study, peer review by external reviewers and action planning.  Departments conduct their self-study and document their actions in the CampusLabs Program Review module. 


For more information on the Division of Student Affairs strategic plan implementation or processes, please contact Anne Lundquist