Program Review Executive Summary
Office of Institutional Research

Program Review Team:

Time Frame: April to June 1998

Major Conclusions and Recommendations

Conclusions

“Interviews, documentation, and the customer satisfaction survey lead to the conclusion that OIR operates effectively with a small staff.   Those, moreover, who do business with OIR and know its operations, with very few exceptions, experience a high degree of satisfaction in their dealings with the OIR staff.  Of its activity areas, OIR appears to perform most successfully supplying mandated reports to state agencies, administering its various tasks, and providing management information to units of the university. 

 The two areas of activity that generate the most comment and suggestions are the master planning process and devising measures of organizational effectiveness.  Regarding the master planning process, this evaluation confirms the findings of OIR's June 1997 assessment.  Upper levels of university administration find the process most useful, yet timeliness of the planning document has proved to be a general concern.  Lower levels of administration do not find guidance in the plan or that it directly accommodates their initiatives.  In truth many of the concerns expressed about the master planning process do not lie with OIR but with the administration of the process by divisions, colleges, and departments

 Similarly, upper level administrators are likely to see benchmarking and other measures of effectiveness as useful or potentially useful, but lower level administrators tend either to be unaware of their use or to see them as potentially threatening.  Some comments about performance measures reflect a lack of awareness, at the departmental level, of how existing evaluation processes may address external review requirements.   Many of the same respondents are unsure of the nature of university-wide performance measures.”

Recommendations

1)       Maintain its capacity to perform the mandated reporting functions in exemplary, efficient fashion.

2)       Maintain its capacity to coordinate and promulgate the university Master Plan.

3)       Maintain its capacity to facilitate and distribute various measures of effectiveness for the university, its subunits, and, specifically, the Division of Administration and Finance.

4)       Maintain its capacity to generate accurate reports of information important to management decision making.

5)       Maintain its capacity to meet its mission effectively and efficiently.

6)       Maintain its strong, cooperative relationships with other offices and divisions that facilitate its several activities so they may continue to be achieved in an exemplary, timely fashion.

7)       Clarify and focus, in consultation with higher levels of administration and in light of limited resources, its mission within the growing and changing needs of the university by

a)       reexamining the primary functions and responsibilities of OIR,

b)       identifying the primary customers that OIR is to serve.

c)     reviewing specific OIR activities, such as the facilities inventory, to determine if they may be more effectively administered by other units of the university.

d)       Status: OIR’s Mission Statement was revised in 1999-2000

e)   Status: The responsibility for updating of the university’s facilities inventory is currently being shared with Resource Planning.

8)       Clarify in all communications the source of initiatives (e.g., SCHEV, the legislature, local administration) OIR is undertaking and the role OIR plays in advancing their implementation.

a)       Status: This is being accomplished through the quarterly newsletter and in conversations with JMU staff as needed.

9)       Continue to raise the profile of OIR's informational services within the university community, especially awareness of its web site offerings.

a)       Status: OIR send periodic email messages to various groups about the web site. OIR annually does a mini-evaluation of its services. In October 2000 OIR instituted a quarterly newsletter to all JMU staff. 

10)    Examine the kinds of managerial information those below the vice-president level need and determine whether these are kinds of information OIR can or should provide.

a)       Status: Informal conversations have been held with various offices. OIR also coordinates the Data Analysis Team that has developed the specifications for common downloads of information for decision-making across multiple divisions.

11)    Continue to pursue the recommendations of OIR's June 1997 evaluation of the planning process.

a)       Status: OIR is working very closely with the Division of Institutional Effectiveness staff to revise the planning process. The web-based planning process should effectively address many of these concerns. Another evaluation of the planning process will occur within the next 12