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Changes in University Planning & Analysis

Posted 1.14.13

Provost Arden recently recommended to the chancellor that University Planning and Analysis be replaced with an expanded, more robust Office of Institutional Research and Planning (OIRP) led by a Senior Vice Provost, effective July 1, 2013. The chancellor has accepted the recommendation and the provost is initiating a national search to identify the individual who will lead OIRP. A search committee will be appointed and announced soon. The provost's recommendation to the chancellor is below and has additional details about the proposed structure and activities of the OIRP.

Memo from the Provost to Chancellor Woodson

Date: December 18, 2012

To: W. Randolph Woodson, Chancellor

From: Warwick A. Arden, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Subject: University Planning and Analysis

NC State’s strategic plan, “The Pathway to the Future,” is an exciting framework from which to guide long and short-term planning and decision-making. The strategic initiatives outlined in the implementation plan come with a responsibility to measure our efforts and determine the best use of our limited resources. In this respect, there must be a focus on institutional data, planning, analysis, resource allocation and evaluation at both the university and unit level. Such capacity is critical to the success of the strategic plan.

University Planning and Analysis (UPA), the division charged with the responsibility to provide institutional and survey research, facilitate planning and coordinate accreditation activities, is at present under-resourced and under-staffed to adequately handle the demands placed upon it. With the additional workload for our upcoming SACS review and the almost weekly data request from external entities, the division struggles to keep pace, resulting in an inability to build expertise in emerging areas or to adequately staff new initiatives. This has, in part, led to duplication of planning and analysis services in other units, resulting in decentralization that is inefficient in handling the University’s comprehensive needs. Further, the present mission and organizational structure of UPA has not grown to handle the full range of planning, resource allocation and institutional analytics and evaluation required for NC State to meet its strategic vision.

Current structure: UPA is currently structured with three primary focuses: 1) institutional research, 2) survey research and 3) planning and accreditation. Institutional research reports official data on students, personnel and other areas to UNC GA, campus users and external agencies and responds to surveys such as US News, Princeton Review, Fiske Guide and others. Survey research surveys NC State students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators for information useful in assessing academic programs and evaluating the University’s effectiveness. Planning and accreditation facilitates the planning processes and the UPA director serves as the SACS Accreditation Liaison. At present 11.75 FTE are budgeted in UPA.

Alternative structure: The key functionality found at most of our peer institutions consists of the following: 1) institutional data and reporting, 2) institutional analytics (statistical analysis, forecasting/extrapolation, predictive modeling and optimization), 3) strategic and operational planning, 4) budget, space and academic planning and resource allocation, 5) surveys and assessments and 6) accreditation. The organizational structures of these functions are unique to the home institution with differences primarily being with respect to reporting lines, number of organizational units and coverage of the six functions listed above. Most significant in the review of our peer institutions is the organizational evidence of a focus on institutional analytics beyond routine data queries and data reports and the connectivity between institutional analytics, planning and resource allocation.

Recommendations: I make the following recommendations to you.

  1. University Planning and Analysis be replaced by an expanded, more robust Office of Institutional Research and Planning (OIRP) led by a Senior Vice Provost. In January 2013 we should initiate a national search to identify this individual. The successful applicant must have broad expertise and a proven record on integration of institutional analytics, planning, evaluation and resource allocation in a comparable academic environment.
  2. OIRP will be responsible for the integrated, coordinated activities of institutional research (reporting and analytics), planning, evaluation, long-term resource planning and allocation, assessment and accreditation. It should be organized into three units as follows, each led by a Director: 1) Institutional Research (data reporting and analytics), 2) Planning, Evaluation and Resource Allocation (academic space and budget) and 3) Assessment and Accreditation.
  3. Additional staff positions (3-5) should be added to OIRP, particularly in the area of institutional research and planning, evaluation and resource allocation. With regard to the latter, it is not my intention to replace or replicate functions currently within other units, but to add positions that act as a conduit and build a more integrated approach to planning, evaluation and long-term resource allocation.
  4. Replacement of UPA with OIRP should be effective July 1, 2013 with the newly identified Senior Vice Provost (SVP) in place at that time. While some additional staff appointments may occur during Spring 2013, the final intra-divisional structure and staff allocations will be determined by the SVP.

I firmly believe NC State is on an outstanding trajectory, and much has been achieved toward our strategic goals in the past two years. Continued progress will depend, however, on having the capacity to accurately integrate institutional analytics with planning and implementation strategies appropriately assign limited resources and systematically evaluate outcomes.


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