Standard 1.B.1 - Planning & Effectiveness
The Board pf Regents Strategic Plan provides context and structure for the plans developed by individual units within the system. All major units of Montana State University Billings and their subdivisions review goals annually in compliance with both internal University and external Board of Regents requirements and timelines. MSU Billings has employed strategic planning since the re-organization of the Montana University System (MUS) in 1994. Early strategic plans were made for five-year periods, but they were subject to review and revision within that timeframe. The University as a whole developed a strategic plan through a task force with both campus and community representation. University sub-units based their unit strategic plans on that of the University and reviewed progress on a two- to five-year basis. Current Strategic Initiatives have evolved from the original strategic plan so that there is institutional history, as well as institutional growth and development.
As the Annual Report process has been implemented, it has evolved from a descriptive narrative to a more analytical review of each division’s alignment with University Initiatives and purpose within the context of the University. The CQI co-chairs meet individually with the individuals responsible for producing the annual reports. These meetings serve to guide the review process, promoting understanding, supporting division self-analysis, and gaining insight necessary for continuing refinement of the process.
Administrative Units of the University are involved in an intensive,
long-term Business Process Redesign (BPR). The process originated in 1998 with implementation of a common administrative finance system—
Banner. The process was renewed in December 2005 and is ongoing. BPR includes all four campuses—Bozeman, Billings, Havre and the Great Falls College of Technology—of the Montana State University (MSU) side of the Montana University System (MUS). All business functions of the campuses are included with BPR. Through Business Process Redesign, the MSU system maintains efficiency and effectiveness of administrative infrastructure.
- Mission Document
- 1.3 Annual Reports
- 9.3 BPR Manual
- 6.4 BOR Policies and Procedures Manual (http://mus.edu/borpol/ default.asp)
University employees. The review processes allow for both planning and evaluation in a cyclical feedback loop.
Annual reports, begun with our 2005 CQI effort, evaluate units in terms of the services and programs they offer. For example, an Annual Report from an academic program includes four areas of programmatic assessment — (1) the program as it fulfills the Academic Master Plan; (2) program data regarding Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) student and Student Credit Hour (SCH) generation, faculty work-load efficiency, faculty and student achievements; (3) program alignment with state/ national standards, as appropriate; and (4) completion of documentation required by the Montana Board of Regents (BOR) seven-year program review cycle.
In addition to Annual Reports, MSU Billings has initiated a scheduled rotation of surveys — student satisfaction (Noel-Levitz), student and faculty engagement (NSSE, FSSE, CCSSE, SFSSE), employee morale (faculty, staff, administration internally disseminated and analyzed), alumni/ae (PEG), and Career Services, Graduate Information. Survey analyses resulted in implementation of four Partnership-for-Change Task Forces initiated during AY 2006-2007 — Advising, Recruitment, Retention and eLearning. The Provost Council held a retreat summer 2007 to explore four topics — Community College, Academic Programs, Flexible Scheduling and Revenue Streams. The collaborative negotiations cycle resulted in four CBA-related study groups — online delivery, salary compaction, position descriptions and Academic Support Center instructors. Work continues in these areas during AY 2007-2008 with broad constituency representation.
Individual employee performance is reviewed according to regular review cycles. Administrators undergo 360-degree performance reviews every three years. The administrative evaluation process involves both on-campus and off-campus constituencies. Through interviews, evaluation committee members determine the individual administrator’s performance related to his/her position description and individual professional goals. Evaluation outcomes allow for both commendations and guidance.
East Campus faculty performance review is outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). This is a complex peer-review process that involves a Department Rank and Tenure Committee (DRTC), a University Rank and Tenure Committee (URTC) and Administration. Non-tenured faculty performance is subject to annual review while tenured faculty undergo post-tenure reviews every five years.
West Campus faculty undergo peer and supervisory evaluations as outlined in their Vocational Technical Educators of Montana (VTEM) contract.
Staff performance is reviewed by the immediate supervisor. Review occurs at least annually with professional goals reviewed for the previous year and established for the coming year. Review can occur more often if deemed necessary.
Overall, the purpose of University-wide assessment efforts is three fold — (1) determination of MSU Billings fulfilling its institutional purpose, mission, vision and strategic initiatives while maintaining alignment with its core values; (2) determination of the efficiency and effectiveness of necessary infrastructure processes; (3) determination of student performance outcomes demonstrating academic achievement.
- 6.14 Admin/Staff Evaluation Processes
The University community is engaged in planning. At the highest level is the Chancellor’s Cabinet — Chancellor, Administrative Vice
Chancellor, Academic Vice Chancellor/Provost, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Director of University Relations, Chief Information Officer, Academic Senate Chair, and President/CEO of the Foundation. The Chancellor is also guided by the Local Executive Board composed of three non-University, Billings community members.
The Provost Council is composed of the six College deans, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Chief Information Officer, Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs, the Director of the Library, the chair of the Academic Senate and a representative of the campus student association — Associated Students of MSU Billings (ASMSU Billings).
Each of the six Colleges has an advisory group composed of college, University community, and Billings community representatives. Some programs have advisory boards in addition to the College boards. The Administrative Services team includes the Administrative Vice Chancellor, Director of Financial Services, Director of Business Services, Director of Human Resources, University Budget Officer, University Police Chief, Director of Facilities Services and the Chief Information Officer. Each director meets with employees in their unit of responsibility for ongoing planning and evaluation purposes.
The Student Affairs division includes the following student service units:
- The Academic Support Center
- Admissions and Records
- The Advising Center
- Career Services and Cooperative Education
- Childcare and Enrichment
- COT Student Services
- Disability Support Services
- Educational Talent Search
- Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Housing and Residential Life
- Jackets & Company
- Multicultural Student Services
- New Student Services
- The Office for community Involvement
- Student health Services
- Student Opportunity Services
- Student Union & Activities
- U-card/ID Cards
- Upward Bound
Under the direction of a relatively new Vice Chancellor, the SA division has redefined it mission and vision and aligned its strategic initiatives to those of the University. The division maintains lofty goals, analyzes progress and celebrates goal achievement in each of its units.
At each level of the strategic planning/performance review cyclic loop, multiple stakeholders participate. Evaluation committees have administrative, faculty, staff, student, and community representation. Focused planning sessions, University wide or in divisions/units are implemented as is deemed necessary and appropriate.
Evidence: 1.11 - Advisory Board Membership Lists
The Montana University System was funded on a resident student full-time-equivalent (FTE) basis. This funding formula challenged MSU Billings in its efforts to maintain program quality, increase effectiveness and insure efficiency. Enrollment trend analyses over a five-year period (2002/2003 through 2006/2007 demonstrate increasing student headcounts in proportion to student FTE. Institutional efforts to maintain quality while balancing the budget have included deliberations among the Chancellor’s Cabinet, the Provost Council, the Academic Senate, the six colleges and other University divisions.
Recognizing the challenge for all units of the MUS presented by an FTE driven model, OCHE and the BOR established a task force to study the funding issue and possible alternative funding models. Currently, the funding process is based on the current base budget with inflation factors, the state pay plan and new initiatives added. Proposed budgets are routed through the system with the Montana Legislature ultimately determining funding levels. A base budget model, provides greater stability in terms of evaluation, planning and internal resource allocation than was possible with the previous student FTE model.
The box provides an historical context for state funding to the Montana University System over time. In order to improve student services and fund program initiatives, the MUS units have increased student tuition as state general fund appropriations have proportionately decreased while the actual dollar amounts have increased. The BOR has capped student tuition increases to stem the tide of ever increasing student costs and individual student debt.
In this context, however, MSU Billings strives to allocate resources in the best interest of students. Planning, setting campus priorities, and program/unit evaluations guide decisions regarding internal allocations and proposals for new/increased student fees. The University goals include maintaining strong programs, deleting obsolete programs, initiating in-demand programs and ever improving student services.
- Cabinet Agendas
- Provost Council minutes
- Academic Senate minutes, Staff Senate minutes
- ASMSU Billings minutes
- Budget Committee Meeting minutes
MONTANA UNIVERSITY SYSTEM FUNDING
The purpose of instituting Continuous Quality Improvement throughout the University was integration of evaluation and planning for institutional improvement.
Critical to institutional improvement are the financial resources to support necessary improvements. Internal budget allocations are ultimately decided by the Executive Budget Group made up of the Chancellor, three Vice Chancellors, Chair of Senate, and the Budget Officer. Their deliberations are based upon recommendations from the leadership group of each Vice Chancellor and recommendations from the Academic Senate Budget Committee, revitalized, spring 2008. These leadership groups, in turn, base their recommendations on information from their various constituencies. For example, in Academic Affairs, department chairs having discussed budget issues with their faculty carry recommendations to their deans who carry the recommendations forward to the Provost Council. The Provost/Academic Vice Chancellor then has recommendations to carry forward to the executive budget committee. The Academic Senate Budget Committee is especially important when budget cuts are necessary. This committee with revised by-laws and an increased constituency representation allows for the flow of accurate information across constituency groups. Accurate information with the rationale for budget adjustments is essential in times when budgets must be cut and individual units feel the negative impact.
With implementation of CQI, the University is poised to make budgetary and other decisions based on critical analyses of goals, performance, current needs and future directions. The Academic Senate Budget Committee will be integral to analyses, goal setting, performance reviews and helping to direct the future of the Universityl
During AY 2005-2006, MSU Billings initiated a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) effort to insure fulfillment of our University motto— Access & Excellence—and to guide accreditation efforts throughout the University community. To this end, the CQI Office was established with an administrative assistant and graduate student directed by the CQI Steering Committee. The institutional goal is to eventually employ a CQI Director.
Administrative Services uses Business Process Redesign. This is an MSU required process that does not require additional personnel but retrains current personnel for implementation. Administrative Services personnel have had many hours of training over a several-year period in order to implement BPR.
- 1.12 CQI Information
- 9.3 BPR Manual
In the systematic review processes described for 1.B.8 lies the basis for integration of institutional level research to support evaluation and planning. The purpose for MSU Billings’ CQI protocol and for establishing the CQI Office is ongoing focused data collection and analyses to inform both long-range planning and short-term goal setting.
Following student satisfaction surveys in spring 2006, the CQI Steering Committee developed four ad-hoc task forces (Partnerships-for-Change) to address survey results—Recruitment, Retention, Advising, and eLearning. Work of the eLearning Task Force has resulted in the eLearning Hub with a director and pedagogical specialist. The Retention Task Force was subsumed into the Student Affairs enrollment management group. Strategies of the Recruitment Task Force resulted in increased student headcounts. Results of the spring 2008 Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey demonstrated statistically significant improvement in student satisfaction with advising as compared with the 2006 survey results. In fact, on 78 of 79 indicators, spring 2008 surveys demonstrated statistically significant increases in student satisfaction. These increases can be attributed at least in part to the work of the Partners-for-Change Task Forces.
Evidence: 1.12 CQI Information
The University CQI initiative has implemented a process of annual unit reports. Through this report process, units review their unit purpose and mission as they relate to annual goals and activities. Data are provided from the Information Technology Office to inform the unit review process. Self-evaluation by units leads to annual goal-setting. This cyclical process allows for on-going process review and planning.
Evidence: 1.3 Annual Reports
MSU Billings as a University and individual units on the campus have active advisory boards with representation from both on- and off-campus constituencies. These advisory boards are part of University shared decision making and are conduits of communication to their respective
MSU Billings shares University information with the Billings community through press releases to the Billings Gazette. Campus Connections is a publication for external constituencies, especially alumni. The MSU Billings Foundation distributes the First Monday newsletter and Engaged, a periodical, to contributors. Several units of the University publish and distribute newsletters pertinent to their individual constituencies.
Evidence: 1.11 Advisory Board Lists; Publications samples