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Assessing Student Affairs Processes: A pilot study. Josh Brown Liberty University Greg McCurdy Centra Health Mark Davis Centra Health. International Assessment and Retention Conference - 2007. Overview. What we did What resulted What we’re doing What you can do. What we did. Context

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assessing student affairs processes a pilot study

Assessing Student Affairs Processes: A pilot study

Josh Brown

Liberty University

Greg McCurdy

Centra Health

Mark Davis

Centra Health

International Assessment and Retention Conference- 2007

  • What we did
  • What resulted
  • What we’re doing
  • What you can do
what we did
What we did


  • Assessment at Liberty University divided into Curricular & Co-curricular responsibilities
  • Attained varying levels of assessment
    • Frequency – attendance, cost, etc.
    • Satisfaction – locally developed instruments
    • Satisfaction with GAP analysis (Noel Levitz SSI)
    • Engagement (NSSE)
    • Focus Groups
    • Process Analysis
      • Process Engineering, Six Sigma, ISO 9000
what we did1
What we did

Six Sigma

  • Roots of Six Sigma can be traced to Carl Frederick Gauss (1777-1855) as a measurement standard with the normal curve
  • Walter Shewhart, in the 1920’s, used six sigma as a measurement standard in product variation
  • Bill Smith receives the credit for coining the term “six sigma” while working as an engineer with Motorola
  • In the early 1980’s, Motorola chairman, Bob Galvin, desired a measurement by which defects per million opportunities could be shown and the after effect resulted in $16 Billion in savings
  • Since then, companies such as Honeywell (Lawrence Bossidy) and GE (Jack Welch) adopted the six sigma method as a means of doing business, not just a quality management tool like TQM (W. Edwards Deming)
what we did2
What we did

Six Sigma Process: DMAIC

  • Define problem from the voice of customer (V.O.C.)
  • Measure extent of problem by collecting data to be able to create metrics
  • Analyze data for sources of variation
  • Improve process by addressing root causes, identify high-impact benefits
  • Control processes through continuous improvement mechanisms
what we did3
What we did

Step One: Define

  • Define problem from the voice of customer
  • Directive came from VPSA:
    • “We need to streamline the judicial life process.”


what we did4
What we did

Step Two: Measure

  • Measure extent of problem by collecting data in order to create metrics
  • S.I.P.O.C. - a six-sigma tool, will be utilized to create metrics for analysis
    • Suppliers
    • Inputs
    • Processes
    • Outputs
    • Customers


what we did5
What we did

SIPOC: Suppliers

  • Conducted inquiry sessions with all levels of persons in the judicial process:
    • Session One: RA’s & RD’s
    • Session Two: Associate Deans (DOM/DOW)
    • Session Three: Head Deans and VPSA
    • Session Four: Students who experienced the judicial process at various levels
    • Session Five: Administrative Assistants, Secretaries, and Student Workers overseeing data entry


what we did6
What we did

SIPOC: Inputs

  • Student Handbook
  • Violation & Incident reports
  • Data entry at RD level
  • Res Life staff: manually sorting reports
  • “Why do we need to process warnings?”
  • Difference between practice and policy: confusion of appeal process
  • “There are too many hand-offs of paperwork.”
  • “We handle data differently than the other office.”


what we did7
What we did

SIPOC: Outputs

  • Lack of communication of appeals
  • Appeal process is slow/inconsistent
  • “I am not sure of the process.”
  • Not enough qualified counselors on campus
  • Differing approaches: men-discipline, women-counsel
  • Dean on-call schedule is confusing as it varies too frequently
  • Fines are confusing and don’t seem to be achieving their intended purpose
  • Too many logs! (cont.)


what we did8
What we did

SIPOC: Outputs

  • RA Official Correspondence Log
  • Call Slip Log
  • Non-Return Log
  • Permission Slip Log
  • Violation Report
  • Incident Report – Residence Hall
  • IR-Type Log
  • Case Load Log
  • Discipline Community Service Log (twice)
  • FERPA Log
  • Probation Log
  • AW Log
  • Student File Database
  • File Log (who has what)
  • Self-Reports Log
  • No Contact Agreement Log
  • Permission Restriction Log


what we did9
What we did

SIPOC: Customers

  • Students
  • Student Leaders: RA/RD/Deans
  • Res Life
  • Dean of Men & Dean of Women
  • VPSA
  • Sodexho – community service
  • LUPD
  • Counselors
  • Faculty/Staff
  • Campus Pastors


what we did10
What we did

Step Three: Analyze

  • Analyze data for sources of variation
  • Three analyses conducted:
    • Process Maps – this is the “P” in SIPOC processes & is implemented at this stage
    • Fishbone Analysis
    • SWOT Analysis


what resulted2
What resulted

SWOT Analysis

  • Strengths
    • Skilled staff
    • Judicial process affords student appeal
    • Education of student handbook
  • Weaknesses
    • Communication breakdown
    • Inconsistent processes
    • Lack of technology to integrate processes
    • Paper workload with many hand-offs


what resulted3
What resulted

SWOT Analysis

  • Opportunities
    • Software integration upgrade
    • Office PC’s interconnect all Student Affairs
    • Educational development through residence hall Peer Judicial Councils
  • Threats
    • Reactive vs. proactive
    • Legal aspects: FERPA
    • Overstressed staff, burnout, and turnover


what resulted4
What resulted

Step Four: Improve

  • Improve process by addressing root causes and identify high-impact benefits.
    • Critical-to-success-factor chart
    • Prioritizing benefits and efforts
    • Final recommendations


  • You and your group members have been hired by Liberty University as judicial consultants to remedy this process.
  • For the next few minutes, use the collective knowledge and experience of your group to provide at least four recommendations for the university to improve its judicial processes.
  • Please place your recommendations on the provided note cards.

Critical-to-success factor chart

what resulted7
What resulted

Final Recommendations

  • Acquire a centralized student database that can integrate judicial operations
  • Streamline judicial process and structure
  • Eliminate conflicts of interest in the current process
  • Involve students in the appeal process
  • Equip the division of SA with the necessary qualified counselors


what resulted8
What resulted

Step Five: Control

  • Control processes through continuous improvement mechanisms:
    • Formulate action plans for implementing strategies
    • Establish an ongoing QA program


what we re doing
What we’re doing
  • Since the conclusion of the Six Sigma judicial study, Student Affairs has begun the following for a Fall 2008 implementation:
    • Purchased a new judicial software package
    • Created & implemented a student court for judicial appeals
    • Revised judicial organizational chart
    • Redefined and clarified roles (as result of above)
    • Eliminated policies from student handbook
    • Created policies from student handbook
what you can do
What you can do

Six Sigma Tips For Educators

  • Know your customers
    • Identify them (SIPOC)
    • Listen to them (VOC)
    • Understand and define their needs (CTQ)
  • “Know thyself”
    • Examine your processes (SIPOC / mapping)
    • Measure your performance (baseline; DPMO; Sigma; statistics)
what you can do1
What you can do

Six Sigma Tips For Educators

3. Know what to do next

  • Get to the roots (fishbone; hypothesis testing; VA/NVA)
  • Define the ideal state (gap analysis)
  • Brainstorm your opportunities (SWOT; prioritization matrix)
  • Drive change (force-field analysis)

4. Know how to do it

  • Decide on your method (project vs. go-do)
  • Open the toolbox
  • Start with what you have
what you can do2
What you can do

Recommended Resources

  • Academic
    • Assessing Organizational Performance in Higher Education (Miller, 2007)
    • Continuous Process Improvement in Higher Education (Inozu & Whitcomb, 2007)
    • Process Improvement to Achieve Institutional Effectiveness (Lake, 2005)
  • Business
    • Six Sigma for Dummies (Gygi, DeCarlo, Williams & Covey, 2005)
    • The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance (Pande, 2000)
presenter bios
Presenter Bios
  • Josh Brownis currently the Associate Director of University Assessment for Liberty University, coordinating the assessment of all co-curricular departments. He possesses an earned Master's of Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. Email –
  • Greg McCurdyis currently the manager of the Radiation Oncology Department at Centra Health, where he utilized the six sigma philosophy and instruments to hone difficult processes in a medical setting for increased workflow efficiency. He is concluding his Master's of Higher Education at Geneva College. Email –
  • Mark Davisis currently a process engineer with Centra Health, where he is assisting with the implementation of a system wide healthcare improvement initiative called CH2. He holds a degree from William & Mary and a Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova. Email –