Brookdale Community College
Institutional Effectiveness Plan
Institutional assessment purports to evaluate the degree to which the institution is
achieving its mission and major institutional goals. Through its Institutional
Effectiveness Plan, Brookdale Community College not only assesses student
learning, the heart of the institutional mission, but all services that support and
foster student learning as well.
The five essential elements of an institutional effectiveness plan include (Suskie,
Identification of clear, measurable, and expected educational and administrative
Assessment of the extent to which the intended outcomes are being met.
Ensuring that there are sufficient opportunities to achieve those outcomes;
Systematically gathering, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how
well the results match the expected outcomes.
Utilizing the resultant information to understand and improve performance.
A comprehensive institutional effectiveness plan includes an assessment of
student success outcomes and student learning outcomes, all other aspects of
service delivery that facilitate and promote student learning, and all collaborative
efforts such as partnerships.
2. Connection to Mission
Institutional assessment at Brookdale Community College begins with the
Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals Statements (MVV&G). These statements of
purpose and objectives direct all activities at the institution and serve as the
blueprint for all initiatives.
The mission statement of Brookdale Community College addresses “high quality
associate degree and certificate programs”. It further states that “Brookdale
provides assessment of student academic capabilities.” Thus the mission
statement directly affirms the importance of assessment to the institution and
To support institution effectiveness, the College has a developed a series of
master plans that are designed to maximize the attainment of the MVV & G.
Included among the master plans are the Educational Services Master Plan,
Facilities Master Plan, Information Technologies Strategic Plan, and
Marketing/Communications Plan. The Educational Services Master Plan serves
as the primary driver for the other master plans.
With few exceptions, no major actions that the College undertakes should be
outside the bounds of this statement. A careful re-examination of the MVV&G
becomes necessary when it the institution begins to pursue approaches that may
negate one or more of components of the MVV&G. The question of adding new
initiatives or shedding old ones boils down to whether or not those actions
advance the MVV&G. Hence the issue becomes not one of doing things right but
rather one of doing the right things right.
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3. Components of the Plan
The Brookdale Institutional Effectiveness Plan includes the following
a. Strategic Plans
College Planning Process (Matrix)
Educational Services Master Plan
Facilities Master Plan
Information Technologies Strategic Plan
b. Academic Assessment
Student Learning Outcomes Plan
Five-Year Program Reviews
c. Service Assessment
Five-Year Service Reviews
A comprehensive set of outcomes data, the Indicators of Institutional
Effectiveness, support and inform the Institutional Effectiveness Plan.
Each of the strategic plans directs a critical aspect of the institutional
environment. The College Annual Plan also known as The Matrix, charts the
major institutional goals and sub goals. It is revised each year to reflect current
thinking and to ensure that the institution is responding in a nimble manner to
issues and trends.
The Educational Services Master Plan directs the Facilities Master Plan, the
Information Technologies Strategic Plan, and the Marketing/Communication
Plan. It is revised every three years with the involvement of all levels of faculty
The Facilities Master Plan is a document that is designed to audit and evaluate
the College’s current physical assets, define future needs over a ten year period.
It includes recommendations for renovation and new construction based on the
institutions’ pedagogical needs and growth in enrollment,
The Information Technologies Strategic Plan is a document that provides a
conceptual framework for technology planning. It directs the implementation of
state-of-the-art information technology in all of the student, faculty and
administrative areas of the College and is revised every three years.
The Office of College Relations is responsible for the Marketing/Communications
Plan which is revised annually. Publications of varying lengths, from small
brochures to 100+ page catalogs are produced to convey the necessary
information to members of the Monmouth County community. Press releases,
advertisements and story pitches go to the appropriate electronic and print media
to promote a variety of activities and efforts, from new academic programs to
featured speakers and artists.
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Academic Assessment Plan
Composed of three elements, the Student Learning Outcomes Plan,
Departmental Plans, and Five-Year Program Reviews, academic assessment at
Brookdale is targeted at identifying how do we know that students are learning
what we think we are teaching.
The Student Learning Outcomes Plan is a document that provides faculty with
guidance regarding the assessment of student outcomes and frames the process
for assessing student learning outcomes at institutional, program and course
levels. Student learning outcomes are assessed at the institutional level through
the College Core Competencies, a group of nine learning outcomes that are the
skills and abilities that each student is expected to demonstrate upon graduation.
They are embedded in the Graduate Follow up Survey.
At the program level, student learning outcomes are identified for each program
in the College Catalog and reflect the College Core Competencies. Program
Student Learning Outcomes are assessed through a number of strategies
including capstone courses, licensing examinations and course evaluations. In
addition student learning outcomes are assessed at the course level through
assessment approaches that include examinations, term papers, and class
participation. In keeping with the Brookdale culture of inquiry and engagement,
the Student Learning Outcomes Plan provides faculty with choice and with
flexibility in the assessment process.
Departmental Plans, which are required for all departments, are written annually
and link to the Matrix. These plans are based on assessment data and are used
for budget planning for the subsequent year. Program Review action items and
recommendations from specialized accreditation visits are included in these
Five-Year Program Reviews reflect a comprehensive assessment of all
Brookdale programs including both career and transfer programs. A
comprehensive document, it outlines the steps involved in program assessment,
sets uniform standards for program reviews and offers faculty structure for the
Administrative Services Assessment
Each service department (both academic and non-academic) establishes a
mission statement that is consonant with and links directly to the College Mission
Statement. Each department also establishes annual outcomes that are linked to
both the College Mission and to the Matrix and indicates what tools would be
utilized to assess achievement of the departmental outcomes. The next step is
to lay out the data that have been gathered regarding the achievement of the
departmental outcomes. The final two steps are the description of how the
departmental operations have changed on the basis of these data and the
demonstration of how these changes have impacted/improved departmental
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One of the guiding principles from the 1969 Educational Master Program for
Brookdale Community College was “A school should be learner and learning-
centered”. Central to this guiding principle was the concept of a systems
approach, “a systematic strategy whereby a teacher decides less and less the
direction of learning and assumes a more catalytic instructional role. The
learner’s role would become more self-directed and concerned with decision
making as his dependence on the teacher decreases.” The original master plan
identified the components of the systems approach as follows:
“Decide what specific behavior the students must achieve.
Plan instruction (with alternative suggestions) specifically designed to achieve
performance or behavioral objectives.
Measure carefully to find out how much was achieved.
Analyze the results in order to determine the causes of failure when it is
Select different instructional plan or review original plan to secure more
Evaluate total progress against internal system objectives.”
As can be seen from the above components the notion of assessment was built
into the Brookdale culture from the inception of the College, and reaffirmed with
the first Academic Master Plan which was finalized in 1997. Subsequent
iterations produced the first Educational Services Master Plan (ESMP) in 2000. It
was revised in 2003 and rewritten in 2006. Each of these plans has re-affirmed
our commitment to both a learner and learning centered environment and to
assessment as an integral part of the Brookdale approach to planning.
While the components of the original model have changed, Brookdale continues
to embrace the concept of well defined elements that underpin our commitment
to a learner and learning-centered institution and thus to assessment.
The emergence of the assessment movement in the 1980’s was accompanied by
a change in federal requirements for accrediting agencies in 1987 that
incorporated assessment into regional and specialized accrediting agencies’
When the current president took office in 1991, he immediately implemented a
strategic planning process that, with some refinements, remains in place today.
This planning process involves the Board of Trustees, the Cabinet, a Standing
Committee of Governance (Institutional Assessment and Planning), and all
College divisions and departments. It ensures that planning occurs in a
systematic approach that is as inclusive as possible. In 2005, the newly hired
Executive Vice President led the institution to the next step, using assessment to
inform planning and then to develop the subsequent years budget.
The Major Indicators of Institutional Effectiveness were initially developed in 1995
by an Institutional Assessment Task Force appointed by the President. The Task
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Force sought to develop indicators that not only met national and accreditation
standards but also demonstrated standards of excellence in service to Monmouth
County. The Task Force was reconstituted as a subcommittee of the Institutional
Planning Governance Standing Committee in 1996 and released its proposed set
of ten (10) major indicators which were as follows: (1) Student Goal Attainment,
(2) Critical Literacy Skills, (3) Citizenship Skills, (4) Transfer Preparation, (5)
Workforce Preparation, (6) Human Development, (7) Access, (8)
Responsiveness to Community Needs, (9) Professional Development, and (10)
Institutional Support.. Since that time, there have been a number of iterations,
culminating in 2006 with the consolidation into four major themes (Access,
Student Success, Community, and Quality/Excellence). During the 2006-2007
academic year, the Institutional Planning and Effectiveness Committee further
refined the Indicators and developed a “dashboard” approach that was presented
to the governance Forum in 2007.
In 2002, Brookdale initiated a concerted effort to strengthen assessment at the
College. A group of individuals from non-academic as well as academic areas
from across the campus, were identified as assessment “Buddies”. Under the
direction of the Interim Dean for Academic Services, their expertise informed
assessment at the faculty and department levels. The Nichols Five Column
Model was used to frame assessment strategies, results and changes made as a
result of assessment.
In 2003 the first Student Learning Outcomes Plan was developed by the division
chairs. Student learning outcomes were written for all courses and programs,
and in 2004 all departments assessed at least one program learning outcome. In
2004-2005 departments reassessed information based on the prior year’s
modifications and learning outcome statements were articulated for 38 programs.
In 2005-2006, course, program and college competencies were assessed college
wide. Over 600 course learning outcomes were articulated and linked to the
college competencies. Numerous modifications were made to assignments,
teaching techniques, courses and programs to improve desired students
learning. In the 2006-2007 iteration of the College Catalog, for the first time,
student learning outcomes were identified for all Brookdale programs.
Under the direction of a senior faculty member, in 2002, a committee of
individuals received a charge from the Steering Committee of Governance to
develop a list of College Core Competencies. This work resulted in final list of
nine College Competencies and a number of recommendations that would
provide direction for the implementation of these learning goals.
The first Five-Year Program Reviews were begun in 1996. The process was
originally directed only at AAS degrees and was conducted over a two-year
period. In 2005, Program Reviews also included transfer degrees. Program
reviews entail a through assessment of the program mission and vision, learning
outcomes and syllabi. Outside input is sought from advisory boards, consultants,
students and graduates as well as transferability searches. Retention, student
performance and student satisfaction are analyzed and enrollment scheduling
and industry trends are reviewed.
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Departmental Plans were first required of all departments in 2002. The original
plans were referred to as Action Plans. Departmental Plan goals are linked to
the Matrix. Faculty in the departments incorporate the departmental plans into
their personal goals. At year end the goal achievement is reported out by adding
a third column and submitted as the Departmental Annual Report.
Services assessment has occurred through a request of the appropriate cabinet
officer. The current plan is to use the Academic Assessment Model for service
assessment to ensure consistency.
The overall purpose of institutional assessment is to provide evidence for the
ways that the College is accomplishing its mission and goals and to ensure
institutional renewal through the use of results to make indicated changes..
Accordingly, Brookdale has developed a set of guiding principles that provide the
framework for institutional assessment. These were derived from numerous
sources including literature review and conference and workshop participation
and are as follows:
In keeping with the Brookdale culture of collaboration, all assessment efforts in
the institution are overseen by the Executive Vice-Presidents and the Vice
Presidents. Each of these officers ensures that the units that are under their
purview implement assessment at both global and local levels. These efforts are
organized and implemented through the various components of the Institutional
Effectiveness Plan which clearly lay out responsibilities and timelines.
Responsibility for Institutional surveys and data collection for the Indicators of
Institutional effectiveness is lodged in the Office of Research."
Academic Assessment at Brookdale is under the aegis of the Executive Vice-
President of Educastional Services. Faculty driven, academic assessment links
together the Student Learning Outcomes Plan, the Five-Year Program Reviews
and Departmental Plans to form a comprehensive academic assessment
The primary reason for assessment is to improve student learning and
The assessment process is ongoing and flows from the Mission, Vision, Values,
and Goals of the College.
The assessment process will include multiple assessment methods.
Faculty will drive the academic assessment process.
The focus of the plan is program assessment, which is distinct from the
assessment of individual students and from faculty evaluation.
Assessment initiatives will include training and related support for faculty and
staff who are responsible for the assessment activities.
Assessment will include a design that maximizes the reliability and validity of the
One result of assessment will be initiatives and resources committed to
institutional improvement where the process reveals such a need.
The assessment process will be as cost and time efficient as possible.
The assessment process will be continuously reviewed and refined.
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Significant curriculum revisions have occurred as a result of program reviews and
the review process itself is constantly evolving. The student survey has been
streamlined and introduced in a web based format for 2006- 2007. The Program
Review instructions have been reformatted as well, to clearly indicate process
The Institutional Effectiveness Plan is targeted at accomplishing the following
Validate the accomplishment of the institutional MVV&G
Improve student learning and institutional support services.
Document use of assessment information.
Use information and data for all decision making.
7. A Culture of Inquiry
Congruent with the College’s history of innovation and experimentation is a
continued emphasis on critical inquiry, with faculty as leaders of change. Richard
Alford in The Craft of Inquiry posits the interpretation of evidence is partially
dependent on the experiences of the interpreter and communicator thus
necessarily shifting the locus of change from the data to the decision maker.
In a culture of inquiry, faculty, staff and administration do the following:
“Work to identify and address problems by purposefully analyzing data about
student learning and progress.
Engage in sustained professional development and dialogue about the barriers
to student achievement.
Have the capacity for insightful questioning of evidence and informed
interpretation of results (Dowd, 2005).”
Inherent in a culture of inquiry is the use of the various types of benchmarking to
support the assessment process. Brookdale uses a variety of benchmarking
approaches to help inform both academic and administrative assessment.
8. Planning, Assessment and Budget
Planning, assessment and budget are linked by a series of steps that ultimately
connect these elements. The development of unit (i.e. division, department)
goals and supporting activities begins in September of the preceding academic
year. For faculty and academically linked units, this usually begins on Faculty
Days, which occur during a two-day period prior to the start of Fall Semester
classes. For other units, the starting times for goal development may differ
somewhat; however, the process is comparable. As with the College as a whole,
each unit should have its own mission statement with clear connections to the
This September planning period allows for a re-examination of the goals and
related activities that were previously established for the current academic year.
In order to do so, each unit needs to know how successful they were in achieving
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previously set goals. Accordingly, units receive copies of the annual reports that
they completed at the end of the previous academic year and Data Books that
provide outcomes information. All academic and nonacademic units also receive
information at other times during the academic year (e.g. student survey results,
environmental scans, etc.) that can be used to inform and shape goal setting.
After reviewing all reports and findings, each unit develops a set of goals that are
designed to advance the goals of the Matrix and the appropriate Master Plans.
Units are responsible for demonstrating how the goals will advance the Matrix
and supporting master plans. Concurrently, individual goals are also established
to support the attainment of the unit goals.
As the attached flow chart shows, the lines between the budget and assessment
and evaluation and between the budget and division/department/individual goals
go in both directions. This is to signify the very significant interrelationships that
must exist in order for the Institutional Effectiveness Plan to work. It is during the
budget development process that units clearly demonstrate how their requests
link to and advance the College’s strategic goals and master plans.
In turn, the institution needs to show how resource allocation is also tied directly
to the Matrix. It is this linkage which is the key component of institutional
effectiveness and the related assessments. It is one thing for units to claim that
budgetary resources are required to allow the attainment of Matrix and Master
Plan-linked goals. It is quite another to show how budget allocations are actually
tied to these goals. And it is still another to show that once budgets are allocated
the goals that budgets were allocated for are assessed. In addition, the results of
assessments are used to update the Strategic Goals Matrix, and thus begin the
cycle once again.
9. Major Indicators of Institutional Effectiveness
The primary role of the Institutional Indicators of Institutional Effectiveness is to
periodically “take the College temperature”. They are designed to identify and
monitor those factors that are critical to effective functioning, and which if
compromised could result in serious, negative consequences. Unlike the Matrix
which is designed to lay out prioritized strategic goals over a three-year window,
the Major Indicators reflect those factors the College needs to pay attention to
regardless of the then-current Matrix. Whereas the Matrix goals will and do
change, the Major Indicators remain relatively constant.
The Major Indicators are currently as follows:
i. High School Yield. Unduplicated number and percent of
Monmouth County public high school graduates enrolling at
Brookdale within one year of high school graduation.
ii. County Yield. Unduplicated number and percent of Monmouth
County residents aged 18 years of age and older who enrolled
in at least one credit or non-credit course during the academic
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iii. Diversity. Percentage of credit students by racial/ethnic
background compared to racial/ethnic backgrounds of
Monmouth County residents.
iv. Higher Education Center/Branch Campus Enrollments.
Duplicated and unduplicated enrollments at Higher Education
Centers and Branch Campuses.
v. ABE/GED/ESL Enrollments. Unduplicated ABE, GED, and
ESL enrollments by location.
vi. Financial Aid. Amount of financial aid awarded to matriculated
students by type of aid.
II. Student Success
i. Degrees Awarded. Number of Associate of Arts, Associate of
Fine Arts, Associate of Sciences, and Associate of Applied
Sciences degrees, and Certificates awarded annually.
ii. Graduation Rates. Graduation rates for first-time/full-time
degree-seeking students entering during a fall term three years
after initial entry.
iii. Transfer Rates. Transfer rates for first/time/full-time degree-
seeking students entering during a fall term three years after
iv. Retention Rates, Fall to Fall. Percent of first-time/full and part-
time students retained from Fall Semester 1 to Fall Semester 2.
v. Retention Rates, Fall to Spring. Percent of first-time/full and
part-time students retained from Fall Semester 1 to Spring
vi. Basic Skills Completion Rates. Completion rates in Basic Skills
vii. Success in Subsequent Courses. Completion rates for
students completing basic skills course(s) in their first related
viii. Graduate Employment. Percent of career program graduates
employed full-time in areas related to or somewhat related to
ix. Licensure Pass Rates. Percent of graduates taking
licensing/certification exams who passed on first try.
x. Transfer Success. Percent of transfer program graduates who
reported that their courses were useful for completing their
i. Partnerships, Postsecondary. Number of formal partnerships
with other postsecondary institutions to provide baccalaureate
and advanced degrees in Monmouth County through the new
Jersey Coastal Communiversity.
ii. Partnerships, K-12. Number and types of formal partnerships
with K-12 (Culinary Institute, Tech. Prep., etc.)
IV. Quality and Excellence
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i. Staff Diversity. Percentage of administration, faculty, and staff
by racial/ethnic background compared to racial/ethnic
backgrounds of Monmouth County residents.
ii. Instructional Quality. Percent of students who indicate
satisfaction on seven (7) related items from the Noel-Levitz
Student Satisfaction Inventory.
10. Assessment tools
A number of tools are in place to promote a comprehensive assessment process.
They include the following:
a. Basic Skills Annual Profile
Every year, a profile of the basic skills program including the following
basic components is undertaken:
Percent of new students evaluated for placement. This
also includes information of test and placement waivers
and retest results
Percent of new students requiring remediation
Profile of students who require remediation in English,
Reading, and Math
Demographic data for basic skills students
Percent of graduates who enrolled in basic skills courses
Basic skills courses completion rates
Six-semester retention rates of all fall students who were
evaluated for basic skills placement
b. Entering Student Survey
This survey is designed to identify new students’ goals, objective, and
expectations for achievement at Brookdale. In addition, the ESS
identifies the primary reasons why students select Brookdale as well as
the most important factors in their decision to enroll.
c. Community Needs Assessments
Keeping a finger on the pulse of the broader community is a critical
component of Brookdale’s assessment plan. Every two years, the
College produces a report that focuses on major demographic and labor
market trends. Each report also emphasizes a specific theme (e.g.
business and industry, nontraditional students, traditional students,
Brookdale image, etc.).
d. Student Satisfaction Inventory
A representative sample of students is surveyed in class to determine
their perceptions of the Brookdale experience. More specifically, the
survey (a Noel-Levitz product) addresses the following questions:
Which aspects of the College do our students care most about?
Which aspects doe students find most and least satisfying?
How can we best meet student expectations?
How do our students’ responses compare with students’ responses at
other community colleges, especially those that are similar to
e. Graduate Follow-up Survey
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Once every two years, all graduates from the previous year are surveyed
nine months after their graduation. Survey data fall into four categories:
Students’ primary goals and attainment of those goals
Opinions regarding Brookdale’s services from a graduate perspective
Transfer experiences with other institutions of higher education
Several key questions are asked within each category, and the findings
are organized as responses to these items.
f. Survey of Non-Returning Students
Every other year, all students who attended the College in the previous
year’s Fall semester but did not enroll in any the subsequent terms
through the following Fall semester and who did not graduate are
surveyed. The basic survey data categories are essentially equivalent to
those requested in the Graduate Follow-up Survey.
g. Faculty Data Books
These books which are provided to the faculty at the beginning of each
academic year presently include the following major sections:
Enrollment by program of study (five-year data)
Enrollment by course and course prefix (five-year data)
Retention by program (five-year data)
Grade distributions – completion rates (previous academic year)
College-wide enrollment and term profiles (at least five years)
Where appropriate, this technique is utilized to ascertain how the College
compares to it peers. Some examples include (1) the comparison of
student responses on the Student Satisfaction Inventory with those of all
other community college students and those students in selected
comparison institutions; and (2) the comparison of fall-to-fall retention
rates for first-time, full-time students with IPEDS selected peer institutions
in the mid-Atlantic region.
h. Community College Survey of Student Engagement.
This national survey was administered for the first time in the spring of
2007. It provides additional information pertaining to student perceptions
regarding the attainment of Core Competencies. In addition, it will
provide benchmarking information in such areas as Active and
Collaborative Learning, Student Effort, Academic Challenge, Student-
Faculty Interaction, and Support Learning.
11. Planning Assessment and Budget Calendar
o Program review reports continue. Report on Institutional Goals produced.
Institutional Performance Survey report produced.
o Strategic Goals and Subgoals Matrix for following fiscal year is approved by
President’s Cabinet. Graduate Follow-up (GFU) report produced. Data Books
developed by Planning, Assessment, and Research.
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o Institutional Planning and Effectiveness Committee presents Matrix to faculty
during Faculty Days. PAR presents Data Books to faculty during Faculty Days.
Units review mission and three-year goals. Units begin development of goals and
objectives for following fiscal year.
o Program (academic and nonacademic) reviews begin (five-year cycle). Unit goals
for following fiscal year are finalized. Budget hearings are held. Community
Needs Assessments begun
o Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) administered (bi-annual – even years)
Budget developed based on Matrix priorities.
o Survey of Non-returning Students (NRS) sent out (bi-annual – odd years) Budget
is finalized by Cabinet
o Report on Institutional Goals produced. (semi-annual)
o SSI Report produced. Program review reports begin. Institutional Performance
o GFU Survey sent out (bi-annual). Program review reports continue
o Institutional Planning and Effectiveness Committee presents report on Major
Indicators of Institutional Effectiveness to Governance Forum. Program review
reports continue. Middle States Annual Institutional Profile produced. Program
review reports continue.
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o Institutional Planning and Effectiveness Committee presents first draft of Matrix
to Governance Forum. Program review reports continue.
o NRS Report produced. Program review reports continue. Annual reports
submitted by all units.
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