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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is the purpose of the Annual Planning and Evaluation reports for Administrative and Campus Units?

A: When units are effective, the College is effective, and, which improves student success. Therefore, the Administrative and Campus Units’ Annual Planning and Evaluation Reports provide evidence of unit advancement and effectiveness. To further College effectiveness, units measure areas requiring improvement and develop outcomes that follow the Strategic Plan.

What is a Strategic Plan? What is NOVA’s Plan?

A: Strategic Plans identify areas the College wants to improve to advance its Mission. NOVA’s Strategic Plan follows 9 objectives:

  1. Student Advising Support
  3. Informed Pathways for Seamless Transitions
  4. Effective Processes/Protocols
  5. Align for Accountability with College Mission
  6. Workforce Development/Community Prosperity
  7. IT and Cyber Programs
  8. Re-envision Workforce Strategies
  9. Healthcare, Biotech, and Future Programs

Each unit’s expected outcomes are mapped to one or more objectives.

What is the difference between an Administrative Unit and a Campus Unit?

A: The main difference between these unit types is their leadership. Administrative Units are led by Vice Presidents (e.g., Office of the President, Administrative Services, Finance, Student Services, etc.), whereas Campus Units are led by Provosts (e.g., Office of the Provost, Campus Community Relations, Learning and Technology Resources, etc.).

Assessing Expected Outcomes

What is the difference between an Expected Learning Outcome and an Expected Operational Outcome?

A: Expected Learning Outcomes focus on the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits that students, faculty, and/or staff gain from a learning experience. Expected Operational Outcomes focus on how well the operational aspects of a unit are functioning.

Which units should have expected outcomes in place?

A: All units should have expected outcomes that should either follow or be mapped to one or more of the nine strategic plan objectives. The type of outcome (i.e., learning or operational) to be evaluated depends upon the unit. Please contact the Office of College Planning and Evaluation either for assistance in determining a unit type or for help in writing the expected outcomes.

How many outcomes should our units assess each year?

A: All units should assess at least 1-3 outcomes per subunit. The outcome type that is evaluated depends upon the subunit.

How often should these outcomes be assessed?

A: Units can determine when the outcomes will be assessed, but all units should have about 3-5 years of data for proper evaluation of whether there has been improvement in unit effectiveness.

The Evaluation Process

What is the difference between direct and indirect methods of evaluation?

A: Evaluation measures can be either direct or indirect. A direct measure (e.g., assignment/quiz, pre-test and post-test, email log) supplies tangible and visible evidence, while an indirect measure (e.g., satisfaction survey, comment cards, focus groups) provides data based on perceptions, reflections, and/or observations.

What if we do not break down data by semester? Can we do so by year instead of semester?

A: Yes, but be mindful that you must compare 3-5 years of data to determine trends or specific factors that have affected the outcomes over time. Make sure also that the time period you select is appropriate for future reviews.

Can we report for the fiscal year rather than the academic year?

A: Yes.

Writing the Report

Do we write separate reports for each Campus, or one master/compiled report?

A: Campus unit reports will be written by each Campus. However, these reports can be different.

To what degree can a unit’s content be different across Campuses? Should they be the same?

A: Campus units’ reports may vary. Ideally, units should have similar expected outcomes, but they can have different measures and targets. Units should have similar outcomes and measures if they intend to make accurate and representative comparisons across Campuses.

If the acceptable threshold is not met, can we write “N/A”?

A: If the threshold is not met, please check “No” and explain why your unit’s target or threshold was not met.