May 26, 2022  
Policies and Procedures Manual 
Policies and Procedures Manual

08:23:00 Strategic Planning and Continuous Improvement for Institutional Effectiveness

Revision Responsibility: Vice President for Planning, Research and Assessment
Responsible Executive Officer: Vice President for Planning, Research and Assessment


To describe the planning and evaluation system that informs and supports institutional effectiveness.


I. Scope

Walters State has an ongoing, integrated, research-based planning and evaluation system that informs and supports institutional effectiveness.

II. Strategic Planning

The system is built upon the college’s Strategic Plan developed under guidance of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). Each planning cycle begins with the establishment of TBR system-wide priorities and guidelines. Within this framework, each institution develops goals and priorities that support the TBR plan and provide for the fulfillment of the institutional mission. The planning cycle typically covers a five-year period.

The strategic plan contains several key elements including:

  • the vision statement that identifies the aspirations and future direction of the college
  • the mission that describes the college’s purpose
  • the Campus Compact that identifies the values and goals that guide decision making and influences the campus culture
  • strategic goals and associated objectives that state the priorities of the college in the context of system-wide priorities
  • indicators that gauge the institution’s effectiveness in achieving the goals and carrying out the mission.

The Strategic Planning and Continuous Improvement Council provides oversight for planning, assessment and improvement activities. The Office of Planning, Research and Assessment provides administrative support for the council.

III. Annual Planning, Budgeting and Evaluation

To determine if the college is accomplishing its mission and strategic plan, progress on goals and associated indicators is assessed annually and results are used for improvement. Each unit identified on the college’s organization chart develops annual objectives aligning unit priorities to the college’s strategic goals and indicators. Assessment of these objectives, use of assessment results for improvement, and annual reports of progress are documented in an online system and reported annually during the spring planning and budget reviews. A summative report of strategic plan progress is prepared by the Office of Planning, Research and Assessment.

The budget process is closely related to strategic planning and continuous improvement for institutional effectiveness (See Policy 05:01:00 ). The college uses historical data to establish the base budget for each account. Requests for new funds must be directly linked to one of the college goals or objectives for the planning cycle. During the budget process, units also submit technology requests that comprise the annual Information Technology Plan. Specific instructions for developing budget documents, technology requests, and strategic planning and continuous improvement documents are developed each year by the Office of Business Affairs, the Office of Information and Educational Technologies, and the Office of Planning, Research and Assessment, respectively. College units prepare the required documents and present them during planning/budget reviews held during the spring semester of each fiscal year. The Budget Committee prioritizes budget request to be included in the annual budget submitted to TBR. Budget adjustments are made in the fall prior to submission of the October revised budget when final fiscal year funding is known.

In addition to units reporting objective accomplishments, individuals also develop objectives that support their unit and the college. Achievement of individual objectives is considered as part of the individual’s annual evaluation (See Policy 06:04:02  and 06:29:00 ).

IV. Assessment and Continuous Improvement for Unit Outcomes

College units assess unit outcomes as such outcomes relate to educational programs, administrative support services, academic support services, student support services and community or public services. These assessments, analyses, and use of results for improvement are housed in the online system. Educational programs identified on the college’s Academic Inventory submit reports in the Program Student Learning Outcome section. Other units report in the Program Expected Outcome section. Assessments are coordinated in a five-year cycle. The Office of Planning, Research and Assessment develops the assessment calendar and provides administrative support for maintaining the system.

Special assessments may also be conducted as needed to support continuous improvement. 09/06; 01/15; 05/16