Creating Alignment with Data at Mizzou

The progress being made by our partners in the Student Life Department at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) is energizing. We recently captured some thoughts from Student Life’s Business Manager, Chris Provorse, about the department’s recent experience with rolling out survey results and creating a scorecard. The department has been diligently working to improve alignment and ensure the leadership team has the tools to effectively reflect and plan. Here is what we learned from Provorse:

Mizzouri students

Did any information provided during the results roll-out come as a surprise that has impacted your action planning?

Despite previous efforts, the employee engagement survey revealed the communication from leadership regarding direction was not where they wanted. Discussions about this topic at smaller roll-out meetings helped the leadership team understand the wide variety of angles in how the team viewed their responses to this question.

“Some wanted a new mission/vision statement, others wanted a clear presentation from the director, others wanted something completely different. Our work with Studer Education has helped us narrow our focus to examine the core functions of our department. We have begun articulating that plan across our department.”

What data sets did you examine, as you began creating a scorecard? Why those data sets?

The Studer Education℠ team led Mizzou Student Life leaders through a brainstorming process to help identify what the measures on their scorecard might look like. Once the scaffolding of the scorecard was built, they began the process of determining what was most meaningful for their department. They also began to uncover where data currently existed and/or how to measure and reflect on that data.

“We are fortunate to have a number of assessment resources available to us through surveys administered by our assessment coordinator and data collected through our involvement management system OrgSync. Data pulled for our scorecard is coming from our annual student survey, OrgSync, graduate exit surveys, our employee engagement survey, financial and HR data from our enterprise management systems, and from our institutional research office. We are excited to see our areas begin to utilize the scorecard process to align their activities to the direction of the department and truly see how they fit into that direction.”

How has the team used the data to determine appropriate actions related to the scorecard goals?

The Student Life leadership group has had numerous discussions about the scorecard process and the direction it sets for the department. The department is comprised of 15 different offices that have very distinct missions. Missions include everything from campus activities, student conduct, wellness programming, student government, etc.

“In the past we have struggled to articulate a single direction that everyone was moving in as there was a perception of great difference between areas. The scorecard process has allowed us to define clear department goals and we are aligning the efforts of these seemingly distinct functions toward our department’s common goals of student involvement, student engagement, and student retention. The process is also allowing us to effectively show both our employees and the leadership above our department how our work ties to the broader goals of our campus and system leadership.”

Reflection

In a team meeting after the survey results roll-out meeting, one of the team members made the following observations about the process:Mizzou

  1. Likes that it provides clear targets instead of more ambiguous concepts, such as getting more students involved
  2. Likes that it holds everyone in the department from the top down accountable to university goals
  3. Feels that this provides a good sense of direction for the department
  4. Felt inspired by the direction provided

“Our department has a strong emphasis on assessment. Our assessment coordinator has been able to work the scorecard into the assessment planning process for our offices. We are using the scorecard goals to define our yearly assessment plans and the setting of KPIs. This year, offices will have to demonstrate the linkage between their goals and KPIs and our scorecard metrics.”

Over the next few weeks, Provorse and the team will continue to see the results of the increased alignment as the department starts taking the actions to meet their scorecard goals.


Asti Kelley, Studer Education℠ 

Feature images: University of Missouri

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