No. 142 September 2011

Update: Priorities for Excellence: The Penn State Strategic Plan, 2009-10 through 2013-14

Work continues as we enter the third year of Priorities for Excellence: The Penn State Strategic Plan, 2009-10 through 2013-14. To learn about the progress made on specific goals and strategies, check Progress and Performance. To find out about the work of the Core Council in University cost-savings, check the August 28, 2011 Newswire article and Executive Vice President and Provost Erickson’s presentation to the Faculty Senate on August 30, 2011.

Feature Article: Current Planning, Assessment, and Improvement Initiatives at Institutions Across the United States and in Canada

Each year for the past decade, representatives of a wide range of institutions of higher education from the United States and several other countries have met at the annual conference of the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education to discuss innovation and improvement initiatives and share information about successes and lessons learned. This year’s conference in July 2011 recognized that the current challenges are great, but there are many ways to approach them.


Innovation Extracts: Jim Collins – How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In

In his keynote presentation at the 2011 National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) convention in July, Jim Collins shared findings from his most recent book, How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In.


Penn State Institutional Research Interest Group: Interesting Uses of Data to Support Student Learning

Drs. Hoag, Pursel and Yin will share information about several research projects aimed at enhancing student learning at Penn State. The projects are all data-driven, leveraging institutional data sources such as the data warehouse and NSSE results to explore student learning.


Quality Advocates: Planning and Budgeting: Challenges and Approaches in Outreach and Agricultural Sciences

Two administrative leaders will share information about the planning and budgeting challenges facing the College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Outreach, and discuss the initiatives being undertaken in these two large and important Penn State units.


Workshop: Closing the Gap with Continuous Quality Improvement

What goals has your unit set in its planning for the future? Learn about the relationship between planning, assessment, and process improvement, and how continuous quality improvement approaches and tools can help you accomplish your unit goals.


Workshop: Applying Quality Principles in Daily Work

Find out how to apply the activity based analysis improvement tool outlined in Innovation Insights #6: Doing the Right Things Right to your work situation. Learn how you can apply basic quality principles to develop more effective and efficient work processes.

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Workshop: Facilitating Planning, Improvement, and Assessment Projects and Teams

This full-day workshop provides hands-on experience in the role of a facilitator working with a team addressing a planning, improvement, or assessment initiative. It also identifies the parallels between any of these approaches and classic project management, and the further considerations for the individual serving as both the group leader and facilitator.


Cost Saving Ideas:

Submit your ideas for increased efficiency and effectiveness at Penn State.

Support for Planning, Improvement, and Assessment in Your Unit

The Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment supports the University’s efforts to plan, assess, and improve programs and services. The Office is available, at no charge, to consult with units and use organizational change tools to help units assess their needs, develop strategic plans, improve key processes, and develop collaborative team environments. If you would like to discuss the planning, quality, or assessment needs of your unit with one of our consultants, please contact the Office at 814-863-8721 or e-mail

The Quality Endeavors newsletter is published several times each semester. If you have any questions or comments about what you read here, or if you would like to suggest items for future newsletters, please contact Barbara Sherlock, Senior Planning and Improvement Associate, Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment, at 814-863-8721 or To read past issues, see the Office's Web site at

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