SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation Site
Overview Compliance Certification Quality Enhancement Plan Resources SACS Evaluators Hillsbrough Community College
2.5 Institutional Effectiveness
The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that incorporate a systematic review of programs and services that (a) results in continuing improvement and (b) demonstrates that the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.
Judgment of Compliance
Narrative/Justification for Judgment of Compliance

Hillsborough Community College is in compliance with Core Requirement 2.5 addressing institutional effectiveness.  The following narrative will begin with a general description of the College's past practices of the last several years.  The remainder of the narrative will document its current system of institutional effectiveness as organized by the specifications contained in Core Requirement 2.5.


Prior to adoption of a new biennial planning and evaluation process in 2004, the HCC Board of Trustees developed Board Goals. The Board Goals established direction for the institution for which the President was held accountable in her annual performance appraisal. Evidence of progress toward achievement of Board Goals was collected and reported annually at a regular meeting of the Board during the summer.

Also in the summer was a determination of college enrollment targets for the upcoming fiscal/academic year by the President's Cabinet.  Achievement of the enrollment targets was monitored by a series of enrollment reports examined at regular meetings of Cabinet.  The targets served in part as a basis for revenue assumptions (this practice continues today).

Subsequently, HCC operational units developed budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.  The budgets detailed the cost of new funding initiatives in support of Board Goals.  The initiatives were prioritized by the President’s Cabinet and funded based upon projected revenue growth in the subsequent year as informed by the enrollment targets.

During this time the institution employed a model of program review in which those employees within the unit of review developed recommendations for program improvement (e.g. Biology, English, Library, and Student Services). Reviews were scheduled on a five-year cycle. The recommendations were followed by a series of administrative responses by appropriate deans/directors, vice presidents, and culminating with the President.

More recently, the college completed a Baldrige Quality Award self-assessment.  Implementation of the Florida Sterling Navigator Self-Assessment Survey provided a baseline measurement against criteria similar to that of the Baldrige categories.  The 2003 results revealed that the area in greatest need of improvement was strategic planning.  From this analysis emerged the current system to be described in the following paragraphs.


Ongoing, Integrated, and Institution-wide Planning Supporting Accomplishment of Mission and College Goals

The biennial planning process, approved in April 2004 by the President’s Cabinet, is the current method by which HCC integrates our strategic plan with tactical action plans across all academic, administrative, and educational support units. 

Development of the College plan begins in the even numbered academic year (e.g. 2004-2005) and by its conclusion results in an Institutional Effectiveness Plan summarizing the strategic direction of the college for the next two academic years (e.g. 2005-2006 and 2006-2007).  The table below displays a timeline of development through closure of a given biennial plan.

Timeline of Activities Related to Development Through Closure of a Biennial Plan


Planning & Evaluation Activities

Year One, even numbered year, e.g. 2004-2005

Develop biennial plan

Year Two

Implement 1st year of biennial plan

Year Three, even numbered year

Implement 2nd year of biennial plan;

Evaluate & report progress of 1st year (mid-cycle);

Develop next biennial plan

Year Four

Evaluate & report progress of 2nd year (final report)

Implement 1st year of new biennial plan

The strategic plan consists of the institution’s mission, vision, and goals as approved by the Board of Trustees.  Renewal of these strategic elements is preceded by two analyses, one examining internal performance and the other anticipating external trends and events.  The latter is built from a solicitation of input from the entire College community.  Collectively, these analyses reveal strengths and weaknesses in performance and external opportunities and threats. 

The strategic plan is circulated throughout the College community and external constituencies for feedback, after which the President's Cabinet drafts modifications as needed.  The strategic plan is forwarded to the Board of Trustees for approval. Please reference Core Requirement 2.4 and Comprehensive Standard 3.1 for more information.

Following Board adoption, all academic (e.g. Respiratory Care), educational support (e.g. Student Services), and administrative units (e.g. HCC Foundation) develop action plans with objectives in direct support of College goals.  Development of action plans is facilitated by an online Planning System (System can be accessed in a separate file. Please see Navigation Instructions) requiring the following components within each unit plan:

  • Identification of the Planning facilitator;
  • Unit purpose statement;
  • Unit planning process;
  • External trends/events and their impact on the unit (environmental scanning);
  • Identification of constituents and their needs; and
  • Unit objectives.


The objectives define the tactical activities of the unit within a biennial time frame.  The requirements for each objective include some of the following:

  • Identification of the individual(s) responsible for achievement;
  • Target date for achievement;
  • Identification of the college goal the objective supports;
  • Identification of expected student outcomes/criteria of success and means of assessment;
  • Strategies for achievement; and
  • Identification of financial resources required.


All unit plans must be completed by conclusion of the fall semester in the even numbered year (e.g. 2004-2005).  Subsequently,the budgeting process begins in the spring semester. The sequence of planning and budgeting allows unit objectives and their attendant costs (if any) to inform budget development.  Management reports within the Planning System summarize the costs of the biennial plan (Strategic Plan Overview, p. 2).  Other reports isolate those objectives that would require additional funds beyond the units’ base budgets (Objectives Requiring New Funding).  These reports are used by Cabinet to inform budgeting decisions.

Research-Based Planning and Evaluation Resulting in Continuous Improvement

Progress toward fulfillment of the College plan is demonstrated through a variety of channels corresponding to hierarchical levels of assessment (institutional and unit).  The Critical Success Factors (CSF) reports performance on leading indicators of the health of the institution. The factors and their indicators correspond to College goals providing evidence of the extent to which outcomes are being achieved (CSF linkage table). The findings of this document are presented to Cabinet as they review HCC's strategic direction (mission, vision, and college goals).

Progress towards fulfillment of unit plans is reported annually using the online Planning System. Progress is expressed by attainment of expected student outcomes or other criteria of success defined for each objective. Progress in numerically summarized in the Strategic Plan Overview report.

The progress reports include the following elements per each unit objective:

  • Results of assessment per each expected outcome/ criterion of success;
  • Achievement status of the overall objective in view of assessment results; and
  • Statement of how assessment results will be used for improvement.


Management reports within the Planning System specifically report progress on the unit plans, sorted by the primary college goal each objective supports (hotlink). 

The website of the Department of Institutional Research reflects the breadth of research and evaluation products offered to support unit planning, program review, and other continuous improvement initiatives. The website includes research briefs, survey results, fact books, enrollment and completion data, course performance data, state accountability measures, the Critical Success Factors report, the College plan, program review reports, and more.

Incorporation of a Systematic Review of Programs and Services

The unit planning process provides opportunity for internal development of strategic direction. The program review process complements unit planning with an external perspective in the review of those plans and the quality of the programs and services.  Every academic (e.g. AA, Industrial Management), academic support (e.g. International Education), and administrative unit (e.g. Human Resources and Financial Services are currently under review for Spring 2006) is subject to program review within a five-year cycle barring a specialized external accrediting review within the same cycle (e.g. Dental Hygiene accreditation). 

The review is conducted by a task force , the members of which are drawn from outside the unit under review, with the exception of the task force chair. The charge of the task force is to identify strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for improvement.  In particular, the task force derives its recommendations from an examination of data.  If the task force deems the available data insufficient to develop recommendations, it can elect to supplement this with additional data gathering (e.g. focus groups, survey, interviews, etc.).

Subsequent to the final report of recommendations, two progress reports are developed.  The first is completed in the semester following the review and and presented to the President's Cabinet for approval; the second is completed one year later.  Each report consists of brief statements summarizing the status of each recommendation.  All reports are made available to the community at large through posting on the website of the Department of Institutional Research.

Recommendations that are not completed within a year may become “objectives” in the unit plan, thereby ensuring a continued focus toward their achievement (e.g. example from Student Services unit plan).  A field in the online Planning System is available to show the derivation of objectives from program review recommendations.

Supporting Documentation