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Page history last edited by Starr Hoffman 11 years, 4 months ago

UNT Deploys TracDat for Continuous Improvement and University Strategic Plan Alignment

  • TracDat = "enterprise outcomes assessment management solution"
  • web-based
  • help make "tighter linkages between strategies, goals, and measurement of outcomes"
  • for both internal and external reporting
  • replace home-grown data-reporting system
  • common language (I guess terms are defined?)
  • tracks longitudinal change
  • feedback & observations are included


Using Chaos Theory to Improve Planning (Cutright)

  • Brinbaum's argument that strategic planning is a business model poorly-fitted to higher education (44)
  • emphasis in Theory Y on flexibility, lack of precise detailed steps, and gives a philosophy for decision-making, then empowers lower-level figures to make those decisions as they see fit (47)
  • "butterly effect" present in HE institutions--feedback, loose coupling, attractors (51)
  • self-similarity (fractal structuring) = patterns are present, but complex and difficult to predict (51-52)
  • complexity = "irregularity in space" (52)
  • chaos = "irregularity in time" (52)
  • metaphor can be helpful or harmful (52)
  • "strategic direction over a fat, detailed document;" a mindset (53)
  • institutional purposes "not dictated from above, but discovered from within" (54)
  • importance of feedback (54)
  • conflict is healthy (55)
  • budget for failure (55)
  • encourage experimentation by not punishing or isolated failed pilots (56)
  • even in such a collaborative, non-top-down process, the president has power and an important role (56, 57)
  • quantitative and qualitative elements should be considered (57)


UNT Strategic Plan 2008


Goal 3.3

"Promote university-community engagement to address the needs of our business and government partners, surrounding communities, and area residents, engaging them in the life and activities of the University."

  • further relates to our mission as a federal and state depository library
  • a goal that may not be as highly reflected in the library's specific strategic plan
  • need flexibility to create our own projects, events, and services that best serve our constituents and fulfill the broader purpose of the themes in the university strategic plan
  • we are in the trenches and thus best know what needs to be done, what can be done, and work at the level at which the majority of this work ultimately will get done
  • micro-managing project planning harms our ability to get things done and undermines our judgment and skills as professionals
  • also increases time involved in executing projects, the majority of which are simple and quick to execute, apart from the structured administrative process
  • I also feel the contradiction in what I'm saying... because the lack of streamlining in the library strategic plan further harmed its effectiveness.  Perhaps this is because too many themes were picked, and further given too many specific strategies/objectives/projects.  If narrowed to two or three broad-based goals, left open for interpretation by department heads and to some extent individual librarians and staff, we would probably see a more cohesive effort, while being able to execute projects more quickly and further respond quickly to their failure or capitalize on their success. 
  • I still believe that the quantitative assessment we do in the library is valuable and informative for the planning process.  It provides backup to anecdotal impressions that many of us have as individuals, of such issues as the lack of an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere in the libraries, and further testifies to the importance of that perhaps trivial-seeming issue, as evidenced by the amount of complaints, and by specific relation of that issue, by students at all levels, to the ability and desire to study and use the library as a resource.



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