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Strategic Optimization & Alignment Review (SOAR)
Beginning in the spring of 2014, SOAR was one of UND's major initiatives to help identify our university and program priorities, assist with data-driven planning, and guide strategic resource allocation to support our mission and advance the five pillars of Exceptional UND.
During the SOAR process, surveys and feedback were submitted describing the academic programs and support service programs at UND and how they align with and advance UND’s mission.
Those who completed the academic program survey, identified how and why the program exists in its current form, defined the student credit hours for Essential Studies and Service Course programs, listed programs that have the most continual interaction, and described the importance of the programs. The survey asked that people highlight how the programs worked to advance interdisciplinarity and the success of other programs in order to provide evidence for its importance. Furthermore, the survey asked people to assess the current benchmarks and successes for the program, and to identify what the next 3-5 years look like for the program.
Those who completed the support services program survey, identified how and why the program exists in its current form, provided examples of the program making significant contributions to advancing UND’s mission, and described how the program increased diversity and inclusion among the enrolled students, faculty, staff, and constituent groups. The survey asked that people address the internal and external demand for the program, as well as how those external services benefit UND in order to identify the program’s importance. Furthermore, the survey asked people to assess the current benchmarks and successes for the program, and list what positive outcomes would result if the program was granted more resources.
The SOAR process ended during the summer of 2015, and the information collected now serves as a reference for Colleges and departments. The surveys are available under “Documents” below and offer vantage points for Colleges and departments to make data-driven decisions.
Updates: June 2015
To open the Surveys, right click and select save link as. Save the pdf to a place of your choice and click save. Then go to the place where you saved the pdf and double click on it.
The model for evaluating programs was developed by the Task Forces. It involves rating each program based on two dimensions:
For that purpose, the Task Forces divided the criteria from the program surveys into those that pertain to “Opportunity/Impact” and those that pertain to “Resources.”
Academic Program Division
- Opportunity/Impact: History & Development; Internal Demand; External Demand; Outcomes; Scope, Size, & Productivity; Impact & Essentiality; and Opportunity Analysis
- Resources: Inputs and Revenue & Cost Effectiveness
Support Service Programs Division
- Opportunity/Impact: History & Development; Internal Demand; External Demand; Quality; Impact & Essentiality; and Opportunity Analysis
- Resources: Revenue & Cost Effectiveness
SOAR is one of UND's major initiatives to help identify our university and program priorities, assist with data-driven planning, and guide strategic resource allocation to support our mission and advance the five pillars of Exceptional UND.
Faculty and staff – those who engage in UND's most important mission, educating students – drive the SOAR initiative. They know the strengths of their programs and are in the best position to recognize their potential. Faculty and staff therefore populate the process's main working groups and their input drives the entire process. These working groups are charged with developing the key elements of the program evaluation process and informing its outcomes.
Selected from nominations by the campus community, the Academic Task Force that conducted the academic program evaluations consisted of faculty and department chairs. The Support Service Task Force that conducted the service program reviews similarly consisted of staff and faculty. And, providing general guidance and oversight, the Coordinating Committee contained University Senate and Staff Senate leadership as well as central university leadership.
Robust support services are being enhanced to advance these efforts. The Facilitation Team provided technical and project management support as well as data retrieval and quality assistance. To manage effective communication, collaboration, and strategy sharing among and within all of these working groups, the SOAR Connector served as liaison to and among all project teams, and worked with Division of University & Public Affairs to ensure information about the initiative is shared with the campus community.
All of the faculty, staff, and administrators involved in SOAR continued working together to shape a fully informed, dynamic, and meaningful program evaluation process that will work for UND – a process which fits our current circumstances and campus culture, and aligns with our aspirations.
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