Institutional Effectiveness

Institutional Effectiveness at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC)


What is institutional effectiveness?  The term first appeared in 1984 when adopted as part of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) revision of their institutional accreditation requirements.  SACS used this term because they thought the term “assessment” was too contentious after the publication of A Nation at Risk, also in 1984. Institutional effectiveness at Central Piedmont Community College consists of:

A set of ongoing and systematic, institutional processes and practices that include:

  • planning
  • the evaluation of programs and services (including administration and student services)
  • the identification and measurement of outcomes across all institutional units (including learning and program outcomes in instructional programs), and
  • the use of data and assessment results to inform decision-making (culture of evidence)

All of these activities are accomplished with the purpose of improving programs and services and increasing student success and institutional quality.

In 1999, the College Cabinet formed the Institutional Effectiveness (IE) Committee as a subcommittee of the Leadership Council with the charge to serve in an advisory and monitoring capacity for the College. Since its inception, the committee has been an integral part of Central Piedmont Community College’s quest for continuous improvement of programs, services, and administrative functions. In the first few years, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee accomplished the following tasks:

  • Developed an institutional effectiveness plan for the college
  • Contributed to the development of an institutional effectiveness website
  • Assisted with the development of an outcome-based program review process for instructional programs (based on recommendations from the College’s Deans)
  • Assisted with the development of an outcome-based unit review process for administrative and student services areas of the college, and
  • Formed an additional sub-committee for the assessment of general education competencies.

In recent years, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee has collaborated with various college-wide committees.  Generally speaking, if the IE committee has supported their proposed recommendations, it has given credence to college-wide committee efforts and has endorsed or supported projects or potential policy changes.

Several subcommittees have been established within the IE Committee.  The subcommittees are reviewed each year for their validity by looking at current college-wide initiatives and practices.  The current subcommittees are:

  • Culture of Evidence
  • Evaluation
  • Online Learning
  • SACS/Academic/Unit Review


    The institutional effectiveness plan at the College consists of four major areas:

    1. Tracking progress on the strategic plan and strategic goals through an annual cycle of establishing unit level goals and action items.
    2. Conducting program and unit reviews. Program reviews that measure program and learning outcomes are conducted on a two-year cycle as the average student at CPCC completes in four to six years. Program review is also used to assess additional skills of the general education/Core4 competencies (now known as Critical Core). Administrative and students’ services units, being service-providing units, conduct their reviews on a three-year cycle. These units measure administrative outcomes. Program and unit reviews have been conducted on a continuous cycle since 1998, and most programs/units have completed the process two to three times. Each year, approximately 20-25 academic programs and 15-20 administrative/student services units go through the program/unit review process.
    3. Collaborating with the Critical Core initiative which has responsibility for assessing college-level general education outcomes on an annual basis. This process will be piloted in Spring 2017
    4. Reporting out on the college’s various surveys, assessments (qualitative and quantitative) and national projects and completion initiatives.


    Institutional effectiveness has been a major player in facilitating change at CPCC.  Over the years, substantial changes and improvements have been made in facilities, ITS, the bookstore, vending, financial services, student services units and virtually every academic program as a result of data obtained through the program/unit review process.