The Office of Institutional Effectiveness

***Note: Site content is continuously refined***

Purpose Statement:

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is composed of a team of professionals who support our College-wide effort to promote data-informed decision making that leads to institutional improvement and enhanced student learning.


The Office staff assists the campus community in the areas of:

  • Accreditation

  • Assessment

  • Analysis

  • Training

  • Information Dissemination

Definition of Institutional Effectiveness:

Institutional Effectiveness is the systematic collection, analysis, organization, warehousing, and dissemination of quantitative and qualitative information concerning the characteristics and performance of the Institution. The goal of institutional effectiveness is to provide quality information such that informed decisions and effective planning can be accomplished by faculty, staff, and administrators.

The goal of assessment at Southwestern Christian College is to gather evidence that demonstrates how well students are learning what our programs are designed to teach, and to use that information to make our programs even more effective. Southwestern Christian College implements a four-phased strategic planning process to ensure continuous improvements as illustrated in the graphic below.


Library Entrance

Define/Revise Strategic Goals

The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that incorporate a systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes; result in continuing improvement in institutional quality; and demonstrate the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.

Develop/Refine Assessment Measures

The College has many strategies for collecting data for evaluation and assessment, including the level of assessment of student learning and the assessment of progress toward goal accomplishment.

Collect and Analyze Data

The result of these data collection, evaluation and assessment efforts are fed into the planning process. The most systematic and formal of these evaluation processes is completion of the Desktop Audit, during which time planning and review meetings are held with the planning units of the College

Leverage Results for Enhancement

Student learning outcomes are evidence of institutional effectiveness based on sound planning, budgeting, and assessment. This overall commitment to institutional effectiveness has resulted in a working example of continuous quality improvement that has resulted in profound differences in the lives of our students and the community we serve.

Broad Institutional Goals

Goal Category Description
1 Qualitative Educational Program Maintain a qualitative academic program that will accommodate individual differences in learning rates, aptitudes, prior knowledge and experience. (SACSCOC Standards:  R 8.1, R 8.2.b, R 9.1, R 9.2, R 9.3, B 10.4)
2 Enrollment Management Maintain an aggressive student recruitment system to provide educational opportunities to increased numbers of students. (SACSCOC Standards: R 3.1.c, R10.5, R 12.3)
3 Faculty & Staff Attract and retain a competent faculty and staff as well as provide opportunities for continuous faculty/staff development (SACSCOC Standards:   R 5.1, R 4.1.e, R 6.2.a, R 6.1, R 6.2.b.)
4 Financial Stability Expand and stabilize the financial resources of the college by opening new revenue markets and improving current programs and operations.   (SACSCOC Standards: R 4.3.g, R.13.3)
5 Fiscal Management Maintain an improved computer-based fiscal operations and control system that is responsive to the college’s needs and requirements of external agencies. (SACSCOC Standards: R 13.1, R 13.2, R 13.3)
6 Physical Plant & Grounds Ensure the adequacy and quality of buildings, grounds, equipment, and vehicles in support of the teaching/learning mission. (SACSCOC Standards: R 13.1, R 13.2 R 13.7, R 13.6, R13.5, R 13.3, R 13.4)
7 Public Service & Visibility Serve the Terrell community through college-sponsored events and increase positive awareness of all college programs and services throughout the service area and constituent community. (SACSCOC Standards:  R 2.1, R7.1)
8 Student Access Maintain a definitive, systematic student financial aid operation that is responsive to internal and external fiscal and programmatic requirements (SACSCOC Standards: R 13.6)
9 Enhanced Ministerial Program Develop a well-rounded ministerial program for young men who are contemplating the work of the ministry on a fulltime basis. (SACSCOC Standards: R 4.1.a,b,c, and d.)
10 Planning & Assessment Develop, maintain, assess, and improve academic programs, administrative/educational support services and student services to admit, retain, and graduate students who achieve established learning outcomes designed to prepare them for success in their chosen field. (SACSCOC Standards: R 8.2.a, R 7.3, R 8.2.c, R 7.2.)
11 Academic Support Provide adequate learning resources and Academic Research data to support and improve the teaching/learning environment. (SACSCOC Standards: R11.1, R12.1, R 11.2, R11.3)
12 Student Affairs Develop a wide spectrum of Student Support Services in Academics, Student Life, Housing, and Security to ensure an acceptable level of success and retention in the college’s educational delivery system and provide a safe and secure living/learning environment. (SACSCOC R 12.2, R 12.3, R12.5, R12.4.)

SWCC Strategic Goals

1.  ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: SWCC will provide students the knowledge, insight, and skills needed to understand, contribute to, and lead in a rapidly changing world, and it will embrace and support the production of high-quality scholarship. A SWCC education will stimulate intellectual and personal growth, connect theory with practice, and offer the inspiration of the liberal arts and the ability to approach problems thoughtfully, critically, ethically, and creatively. Every undergraduate student will have the opportunity to enter into an intellectually engaging first-year experience based on the College’s values; ascend through living-learning, community-based, and international exposure; and pursue faculty-mentored research and internships to graduate enriched and fully prepared for challenging and fulfilling lives. In every school, a SWCC education will chart a course for transformational learning from student acceptance to graduation. That education will take place within a vibrant intellectual community that supports the production of high-quality scholarly and creative work and engages students as active partners in that work.


  • Develop a signature first-year experience that will immerse undergraduate students into our intellectual community and set them on a purposeful, ambitious path of inquiry and achievement in the classroom and in their personal development.
  • Ensure that our curriculum provides students with the best possible preparation for lifelong learning, success in their chosen profession, and meaningful contributions to addressing the world’s problems.
  • Encourage and support the production of excellent scholarly and creative work.
  • Support a robust intellectual community inside and outside the classroom, including innovations in the use of campus spaces, the structures of campus life, and the visibility of scholarly and creative accomplishments.
  • Create institutional structures to support an enhanced culture of writing, so that SWCC graduates in all disciplines are recognizable by their proficiency in this area.
  • Strengthen and expand faculty development opportunities to support inclusive pedagogy and continuing faculty innovation in the classroom.
  • Invest in areas of academic strength that take advantage of our disciplinary breadth to address the world’s problems from multiple perspectives. Areas of emphasis could include ethics, sustainability, entrepreneurship, data analytics, and areas of law and public policy.

2.  ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY: SWCC will recruit, retain, and inspire academically talented students from all economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. SWCC has a tradition of providing opportunities and assistance to promising students. Each generation has worked in new ways to extend opportunity and welcome students from all backgrounds. We will continue to build on that tradition to open doors for students with the potential to excel and contribute to SWCC, and help families understand clearly the value and affordability of a SWCC education.


  • Provide leadership for expanding the number of talented low- and moderate-income students who enroll at the nation’s top colleges.
  • Explore ways to expand SWCC (e.g. geographically, student populations served) in order to make a SWCC education accessible to more academically talented students.
  • Develop a program to identify a cohort of local students for admission to SWCC.
  • Help families more clearly understand the cost and value of a SWCC education from the beginning of the college search process by investigating new approaches to financial aid.
  • Develop innovative outreach programs to ensure that the most academically talented students in the world understand the value of a SWCC education and are inspired to apply.

3.  THRIVING AND INCLUSIVE COLLEGE COMMUNITY: Students, faculty, and staff will reach their full potential and thrive in an inclusive College community. SWCC will serve as a model institution in which all members challenge themselves and one another to engage fully in the life of the College, reach their full potential, and contribute to a robust intellectual community. As we prepare the next generation of global leaders, we will center well-being, foster dynamic engagement across a wide range of perspectives and experiences, and create a learning community where all individuals are valued and respected.


  • Create a comprehensive well-being initiative for students that would strengthen and align programs that support both high achievement and a well-balanced life.
  • Recruit, hire, and retain more diverse faculty and staff.
  • Ensure that high-impact practices (such as living-learning communities, capstone projects, internships, research opportunities for students, study abroad, and community-based learning) are of the highest quality and accessible to all undergraduates.
  • Continue to enhance the accessibility of our institutional spaces so that they support the full participation of our community members.
  • Redesign and program campus venues to provide vibrant social spaces that support the variety of opportunities that students seek.
  • Develop and implement an ambitious Athletics Strategic Plan that helps to ensure that student athletes are able to take full advantage of a SWCC education, supports competitive success of SWCC's Division I program, and imagines new ways for Athletics to contribute to a thriving College community.
  • Acknowledge the essential contributions of all faculty and staff to SWCC's mission and ambitions.
  • Provide professional development and mentoring opportunities that support rewarding career paths and encourage faculty and staff to engage fully in the life of the College.

Percentage of 2018 Assessment Surveys Completed

Religious Studies
Business and Vocational
Natural Science, Math, and Computer Science
Social Science
Physical Education
Basic Studies
Administrative Support Services
Academic Student Support Services

Documents / Forms

The items below are available for download. Most items are in Microsoft Word (.docx) or Adobe Acrobat format. (.PDF)


For questions or additional information, please contact:

Dr. Joyce Cathey, Comptroller
V.P. of Institutional Effectiveness
Southwestern Christian College
1-800-925-9357 ext. 140 or 972-524-3341 ext. 140
972-563-7133 Fax