How can faculty and administration in universities plan rationally for the future? School of Communication and Information faculty member Brent Ruben has an award-winning answer.
Dr. Ruben, professor of Communication and director of Rutgers University's Center for Organizational Development and Leadership (ODL), has been recognized by the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) with a 2012 Leveraging Excellence Award for his work helping his colleagues understand that answer.
Through his work at ODL, Dr. Ruben developed the Excellence in Higher Education (EHE) model, which addresses the challenge of meaningfully integrating assessment, planning and improvement efforts in colleges and universities. The EHE framework serves as a comprehensive guide to institutional, departmental, and program self-assessment that is applicable to academic and administrative units of all sizes and functions. The program integrates the Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria for assessing organizations with the standards and language developed and used by accrediting agencies.
Approximately 4,000 copies of the Excellence in Higher Education Guide and Workbook have been distributed since 1994 when the first edition was published. Formalized EHE programs have been implemented in dozens of Rutgers departments and approximately 40 other colleges and universities--in academic departments and centers, student affairs, service areas and administrative units, and across entire institutions.
Seven institutions in particular participated in a National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Challenge Project, an initiative sponsored by a grant from the Lumina Foundation to implement the EHE/Baldrige model and document its impact. Within these institutions—American University, the California State University System, Loras College, Marist College, Rogue Community College, the University of Georgia, and the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center—the EHE program was applied in a range of project areas, including budget and finance, institutional planning, accreditation, and critical services. All achieved valuable outcomes, many of which have been shared through presentations and national publications.
Dr. Peter Keller, Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Mansfield University, where EHE is being used as an assessment and planning tool across the entire institution, commented: “We have to be accountable for assessment and improving our processes and the model makes it simple for all of us. Use of EHE has changed the tone of the conversation in departments and given people ways to coalesce around goals that are clear and processes that make sense for them.”
The 2012 Leveraging Excellence Award is sponsored and supported by Follett Higher Education Group and recognizes best practices that have had broad impact within the higher education community. NCCI selected the Business Higher Education Forum for its initiative to increase the number of U.S. students graduating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and Rutgers University for the development and national influence of its organizational self-assessment and planning framework. Selected for honorable mention was the University of Central Florida for its TLE TeachLivE mixed-reality teaching environment that supports teacher practice.