Trends of “Effectiveness” Positions in Colleges and Universities by Daniel Seymour

An analysis of job titles with the term “effectiveness” such as Vice Chancellor for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness or Dean of Institution Effectiveness was illustrated in Institutional Effectiveness Fieldbook: Creating Coherence in Colleges and Universities in 2018 (Seymour and Bourgeois).

By reviewing the Higher Education Directory, it noted that positions with “effectiveness” in the titles occurred in only 43 positions 25 years ago in 1995. The number of “effectiveness” positions jumped to 375 in 2010 and then to 501 in 2015.

The analysis in the 2018 book showed the continuation of this trend to 626 (below). Further, when reviewing the data by regional accreditor, it highlighted that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was the leader—23% of the total number of regional accreditors but 46% of the “effectiveness” positions. It goes on to state: “Undoubtedly, this result is because SACS has been the leader in advocating for an approach—‘ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes’—that reflects a newer, management-based quality assurance that is ‘grounded in a theory of change that views institutional learning as the primary mechanism for sustained improvement.’”

The institutional effectiveness trend in higher education—that is, creating coherence in colleges and universities—appears to show a strong continuation with a 15% increase of “effectiveness” positions from 602 in 2018 to 709 in 2020.

Daniel Seymour is the author of Momentum (Rowman & Littlefield) in 2016 and Institutional Effectiveness (Olive Press) in 2018.