Planning & Institutional Effectiveness

Developing and monitoring progress pursuing the college's vision


The Office of Planning & Institutional Effectiveness has the unique charge of providing cross-functional support to the district office and all six of the colleges within Houston Community College. The defining nature of these services is that they impact all instructional programs as well as all administrative units.

Strategic Planning—Houston Community College adopted Embracing Houston’s Future - A Comprehensive Strategy.  This Comprehensive Strategy has five strategic priorities that builds on the college’s 50 years of accomplishments and contributions so that, when the College marks its sixtieth anniversary in 2030, it will be even more efficient, interconnected, responsive, aligned and innovative, educating even more students and producing even more successful graduates – further enhancing the critical value of its contribution to the community.  The strategic plan has a steering committee comprised of faculty and staff members, administrators and students assigned to develop and monitor progress in pursuing the College’s vision.

The Institutional Effectiveness Plan (IEP) is a vital component of Houston Community College's commitment to ongoing improvement. Each divisional unit and department within the system is entrusted with the responsibility of crafting an annual IEP. These plans serve as blueprints for enhancing institutional effectiveness across various facets of operations. By systematically assessing current practices, identifying areas for growth, and implementing targeted strategies, these plans facilitate a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organization.

Annual Admin Unit plans for IE include a defined mission and specific:

  • Core Functions
  • Goals
  • Actions
  • Assessment Approach
  • Findings
  • Use of Results for Improvement


Annual Administrative Unit reports are peer-reviewed by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee to provide feedback for departments/units/programs and to summarize assessment data for the Senior Leadership Team to support institutional budgeting and planning processes.

The Office of Strategic Planning & Institutional Effectiveness collaborates closely with stakeholders, providing data-driven insights to support the development of relevant measures and assessments aligned with Houston Community College's strategic plan. This ensures ongoing improvement in student progress and implementation strategies.

Institutional effectiveness assessment further supports the institution’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC):

SACSCOC Resource Manual for The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement

Excerpted Principles related to making a case for institutional effectiveness:

Section 7. Institutional Planning and Effectiveness (SACSCOC 4th Edition, 2024)

  1. The institution engages in ongoing, comprehensive, and integrated research-based planning and evaluation processes that (a) focus on institutional quality and effectiveness and (b) incorporate a systematic review of institutional goals and outcomes consistent with its mission. (Institutional Planning) *Core Requirement*
  2. The institution has a Quality Enhancement Plan that (a) has a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes; (b) has broad-based support of institutional constituencies; (c) focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success, (d) commits resources to initiate, implement and complete the QEP, and (e) includes a plan to assess achievement. (Quality Enhancement Plan)
  3. The institution identifies expected outcomes of its administrative support services and demonstrates the extent to which the outcomes are achieved. (Administrative effectiveness)


Section 8. Student Achievement (SACSCOC 4th Edition, 2024)

  1. The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on the analysis of the results in the areas below:
    1. student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs. (Student outcomes: educational programs)
    2. student learning outcomes for collegiate-level general education competencies of its undergraduate programs. (Student outcomes: general education)
    3. academic and student services that support student success. (Student outcomes: academic and student services)


Assessment Framework

Houston Community College is committed to institutional effectiveness and assessment as a methodology to drive continuous improvement. Assessment is intended to help the program/services units achieve congruence with overall institutional goals. Research shows that collecting and analyzing evidence leads to improvement of the institution and to programs/services units effectiveness. There are 6 different assessment methods currently available to programs and support services units for gathering evidence. Assessment methods are applied to units as appropriate.

Assessment Methods

Internal Review

Internal program review is intended to help the academic programs and services units achieve stated goals, improve performance and plan better for the future. Program reviews are conducted every four years by all academic disciplines, career and technical programs and administrative and educational support services operational units. Between program reviews, all programs and services operational units complete an Annual Progress Report focusing on program improvement recommendations as identified during the program review process.


External Review

Academic programs and administrative and educational support services operational units may also have outside agencies or consultants conduct an extensive evaluation of the program or the services unit. For example, the Learning Resources Network (LERN) conducted an evaluation of the restructuring of the Continuing Education programs offered under the Office of Workforce Instruction. Most of the Health Science programs are evaluated periodically by their outside accrediting bodies, such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The institution also undergoes review by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


Academic Dashboard

The Academic Dashboard is a set of eight key performance indicators used to track the progress of the institution in achieving its mission, vision and strategic goals.


Student Learning Outcomes

Instructional services units submit annual Student Learning Outcomes assessment reports and use information from assessment activity to improve teaching and learning.


Administrative/Support Unit Assessment Activity

Administrative/support units submit assessment activity information which reflects core function awareness, incorporates elements of the HCC Way and activity related to securing objectives of the strategic plan.


Unit Action Plan (UAP) Brief Analysis Report

All units submit a "closing the loop" report which contains a brief analysis of the unit's outcomes and achievements during the preceding IE cycle.


Contact Us

Planning & Institutional Effectiveness

P.O. BOX 667517, MC 1165 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002