Case Study

Pushing Paper (Away!) — Strengthening a Program’s Approval Process

Roosevelt University is a coeducational, private university in Illinois.
Founded in 1945, the university is named in honor of both former President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The university’s
curriculum is based on principles of social justice. By implementing assessment portfolios as an intra-faculty functionality, Ester Rogers is revolutionizing the way Roosevelt University juggles program proposals.

The Challenge

When a department at Roosevelt wants to begin instituting a new major or program, they are
required to submit a proposal for review. However, this review needs to take place across the
desks of approximately a dozen unique individuals, all of whom have varying levels of
involvement. Some of the reviewers simply need to be made aware of the proposal, some need to
approve budgetary allowances, some need to write additional approvals or components, and the
list of possibilities goes on.

The ultimate challenge truly surfaced due to the method of data collection: a physical stack of
papers that was passed from one person to the next. This method has minimized communication
and led to various issues with pieces going missing, approvals getting backlogged on various desks
for long periods of time, and an inability to track the documents and status as time went on.
In addition, the entire process is currently being overseen by Ester Rogers, in the Office of
Institutional Research and Assessment, because of the external compliance requirements. Ester
would like to simplify the process and move it back to the academic side of the house while still
ensuring that the data collected meets external constituent’s needs.

The Solution

Ester and Tk20 think they have found a solution. The plan is to collect proposals as an artifact
within an assessment portfolio. When a member of a department wants to make a new program
proposal, they will simply fill out this artifact with the relevant pieces. Then, by selecting the
routing parameters, the administrator will be able to determine how and when different members
of the approval process receive their relevant documentation.

As stakeholders submit and review a growing number of program proposals, the information will
become logged within Tk20, and allow relevant individuals to track the progress of the documents.
Not only will this streamlining of the process ensure that the workflow is neatly documented, it will
also provide administrators the ability to monitor the process in its entirety.

As a bonus, comprehensive reporting can help final reviewers see information about the
consistency of their decisions, and aggregate reports will allow them to see overall trends. Rather
than mentally keeping track of the decisions that are being made, portfolio reports will now
defend the ability of upper-level administrators to easily and effectively oversee this approval
process.

The Win

By incorporating Tk20 portfolios into their system, Roosevelt is hoping to ensure that the right
people have access to these proposals at the right time. The electronic system will keep everything
secure, yet accessible by the intended individuals at the institution.