Truett McConnell University Case Study
Featuring Jessica Stribling, Assistant Director of Institutional Effectiveness
At Truett McConnell, a private Christian liberal arts and sciences institution with approximately 2,600 students, there’s always a lot to do in the institutional effectiveness office. Jessica Stribling, the Assistant Director of Institutional Effectiveness, makes up one part of a 2.5 person team (two full-time and one part-time) that oversees all of Truett McConnell’s assessment and accreditation efforts.
Having worked in institutional effectiveness at Truett McConnell for 18 years, Jessica knows the most important thing when it comes to assessment and accreditation, and everyone’s sanity, is starting early and consistently monitoring progress on outcomes, narratives and evidence collection.
“We’ve always started exceptionally early on our ten years or our fifth years, the things that we know when they’re going to happen. We try to start 3 to 4 years out.”
Starting so early allows Truett McConnell to work with faculty and provide guidance and information to empower those preparing the narratives to write as much as possible. After creating the first draft of their report, they move into weekly review meetings with representatives from across the institution. This practice increases collaboration and gives everyone two years to fix any issues and collect new documentation as needed.
For assessment, Truett McConnell has appointed degree program coordinators for every program who manage the collection and compilation of assessment data, as well as making sure all faculty in the program understand their role in assessment. This model gives ownership to faculty and has worked really well at the institution. Adopting technology has given faculty and staff the autonomy to control their plans and reports, as well as making it possible for those working in the assessment office to move from simply collecting reports to coaching, participating and contributing to the quality of the reports.
“We saw a cultural shift with our degree program coordinators once we had Weave in place and they were using that system. The way the reports generated at the end, I think they really liked having that tool.”
Truett McConnell has used Weave for the past ten years. Stribling attributes their use of Weave as one of the main factors in getting so much faculty buy-in when it comes to assessment and accreditation.
"It’s amazing how when we made the transition to Weave, how many faculty members had the “aha” moment of “oh my gosh this makes sense now." Weave makes a big difference because it’s just that visual of seeing how to put it together. When we made that transition last year to that new platform and the way everything is together… I had two or three faculty who had the hardest time wrapping their brain around this and they looked at that new platform and were like “Oh, I get it. There it is together.” It was so funny. It’s that simple change of how it looked, it really put it together for them.”
Truett McConnell recently upgraded to the new Weave platform, which has intuitive entry screens, the ability to align with institution initiatives from any level, and ad hoc reporting. Not only has the improved platform been embraced amongst faculty and staff, but everyone was excited about the change.
“That’s [the new platform interface] been a great transition. Its one of the few times I’ve gone into a training and a meeting with everyone and said “we’re making a change” and no one got mad. They were excited about the change for once, which is good.”
Although rolling out new software can often be difficult, the upgraded Weave platform eliminates much of the confusion and frustration associated with introducing an updated platform. “In the new one, it’s just so intuitive and they [faculty] all love that,” says Stribling.
Along with an intuitive interface and easy-to-use features, Weave is also built by a team of institutional effectiveness professionals, which means every aspect of the product is built with individuals like Jessica in mind. Despite having chose Weave as their assessment and accreditation software solution over 10 years ago, Stribling feels the reasons they chose Weave are still true today.
“Weave was nice because it already aligned with what we were doing, it was manageable cost-wise, you know our institution is small and especially back then we had a lot less resources than we do now, and so we needed something cost effective and we wanted something that was relatively simple. One of the things I really really like about Weave is that it doesn’t have so much stuff in it that you’re overwhelmed by it. It’s very straightforward… It made it really easy to train people to work in it because it didn’t have a million bells and whistles they had to figure out.”
Weave continues to serve Truett McConnell, helping them organize and manage their assessment and accreditation, garner faculty support and participation in these crucial activities, and make Jessica and her colleagues jobs easier.
If you’re interested in learning more about using Weave at your institution or upgrading your current version of Weave to our most intuitive and easy-to-use platform yet, click below to connect with our team.