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5 Indicators of Administrative Effectiveness in Higher Education

Updated on August 2, 2013
Yoon Sik Kim profile image

A Ph. D. in English, Dr. Kim teaches at Murray State College. A bug rancher, he also keeps honeybees (Google Dr. Kim's Honey Farm).

Effective Administration in Higher Education


Transparency: Effective Administration


5 Indicators of Administrative Effectiveness in Higher Education

The indicators of administrative effectiveness in higher education often manifest themselves in the following areas: high retention and graduation rates, effective teaching and learning, ongoing faculty and staff development, sustained resource allocation, shared-governance and community involvement.

1. Effective High Retention and Graduation Rate

An effective administration should establish sound policies and measures to retain students they recruit so that they can graduate successfully. According to the National Education Association, the new rate of college graduation, in fact, has risen as high as 75% in 2010—a 7.9% increase from the previous year. (See Reference 1). This is a great news, indeed; however, if your school’s graduation rates is still stuck in the mid 50’s or lower than this national average, it speaks volumes about the administrative effectiveness of your school. Invariably such low retention and graduation rates mean institutional hemorrhage, an internal bleeding of valuable resources. Retention, in this situation, is more important than recruitment as it costs less.

2. Effective Teaching and Learning

An effective administration will have an ongoing robust mechanism to assess the effectiveness of teaching and learning, both of which have direct consequences to retention and graduation rates. For example, it should create and offer remedial facilities to assist underprepared students. It will assure the quality of assistance given in the Writing Center as well as Math and Science labs: the qualifications of the tutorial staff, the rigor of service and the periodic assessment of their performance. It should also maintain assessment process for effective teaching through, for example, self-evaluation, peer-evaluation, administrative evaluation, and student evaluation. Ideally, the ongoing feedbacks from theses evaluation should be immediate so that they do not have to wait one semester to figure out how they have performed in the previous semester.

3. Ongoing Faculty and Staff Development

An effective administration should maintain a Faculty-Enhancement Center so that teachers and the staff, whose performance was found ineffective, can receive, say, two semesters of intensive training to improve their performance. Ideally, all the faculty members should participate in such periodic upgrading of their pedagogical skills, and such training can be incentivized with financial rewards, if possible. The administration should also allocate funds to invite nationally-recognized experts on pedagogical innovations for periodic seminars on effective teaching and learning. If none of the above measures are feasible, the administration could offer in-house faculty and staff development measures, such as Brown-Bag lunches, in which, say, the recipient of the Teacher of the Year can share effective teaching skills with the rest. Similarly, when the school hires a new faculty or staff, it can offer a mentor program, in which a senior member can assist the newcomer over a period of time.

4. Sustained Resources Allocation

An effective administration will allocate fiscal and physical resources to fund the current institutional operation to its full capacity; its allocation will also reflect its future prediction and expansion. For instance, it will set aside a portion of its annual budget in the form of deferred maintenance, among others, to upkeep its facilities and services. It will constantly monitor, evaluate and assess the effectiveness of funding across the board, eliminating any duplication or ineffective programs. A good sign of ineffective administration often appears in the inexplicable disappearance of Faculty Development Fund. An effective administration will shoulder the cost of annual membership for its faculty as well as the traveling and incidentals, as well. Maintaining sustained resource allocation is vital in today’s competitive market as internet technology evolves monthly. A savvy administration will also include in its master plan how to deal with unforeseen financial exigencies in the future caused by enrollment drop or fiscal crisis, a plan all the stakeholders agreed upon.

5. Shared-Governance and Community Involvement

An effective administration exercises shared-governance in all matters of importance based on teamwork, consultation and open communication—all focusing on a good measure of transparency. Typically the first sign of an ineffective administration is behind-the-doors decision-making process: there is no substantive or procedural due process essential in shared-governance. Such decision-making process tends to permeate at every level of administration from the President, Vice Presidents, Deans and Department Heads. In the worst case, such administration will intimidate and harass the school employees with threats of termination, creating inhospitable working environment, inviting potential lawsuits. Furthermore, an effective administration will consider the needs of the larger community in which the institution is located, realizing a symbiotic relationship between the two. Thanks to this partnership between the two, the external community is well aware of the value and contribution the school makes.

1. NEA Today: U.S. Graduation Rate Highest in 40 Years

Effective College Administration



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