Office of Institutional Effectiveness

The mission of Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) is to promote continuous improvement through maintaining regional accreditation, sharing institutional research, coordinating yearly outcome reporting, and assessing strategic goals.

The mission of Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) is to promote continuous improvement through maintaining regional accreditation, sharing institutional research, coordinating yearly outcome reporting, and assessing strategic goals.

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Each year, OIE asks all areas to complete an Outcome Assessment Plan (OAP). The primary purpose of this process is to assess outcomes and depending on the nature of the office, seek improvement based on those results in the form of a Continuing Improvement Plan. Moreover, in anticipation of our next SACSCOC on-site visit in 2021-22, we will also be expected to provide evidence of multiple OAP cycles in our Compliance Certification.

OIE coordinates and supports the OAP process. Specifically, it provides detailed instructions to those administrative areas with direct reporting responsibilities and answers any questions about goals, outcomes, and effective measures. (Dr. Jessica Smith, Assistant Provost for Curriculum and Assessment provides assistance to Academic Departments). Sheila Hilton ( can answer questions about using our reporting tools.

In turn, OIE relies on individuals to oversee and complete the reports within each area. Assigned Area Coordinator (AC) are responsible for overseeing this process in a specific area and reviewing the plans, while Responsible Individuals (RI), develop and enter the individual plans.  OIE provides instructions and works individually with ACs each summer to complete OAP reporting and review reports using Google Forms.  Academic Departments also receive annual reminders about OAP reporting through TaskStream.


  1. Through overseeing compliance with regional accreditation requirements (i.e., SACSCOC) and coordinating the yearly continuous improvement process,OIE will ensure that ACU maintains its accreditation and successfully completes its 2022 reaffirmation process;
  2. Through coordination with Information Technology and other relevant departments, OIE will work to increase the use of institutional data and research to support evidence-based decision making, planning, and reporting to internal and external agencies; and
  3. Through tracking and evaluating the outcomes and initiatives related to the university’s strategic plan, OIE will help ensure successful implementation of the plan.

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Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees. This status was most recently affirmed during through the university’s interim report in 2018, continuing a relationship that ACU has enjoyed with SACSCOC since 1951. The next SACSCOC comprehensive reaffirmation is scheduled for 2021-2022.

SACSCOC accreditation and reaffirmation assures our constituents and the public of the quality and integrity of ACU and its programs. It also allows ACU students to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid and ensures transfer of credits between ACU and other institutions.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is located at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, or call 404-679-4500. The Commission is to be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support an institution’s significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard.

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Reaffirmation 2021-2022

Every 10 years, colleges and universities accredited by SACSCOC must demonstrate they comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation and with the policies and guidelines of the Commission on Colleges. This process is called reaffirmation of accreditation. As shown in the timeline, this three-year process of rigorous self-evaluation culminates in two stages of peer review conducted by senior level faculty and administrators at other institutions accredited by SACSCOC. In between these decennial reviews is a Fifth-Year Impact Report (FYIR) in which the institution evaluates its adherence to standards and the effectiveness of its QEP.  ACU’s FYIR was complete in 2018 and next reaffirmation is scheduled for 2021-22.


Outcome Assessment Plan

Chris Riley, J.D.
Chris Riley, J.D., serves as the Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation Liaison. He is responsible for coordinating assessments across campus and SACSCOC accreditation. He also oversees the gathering and dissemination of institutional research for the University. Chris also serves as an Assistant Professor in Political Science and adjunct faculty for the ACU Master’s in Higher Education. Chris can be reached at

Lisa McCarty
Lisa is the Assistant Director for the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Institutional Researcher for the university. She is responsible for coordination of all requests for information from off-campus entities and external reporting to the U.S. Department of Education, Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, plus others. Lisa also provides official information for on-campus use such as Retention and Graduation rates, and summary views of data. Lisa assists with coordination of on-campus, campus-wide surveys that are conducted on a regular basis. Lisa can be reached at

Sheila Hilton
Sheila is the Credential and Accreditation Support Specialist to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Sheila can be reached at

Office of Institutional Effectiveness
ACU Box 29105
Abilene, TX 79699-9105
Phone: 325-674-2918
Fax: 325-674-6026


  1. To access Taskstream, go to the Watermark homepage and click Login/Sign Up. Click the Taskstream logo that appears to the left, and then enter your login credentials.
  2. Under the name of your workspace, click Department Assessment & Continuous Improvement.
  3. Under the 2018-2019 Outcomes Assessment Report heading in the left column, click Assessment Plan.
    1. If you have already updated this for the year, it should say “Work in Progress” at the top, and you can review your measures before going on.
    2. If you have not, it should say “Work Not Started,” and you will follow the directions to check out your assessment plan and either roll forward last year’s or begin a new one.
  4. Once you have confirmed your assessment plan, click on Assessment Findings. Click the green Check Out button in the upper right and enter your findings measure by measure.
  5. After you have entered your assessment findings, click on Continuous Improvement Plan. You should enter a monitoring or improvement plan for each of your measures.
  6. Once you have completed your assessment plan, assessment findings, and continuous improvement plan, click the Submission & Read Reviews tab in the top center. Click the Submit Work button next to each of the three elements and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the submission. Your Area Coordinator will be able to see that the work is ready for review.
  7. For resources related to TaskStream, please see Taskstream Resources.

OIE is coordinates and assists with the completion of a wide variety of external requests for information including Common Data Set, National Center for Education Statistics (IPEDS), SACSCOC reporting, and reporting to state and federal government.

Campus-Wide Surveys

ACU regularly conducts campus-wide surveys for institutional and department use. If you would like more information about any of the following surveys, please contact our office.

National Survey of Student Engagement (Each Spring Since 2011)

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a survey designed to measure and gauge student engagement. Through its student survey, *The College Student Report*, NSSE annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about first-year and senior students’ participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college.

NSSE provides participating institutions with a variety of reports that compare their students’ responses with those of students at self-selected groups of comparison institutions. Comparisons are available for ten Engagement Indicators, six High-Impact Practices, and all individual survey questions.

Student Satisfaction Inventory (Fall Odd Years Since 2013)

The Student Satisfaction inventory (SSI) (Ruffalo Noel-Levitz) measures not only how satisfied students are with the college, but also which issues are important to them.

The survey asks students to rate 73 items for both satisfaction and importance on diverse topics affecting the entire campus, including academics, student life, admissions, financial aid, and security. The survey inquiries about student experience on campus, offering a 1-7 scale for Importance and Satisfaction, as rated by the students. The SSI
calculates the difference between the average satisfaction score and the average importance for each item; this difference is referred to as the “performance gap.” A large performance gap for an item indicates a relatively low level of satisfaction for an item of relatively high importance.

Thriving Quotient (Fall Even Years Since 2018)

The Thriving Quotient (TQ) is an instrument that was developed to measure the academic, social, and psychological aspects of a student’s college experience that are most predictive of academic success, institutional fit, satisfaction with college, and ultimately graduation. The 23 items on the TQ cluster onto 5 scales:

  • Engaged Learning– a measure of the degree to which students are meaningfully processing what happens in class, energized by what they are learning, and continuing to think about it outside of class
  • Academic Determination– a measure of students’ goal-directedness, investment of effort, and regulation of their own learning and use of time
  • Positive Perspective– a measure of students’ optimism, and explanatory style
  • Social Connectedness– a measure of students’ involvement in healthy relationships and social support networks, whether on or off-campus
  • Diverse Citizenship– a measure of students’ desire to make a difference in the community around them, as well as their openness to differences in others

The TQ was developed over a period of five years by Dr. Laurie Schreiner, Professor of Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University.