Frequently Asked Questions
The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) provides a means to link strategy with operations to make certain the strategy of supporting student success is achieved. The BSC will help Student Affairs (SA) teams build meaningful performance metrics, improve performance, provide accountability, and ultimately help offices achieve the unified goals as a division.
When completed, the BSC will aid with budget planning, performance management, weekly/monthly/yearly reporting, and goal tracking.
Previous strategic planning initiatives have occurred in silos. Fortunately, the BSC provides a means to not only include more voices across SA offices, but also to unify the language around metrics. This means that while different SA departments may provide varying programs and services, the BSC process will help develop a common language and measurable metrics to collectively benchmark progress toward the common vision and mission.
No two departments or offices under SA are alike and the BSC takes that into account. A completed BSC does not mean that sweeping procedural changes will take place in any one office. While some changes to workflows and reporting methods may need to be evaluated and updated, any changes will be implemented in the spirit of improving processes. Ultimately, this will allow SA to best support student success across the university.
A BSC will help individual departments and the division answer the following five questions:
- Are we achieving our stated mission and desired outcomes?
- How do our students, our customers, perceive us?
- Internally, where do we need to excel?
- How can we continue to innovate, improve, and create value?
- Are we fiscally responsible to our stakeholders (e.g., students, parents, community members, state, and local government representatives etc.)?
The Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT) began meeting in early 2021 to set the broader goals for the division-wide Balanced Scorecard (BSC). All additional work has flowed from these goals. Staff from across Student Affairs will participate in the development of additional scorecards.
Members of SALT include Vice President for Student Affairs Lori McDonald, Chief of Staff & Special Assistant of Strategic Initiatives Stacy Ackerlind, Associate Vice President of Finance & Operations Jerry Bassford, Associate Vice President of Development & Inclusion Bryan Hubain, and Dean of Students & Associate Vice President Jason Ramirez.
There are four different teams at the core of the BSC method:
- The Strategic Management Team is composed of senior leadership and sets the strategic direction of the division. This team approves strategic elements developed by the other teams and integrates this work into the division-wide strategy map. This team also develops the four or more strategic themes, or focus areas, that form the framework of the strategic plan.
- The Strategic Theme Teams are cross-functional teams that represent a diversity of functions, locations, and employee roles from across the division. These teams identify strategic objectives and develop strategy maps for each of the four strategic themes, which inform the development of the division-wide strategy map.
- The Objective Owner Teams develop performance measures and potential initiatives for each objective, once the management team approves the final strategic objectives. These final elements populate the rest of the division-wide strategy map.
- The Communications Team is responsible for message development and outreach to the division community throughout the strategic planning process.
Additionally, many representatives from across SA will be asked to participate in focus group sessions to fine-tune the goals and definitions within the scorecard. Others will be asked to provide feedback on the daily processes and tasks that are performed within individual departments.
If not now, when? Vice President Lori McDonald and her leadership team believe this tool will help Student Affairs employees better serve University of Utah students. The goal of the Balanced Scorecard is to unify the various teams across the division to stay connected and to have all employee's worth seen and validated.
Student Affairs (SA) staff can expect to see a greater alignment between front line student-facing workers and the expectations of their management. Performance goals and results can be more easily determined, communicated, and evaluated.
Managers will be able to see the performance metrics for their teams and be better able to support team members who may need increased training or assistance to perform their duties. The BSC will be integrated into the U’s HR performance evaluation system to aid with SA employee retention and recognition.
The Balanced Scorecard will create measurable objectives that meet strategic goals. It will also aid with alignment across the entire Student Affairs division correlation to a larger purpose. It will also help streamline annual reporting.
Alignment means that every employee in Student Affairs (SA) understands the goals we are all working towards. Accountability means that evidence-based, data-driven decisions will be made to reach outcomes that are measured and tracked. Those results will then be clearly communicated to SA staff to empower teams and encourage continuous improvement.
All Student Affairs staff—regardless of role and title—will have access to the Balanced Scorecard information and be able to use the information. The exact method to share the information is still under development and will be shared widely when it is determined.
The members of Student Affairs Leadership Team will evaluate the Balanced Scorecard weekly and watch for improvements across the following categories: alignment across departments, accountability, and culture. These metrics will aid with ongoing strategic planning efforts that will become more consistent and continuously improved upon.
Yes! Contact the director of your department to volunteer with the process.