How to Grow Research Capabilities through Assessment for Strategic Planning
The practice of program assessment provides the unique opportunity for a unit to undertake a structured review and analysis of its mission and services to provide University administrators robust data on which to base strategic decisions. It was with that goal in mind that this Capstone Project was designed to conduct a self-study of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) at California State University, Stanislaus (Stanislaus State). Over the previous ten years, the ORSP self-assessment measures had been limited to annual reporting on the productivity of the office and highlighting the quantitative metrics of the number of proposals submitted and dollars awarded to the University. With a commitment to conduct a holistic review of ORSP based on the unique needs of research at Stanislaus State, a review of the metrics and best practices used to assess sponsored program offices was conducted. Based on this research and a formal retreat held by the staff of ORSP a questionnaire was designed to assess the level of support provided by ORSP and the capacity available to increase research capabilities on campus. The questionnaire was distributed to Stanislaus State faculty, staff, and administrators and the results of the questionnaire led to six recommendations ORSP will incorporate into a revised strategic plan. The recommendations included increasing activities to support grant prospecting, grant writing, and budget development skills. The results also highlighted the opportunity to increase awareness on campus of the activities, support, and services provided by ORSP.