LASA 3â€”Instructional Functional Analysis
Through interview, observation, document analysis, or other means of data collection, you will conduct an institutional functional analysis of a single administrative division or unit in any postsecondary college, university, or institution of your choosing. This assignment requires you to take a “macro view” of your institution. You will write up your analysis in a 12â€“15-page paper that presents the current administrative structure and context, strengths and challenges of the unit, the overall effectiveness of the unit in meeting institutional needs (including those of students, faculty, staff, administrative, or other stakeholders), and the extent to which the current structure is the best one, or whether a different structure or paradigm might better serve constituents. You are required to engage with and examine a unit or division that is not the one in which you currently work. Also, students in the Student Affairs/Student Services concentration should choose an area to examine outside of Student Affairs/Student Services. Potential areas to examine include Human Resources, Financial Services, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, Alumni Relations, Advancement and Development, or individual curricular divisions within a university (e.g., a school of business, a school of nursing, college of education, college of arts and sciences, department of English, etc.).
Your paper should be organized according to the following guidelines:
- Context: Present the overall context of the department/unit in light of your institution’s mission, vision, and values. If the department under analysis has its own mission, vision, and values, you should also present these. The context includes the current structure, organization, and function of the unit/department, leadership roles and staffing patterns, types of programs or services, who is served, and types of activities in which the unit or division engages. Based on your understanding of various academic cultures, describe the culture of the unit you are examining.
- Assessment: Conduct a brief assessment of the extent to which the unit appears to meet the needs of the stakeholders it serves, and the extent to which it appears to fulfill both the institutional mission and the unit mission. You should collect your data through interviews with at least 1 senior administrator, through observation of programs, services, and daily operations, through document analysis (of web materials, fact books, pamphlets, etc.), or other media available.
- Analysis and Recommendations: Utilizing information related to the organization, structure, and models of administration and governance, as well as your assessment of the individual unit, present and defend your overall analysis of the unit/department, specifically addressing the manner and extent to which it is successful and effective in meeting the needs of those whom it serves. Be sure to discuss how and why the unit is or is not successful. If you believe that the current structure is inadequate, propose and defend a new model, paradigm, or structure that you believe would be more effective, successful, or useful. Be sure to relate your analysis to the literature from this course or other courses as appropriate. If you were hired as a consultant to give advice to this unit on how to increase its effectiveness, what would you recommend and why?
- Reflection: How could you prepare yourself professionally to work in this functional area or unit? How could you continue to develop professionally in this area? What new insights have you gained about the functions and role of the department/unit on the campus you studied? What did you learn about the realities of administration and governance of higher education institutions?