Strengths Questions

Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Instruction

  • What are the unique strengths of our college or university? What are the primary benefits and features for students? What evidence supports this? Are they sufficient to differentiate our institution?
  • How do we ensure that student success is at the core of our endeavor?  How have we integrated our student success goals across all aspects of our institution?
  • How do our institutional strengths align with student goals and market demand?
  • What do our programs cost? What are the high, medium and low return programs? Does delivery modality make a difference? How do we know?
  • What programs are critical to mission success?  What programs are not critical or even impede mission success?
  • How do we ensure that creativity is valued and supported?
  • Are we taking advantage of new models for pedagogy and delivery?
  • Are processes in place for assessing and improving teaching and learning?
  • Is our process for curriculum development efficient? Does it reference mission and student need?
  • How do we identify pillars of excellence?
  • Does our curriculum incorporate current understanding of how students learn, including through digital media?
  • Are academic and student services aligned regarding learning outcomes?

Academic Core

  • Have we defined “core” programs and services? 
  • How are core competencies supported and maintained?
  • Does the general education curriculum support the mission?
  • Does the general education curriculum reflect consensus on key areas of student learning, or is it a disjoint menu of courses?

Market Factors

  • How do our strengths capitalize on local, national or global trends now and in the future?
  • How do we use market inputs to support our strengths?
  • Are our strengths reflective of employment needs and opportunities?
  • How are we integrating academic programs with career preparation?

Research and Scholarship

  • What is the role of research and scholarship at our institution?
  • What is the appropriate level of emphasis on sponsored research? 
  • Do we have the proper balance between teaching and research/scholarship and service?

Processes for Improvement

  • What processes are in place to drive continuous improvement in organizational processes?
  • Do we have the personnel skills and expertise necessary and in the right places?
  • What student and academic services are critical to students’ success? How do these align with the our level of competency in these areas?
  • Are all processes that are essential for success identified and evaluated?
  • Do we have processes to phase out weak or unneeded programs?
  • Do we have shared definitions of institutional success?
  • What weaknesses do we have to address to be successful in attaining our mission?

Competency Innovation

  • What alternative credential should we offer our students?
  • Do we have a process for regularly reviewing programs and processes and making necessary changes?
  • Is the process for developing new programs agile and timely?
  • Are we willing to innovate or eliminate non-core programs and services?
  • Do we continue to identify ways to improve on our strengths? How do we keep them relevant?
  • How successful have we been in developing strong new products and services?

Thinking Forward

  • How have we defined and identified our strengths?
  • What weaknesses need to be addressed to ensure future success?
  • What is our process for understanding the current and future needs of constituents?
  • How can technology extend access—in depth and breadth—to our areas of strength?
Download Strengths Questions