Structure Questions


  • Is our organization efficiently and effectively organized? How do we know?
  • Is accountability clear and aligned with responsibilities?
  • How do our organizational charts relate to industry metrics including enrollment?
  • Does our structure support our business plan and mission?
  • Is our organizational structure relevant to current needs? Does it create barriers to improvement?
  • How do we incent behaviors to align with institutional direction?
  • Are we demanding excellence/productivity? How is productivity measured?
  • Do performance evaluation, promotion and tenure criteria support mission?


  • What incentives help or inhibit staff from contributing? Are staff empowered to develop creative solutions?
  • How does our institutional culture align or conflict with goals and strategies?
  • Does our vision conflict with existing organizational culture, impairing success?

Policies and Processes

  • Are policies in place for processes that are necessary for achievement of mission?
  • Is our academic calendar congruent with needs and desires of current students?
  • Are information and communication systems in place to support mission and goal attainment?
  • How is change managed? How is our culture adapted to new requirements?
  • Should we centralize or decentralize services, resources and decision making?
  • How do our academic schedule (including drop/add dates, etc.) and course scheduling and occupancy support student success and institutional mission?
  • What opportunities do we have to change processes for student transfer and articulation?

Decision Making

  • Is decision making delegated to the appropriate positions and levels?
  • Does our budgeting process and ERP system allow for necessary change?
  • Is there consensus on appropriate levels of risk? Is there a risk management strategy?
  • Are policies in place that are necessary for achievement of mission? How do institutional policies support or hinder the mission?
  • Are information flows adequate and timely to participants in governance processes?
  • Are decisions about problems and solutions made and implemented timely?


  • Do our leaders confront the historical, legacy issues that threaten long-term viability?
  • Do our leaders agree to invest in institutional priorities rather than local needs and squeaky wheels?
  • Do leadership’s strengths support our institutional niche?
  • Does our leadership have the expertise to lead the college in light of current opportunities and challenges? 
  • Is our leadership willing to take strategic risk to better position the institution?
  • Do we have transformational leadership at all levels?
  • Does our leadership share the “brutal facts” transparently while leading with vision?


  • Does our current governance structure support a culture of change?
  • Does our leadership structure promote or inhibit collaborative practices across the institution?
  • Is our leadership team sufficiently stable and focused on the long-term institutional well-being?
  • Does our existing structure inhibit or promote productive, practical leadership? What governance structures inhibit change? Do we have the courage to change them?
  • How do we consistently drive change despite leadership changes?
  • Is the Board knowledgeable about and focused on their role in institutional change?
  • How do we engage Board members with differing levels of experience with higher education in significant discussion and decision making?

Market Factors

  • What are the impacts of the changing regulatory and statutory environment? What regulatory and statutory requirements constrain opportunities for change?
  • How does our regional and program-specific accreditation support institutional success?
  • How do we engage unions to collaborate on change?
  • How do we retain our uniqueness and competitive edge within the state system (if applicable)?
  • How do political structures impact our mission?


  • Should we position our institution for industry consolidation?
  • What opportunities exist to expand community collaboration to promote institutional growth and avoid duplication of services?
  • In what areas should we expand, strengthen or pursue collaboration or partnership with other colleges and universities?
  • What benefits do/might we gain from being a part of the state system (if applicable)?
  • What industries in our community offer opportunities for programmatic or other partnerships?
  • Are we adequately assessing downside risk as well as upside opportunity?
  • What opportunities exist for sharing of services and programs and partnerships/collaborations within our institution and with others?
  • Can we leverage intra-institutional mergers to garner resource savings while enhancing interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary instruction and research/scholarship?
  • Do silos prevent us from delivering services more effectively and efficiently?

Thinking Forward

  • Is the current organizational structure appropriate for the future?
  • What is a better structure of service delivery to achieve better outcomes?
  • Are the structures supporting innovation in place?
  • What is “core” to our mission? What might this imply for possible areas for innovation or outsourcing?
  • Is there appetite for change and innovation? Does the organization support risk-taking and entrepreneurialism?
  • What are the opportunities for structural innovation?
Download Structure Questions