Institutional Research, Planning & AssessmentOffice
The Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment (IRPA) supports the university community by providing information, services, and data analysis that inform and enhance strategic decision-making.
About the Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment
We facilitate strategic decision-making in the university through the delivery of timely, reliable and accurate analytic services.
- Ensuring the availability of prompt, accurate institutional information for university stakeholders
- Providing data and analysis pertinent to department-, college- and university-level strategic planning
- Fostering informed assessment practices through research, resource sharing and professional support
The University of South Dakota’s 2020-2026 Strategic Plan is the culmination of far-reaching discussions and information-gathering sessions involving a broad range of constituencies on campus and in the Vermillion community. During the 2019-2020 academic year USD was engaged in a collaborative strategic planning process that involved over 1,000 internal and external stakeholders. With this planning effort we generated and agreed on six strategic themes that will shape our time, attention and resources over the next five years.
Data Tools & Helpful Links
This page lists the foundational documents that underpin all major assessment efforts at the University of South Dakota. These documents provide faculty, staff and students with broad perspective on the university's various assessment processes.
USD Assessment Plan
The USD Assessment Plan lays out the overarching framework for all academic assessment activities. The plan describes how the university's assessment efforts are integrated into a single, comprehensive system. The plan underscores the evidence-based, collaborative and continuous nature of the university's assessment system.
- USD Assessment Plan 2017
As outlined in the USD Assessment Plan, university academic departments are responsible for the development and evaluation of department strategic goals and program student learning outcomes. These efforts are vital elements of well-functioning academic units, and are featured prominently in the university's assessment management platform (Nuventive). The rubrics below outline the quality standards by which department goals and program outcomes are evaluated by the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment.
- USD Program Assessment Plan Rubric
- USD Department Goals Rubric
General Education Assessment
From 1998 to 2016, all universities governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) administered the ACT Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) examination as a primary measure of student achievement in general education coursework. Following the board's repeal of the CAAP requirement in 2016, the university system office initiated a major revision of system-level general education assessment procedures. The links below provide the foundational and working documents associated with the university's new general education assessment model.
- SDBOR Policy 2:11 - Assessment
- SDBOR Policy 2:7 - Baccalaureate General Education Curriculum
- SDBOR Guideline 8.7 - General Education Assessment
- SDBOR List of General Education Goals and Student Learning Outcomes
- SDBOR List of Suggested Artifacts
- SDBOR Assessment Rubrics
- USD Cover Sheet Template - Goal 1: English
- USD Cover Sheet Template - Goal 2: Oral Communication
- USD Cover Sheet Template - Goal 3: Social Sciences
- USD Cover Sheet Template - Goal 4: Arts and Humanities
- USD Cover Sheet Template - Goal 5: Mathematics
- USD Cover Sheet Template - Goal 6: Natural Sciences
- USD General Education Assessment Handbook
- USD Faculty Instructions Handout
- USD Faculty Orientation Video
SDBOR policy requires all degree programs in the university system to undergo a substantive program review every seven years. The SDBOR policy 2:11 spells out the requirements and procedures associated with this review process for all degree programs at the University of South Dakota. The originating board policy is provided for general reference.
- SDBOR Policy 2:11 - Assessment
- SDBOR Guideline 4:2 - Program Review Accreditation
- USD Program Review Handbook
- USD Department Self-Study Template
- USD Action Plan Template
- SDBOR Summary Report Template
The following services and tools represent key points of contact between faculty, staff, students and the university's overall system of assessment. These items involve specific software applications or services that are used as a component of campus assessment activities.
In 2017, we deployed our first comprehensive platform for academic assessment management. Developed in partnership with a company called Nuventive, this system provides a single "one-stop shop" for department-level performance data, strategic goals and student learning outcomes. Nuventive is available to all university faculty members and select staff.
IDEA Course Evaluation
All end-of-term course evaluation surveys conducted at USD using the primary IDEA form are administered through the Campus Labs mobile platform. Sometimes referred to as "student opinion surveys" or "student ratings of instruction," these web-based questionnaires provide students with an opportunity to report impressions of teaching quality. Several related resources are provided below:
- Campus Labs Faculty Log-in
- Campus Labs Student Log-in
- Campus Labs Administrator Log-in
- Login Credentials Help
- CL Instructions (one page)
- Campus Labs Platform Training Video
- Faculty Reporting Training Video
- Administrator Reporting Training Video
- Campus Labs Printing Results
Digital Measures is the web service through which university faculty may submit professional information - such as educational background, scholarly activities and professional achievements - into a central repository. Information supplied to the Digital Measures system are used for a variety of purposes including department websites, accreditation reports and promotion and tenure evaluations.
All undergraduate students entering USD are subject to mathematics and English placement procedures established by the South Dakota Board of Regents. Though most placement decisions are made on the basis of common assessments (e.g., ACT, SAT, Smarter Balanced), a limited number of placements are determined by scores on secondary assessment instruments. To this end, the Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment administers the ACCUPLACER examination - the designated secondary placement instrument of the regental system - in accordance with university system requirements.