Large Coastal Sign on campus covered walkway

Coastal Carolina Community College’s institutional effectiveness process is an ongoing, College-wide process of planning and outcomes assessment for the purpose of documenting that the College is achieving its mission and goals.

Institutional effectiveness essentially involves four major questions. The first question focuses on the College’s mission: “What is our purpose?” The second is stated in the President’s Vision: “What do we want to become?” The four themes of the College’s Strategic Plan provide the answer to the third question: “How will we get there?” The fourth question, is a result of assessment as documented in the Desktop Audit; “How well is Coastal doing its job in order to fulfill its mission?”
Institutional effectiveness involves a minimum of four steps:

  1. Establishing a clearly defined mission or purpose;
  2. Formulating educational goals consistent with the mission and strategic plan;
  3. Developing and implementing procedures to evaluate the extent to which goals have been achieved; and
  4. Using the results of evaluations to improve programs and services.

Coastal’s model for institutional effectiveness and student outcomes assessment is based on the research of Dr. James O. Nichols. Dr. Nichols visited Coastal in 1995 to assist the College in the development of meaningful student learning outcomes.
The Institutional Effectiveness Model depicts the essential components of the College’s planning and assessment process.


Coastal Carolina Community College has implemented a comprehensive institutional effectiveness assessment model. The Desktop Audit is the major component of Coastal’s institutional effectiveness model. The model is comprised of a number of components and assesses the effectiveness of all aspects of College programs and services including Curriculum and Continuing Education instruction and administrative and educational support services.

Demonstrating institutional effectiveness takes on special significance for community colleges. Community colleges typically have a broader mission than four-year colleges and universities. In addition to traditional freshman/sophomore level coursework, community colleges provide two-year career training, occupational retraining, developmental coursework, continuing education, courses for special populations, and business and industry training.

Community college students also differ from traditional college students. They are more diverse in terms of their age, backgrounds, preparation, and educational objectives than their four-year college/university counterparts. Their measures of institutional effectiveness must be applicable to community college student outcomes.