Assessment of Markets and Programs

This Action Project has been retired.

Action Project Worksheet

Describe one proposed or possible “vital few” Action Project

Institution: Augsburg College

A. Give a short identifying title (under 10 words) to this Action Project.

Mission-Driven Assessment of Student Markets and College Programs

B. Describe the goal(s) of this Action Project (in 100 words or fewer).

To find the right balance between student markets and their needs and our institution’s identity and what we have to offer.   Specifically, to understand the markets, their needs, and service expectations; to evaluate how much of each market we want given our vision, resources, competition, and core strengths; and to identify new program opportunities that both promote our mission and serve market demand.

C. Please identify the single AQIP Criterion which this Action Project will primarily affect (check one box in the Primary column), and no more than four other Criteria to which it is strongly related (check boxes in the Related column):

AQIP Quality Criteria Primary Related
1 – Helping Students Learn


2 – Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives


3 – Understanding Students’ and Other Stakeholders’ Needs


4 – Valuing People


5 – Leading and Communicating


6 – Supporting Institutional Operations


7 – Measuring Effectiveness


8 – Planning Continuous Improvement


9 – Building Collaborative Relationships


D. Please describe your institution’s rationale for addressing this Primary criterion at this time. Why is this project and its goal(s) one of your “vital few”?

The need to increase student retention and the financial dynamics of addressing different student markets (e.g. day students versus weekend students), coupled with a small endowment fund to sustain the college, make it vital to address the level of each student market that we want to maintain. Our self-assessment also indicated feelings that the college was trying to do too many things with too little resources, and raised the question of “fit” with our vision for some program areas.

E. List the organizational areas (or institutional departments and divisions) most affected.

  • All academic departments
  • Weekend College
  • graduate programs
  • continuing education
  • certificate programs
  • recruitment related activities
  • faculty governance

F. List and briefly describe the critical processes most affected.

  • student recruitment and admissions
  • enrollment processes (which include student advising, financial aid, and registration)
  • program development, approval and review
  • institutional and market research
  • marketing and advertising
  • strategic planning and budgeting

G. List some process measures that you might track as you work on this Action Project.

  • identification of core strengths;
  • enrollment and retention potential in each market;
  • Augsburg’s retention statistics by market/program;
  • direct and indirect operating costs by program

H. List some outcomes measures you might track to see if you achieve your goal(s) in this Project.

  • Market share targets for each academic program
  • retention (where we have control)
  • accurate cost per student per market
  • return on investment (ROI) for each program
  • identification of viable market opportunities

I. If you were to establish measurable “stretch” targets for this Project, what might they look like?

Year Possible Stretch Target(s) for this project


1. Define and clarify key markets; measure size of key markets.

2. Develop market research strategies to measure performance in key markets: name-recognition, number of inquiries/applicant/matriculants, retention rates, graduation rates, market share compared to competitor institutions in each market.

3. Develop market research strategies to learn more about key markets: demographics, socio-economic data, areas of academic interest, obstacles to completing educational goals (affordability, schedule, support, motivation, preparation)

4. Identify core academic strengths: best graduate school preparation, employment (survey employers of our grads?), direct knowledge in content area (tie to student learning action project?), success rate for external licensure or certification, recognition of quality among competitors.

Two 1. Conduct market research.

2. Conduct cost analysis for each academic program.

3. Analyze market research and determine where Augsburg core strengths best fit with market opportunities.

4. Identify targets for enrollment and market share for each academic program.

Three 1. Review existing programs to determine which should be maintained, which should be redesigned, and which should be eliminated.

2. Assess opportunities for new programs that are an excellent fit with vision and where ROI is potentially high.

3. Overall student retention will improve by 1%

4. progress toward enrollment and market share targets (defined in year two)

J. Briefly describe some approaches you might use to keep your institution’s attention and energies focused on this Project and its goal(s).

  • Have each program conduct market analysis driven by the vision
  • Assign project manager
  • Share market research with campus
  • Broaden campus involvement in identifying core strengths
  • Identify performance benchmarks for existing programs and services
  • Provide training in market analysis
  • Recognize and reward ideas that move us toward enrollment and retention goals
  • Recognize and reward departments or individuals who help decrease costs or increase ROI for specific programs

K. What do you see as the pros and cons of giving publicity (and therefore high visibility, inside and outside your institution) to this Project and its goal(s)?

Pros (reasons why high visibility could be positive) Cons (reasons why high visibility could be negative)
  • Provide clear indication of centrality and importance of market needs and opportunities
  • Stimulate new ideas and approaches for better serving market needs
  • Outside awareness of specific attention to market needs and opportunities will communicate the seriousness of our intention to serve our chosen markets
  • Focused attention cause existing programs to feel threatened
  • The emphasis on the role of marketing may appear to some too ‘corporate’, that is, look too much like running a business