The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) uses a value-driven, alignment model to engage in ongoing, integrated and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that meet the requirements associated with institutional effectiveness.
Systematic Review of UTMB’s Mission, Goals, and Outcomes.
UTMB is composed of a medical school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a nursing school, and a school of allied health sciences. In the 1990s, the institution’s leadership recognized that there was a need not only for a mission statement but also for a set of core values that would act as a guide to advance the institution’s mission, judge the degree to which the mission is being effectively accomplished, and provide the four schools with a solid basis on which to anchor and evaluate their discipline-specific strategic plans. In addition to the development of institutional level mission and core value statements, the formulation of individual strategic plans at each of the four schools, a broader use and integration of UT System and State of Texas accountability processes, and an institution-wide organizational and financial review by an external consultant. The process and outcomes of each of these activities are discussed in more depth below.
Mission Statement Development
The UTMB mission statement was changed in 1999 after broad campus input. The mission statement captures the essence of UTMB’s purpose and aligns in support of The University of Texas System mission and purpose, and serves as the guidepost for aligning all of UTMB‘s goals, initiatives, programs, and activities.
UTMB Mission Statement (1)
The mission of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is to provide scholarly teaching, innovative scientific investigation, and state-of-the-art patient care in a learning environment to better the health of society.
This mission statement is currently in a planned review cycle. The role and mission statements of all Texas public institutions of higher education must be reviewed and approved by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board at least every four years. UTMB's mission statement was last reviewed and approved by THECB in 2004 (2). The UTMB executive leadership reviewed and reaffirmed this mission statement in Spring 2007. During the Summer 2007, the mission statement was also reviewed and reaffirmed by UTMB faculty, students, and the broader UTMB community. The mission statement is currently forwarded to the UT Board of Regents for their review. Finally, the quadrennial, statutory, mission statement review by THECB will begin in November 2007 (3).
UTMB’s education programs enable the state’s talented individuals to become outstanding practitioners, teachers, and investigators in the health care sciences, thereby meeting the needs of the people of Texas and its national and international neighbors.
UTMB’s comprehensive primary, specialty, and sub-specialty care clinical programs support the educational mission and are committed to the health and well-being of all Texans through the delivery of state-of-the-art preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services.
UTMB’s research programs are committed to the discovery of new innovative biomedical and health services knowledge leading to increasingly effective and accessible health care for the citizens of Texas.
Core Value Development
Concurrent to the institutional mission statement revision in 1999, individuals from across the UTMB community worked to develop a set of shared values to provide a foundation to UTMB’s planning and evaluation activities as well as to provide guidance in day-to-day operations. The following represent the fundamental values that preserve the core of what UTMB represents and stimulate progress towards what UTMB will become.
UTMB Core Values
Education. UTMB is committed to providing life-long learning for its students, staff, faculty and community.
Innovation. UTMB is committed to always thinking of new ways to do things better.
Service. UTMB is committed to addressing the health needs of all Texas, regardless of their ability to pay.
Diversity. UTMB is committed to employing and educating a health care workforce whose diversity mirrors the population it serves.
Community. UTMB is committed to making its community a better place to live and work.
Planning and Evaluation Processes That Work Towards Continuous Improvement in Institutional Quality.
Strategic Planning: Development and Integration
As the new mission statement and core values were assimilated at the institution, the president charged each of the schools with the development of school-level strategic plans that built upon these foundational concepts. The schools were also held responsible for conducting annual performance reviews to ensure that their strategic plans were aligned with the UTMB mission and undergoing effective implementation. In 2004, UTMB’s four schools began the process of developing their strategic plans, incorporating the mission and core values of the university, and providing a foundation to support the needs of their students and meet the requirements of national and state licensure and certification standards. These plans have been completed and posted on the respective schools’ websites (4) (5) (6) (7). Outcomes from this school level planning process have included the completion of an program needs assessment; the development and state level approval of a doctorate in physical therapy program in the School of Allied Health; the recruitment of an Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in the School of Nursing; the ongoing review of program offerings resulting in the discontinuing of the Nurse-Midwife program; the development of the Academy of Master Teachers; and progress towards electronic submission of dissertations at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The attached table (8) contains goals and progress achievements from each school's strategic plan.
In addition to the institutional mission development and school level strategic planning, the UT System formed a planning task force to develop a new strategic plan for the UT System. The Regents' Rules and Regulations specify that the Chancellor is to periodically prepare a strategic plan for the UT System in consultation with the institutional presidents (9). This plan was built upon and sought to integrate several ongoing processes: the UT System Accountability Reports, a reporting system designed to enhance planning across the system, provide common metrics for cross-institutional comparisons, aid in resource allocation and provide transparency of operations and outcomes to decision makers and the public (10); the annual Compact with UT System, a set of annually updated written agreements between the Chancellor of The University of Texas System and the presidents of each of the System's academic and health institutions that summarize the institution's major goals and priorities, strategic directions, and specific tactics to achieve its goals (11a) (11b) (11c); and the State of Texas’ Closing the Gaps Higher Education Plan initiated in 1999 and updated in 2005 (12).
The resulting plan, the 2006-2015 UT System Strategic Plan, was adopted by the UT System Board of Regents in August 2006 (13). This plan outlines ambitious goals for growth and excellence in all mission-critical areas. Upon its adoption, the Chancellor urged each component campus to begin planning in earnest and strive to link local planning and compact efforts with those underway at UT System.
All of these documents – the UTMB school-specific plans, the 2006-2015 UT System Strategic Plan, the annual Accountability Report, the Compact with UT System, and the State of Texas’ Closing the Gaps Higher Education Plan – are the foundation for the alignment model planning and evaluation processes at UTMB. At the institutional level, executive leadership groups assume primary responsibility for assuring the overall advancement of the UTMB mission. Semi-annual retreats, led by the president, are employed to assess progress in mission achievement, create action plans for ongoing improvement, and propose adjustments to ensure conformity with statewide and national goals. The outcomes of these planning efforts have included the establishment of an academic presence in the Austin area; the implementation of an electronic medical record system, the development of a common academic calendar, and the securing of tuition revenue bond authority to build the Galveston National Laboratory. The attached table (14) contains selected outcomes from the Institutional Compact planning process.
In 2006, the university underwent an extensive organizational and financial review by external consultants (15). This review encompassed the academic, and more extensively, the patient care enterprise of the university. The institution is proceeding with the evaluation and implemention of many of these recommendations. One major recommendation of the consulting group was to institute an Office of Planning and Marketing (OPM) that will report to the president and assume responsibility for clinical enterprise strategic planning and marketing. This office was established with an interim director in the latter part of 2006 (16). At present this office is working to further expand the university’s planning process, a step that will lead to the next iteration of UTMB’s formal strategic plan that will be submitted to the UT System. Further, the institution phased out its Office of Institutional Analysis (OIA) and formed an Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE), reporting to the Chief Academic Officer (17). This initiative was undertaken to provide a systematic approach to institutional research, data oversight and analysis, and enhance the importance of the academic enterprise by providing integrated academic program assessment.
While UTMB’s future approach to strategic planning may change with the accession of the new president in September 2007, it is important to note that drawing on its commitment to mission advancement, core values, entity level strategic planning, and the UT System Compact has worked well for the institution. A Chief Academic Officer (CAO), appointed by the president, provides the connection between the Academic Enterprise and the Strategic Executive Committee (SEC). As the Chair of the Council of Deans, the CAO insures that entity level strategic plans are reviewed on a biennial basis to insure alignment of strategic goals, and consistency with the UTMB and the UT System’s mission. In turn, the council charges its Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Committees for review of selected aspects of the strategic plans.
Planning and Evaluation Processes That Demonstrate That UTMB is Effectively Accomplishing Its Mission.
The processes outlined above result in an institution that is fulfilling its mission of “providing scholarly teaching, innovative scientific investigation and state-of-the-art patient care” as evidenced by planned and supported enrollment growth; continued progress in the growth of sponsored research, even during a period of tight federal research expenditures; and a continued commitment to serving the health needs of the citizens of the State of Texas.
The institution can demonstrate that these planning processes have ensured continued mission fulfillment in terms of providing “education programs enable the state’s talented individuals to become outstanding practitioners, teachers, and investigators in the health care sciences” as indicated by the continued excellence in student performance on national licensure examinations. Our medical school graduates continue to achieve close to a 99% first –time pass rate on the USMLE Part 1 and our Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates passed the national licensure examination at a rate of 97% for those taking the exam for the first time.
Further, the mission of the institution calls for the provision of “comprehensive primary, specialty, and sub-specialty care clinical programs support the educational mission and are committed to the health and well-being of all Texans”. The institution continues to fulfill its mission in this regard by providing uncompensated health care to the neediest of Texans; by recording increases in patient satisfaction ratings across the clinical enterprise; and continued development of clinical facilities and ancillary structures.
Finally, the institution can demonstrate mission fulfillment based on comprehensive planning in terms of “research programs are committed to the discovery of new innovative biomedical and health services knowledge leading to increasingly effective and accessible health care for the citizens of Texas”. The Galveston National Laboratory, a facility that will place UTMB as a national leader in bio-defense research and which represents a federal commitment of over $110,000,000, is near completion (18).
To assess the extent to which it is accomplishing its mission at an institutional level, input from UTMB faculty and staff is obtained regularly. The surveys are conducted on-line by an external firm and address a variety of critical issues such as confidence in the university leadership and perceptions of the appropriateness of the university’s major initiatives and direction. Faculty survey findings are shared in the academic entities and with the faculty senate. Employee survey findings are widely disseminated throughout the university (19). Each entity receives overall results as well as those for the entity. Each entity leader is expected to review the results with entity employees and to generate action plans for areas needing improvement. A Customer Service Report is also prepared annually (20) as is a University Fact Book (21).
Planning at UTMB is the culmination of efforts at the institution, UT System and State of Texas levels that span close to a decade. The result has been a process that provides a degree of strategic direction at the level of the State and System, with appropriate requirements of accountability, oversight and transparency, while also providing institutional autonomy in defining its own mission, rewarding innovation, and allowing the institution to develop its own agenda towards mission fulfillment. This process has served the institution well and has provided a clear, data driven and verifiable process in demonstrating that the various programs and efforts of the institution succeed in meeting the mission of the institution as a whole.