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Framework Strategic Indicators

Within the two previous cycles of A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State, units have been asked to identify their own measures of success. These “measures” often have been descriptions of activities or outcomes of specific programs. Performance indicators gauging overall progress under each Challenge have been used inconsistently. To achieve greater progress, we must move beyond measuring the amount of activity to measuring overall achievement.

An important next step in advancing the Framework is monitoring University progress under each Challenge by means of a set of strategic indicators. This Framework strategic indicators document is similar in nature to that of the Strategic Indicators series, which has been published since 1999 as a companion series to Penn State’s University-level strategic plan. The Framework strategic indicators were developed in collaboration with the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment. They were guided by the criteria established to define the University strategic indicators and align closely with them. Many of the Framework indicators correlate with those in Strategic Indicators series, further expanding upon diversity. The interrelationship between these two sets of University performance indicators underscores the interrelationship between the two strategic planning processes as well as the importance of diversity as an integral component of achieving the institution’s mission.

These indicators are not linked to particular activities but are designed to monitor progress under each Challenge that can be attributed to the combined effect of all efforts in support of that Challenge. Some Challenges lend themselves to direct quantitative measures (e.g., graduation rates), while others require more indirect measures. In most cases, data are available and can be compared across the years of the Framework planning cycles for an indication of progress.

It is worth noting that we are at a point where emphasis on groups for which data are more widely available (primarily gender and race/ethnicity) tends to overshadow attention to a broader range of diverse populations. What gets measured tends to get accomplished, and data tend to drive progress and development of initiatives. Consequently, we must remain attentive to fostering progress among groups for which data are not as readily available. With these Framework indicators, we try to address such populations, but much of the progress in these areas may be best gauged at the unit level. Gathering data regarding sexual orientation and disabilities is particularly difficult because of confidentiality considerations; however, the University’s Faculty/Staff Survey contains valuable data that provide the University and each unit with considerable insight into those populations.

For the purposes of monitoring and reporting Framework progress, units are encouraged to adopt relevant Framework indicators as applicable to the unit (for example, if University-wide and/or University Park retention and graduation rates are an indicator under Challenge 3, a college may choose to use college-retention and graduation rates as an indicator under Challenge 3 in their update). Units are also encouraged to develop additional unit-specific performance indicators that demonstrate their progress under each Challenge. The nine criteria that guided the development of the University Strategic Plan indicators and the Framework Strategic Indicators may also be of use to units in identifying meaningful indicators of progress. These criteria can be found on page 33 of the Strategic Indicators document, which is available at

List of Indicators