A necessary evil within every department in higher education is the annual task of compiling the end of the year report. These reports, however daunting, are an extremely valuable tool in assessing your department’s overall strengths and weaknesses. In addition, they represent a point of departure when planning goals for the following year.
The mistake most administrators make is waiting until the end of the year to begin this process. I have found through my own trial and error that outlining a plan for the annual report at the beginning of the academic year has made my reports much easier to do as well as much more efficient for both internal and external constituents.
Below I have outlined tips for creating this working document that should be brought to the surface of your busy desks at least once a month. It is up to you to add the unique attributes of your department to make your report more productive for your needs and the needs of your staff.
One final note, the end of the year report is a collaborative effort that should be in the hands of every staff member at every level. It is not the sole challenge of the director or department head and should be used as a tool to strengthen the investment levels of all staff members.
Main Purposes of the End of Year Report
• To highlight specific accomplishments
• Target areas for improvement
• Justify budget expenditures and new budget increase requests
• The first step in goal development for the upcoming year
• Provides students and parents the opportunity to take an inside look at your operation
• Provides current and future staff members the opportunity to learn about your mission and goals
• Demonstrates in concrete terms, the accomplishments of your department to internal and external constituents of the institution
Items to Include in Your Document
• Mission and Goals
• Budget Expenditures/Revenue Breakdown
• Student Leadership Section
• Desk Operations
• Renovation Projects
• Customer Service Initiatives/Evaluation Section
• Future Projects
• Areas of Improvement
• Begin with an outline of your report
• Begin your report at the beginning of the academic year
• Make it a monthly task to update the document on your Departmental Operational Calendar
• Involve every level of your staff (this should include student staff and leaders) by providing them with detailed worksheets of what they will be expected to report on, keep track of
• Convert your report to CD or disk so that it easily accessible by all staff and students
• Add it to your web page for visitors to learn more about your department (many corporations do this in order for their investors to maintain a level of involvement and commitment to the organization
• Set aside ample time to review, reflect and act on this document
I hope these tips will give you new insights into your end of the year reports. The better prepared you are, and the more time you spend with your staff on this task though out the year, will allow your department to meet your goals and objectives with greater ease. It will also permit you with the opportunity to critically assess your programs and services.
Submitted by Laurie Keenan McGarvey