+ Multiple Viewpoints, One Voice: Writing and Editing a Comprehensive SelfStudy Leanne Owen, Ph.D. Holy Family University + Presentation Objectives Identify relevant considerations in selecting Steering Committee members; Discuss possible measures to minimize subjectivity and bias in reporting by groups; and Illustrate the benefits of using a “one voice” approach during the final editing process. + Institutional Background Holy Family University is a private, Catholic, liberal arts institution in Northeast Philadelphia; Many members of the faculty, staff, and administration have been involved in previous self-study cycles and Periodic Review Reports; As the institution transitioned from a college to a university, shifting expectations and perceptions became apparent, and the self-study was seized upon as a valuable opportunity to reflect on our strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. + Selecting Self-Study Personnel Constituting the Executive Committee; Selecting individuals to serve as co-chairs of the self-study subcommitees; Identifying appropriate subcommittee membership with a view toward representing a broad cross-section of the University community; Aligning the self-study process with the concurrent institutional branding and strategic planning initiatives. + Conceptualizing the Self-Study: The Design Phase Deciding on a comprehensive design; Grouping certain Standards together; Determining the most appropriate questions to ask: Evaluating rather than describing institutional processes; Identifying “answerable” questions; Considering existing sources of data and planning for additional data collection efforts; Linking the Fundamental Elements to notions of institutional utility. + Crafting the Self-Study: The Research/Writing Phase Each subcommittee delegated responsibility among its membership along different lines; First drafts of each chapter (except for the introductory and concluding chapters, as well as the Executive Summary) were submitted to the Executive Committee; Feedback on first drafts was provided both in face-to-face consultations and in writing; Second drafts of each chapter were subsequently submitted to the Executive Committee; + Minimizing Subjectivity and Bias Emphasis was repeatedly placed on making the self-study as candid and frank as possible; Occasionally, subcommittee members had to be reminded that the self-study was intended to be factual rather than anecdotal; Everyone working on the self-study (as well as any other community member) was afforded the opportunity to share insights and concerns, although these were not always appropriate for inclusion in the final document. + Maximizing Community Input Self-study website on the University intranet; Preliminary community planning day to identify areas of concern, as well as possible charge and research questions; Second community planning day to solicit input about the design document and subsequent research goals; Third community planning day to invite reactions and responses to the completed self-study. + When Push Comes to Shove: The Editing Phase The Executive Committee reviewed second drafts and designated chapters as needing to be entirely re-written, needing significant editing and revision, or needing minor proofreading and “cosmetic” revisions; Once each of the Executive Committee members submitted the revised chapters to the Chair, a final round of re-writes and edits needed to be undertaken (and the Executive Summary, as well as the introductory and concluding chapters, were written); Having one individual responsible for assembling the final document resulted in fewer inconsistencies in both style and content, as well as in the identification of recurring themes that needed to be addressed in the future. + Learning for Next Time: Our Most Significant Challenges Multiple subcommittee chairs and issues relating to “unity of command”; Adhering to timetables; Setting aside personal areas of concern; + Self-Study Successes Transparency; Community inclusion and engagement; Candor and reflection; Ultimately, the process resulted in a self-study that would continue to serve as a “living document” for the next decade. + Conclusion Maximizing community input during the design and research/writing phases was key to ensuring that the selfstudy represented various constituencies and perspectives accurately and effectively; Adopting a “one voice” approach during the editing phase allowed for optimal levels of consistency in both tone and substance while serving to clarify those issues of greatest priority for future growth and improvement.