Purpose: In 2019, the UC San Diego Library engaged in an organizational renewal activity that included parallel efforts to renew our strategic priorities, recruit new senior leadership, revise leadership portfolios, and evaluate the impact of previous organizational changes for adjustments. To engage in these initiatives in a cohesive way, we needed a framework to connect these planning activities to the intended service outcomes of our organization. This paper describes our use of the logic model planning and assessment framework to define service outcomes – that align Library priorities to campus goals, professional trends, and long-term impact areas – and to set up an assessment for future organizational development.
Approach: Logic models are visual planning and assessment diagrams that depict the connections between an organization’s work and the intended results. They are like concept maps that depict an if-then relationship between resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes/impact, i.e., if we have the resources, then we expect to conduct the activities; if we conduct the activities, then we expect to produce the outputs; if the outputs are delivered, then we may realize specific outcomes/impact. Outcomes may be divided by different types of change in our users – specifically in their learning, actions, and conditions. Additionally, outcomes may be differentiated by time range as short, intermediate, or long term. The logic model framework has been used by governmental, philanthropic, academic, and library organizations. It may be especially useful for aligning the current activities of the organization towards new or revitalized long-term service outcomes and developing assessment methods to inform this change.
Findings: We describe how the logic model approach contributed to a unified framework for coordinating strategic, leadership, and organizational planning during our multifaceted organizational renewal. We focus on three beneficial features of the logic model: a framework centered on clear outcomes around user change, connecting work activities to organizational impact, and gathering holistic perspectives in a manageable and structured manner. These features contributed to strategic planning by framing priorities in a resonant way to users and external stakeholders, providing a roadmap for implementation and assessment, and facilitating shared understanding and decision-making. In terms of leadership planning, the logic model approach was instrumental to aligning conversations around mission and strategic priorities, ensuring clear paths between leadership and organizational structures, and providing methods to align leadership with organizational work and operations. Finally, logic models contributed to organizational planning by ensuring that organizational structures support service priorities and users’ needs, prioritizing work based on outcomes and resources, and facilitating assessment at an operational and organizational level.
Value: The value of logic models for multifaceted organizational planning falls along four themes: (1) operational- and activity-centered strategic planning, (2) mission- and outcome- aligned organizational planning, (3) user impact-focused communication, and (4) contextual and additive assessment to coordinate planning. The underlying common element to these positives is the clearly articulated organizational outcome framed around user change and broader campus goals. Such outcomes lay the groundwork for evaluation, continuous improvement, and future organizational development. They also serve as indicators of progress and help identify course corrections in a changing environment. And by anchoring outcomes to long-term campus goals, we have the latitude to adjust our organization to suit changing needs and trends. This paper may help the reader engage in multifaceted Library planning through the design of organizational outcomes for planning and assessment.
Conference paper at the ARL Library Assessment Conference (November 18, 2020)