Using the ‘Balanced Scorecard’ Method to Evaluate and Plan Writing Centre Provision
In the UK higher education context, central services such as writing centres are coming under management scrutiny and writing developers are being asked to demonstrate the impact of their work. This article discusses one way in which writing centres can evaluate their provision for evidence of effectiveness and to gauge their potential for expansion. Taking as a case study the development of the Coventry Online Writing Lab (COWL) at Coventry University, England, the article reports on the use of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) technique (Kaplan and Norton, 1992) to examine how extending one writing centre‘s provision through the development of an online component has been considered and justified. The BSC is an evaluation tool that takes into account stakeholders‘ perspectives, internal institutional processes, finance and budgets, and staff development needs, and sees these as integral and important drivers of an organisation‘s results (Grayson, 2004: 1). The article discusses the benefits and limitations of such an approach within this case study and its implications for strategic planning for writing centres and other forms of university writing provision.