Core Requirement 2.5

 

The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that (1) incorporate a systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes; (2) result in continuing improvement in institutional quality; and (3) demonstrate the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission. (Institutional Effectiveness)

 

COMPLIANCE

 

Narrative:

 

Vernon College affirms that it engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that (1) incorporate a systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes; (2) result in continuing improvement in institutional quality; and (3) demonstrate the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.

 

Planning at Vernon College

 

Planning at Vernon College has consistently assumed a prominent role since the institution’s inception. In an attempt to provide a quality educational experience for the College community and to ensure the College is effectively accomplishing its mission, institutional effectiveness has been a primary consideration, and the continuous quality improvement process has evolved and improved over two decades.

 

The planning and evaluation program is an ongoing process at the College. The process is deliberate and systematic and emphasizes continuous input and evaluation by all members of the College community in order to spur educational change. It encourages employees to take part in the planning, implementation, and assessment of the processes which directly and indirectly affect them and the students they serve. Planning and evaluation provides direction to the College’s educational efforts by focusing on its Vision, Mission, and Values. From this foundation, college priorities are adopted. The priorities are extensions of the mission statement in that they address the areas which are identified as needing the allocation of resources or modifications of programs for the College to meet its purpose. From the college priorities, the directive goals are derived. The various planning divisions and units then develop their respective annual goals that tie to the institution’s mission, priorities, and directive goals.

 

Using the Mission Statement, College priorities, and directive goals, divisions and units prepare outcomes and assessment criteria and procedures which become action plans for the coming year. This information is documented in the Annual Plan. The Annual Plans are used to develop division and unit budgets. Once the college budget is approved by the Board of Trustees, the Annual Plans are revisited, reviewed, and prioritized by the President’s Council in order to fund them as appropriate for the coming year.

 

This planning process provides Vernon College the opportunity to annually assess and record the results of the outcomes implemented by the College during the year. Each outcome is carefully assessed to determine the college’s effectiveness with regard to its stated mission and priorities. Findings from these assessments and other planning and evaluation products are reviewed by units and divisions, the Planning and Assessment Committee, the Effective Planning Ad-hoc Committee, and other College standing committees. In turn these groups make recommendations for policy change and new and revised directions for the College. The updated stage of the planning and evaluation process affords the College the opportunity to utilize the recommended policy changes and revised directives to reinvest in the College’s Strategic Plan. As a result of this reinvestment, the College’s vision, mission, priorities, directive goals and outcomes are altered whenever appropriate in order to maintain the College on a steady course.

 

In 2000, Dr. Stephen Thomas became the fifth President of Vernon College. His dynamic leadership and vision for the institution have taken it to a higher level of planning and assessment. One of his initial actions was to appoint a full time Director of Institutional Research and Planning. This emphasized the need for strategic planning and using data in making decisions at the institution. One of the first things the Office of Institutional Research and Planning did was to lay the groundwork to develop a more comprehensive Strategic Plan for the College. The Year of Education: Shape the Future workshops were developed for all College faculty and staff and focused on discussing issues that were important to the College and receiving vital feedback from all College personnel. The topics of the workshops ranged from learning how to plan and evaluate, to meeting the challenges of change. At the conclusion of the workshops, the information and data was gathered and disseminated. The Effective Planning Ad-hoc Committee proposed that the institution rewrite the Strategic Plan. A strategic planning committee was formed and met in a retreat to revamp our institution’s strategic plan, update our mission statement, and create our vision and values statements. About a month after the Strategic Planning Retreat, a smaller committee met to fine-tune the mission, values, and vision statements. Once their work was complete, all of the developed information was taken to the college-wide Planning and Assessment Committee for approval.

 

The Vernon College Strategic Plan 2006-2010 was developed to serve as a “blueprint" for Vernon College. It was designed to guide the institution into the future as it prepared the College to meet the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. It includes information relative to college-wide and unit planning, budgeting, and facilities management. Strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats for the College were identified using an environmental scan process. Ten priorities (strategic goals) for the College were identified in this plan, and have been updated every year:

 

·         Broaden the scope of instruction to meet the needs of the service area through expansion into new courses and programs.

·         Improve the delivery of existing programs and courses.

·         Improve assistance to students who lack basic skills necessary to perform effectively in academic and workforce environments.

·         Improve educational services through cooperation with public education systems and business/industry.

·         Improve and expand student access and success in programs through the use of educational support services and various resources and facilities.

·         Promote the institution through recruiting, marketing, public relations, and fundraising.

·         Acquire and support appropriate technology and facilities for curricula and administrative enhancement.

·         Develop and implement intervention strategies which improve the retention and success rate of students.

·         Increase professional development activities for college employees.

·         Expand the role of the College in the public service life of the community.

 

The Vernon College Master Facilities Plan was prepared as a companion document to the Strategic Plan. This plan identifies proposed renovation of existing facilities for the period 2007-2011. An increase in student enrollment compels the institution to consider the addition of new space at one of our facilities and the renovation of existing facilities to meet this increase. This plan is also reviewed every year by the Facilities Planning Committee and updated as necessary. It was last updated in November 2007.

 

The planning units identified below use the College Mission, Priorities, and Directive Goals to develop objectives and strategies for their units. The budget for each academic year is developed and takes into consideration the needs and annual plans of each planning unit.

 

The Instructional Unit – includes AA, AS, and AAS programs, Transfer Programs, Library Services, Special Services, Distance Learning, and Continuing Education;

 

The Student Services Unit – includes Athletics, Counseling, Student Activities, Security, Housing, Student Relations, and Testing;

 

The Administrative Services Unit – includes the Business Office, Human Resources, College Bookstore, Physical Plant, Information Technology,

 

The Admissions, Records, and Financial Aid unit - includes the Admissions Office, the Financial Aid Office, and the Records Department.

 

The Executive Unit – includes the President's Office, Institutional Advancement, and Institutional Research and Planning.

 

Six committees are directly linked to one or more of the planning units. Their purpose is to provide recommendations and suggestions, data, and general information for the planning and evaluation process and to contribute to the improvement of the institution.

 

The committees include: the Planning and Assessment Committee (P&A), the Effective Planning Ad-hoc Committee, the President's Council, the Technology Committee, the Strategic Enrollment Management Planning Committee, and the Academic Council.

 

The planning process at Vernon College is graphically depicted below:

Components of the Planning and Evaluation Process

 

The components of the planning and evaluation process at Vernon College include the following:

 

·      An institutional mission statement expressing the unique role of the college approved by the governing board and reviewed periodically.

·      A Planning and Assessment Committee representative of all curricular areas and administrative or support units of the college.

·      The planning process follows the Annual Planning Schedule. According to this calendar, the Planning and Assessment Committee reviews the process annually. The committee makes recommendations for any changes in the process to the President.

·      A five-year Strategic Plan reviewed and updated as needed

·      An effectiveness plan (Annual Plan) encompassing all areas of the college within the context of the mission statement (Vernon College 2006-2007 Annual Plan and Vernon College 2007-2008 Annual Plan).

·      Assessments answering to the effectiveness plan (Annual Plan), assembled for annual review by the Planning and Assessment Committee.  (Evaluation of Annual Plan 2006-2007)

·      College Priorities and Directive Goals, developed by the Planning and Assessment Committee and President’s Council each year, define the focus of planning for that year with reference to the mission statement, assembled data, and internal and external factors that could affect the college.

·      Annual goals set by administrative, support, and curricular units defining their objectives for the year within their individual unit purpose and with reference to the institutional directive priorities.

·      Annual evaluation of unit goals with application of evaluation results for improvement of programs and services. (Evaluation of Annual Plan 2006-2007)

·      Personnel evaluation by immediate supervisor each February, with focus on improvement of services, and a program of faculty evaluation.

·      Instructional program/discipline review on a scheduled basis to include each program/discipline at least every fifth year, with emphasis on improvement of student learning outcomes ( Program/Discipline Evaluation Results 2006 and Program/Discipline Evaluation Results 2007).

·      A student survey (the CCSSE), a library survey, a graduated student survey, and Student Survey of Instruction. Results of the surveys are used to indicate specific improvements and are taken into consideration in planning.

 

With these components, Vernon College complies with this standard as follows:

 

·      The planning and evaluation process is ongoing. The first Strategic Plan as such was developed in 1988 for 1989-1993. The College Priorities (Strategic Goals) and division goals first took their place in the plan with the 1997-2001 cycle and the earliest unit goal statements appeared in the late nineties.

·      The planning and evaluation process is integrated. It is guided by directive priorities developed annually by the President’s Council and reviewed by the Planning and Assessment Committee with reference to the institutional mission, empirical data and qualitative assessments of institutional status, and internal and external factors affecting the institution.

·      The planning and evaluation process is college-wide. It involves personnel representing curriculum and instructional programs, student services, administration and support services, institutional advancement, economic development activities and continuing education, community service activities, physical plant, and financial administration.

·      The planning and evaluation process is research-based. The Evaluation of the Annual Plan embodies research that informs the planning and evaluation processes. Additionally, the Office of Institutional Research and Planning assembles data on request as needed to monitor and assess specific situations.

·      The planning and evaluation process incorporates a systematic review of programs and services. Instructional program review is on a five-year cycle; administrative, educational support, and curricular unit goal setting and review occurs annually; and evaluation of personnel is on an annual cycle. Surveys (CCSSE, library, graduated student, student surveys of instruction, and withdrawal surveys) are administered annually.

·      The systematic review of programs and services places emphasis on (a) continuing improvement and (b) effective accomplishment of the mission. The effectiveness process, including review of programs and services, begins with and is guided by the mission. The mission, along with empirical data on the status of the institution and internal and external factors affecting it, is the source from which the Directive Goals are annually developed; these Directive Goals provide the focus for the annual administrative, educational support, and curricular unit goals, as well as for the Strategic Plan encompassing all aspects of the college. The annual unit goal cycle concludes with application of evaluation results to the ongoing refinement and development of processes, which in turn support mission fulfillment.

 

Systematic Review of Programs and Services

 

Guided by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, Vernon College implements a comprehensive planning, assessment, and continuous improvement process that engages every level of the institution.  Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1 provides a more detailed discussion as to how Vernon College systematically reviews programs and services and uses the results to improve the institution.

 

Summary

 

The information provided above conveys the manner in which Vernon College engages in ongoing, integrated and institution-wide planning and evaluation. It also conveys that there is a systematic review of programs and services at the institution. Together, this information clearly demonstrates that Vernon College is effectively accomplishing its mission and that the institution is intimately involved in a continuous improvement process designed to increase its overall effectiveness.

 

Documentation

1.    Year of Education: Shape the Future workshops

2.    Strategic Planning Proposal

3.    Strategic Planning Committee

4.    Strategic Planning Retreat Agenda

5.    Vernon College Mission Statement

6.    Vernon College Vision

7.    Vernon College Values

8.    Vernon College Strategic Plan 2006-2010

9.    Vernon College Priorities, 08-09

10. Vernon College Master Facilities Plan 2007-2011

11. Vernon College Standing Committees

12. Planning and Assessment Committee

13. Annual Planning Calendar

14. Vernon College 2006-2007 Annual Plan

15. Vernon College 2007-2008 Annual Plan

16. Evaluation of Annual Plan 2006-2007

17. Vernon College Priorities 07-08

18. Vernon College Priorities 06-07

19. Vernon College Directive Goals 08-09

20. Vernon College Directive Goals 07-08

21. Vernon College Directive Goals 06-07

22. Employee Evaluations, Employee Handbook

23. Program/Discipline Evaluation Schedule

24. Program/Discipline Evaluation Results 2006

25. Program/Discipline Evaluation Results 2007

26. Program Evaluation

27. Discipline Evaluation

28. General Education Program Evaluation

29. CCSSE (Community College Survey of Student Engagement)

30. Student Survey of Library Services

31. Graduate Survey 2006-2007

32. Student Survey of Instruction 2006-2007