BOT Committee of the Whole – Academic Affairs focus

Tonight’s BOT meeting has a focus on Academic Affairs, so the discussion has direct bearing on our work as faculty. Live blogging by CODFA volunteers is intended to capture as much as possible of the substance of the event without editorial comment.  🙂

[Throughout the presentation, where no speaker is identified, the speaker is Donna Stewart.]

Academic Affairs Today

Donna Stewart, Interim VPAA. Opened with comments about the pursuit of excellence, meeting the needs of the district, increasingly diverse student population, be good stewards of fiscal resources. Increasing use of technology in all we do, continue on our path to be a culture of assessment. It’s the right thing to do to assess ourselves. Focus on student learning.

Reviewed the mission of the College. It guides our work.

Discussed reorganization of academic divisions–motivated by more efficient communication and use of resources, as well as equalizing work across varied set of units. Discipline chairs identified.

We are very diverse–no question has a single answer.

Slides listed academic degree programs and Continuing Ed programs. Photos of Mac, art galleries, and other special programs. Field Studies and Study Abroad. Emphasized tremendous breadth of opportunities, very unusual for 2-year college.

Enrollment by course type: pie chart shows large preponderance of enrollment in “transfer” disciplines, including developmental as well as transfer-level courses: 68% enrollment. Career-Tech 26%. Remaining 6% is Adult Ed / Continuing Ed.

Enrollment by delivery mode: 80% is classroom-based f2f but with growing involvement of technology. 14% is online, 5% is hybrid. Growth of online has plateaued. Need to plan forward for technology because the f2f classroom have increasing level of technology. Students expect engaging uses of technology, across all ages.

Enrollment in transfer disciplines by transfer level and developmental coursework: 88% is transfer level, 11% is developmental, 1% is dual credit.

Enrollment in Career-Tech is 90% college level and 10% dual credit. This area has grown 30% in recent years.

Slides showed balance of full-time faculty among divisions, as well as adjuncts. Continuing theme is hiring guidelines.

Chart of enrollment by disciplines with English and Math showing dramatically large enrollments. Single courses, English 1101 has the highest enrollment, followed by Psych 1100 and Speech 1100. Three entry-level math courses have high enrollments.

Mazzochi: question about FT and adjunct faculty. Was the chart based on numbers of faculty or on contact hours. Stewart: expressed in full-time equivalents based on 15 hours of teaching.

Bernstein: asked about pie chart of transfer program with 11% developmental. Has that been stable, and is it a higher or lower number than we want to see? Stewart: It is a higher number than we would want to see. Working strategically to mitigate. Focused on Math in response. Mentioned supporting math-phobic students to help them pass the first time, and to also place students more effectively thru ALEKS. Turned to Bente for figures on developmental enrollment. There has been a decrease over the past few years.

Rondeau addresses Bernstein: National issue, faculty working hard to address. Effort has been substantive. Differences of opinion about best solutions. Coordination with high schools. More work to do but high confidence that we are part of the national conversation.

Mazzochi: asked about hiring guidelines for dual credit courses, noting how much greater the offerings are in Career-Tech. Stewart: most high school teachers do not have masters degrees in subject areas that would allow them to teach dual credit. Work to do in this area.

Mazzochi: what is the resistance in the high schools to having our faculty come in and teach the classes in the high school? Stewart: they would like it, but we can’t afford to send our faculty out. Pilot was not scalable, there were logistical challenges.

Rondeau: we’re looking at this. Topic for next meeting of CC presidents in IL.

Mazzochi: asked about district high schools that have partnered with Indiana. Rondeau: dodged naming schools. Mazzochi: asked about the pilot at Glenbard. Stewart: This was Early College pilot, we were committed so we will finish the program, but it is not scalable. We paid their tuition. Mazz: what if the parents pay? Stewart: still looking at that, trying to find the right model. Best is to get students engaged with us, on our campus. Looking at scheduling and transportation. A lot of energy around Early College.

Current Enrollment and Retention Initiatives

Some of the work, not exhaustive:

  • increased Continuing Ed catalog mailing, now reaching 300,000 households (7 years ago was 35,000); Continuing ed up 28%
  • new programs and clinical partnerships. Very challenging to set up clinicals.
  • automatic Honors eligibility for qualified high school students, eliminates extra application steps. This fall, zero cancellations of honors courses.
  • Data sharing w/ K-12 district for math placement.
  • Learning Communities: direct faculty collaboration w/ advisers. Record enrollment this fall in LCs.
  • Accelerated Learning Program co-enrolls student in English 1101 and developmental English. Mentors the student in the transfer-level course. One-step registration. Very successful.
  • Targeted outreach to Technology students by fulltime faculty members–advising tables for CIT, CIS, and OFTI in Seaton. Similar in Tech building.
  • Outreach to high schools by faculty in programs such as drone technology.
  • Intrusive advisement in Welding, Architecture. Intrusive advising is theme.

Future Initiatives: Humanities Festival, “See Writing Differently” Showcase, Bus-Tech Career Showcase, Celebration of Academic Excellence.

Personnel Initiatives:

  • Need for AVP for Outreach and Assessment
  • Director of Nursing
  • Manager of Learning Technologies–pivotal to creative development of technology application in the classroom
  • Manager of Innovation DuPage
  • SLEA Director
  • 13 Faculty Searches getting ready to post

Facilities Projects:

  • Student spaces including Honors Commons, TEC Learning Commons and food service projects, Techcetera Gallery.
  • New Learning Technologies suite including recording studio for faculty.
  • Partnership Hall: space for academic partners such as in 2+2 programs.
  • HSC Adjunct Center renovation.
  • Innovation DuPage–accelerator/incubator–does not yet have space.

Continued Pursuit of Excellence

  • Program Review on 5-year cycle dictated by state, but we conduct. Platform for planning for the future. Faculty are supported by Jonita Ellis and Bente for data.
  • Program accreditation, such as Nursing, Automotive, etc. Slide listing over 20 programs with outside accreditation.
  • Program advisory committees. Extensive listing. Most meet 2x/year.
    Rondeau: interjects positive comment about the volunteer commitment of people on the advisory committees and their engagement with faculty. Stewart replies with comment about how advisory committees interact with curriculum process.
    Rondeau: interjects anecdote about employer looking for fine arts students with stage management experience because they are so skilled.
  • Student evaluation/assessment venues including portfolios and competitions. Example is Portfolio Night for paralegal program. American Culinary Federation academic competition, we always have a team that does well. Cosmetology recently competed in Skills USA and did well though it was their first time. Horticulture students also compete well. MPTV, Architecture have recently won significant awards.
  • Building culture of, comfort with, assessment.
  • ICCB — recognition on 5-year cycle, received strong report in June 2017.
  • HLC — called Richard Jarman and Shannon Toler to podium to report on HLC
    • Jarman: difficult to quantify the relationship between students and faculty, doesn’t always boil down to data. However several disciplines are engaging in new assessments including AI methods, research into course effectiveness of Speech 1100 in reducing anxiety. HLC concerned about attention to consistency in meeting course objectives as listed in Active Course Files. Academic Affairs information campaign to bring syllabi into compliance. Response Planning Committee discussing how to push efforts forward to meet HLC requirements. Working toward audit of about 2400 syllabi.
    • Rondeau interjects: Jarman is helping to bring IR and faculty together collaboratively. Asks Bente to comment. Bente: glad to support faculty.
    • Mazzochi: who is checking the syllabi? Toler: assortment of staff, faculty coordinators. Variation among the divisions because workload varies. Some use of temps. Bente: will conduct formal internal audit in Spring with representative sampling of courses. Will send verification to HLC. Mazzochi: how does a mismatch get communicated and resolved? Toler: through the Deans. Watching for the reasons why these breakdowns might be happening.
      Several more back-and-forth comments on this from Mazz, Toler, and Stewart. Time-consuming process but will get better.
    • Toler: Continuing efforts to develop culture of assessment. Activities that will lay groundwork for continuous improvement. Revision of curriculum process, motivated by AA re-org, but opportunity to focus more clearly on learning outcomes. Faculty owns curriculum process and must vote to approve. Gen Ed outcomes are being reviewed, will be enriched by faculty involvement. Will be more careful alignment of Gen Ed outcomes with courses. Need for defining program-level outcomes and goals, including issues like retention and enrollment, driven by faculty. Using data to inform program-level decision-making.
    • Bernstein: can we create an automatic mechanism to provide the Active Course File? Toler: we’re making it easier to cut-and-paste, but not in time for spring audit.
    • Mazzochi: have we never before asked faculty to certify that their syllabus complies with ACF? Toler: we have communicated ACF information before, and the information is readily available, but we have not asked for this certification. A certification step is under discussion in the planning committee. Jarman: syllabi have been thought of as personal; HLC has been a wake-up, need to be more intentional. Mazz: checklists create more care. Worried about why this is happening. Toler: hopes to focus more on the meaning of the learning outcomes. We need a mechanism in place. McGrath: these are exactly the right questions, and the committee is using the current process to try to figure out what the right remedy is. Mazz: concerned about running out of time to fix the problem.
    • Mazz: how does assessment of learning objectives in house relate to assessment by outside accreditors? How do we make sure we are assessing what is intrinsically valuable to outside entities such as employers? Jarman: that is a whole different level of discussion than what we’ve been talking about. Mazz: if someone changes the objectives on the syllabus because they don’t think the objectives are the right ones, how do we make sure we are teaching the right things? Toler: we review those objectives every 5 years through Program Review. Mandated by ICCB. Stewart: changes to course objectives would have to go through the curriculum process. Mazz: how do you validate what the faculty believe that students should know? Where is the feedback mechanism? Does it vary by discipline? Example, English 1101, what does it mean if a student has taken English 1101? Asks McGrath to respond. McGrath: we have a new set of objectives in English 1101 to start in January, we have to assess them. Jarman: impossible to give one answer, different standards for different areas. Stewart: IAI process is essential in transfer disciplines, transfer schools evaluate our course objectives. Transfer institution provide us feedback about how our students perform. Within programs, we have strong vehicles for reviewing outcomes.

A Look Into the Future

  • Based on the Strategic Long Range Plan: Goal #2, Value-added education going beyond standard expectations. Goal #3, Student Centeredness.
  • Student Success/Pathways: Focus on student goals, learn more about how to use the data to guide decision making. Collaborate with Bente and team to figure out what data we need. Collaboration inside of Academic Affairs, work to serve the students based on what their goals are. Work with faculty to figure out next steps, how can we improve? Can’t do it in a vacuum. Actively partner with Student Affairs, IR, IT. Re-occurring themes are data and technology. Identify resources to support next steps.
  • Our shared passion is meeting students’ needs. Will require resourcing. Asked Kirk Overstreet to share thoughts on where we’re heading with learning technology.
    • Overstreet: emerging trends in technology in higher ed. We stand on a precipice. We have made big steps in recent years. We need to be on the leading edge of providing critical digital technology. Every f2f course is technology-enhanced. Generation Z come to us technology ready, we have to catch up with them. Virtual reality, AI, gaming simulation, digital literacy.
      How will natural language processing change how students learn–they ask Siri. Have to understand how to use that. (Cut his presentation short because time running over.)

Mazzochi thanks Stewart and the AA team. Adjourn.