Tonight, the board votes on proposed tuition and fee increases for the fall of 2022. This is not an easy decision, especially given the number of students at COD who face financial hardship before and during COVID. I hope that the board will make the correct decision to propose modest increases for the health and longevity and work to assist students for whom even modest increases can be a significant obstacle in their pursuit of higher education.
Tonight board members will also hear a presentation on student success indicators. According to the presentation in the board packet, the information relies heavily on the Baldrige Criteria.
The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program sounds prestigious and is worthy of a bit more attention.
It is housed at the Commerce Department and applies primarily to the private sector including health care, businesses and non-profits. In 2014-2015 the last two years for which data was available, there were six schools total that applied.
Baldrige was first instituted under a previous administration that, unfortunately, still casts a long shadow over COD. It might be worth considering wandering into the early 21st century in developing appropriate metrics to pursue success at COD.
Before going any further I would like to turn your attention to the slides on pages 8-9 of tonight’s board packet. Please look carefully for use of “students” anywhere on those two pages.
While I was unable to find any mention of students, “customers” appear prominently and account for 8.5% of the total weighted value. I couldn’t find faculty either, but will save that for another meeting.
If we have only customers and no students, it calls into questions the very value of higher education. Customers exchange money for a product or service of value. Higher education is not transactional and should not be treated as such.
Student success is narrowly measured as a grade of C or higher. In looking at a number of other community colleges participating in the benchmarking project, many had goals including increasing enrollment and strengthening retention, but I did not see a narrow, superficial definition that includes a metric that is very specific and cannot be compared across disciplines let alone colleges.
It’s unfortunate that attempts to measure what we do as a college are reduced to a customer consumer relationship and the shallowest of measures of helping students accomplish their goals.
We already have a student success plan. It’s called teaching and learning.