Criterion Four. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

4.A – Core Component 4.A

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs.

  1. The institution maintains a practice of regular program reviews.
  2. The institution evaluates all the credit that it transcripts, including what it awards for experiential learning or other forms of prior learning, or relies on the evaluation of responsible third parties.
  3. The institution has policies that assure the quality of the credit it accepts in transfer.
  4. The institution maintains and exercises authority over the prerequisites for courses, rigor of courses, expectations for student learning, access to learning resources, and faculty qualifications for all its programs, including dual credit programs. It assures that its dual credit courses or programs for high school students are equivalent in learning outcomes and levels of achievement to its higher education curriculum.
  5. The institution maintains specialized accreditation for its programs as appropriate to its educational purposes.
  6. The institution evaluates the success of its graduates. The institution assures that the degree or certificate programs it represents as preparation for advanced study or employment accomplish these purposes. For all programs, the institution looks to indicators it deems appropriate to its mission, such as employment rates, admission rates to advanced degree programs, and participation rates in fellowships, internships, and special programs (e.g., Peace Corps and Americorps).

Argument

Metropolitan Community College insures the quality of its educational programs through a series of reviews, processes, and procedures addressing program quality, awarding and transfer of credits, and measures of program equivalence.  Specialized accreditations are pursued and maintained in certain CTE programs, and the college measures its impact through the success of its graduates.

MCC maintains regular discipline and program review. Discipline review is defined as review of the courses within a discipline, and program review is defined as review of a program which may contain courses within the discipline as well as courses outside the discipline (Program Review PowerPoint (Page 3), Program Review Policy).  In 2011, MCC transitioned from a five-year cycle of discipline/program review to a four-year cycle to align with MCC’s four general education cohorts: cohorts consisting of five or more general education disciplines and created as a part of MCC’s Quality Improvement Project.

MCC’s discipline review process also underwent revision to include an assessment and improvement component.  Faculty from the disciplines in each cohort participated in creating discipline-level outcomes and assessments for both their discipline outcomes and general education outcomes.

MCC’s newly designed discipline review incorporates faculty’s ongoing assessment data and analyses into discipline review along with data about financial, human, and physical resources; student enrollments, persistence, retention, and completion; curriculum review and revision; and other relevant information requested by the discipline faculty. Faculty receive this data from MCC’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment and from the Finance Department. All faculty within each discipline are encouraged to participate in the creation and presentation of their discipline reviews. Faculty from the disciplines in each cohort present their reviews each spring in an open forum to MCC’s officers: the chancellor, vice chancellors, and presidents from each campus.

The Associate in Arts degree was reviewed and updates were implemented in Fall 2014 as evidenced in Criterion 3 (Final AA Summary Report). The Associate in Engineering degree was reviewed and implemented in Spring 2015 (AE degree). These changes were based on an engineering discipline review and updates in the field. The Associate in Science in Biology degree was reviewed, updated, and implemented in Spring 2015. Other degrees continue to be reviewed.

A review process is in place for career and technical education programs. (CTE Program Coordinator Guide 8-11-14, Full Plan for CTE Evaluation, Program Development Template Jan2013, CTE Program Data Report). Review examples include Health Information Management, Automotive, and Veterinary Technology, which were presented to the officers in November 2014.

Additionally, when a new program is proposed, a complete economic needs analysis is produced to investigate evidence of employer needs. For example, a 2014 Needs Analysis of community health workers indicated that the metropolitan area would see a 27% increase in this job market, and that a certificate provided an entry point into a career. This program has been approved through the MCC curriculum process and will be effective spring 2016. (Needs Analysis Report – Community Health Worker, Needs Analysis Content, Current Benchmarks for Needs Analysis October 2014).

As noted, the general education discipline review process was revised for the 2013-14 academic year. Presentations on the new process were given during in-service at all campuses in August 2014 (General Education Discipline Review Process Presentation). The previous review process was revised because it was not in alignment with the college’s new plan for assessment, nor was it meaningful and useful for the programs and the institution (2006 Program/Discipline/Service Evaluation Manual). The current format was introduced to each of the first cohort disciplines, biology, economic, engineering, physics, and foreign languages in individual department meetings.  Here are examples of the documents provided to the disciplines (Physics Faculty Ratios, Physics Discipline Demographics, Data Analysis Worksheet – Engineering, ENGR Discipline SWOT Analysis Discipline Review Description Financials, District Demographics). The faculty worked on the reports and incorporated the assessment results for their disciplines (Chemistry Assessment Report).  The faculty in each discipline discussed this information in context and used it to construct their reviews. The faculty in the first cohort presented to the officers in April 2014 with follow up meetings with the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for additional resource conversations (Request for IR Data Review of Physics/Engineering Student Success Data, PHYS106 Enrollment History, Physics Discipline Review for April 2014). An outcome of the physics review was the addition of MATH 40 as a prerequisite for introductory courses in the discipline (PHYS101PHYS104PHYS106).  

The state of Missouri mandates the following requirements for program review as part of an initiative to eliminate duplication in low demand programs and improve efficiency in higher education: (MO-DHE Statewide Review of Academic Programs). Several MCC programs were discontinued in 2011 based on state review, including Paraprofessional Educator, Telecommunications Technician, Digital Media, and Computer Support Technician. (MO-DHE Press Release, MO Program Review Summary Report). There are program accreditation requirements for some career programs (examples OTA, PTA, ST).

In 2012, MCC launched an institution-wide zero-based budget process as detailed under Criterion 5.C. (MCC Program Suspension-620080DR, ZBB Academic Review Team Recommendations). For purposes of program review, some programs were identified as low-performing and additional feasibility study reports (ZBB List of Recommend Programs to Review) were conducted and reviewed by campus presidents (Apparel and Textiles Report, Grounds and Turf Management Report). Programs eliminated as of fall 2014 include Apparel and Textiles and Grounds and Turf Management.

MCC evaluates all transcripted credit, including experiential learning and prior learning. MCC has a policy/procedure for transcription of transfer credit that addresses non-traditional ways to earn credit (Credit for Prior Learning Guide) with limitations on the number of credits that can be earned.

The college also has policies that assure the quality of the credit accepted in transfer. Evidence of this includes the policy for transfer credit (Transfer Credit, Transfer Credit DR), catalog statements (Transfer Credit from MCC Website), state requirements (MO credit transfer, MO principles credit), common course library, and articulation agreements (example). MCC uses College Source to review transfer credit for equivalencies (College Source Instructions). The student data center is centralized to professionally manage transfer courses.

MCC maintains authority for the following: prerequisites through curriculum committees, (agendas, October lodging packet (Page 7), minutes); rigor of courses through faculty evaluations (Policy), assessment, transfer and articulation agreements (example), and reports back from transfer institutions (MU); expectation for student learning (CIFs); access to learning resources (Statistics Lab Usage), faculty qualifications (policies), dual credit faculty Qualifications (dual credit faculty qualifications); dual credit courses are equivalent in learning outcomes and levels of achievement (Dual Credit Trigonometry syllabus, MATH 130 #45189 T Syllabus, Stats on Final Exam for Dual Credit Math, Departmental Final Exam Averages).State of Missouri dual credit policy, 2011 Final Dual Credit Report, 2012 Dual Credit Survey)

MCC maintains specialized accreditation for programs as appropriate (Accreditation.10.27.2014, Accreditations for Campus, Example of accreditation report from a program (ADN Self Study, Trans Letter DA 7 14, Accreditation Status Definitions)). Evidence that MCC evaluates the success of graduates includes:

Sources

4.B – Core Component 4.B

The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.

  1. The institution has clearly stated goals for student learning and effective processes for assessment of student learning and achievement of learning goals.
  2. The institution assesses achievement of the learning outcomes that it claims for its curricular and co-curricular programs.
  3. The institution uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning.
  4. The institution’s processes and methodologies to assess student learning reflect good practice, including the substantial participation of faculty and other instructional staff members.

Argument

MCC is committed to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.  As part of Cohort 2, MCC’s Quality Initiative included participation in the HLC Assessment Academy. (HLC Quality Initiative Report and Certificate)  Evidence of MCC’s commitment to educational achievement and improvement includes clearly stated goals for student learning and effective process for assessment (CIF Form Guidelines PSYC140 Course Change CIF, HLC Cohort Meeting Notebook, General Education Outcomes with Rubrics  [FlashFive 2012, Symposium 2013, 2014 Flash Five], Evaluate the Process Results, Assessment Plan Fall 2013, Assessment Plan Spring 2014, Impact Report, Music Assessment Results Spring 2014).

The college’s work on the HLC Improvement Project included assessment of general education and discipline outcomes. Both classroom and online courses were compared in the general education assessment, wherever the instruments could be delivered reliably. By the end of the Fall 2014 semester, MCC had assessed 17,188 students, 789 sections of classes and 24 general education disciplines with 93 percent of full-time eligible faculty participating.  The college is continuing to assess in each of these disciplines while meeting with the faculty to determine specific improvements based on the data.

While student services were represented on MCC’s new District Assessment Coordinating Committee (DACC), efforts to develop a plan and assess co-curricular programs have yet to be realized. (DACC Minutes 10-9-2014)  The college employed “smile sheets” and surveys to assess some co-curricular activities (All for the Children Survey). Now the goal is to develop a more intentional and robust assessment program for co-curricular programs. As a step toward this goal, the college has developed a plan to adopt a common MCC definition of co-curricular programs as well as a process for identifying learning objectives for co-curricular programs so they may be assessed. This process includes a component for intentionally integrating curricular and co-curricular programs to enhance student learning.

MCC uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning (Sustainability Plan, Noel Levitz 2014 Website, Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory, CCSSE Assessment Plan 2015). Faculty are encouraged to include interventions and improvements made based on assessment as part of their discipline and program reviews and reports to the officers. New faculty are trained with an online assessment training PowerPoint and quiz (Assessment 101 Training and RubricsOutcomes and Student Learning-HLC June 2014(Cynthia-June 23 2014). Online students that have withdrawn from classes are surveyed to determine reasons and to implement changes (WD_Survey_Questions, MCC_Online_WD_2011)

A district-wide committee met to develop a diversity assessment plan that includes outcomes, rubrics, assessment, and results. (Diversity Assessment, Diversity Assessment Outcomes, Assessment Plan-Human Diversity, Shared Outcomes and Rubric for Human Diversity Courses)

MCC’s processes and methodologies to assess student learning reflect good practice and include the substantial participation of faculty and instructional staff:

In addition to faculty participating in assessment within their disciplines, faculty, staff, and administrators participated in the process of determining and assessing general education and discipline assessments through world cafes and breakout sessions at the annual Summer Symposium, district inservice, and the annual Regional Community College Assessment Conference hosted alternately by MCC and Johnson County Community College (MCC RegionalCommCollege 2012, MCC_Reg Com College Assmnt Conf-2014)

Additional faculty assessment includes:

Changes to programs have resulted from many of these assessments. A summary of recent changes to career programs based on yearly assessment can be found in the CTE Assessment Report.

Another example is the withdrawal survey distributed (electronically) to students that dropped an online course during the first 6 weeks of the semester (2010-2011). The survey was a follow up to an earlier withdrawal survey from 2002.  Access to textbooks, course syllabi, and schedules were identified as areas needing attention.  In response, the Distance Education department now utilizes standardized texts in high demand disciplines (English, Math, History) and posts master course syllabi and schedules on the Distance Education web site. The next round of withdrawal surveys is planned for the 2016-2017 academic year.

 

Sources

4.C – Core Component 4.C

The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational improvement through ongoing attention to retention, persistence, and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.

  1. The institution has defined goals for student retention, persistence, and completion that are ambitious but attainable and appropriate to its mission, student populations, and educational offerings.
  2. The institution collects and analyzes information on student retention, persistence, and completion of its programs.
  3. The institution uses information on student retention, persistence, and completion of programs to make improvements as warranted by the data.
  4. The institution’s processes and methodologies for collecting and analyzing information on student retention, persistence, and completion of programs reflect good practice. (Institutions are not required to use IPEDS definitions in their determination of persistence or completion rates. Institutions are encouraged to choose measures that are suitable to their student populations, but institutions are accountable for the validity of their measures.)

Argument

MCC is committed to educational improvement through ongoing attention to retention, persistence, and completion rates in its degree and certification programs. MCC has defined goals for student retention, persistence and completion that are ambitious but attainable and appropriate to its mission, population and education offerings.

In September 2011, MCC launched an institution-wide endeavor of strategic enrollment management.  It was decided that as the college moves forward with the strategic allocation of resources to achieve student success, it should develop a enrollment strategy that provides for long-term growth and financial stability. The aggressive strategic enrollment plan utilizing current resources and predictive modeling will produce tangible results toward delivery of effective academic programs, generation of tuition, financial planning in collaboration with the zero-based budgeting model, increased organizational efficiency, and efficiency in service delivery programs (SEM_Matrix_Stud LifeCycleSEM cabinet presentation, and see additional evidence in Criterion 5.C).

In May 2012, MCC was selected as one of nine colleges in the state to be a part of the Missouri Completion Academy (Completion Academy Application, MDHE Ltr 7-5-13).  An MCC team met with other state leaders to develop a completion plan with assistance from the Complete College America association (Completion Academy plan). The plan included creating co-requisite remediation, intrusive advising, and block scheduling for career programs. In 2014, an MCC team met again with the academy to update progress and report to the state (Completion Academy – The Sequel). The college set a 10-year goal (MCC 2020 Goal Slide July 2014).

A new course, College 100, is MCC’s First Year Experience Program. It began with a recommendation from the student retention subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Committee in 2010. Citing data from similar national programs and from nearby Crowder (Mo.) College, the subcommittee recognized that MCC-Maple Woods’ student orientation pilot for A+ students could serve as a model for a districtwide first-year student experience course. The pilot focused on informing students about the state of Missouri’s A+ scholarship program and requirements for remaining eligible and avoiding the loss of funding support. Additional content included best practices for becoming a successful college student at MCC, along with information on enrollment processes, program and schedule advising, and career planning.

Upon approval of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, a faculty intern position was created with responsibilities related to academic success, chief among them the creation of a districtwide first-year experience course that would be mandatory for all degree- and certificate-seeking students. This credit-bearing course would concentrate on teaching students to be good students, incorporating curriculum content commonly proven to encourage successful student behaviors. In addition to financial aid, advising and scheduling, and career planning modules, the course was to include co-curricular and non-academic information on topics such as time management and personal finance.

In 2011, a member of the English faculty at MCC-Longview was selected as the faculty intern. This person and a steering committee wrote curriculum, determined scheduling needs, recruited teachers, provided professional development and training, and coordinated implementation of the course on all five MCC campuses. The one-credit hour course was implemented into all degree and certificate programs beginning with the 2012-13 academic year. Evidence of assessment can be seen in the following: (COLL 100 Student Report 2012, COLL 100 Student Report 2013, College 100 Revision Talking Points). The college recently hired a new director of First Year Experience, and revision of the program is being planned.

MCC collects and analyzes information on retention, persistence, and completion of its programs.  Evidence of this includes (Spring 2014 Factbook District, Summer 2014 Factbook District, Fall 2014 Factbook, Fall 2014_Scorecard) . A Stop Out and Transfer Report (Spring 2014) is completed every semester to track what happens to students who are no longer at MCC.

MCC received three Title III grants in 2013; two campus grants (Blue River & Penn Valley) and a research grant to address retention in the developmental/remedial sequences in Math, English, and Reading.   Research is being carried out for all three Title III grants (Title III) to assess a wide range of interventions:

  • Surveys were administered at all faculty training sessions during Year 1.
  • Surveys were administered to students in pilot courses at the conclusion of the Fall 2014 semester.
  • Focus groups for humanities faculty who had attended the summit were held at the conclusion of the Fall 2014 semester under the supervision of the external evaluator.
  • Focus groups for students who took fall pilot courses and faculty who taught fall pilot courses took place January 26-28, 2015 under the supervision of the external evaluator.
  • Student success data is being analyzed for students in fall pilots (DFWI rates and re-enrollment in spring courses).

The data gathered as a result of the Noel-Levitz survey in 2012 called for increased training and development in the area of academic advising. The data provided an impetus for adviser training to be developed. Due to the leadership of one of MCC’s advisers, through the MCC Leadership Academy, the college developed monthly adviser trainings that have covered topics ranging from theory to program information as well as Strengths Quest so they can better advise our students.  MCC is consistently using Noel-Levitz data to change practices and to provide professional development and training to better serve our students. The use of this data can be observed in the reports from SEM, in the writing and implementation of FOCUS, and in the Completion Academy (Noel Levitz 2014 Website, Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory).

An applicant survey was administered in Fall 2013 to 2,451 MCC applicants. Applicants were identified as students who had enrolled for the Fall 2013 semester, were dropped for non-payment of tuition, and did not re-enroll that semester. Callers attempted to contact all students at least once. About half the students contacted said they were returning MCC students. Two-thirds of students reported they were planning to enroll at MCC in the future. Around one-third of the students requested a follow-up call. Many of the student requests centered on needing help with spring enrollment and financial aid processes. The names and phone numbers of those requesting follow-ups were given to Enrollment Services. Student contacts were divided into groups based upon the area of help needed, and those contacts were forwarded to the appropriate areas, such as Financial Aid, Transcripts, etc. Students were contacted and assisted with Spring 2014 enrollment process. (Prospect Survey Fall 2012 Applicant Survey 2014, Presentation)

MCC piloted early alert systems to test what works best for the institution. In 2011, the college tried Course Signals. (Course Signals Pilot Assessment Spring 2011 FINAL).  After that, the Early Alert center in Blackboard (which recently became the Retention Center) was employed to set up notifications and inform students early of their progress.

With the FOCUS grant, MCC piloted using Smartsheet’s software.  For the Fall 2014 semester, two Early Alerts were used for the MCC-Penn Valley FOCUS students, one at Week 4 and the other at Week 8.  In total, 15 instructors were sent Early Alert communications for students in FOCUS classes. For Week 4, 13 of 15 instructors followed up with student responses, which they put into SmartSheets. For Week 8, 9 of 15 instructors followed up with student responses, which again were put into Smartsheets. In total, 409 Early Alert comments were placed into Smartsheets for the Penn Valley FOCUS students during Fall 2014. Once comments were placed in Smartsheets, the Penn Valley case manager contacted students by phone and in many instances met with them to discuss their progress.  After the student contacts were made, the case manager then followed up by placing updates in Smartsheets to indicate what had transpired with the student (Faculty can view updates in the comments area of SmartSheets). This semester, three Early Alerts will be used with Penn Valley FOCUS students, one at Week 2, one at Week 4, and the last at Week 8 (Early Alert Email Example) .

MCC uses good practice methodologies for collecting and analyzing information on retention, persistence, and completion (IPEDS_DFR_2014_MCC, Peer Institution Selection).  The numbers and types of awards are shared and examined each year (MCCKC Degrees 2009-2014, MCCKC Certificates 2009-2014).  Additional research has been conducted on distance education persistence (Student_WD_MCC_DTL_draft) and success (Online vs Ground Grade Distribution AY2012).

There is evidence of transfer student success from executive reports from the University of Missouri with nearly 80% having graduated or continuing enrollment three years after transfer (Fall 2011 Executive Summary, Blue River, Longview, Maple Woods, Penn ValleyFall2012 Executive Summary, MCC to UMKC data 2015).

To assist students with employment, MCC purchased NACElink to use in the student employment offices. Employers can post their company profiles and employment opportunities (Career Central EmployerUserGuide). Students can use NACElink to develop job search tools, research companies, learn more about industry fields, and build resumes (Career Central StudentUserGuide). It will also assist MCC in tracking employment outcomes for graduates.

4.S – Criterion 4 – Summary

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

Summary

MCC demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its education programs. The institution maintains a practice of regular program reviews, evaluates all the credit it transcripts, and has policies that assure the quality of the credit it accepts in transfer. MCC maintains and exercises authority over the prerequisites for courses, rigor of courses, expectations for students learning, access to learning resources, and faculty. Credit courses or programs for high school students are equivalent in learning outcomes and levels of achievement. The college maintains specialized accreditation for its programs as appropriate to its educational purposes, and evaluates the success of its graduates.

Sources

There are no sources.