Chancellor shares results of MCC strategic location and programmatic study

Metropolitan Community College Chancellor Kimberly Beatty discussed findings of a recently completed strategic location and programmatic study at the June 21 Board of Trustees work session.

The College had engaged the services of Paulien & Associates, based in Denver, to undertake the study of the five-campus MCC system. Researchers Frank Markley, Ph.D., and Marty Mahler, Ph.D., examined:

  • The optimal distance between campuses in a community college district in this region
  • The optimal size of a community college campus, both in terms of students served and physical space
  • Identifiable areas within the MCC service area where a new campus or center should be located
  • Whether any current MCC campus is not strategically or optimally located

Click here to read the entire study.

As Chancellor Beatty has previously communicated to employees, the study concluded that MCC’s Business & Technology campus is underutilized.  Based on the data, the College should move forward with a plan to absorb Business & Technology programs at the other MCC campuses, the chancellor says.

Mahler of Paulien & Associates made a presentation at the June 21 trustees work session. On the question of optimal size of a community college campus, the researchers compared MCC campuses to 376 other community colleges. According to Paulien, the ideal number of usable square feet per student at Business & Technology would be 185. The actual number is 421. Mahler said his firm had never seen such an anomaly. Further, he said, the campus has nearly 138,000 square feet not being utilized efficiently; to do so, it would need to enroll another 584 students.

Paulien & Associates recommended that MCC relocate the programs at Business & Technology and divest itself of the campus property.

Suggesting where to move the Business & Technology programs was not within the scope of the study, but Mahler said that the MCC-Penn Valley campus is “rich in space” compared to the average campus, that MCC-Longview has about the right amount of space per student, and that MCC-Blue River and MCC-Maple Woods are currently short on space.

Paulien & Associates also recommended the College take a look at St. Joseph and Buchanan County — part of MCC’s service area — as a possible location for a new MCC teaching site. Based on demographics, student readiness and economic data, “we see opportunity in Buchanan County,” Mahler said.

Chancellor Beatty reiterated to the board that the Business & Technology campus and location are “no longer adequate to meet the programmatic teaching and learning needs for the faculty, staff and students.”

“We are not closing any programs” at the Business & Technology campus, the chancellor emphasized at the trustees work session.

Next steps

Chancellor Beatty told trustees that the Higher Learning Commission, MCC’s accrediting body, advises that the College complete a “substantive change request” that includes a plan to address concerns regarding impact on faculty, programs and students. The change request would also outline the resources, such as infrastructure and space, that would support the plan. The Board of Trustees must approve the plan before the College submits it to HLC.

The tentative timeline for the relocation of B&T programs to other MCC campuses:

  • June-September 2018: The administration works with Business & Technology faculty to develop the substantive change plan.
  • September 2018: Present the plan to the MCC Board of Trustees.
  • October 2018: Submit the plan to the Higher Learning Commission.
  • December 2018: Begin Phase 1 of the transition of B&T programs.
  • Summer 2019 (best case)/December 2019 (worst case): Conduct Phase 2 of the transition of programs.
  • February 2020: Site visit to MCC by the Higher Learning Commission (previously scheduled as part of an accreditation review)