CATEGORY SIX: INTRODUCTION
The College’s culture of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) operates at the aligned and integrated levels of maturity. The culture of CQI is diffused throughout processes in place in the divisions, offices, and programs of the institution. The College participated in the Higher Learning Commission Strategy Forum in Summer 2014. The outcome of this event led to a new type of strategic planning at the College. Led by the executive director of Institutional Effectiveness, the process includes environmental scans, community feedback, dialog with campus constituents, and surveys that culminated in themes that were addressed by the President's Cabinet and coalesced into the current three-year strategic plan. As part of this endeavor, the College aligned key performance indicators (KPIs) and AQIP mechanisms with the strategic plan.
The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the President's Cabinet have been primary drivers in the College-wide adoption of CQI principles that develop processes and outcome measures on campus. The development of the strategic plan and revised Academic Program Review, Planning and Development processes and adoption of KPIs have been a primary vehicle to embrace a CQI culture. JCCC is committed to a culture of quality at all levels of the College.
A tangible manifestation of this commitment is evidenced in the College’s approach to updating and improving the physical infrastructure of the campus. Campus leaders recognize providing an innovative, modern learning environment is a crucial contributing factor to student success. In this category, the College will highlight our commitment to a quality physical and digital infrastructure and the processes that support decision-making.
Divisions and departments are tasked with evaluating and aligning practices with KPIs and strategic goals and tasks. AQIP projects are created from KPI initiatives and strategic planning goals and tasks. Linking these processes has given the College a better mechanism to concentrate resources on common needs. The KPIs are regularly measured and reported on and the strategic goals and tasks and AQIP projects are reported regularly to the President's Cabinet during their weekly improvement strategies meetings. AQIP projects have a dedicated reporting mechanism. The President's Cabinet annually reviews projects from the previous academic year and determines if any follow-up projects are required. The Board of Trustees also receives yearly updates on KPIs, strategic planning, and AQIP projects.
While many areas of the College could provide examples in this section of the report, the areas and range of projects that are featured illustrate improvements that focused on diverse improvement strategies such as increasing student satisfaction with auxiliary services, enhancing efficiency, space utilization of a support department, and a unique component of the College's culture - sustainability. These projects were chosen to show how the planning and improvement processes are fully integrated into the culture of JCCC.
SUBCATEGORY ONE: QUALITY IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVES
Selecting, deploying, and evaluating quality improvement initiatives
Counseling Center: During JCCC’s strategic planning process, the College determined that academic advising was one of the areas students and faculty identified for improvement. A campuswide committee was convened to study and propose changes for the system of advising, and several recommendations were submitted to the President’s Cabinet. The Cabinet approved a recommendation regarding improved access to advisors.
In addressing Goal 1, Tasks 2 and 3, the counseling leadership team addressed the need for a more student-centric model that allowed greater walk-in access. The original model allowed for walk-in traffic to the student advising center only on Wednesdays or for urgent issues. In general, students were encouraged to make an appointment. The new model of anytime student advising has shown a sharp increase in student access to the counseling center.
Bursar’s Office: The Bursar’s Office is a department of the College’s Financial Services division tasked with collecting tuition and fees from students. The Bursar’s Office closely monitors survey responses pertaining to College business processes and how the functioning of those processes can greatly impact students' experiences and overall satisfaction. As part of the Goal 1, Task 2 initiatives, the Bursar's Office analyzed student feedback via the Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory, a nationally recognized and widely implemented standardized student survey that facilitates benchmarking of institutional performance indicators. As a result of the analysis, the office decided to address the College's online payment portal.
In early 2014, the Bursar's Office formed a task force with staff from various student service areas (counseling, registration, admissions, financial aid, the bookstore, and Continuing Education registration) for the purpose of reviewing the College’s e-commerce student payment portal, MyFinances. This review was part of an effort to assess opportunities for continuing improvement in the student billing and registration process as well as address changes resulting from recent restructuring of the Bursar’s Office. Other factors also played a part in process review: MyFinances had not been reviewed for seven years and new staff had been added to the office.
Comparative data from the College and peer institutions with regards to online student payment portals indicated JCCC students had a much higher rate of using online payments options than students at peer institutions—73% for JCCC compared to an average of 38% for peer institutions. Thus, the task force concluded a modernized, efficient online payment portal was crucial for increasing student satisfaction.
Warehouse and Central Receiving: The College’s Warehouse and Central Receiving serves as the main delivery location for most items purchased by the College. Central Receiving is responsible for retrieving items and delivering them to the correct locations on campus, including archive records, surplus property, Document Services orders, and other materials stored in the warehouse. Warehouse and Central Receiving selected two tasks aligned with the College's strategic plan. Specifically, it focused on Goal 4, to commit to the efficient use of resources to strengthen quality offerings. The initiatives tie to the tasks within Goal 4. Task 1 is to reduce administrative costs as a percentage of total expenditures through streamlining business processes, service area reviews, and reallocation of resources from administrative functions toward direct student success activities. Task 2 looks to improve facility utilization.
Addressing Task 1, to make more efficient use of College resources in processing the sale and/or disposal of surplus property, the Warehouse implemented changes in disposal methods that prioritized reuse to support the College's sustainability initiatives as well as reduce purchasing of new items. The process for selling surplus items was also changed in order to generate higher revenue.
The warehouse chose to improve facility utilization and to reduce College liability associated with long-term document storage by eliminating paper archives. By implementing electronic archives, the College has addressed storage space issues, reduced risk management, and identified the handling and tracking of physical archives as a labor intensive process. JCCC legal counsel worked with the warehouse and various departments to develop and implement record retention schedules and archival destruction processes. The archival destruction process aligns with the document retention schedules and ensures a thorough review and evaluation of documents selected for disposal.
Center for Sustainability: JCCC leads through example in integrating sustainability into the curriculum and daily operations of the campus. The College has transformed the physical campus into a living, learning laboratory providing students, faculty, and staff an environmentally, socially, and economically responsible institution. The Center for Sustainability opened in January 2009 as a direct response to an agreement, signed by other colleges as well as JCCC, to reduce each institution's carbon footprint. Since then, the Center has become an integral part of the College's culture and commitment. Initiatives of sustainability on campus include composting, sustainable energy, sustainable food and water, landscaping and biodiversity, having three LEED certified buildings, recycling, student led art features, electric recharging stations, hydration stations, and the ROSE store, which recycles office materials. The Center organizes these recycling and other initiatives to engage students and the campus in projects and high-profile events. In addition to these efforts, the center's staff members have assisted faculty with creating curricula that incorporate sustainability, which is called the Sunflower Project. The College has benefitted from enhanced educational opportunities for our students, cost savings, and recognition as a regional leader in sustainability.
Aligning the Systems Portfolio, Action Projects, Comprehensive Site Review, and Strategy Forums
As part of an overall transition that occurred with new leadership at both the presidential and chief academic officer levels in 2013, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the President's Cabinet worked to align campus processes across the divisions and departments by adopting KPIs tied to student success, which are represented in Goal 1 of the strategic plan.
AQIP projects are focused on areas identified through strategic planning and reviewed by an AQIP steering committee before approval by the President's Cabinet. The new president and chief academic officer were part of the leadership that attended the Strategy Forum, which identified a new system of planning as a top priority. A recent AQIP project focused on revamping the program review processes of the College. This included a faculty-led project team to identify best practices, a pilot of both transfer and career programs, a standardization of data elements, and incorporation of the budgeting cycle. To focus departments on their role in planning, the Comprehensive Academic Program Review includes a section that requires departments and programs to identify how projects and initiatives within their programs tie to the College's mission, vision, key performance indicators, and the strategic plan.
Building on the success of the Academic Program Review and Annual Planning process, the College initiated an AQIP project to address an Administrative and Service Area Program Review. This project also included a pilot within payroll and began implementation campuswide in Fall 2016. As with the Academic Program Review, the Administrative and Service Area Review will be on a three-year cycle.