Johnson County was founded August 25, 1855, six years prior to Kansas becoming the 34th state in the Union. Johnson County is the growth engine for Kansas City’s metropolitan area. It lies at the heart of the nation, possessing all the ingredients necessary for economic growth and success. The county boasts nationally ranked schools, low crime rates, high quality neighborhoods, low costs of living, and a variety of cultural and entertainment amenities.
The educational attainment of Johnson County’s population ranks among the most highly educated in the nation, making the local labor pool one of the best in the United States. Ninety-five percent of Johnson County residents age 25 years and older have earned at least a high school diploma, while 52% have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 28% for the national average.
Since the county-wide election in March 1967 established a community college, Johnson County Community College has been serving its students and the community of northeast Kansas. The College's mission is to “inspire learning to transform lives and strengthen communities.” Johnson County Community College is one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education, and it offers a full range of undergraduate credit courses and career and certificate programs that prepare students for employment. JCCC is a founding member of the League for Innovation, which speaks to the College's vision to "be a national leader through educational excellence and innovation."
With more than 19,000 credit students and about 12,000 Continuing Education students enrolled each semester, JCCC is the largest community or technical college in Kansas and the third largest institution of higher education in the state. Despite this, the College maintains small class sizes—on average 25–30 students. These numbers are much lower than at many of the other colleges and universities across Kansas.
The College offers a full range of undergraduate credit courses that encompass the first two years of most college curricula. JCCC maintains more than 250 articulation and transfer agreements with colleges and universities in the region. Students at the College can earn an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Sciences, an Associate of Applied Science, or an Associate of General Studies. JCCC offers 48 programs of study and nearly 116 degrees and certificate options. The College has 16 selective admission programs.
In Fall 2016, the College’s credit enrollment was 19,139 (FTE 10,493). Of those enrolled, 32% were full-time and 68% were part-time. The median age of the student population was 20, and the average age was 24. The ethnicity of enrolled students closely profiles Johnson County and is predominantly Caucasian (68%), with the two largest minorities being Hispanic (9%) and African American (6%). The College predominately serves residents of Johnson County, who make up 76% of the student population, with 15% from other Kansas counties, 5% from the metropolitan area, and 4% from out of state.
In addition to its credit offerings, the College had nearly 22,000 enrollments in more than 4,000 certification, recertification and relicensure workshops, seminars, independent study, computer and information technology classes as well as contract training events. More than 3,800 employees of 98 area companies take advantage of contract training courses specifically tailored and presented at the College or onsite at a certain workplace. For the academic year ending June 30, 2016, Johnson County Adult Education helped more than 1,600 adults earn a high school diploma, learn English, or improve their academic skills. JCCC’s noncredit workforce development program is the largest, most comprehensive in the Kansas City area.
The College employs 310 full-time faculty and 561 part-time faculty. In addition, there are 588 full-time and 844 part-time staff. There are 22 buildings on the JCCC campus, the newest of which is the Wylie Hospitality and Culinary Academy, which opened for classes in Fall 2013. The Carlsen Center houses Yardley Hall, Polsky Theatre, the Bodker Black Box Theatre for academic productions, and a recital hall. The Regnier Center houses credit and noncredit classes as well as the College’s Continuing Education branch, while the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art has galleries devoted to regional, national, and international contemporary art.
The College is a regional leader in promoting sustainability, not only among its peer institutions, but in the local community as well. The College’s efforts are coordinated by the Center of Sustainability. Since taking on this initiative, JCCC has found ways to incorporate sustainable practices into its dining services and facilities, its use of water resources, in waste minimization and recycling, and found ways to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum.
As an institution of higher learning, JCCC was an early adopter of AQIP as its accreditation pathway. Since the last Systems Portfolio, the College has revamped its AQIP processes to be more inclusive of the College community, more thoughtful in its practices with milestone and metrics for each project, and deliberate in its linkage to the strategic plan of the College. This process has led to AQIP projects including an Academic Program Review, assessment of general education curriculum, faculty and staff engagement, and a re-examination of faculty development needs. Overall, this re-examination of how the College practices Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) campuswide has led to stronger projects, a more pervasive culture of CQI, and a stronger focus on the College's key initiatives.
The building of the Systems Portfolio has been a meaningful process for the campus. The first draft of the portfolio was made using portfolio teams to gather information and evidence from across campus and provide a first narrative. The second phase refined the narrative, seeking additional evidence and working with the President's Cabinet to confirm processes. The second draft of the portfolio was released to the campus for comment, correction of facts, and overall feedback prior to submission to the Higher Learning Commission. Through the Systems Portfolio process, the College has been able to identify those processes that are still at a level of maturity that is reacting or systematic, and we will be working to address these areas through AQIP projects over the next 1–3 years.