CATEGORY ONE: INTRODUCTION
Helping students learn is at the heart of the Johnson County Community College mission: “JCCC inspires learning to transform lives and strengthen communities.” Through an array of career, transfer, and Continuing Education programs, JCCC educates its students and community to explore our changing world, engage in critical thought, and be prepared to solve problems in the future. The College employs close to 3,000 people in full-time, part-time, and contracted positions, all of whom share this one goal.
In 2014, Johnson County Community College adopted strategic goals and tasks to support its mission, vision and values. These goals, briefly stated, call on the College to address 1) clearly defined student success, 2) agility responding to stakeholder needs, 3) communication of the College’s comprehensive offerings, and 4) efficient use of College resources to strengthen its offerings. Specifically, Goal 1 of the strategic plan directs the College to focus on specific metrics of student success: student satisfaction, retention, persistence, and graduation and transfer rates. This section provides an account of JCCC’s efforts. Since the institution's last formal review, the College has introduced, integrated, and aligned systems to enhance its ability to help students learn through the following developments:
- Revised the system for faculty-driven assessment of all courses;
- Designed and introduced a specific system for aggregating assessment of general education courses;
- Instituted refined program review processes to guide departments in setting goals, maintaining currency, and monitoring success; and
- Aligned curriculum and programs with Kansas Board of Regents institutions to support ease of transfer for students.
The College is at the aligned and integrated levels of maturity in many of the processes related to effectiveness of the teaching and learning mission.
SUBCATEGORY ONE: COMMON LEARNING OUTCOMES
Aligning common outcomes to the mission, educational offerings, and degree levels of the institution (3.B.1, 3.E.2)
The College’s mission, vision and values statements guide the educational offerings at JCCC as a comprehensive, open-access community college. The College offers curriculum that meets the needs of industry, transfer institutions, and the community. As part of the proposal process for adding new programs, research is conducted to determine the market demand as well as transferability of the curriculum (3.B.1, 3.E.2). Proposed curriculum is reviewed and approved by each department, division, appropriate dean, and the institutional Educational Affairs Committee. Once approved, the curriculum advances to the JCCC Board of Trustees and the Kansas Board of Regents (3.B.2). The College aims to provide a rich curriculum that includes service learning, opportunities for international educational offerings, and a robust honors program. The opportunities the College provides challenge students and inspire learning, and the academic support offered transforms lives. Additionally, through the work of the Small Business Development Center, the College works to strengthen the community through assisting businesses in creating and retaining jobs. (3.E.2)
Determining common outcomes (3.B.2, 4.B.4)
The College's current statement of general education was developed by the General Education Subcommittee of the Educational Affairs Committee between 2003–2005. Early in the process, all faculty members were surveyed about the definition of the general education curriculum. These responses were collected and coded, and a draft of the criteria were developed. The proposed criteria was presented to the full Educational Affairs Committee for comment, revised substantially, and submitted to the Educational Affairs Committee for last comments prior to the statement of general education being submitted to the full faculty for approval (3.B.2).
In 2014, the College launched an Academic Quality Improvement Plan (AQIP) project to strengthen its ongoing assessment of the general education curriculum. The College defines general education as the combination of essential thinking skills with knowledge from areas such as the arts, communications, humanities, languages, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences. The general education curriculum prepares students to become lifelong learners capable of making informed, ethical decisions in an increasingly complex and diverse global community. To accomplish this project, a separate task force was assembled to develop a general education assessment plan. The task force, in conjunction with the General Education Subcommittee of the Educational Affairs Committee and the Assessment Council, worked to align and coordinate processes to develop, support, and implement the general education assessment plan (4.B.4). The completion of the full three year cycle of gathering data on the general education assessment will happen at the end of the 2016–2017 academic year. At that time, the College-wide, faculty led Educational Affairs Committee and the Assessment Council will work in conjunction with the faculty to revisit the general education outcomes in light of the assessment data gathered. The Educational Affairs Committee will be responsible for curriculum and the Assessment Council will be responsible for campuswide assessment initiatives.
The College launched an AQIP project in Spring 2017, guided by faculty from both transfer and career programs to determine Institutional Learning Outcomes for the campus. The goals of this project are to:
- Develop Institutional Learning Outcomes, allowing the College to align with the Kansas Board of Regents reporting requirements;
- Engage faculty in deliberations and discussions on Institutional Learning Outcomes, helping continue the maturation of the assessment culture on campus; and
- Develop Institutional Learning Outcomes to provide a more inclusive framework for career and technical programs to engage in assessment (4.B.4).
Articulating the purposes, content, and level of achievement of the outcomes (3.B.2, 4.B.1)
The faculty of JCCC has established curriculum-wide student learning outcomes. These outcomes are the heart of a continuous cycle of inquiry, assessment, and improvement. Regular assessment of student achievement of these outcomes is used to develop improvement strategies and demonstrate our accountability for our students’ learning. This assessment produces data that is used to make evidence-based decisions related to curriculum, instruction, and resources (4.B.1). The general education curriculum is distributed through 33 departments of the College. By meeting the College’s general education requirements, a student will be exposed to key concepts in a range of areas (3.B.2).
As part of the development of the General Education Assessment Plan, faculty members identified the essential learning outcomes for general education courses and implemented common assessment instruments across sections for the purpose of measuring student learning. In the assessment planning, faculty determine expectations for student performance. This assessment methodology provides the best mechanism to get meaningful and consistent results for general education courses. All faculty members teaching a general education course are required to participate in assessment activities (4.B.1).
The general education student learning goals provide a framework of assessment to inform curriculum change and to inform the College on the state of student learning in the general education program. The benchmarks noted below and in the results section are at the institutional level and may vary from the benchmarks designated by the department or division teaching courses in the general education curriculum, which are set by the faculty in the disciplines.
The Office of Outcomes Assessment provides annual reports on assessment activities at the Division level of the College and aggregated at the campus level for both general education outcomes as well as career and technical education (4.B.1).
Incorporating into the curriculum opportunities for all students to achieve the outcomes (3.B.3, 3.B.5)
Students completing an associate degree at JCCC meet the general education requirements set by the College, including completing courses in communications, humanities, social sciences, and math and/or science (3.B.3). In the 2013–2014 academic year, the College revised its general education assessment as an AQIP project. In the first phase of that initiative, faculty teaching general education courses designated the primary student learning outcomes to be assessed in the courses. All of the student learning outcomes were mapped to coursework across the general education curriculum. All faculty members were invited to participate in the creation of “baseline” performance rubrics with the Office of Outcomes Assessment to use when aggregating campuswide assessment results, shown in Figure 1.1.
In 2014–2015, the Chief Academic Officer requested that the Educational Affairs Committee establish a task force to examine the College’s general education requirements for associate degrees and make recommendations. (3.B.3) The committee was charged with reviewing seamless transferability of general education courses to regional institutions. In Fall 2015, the administration recommended revised general education requirements for associate degrees. Changes in degree requirements included removing the physical education requirement for all associate degrees, changing the mathematics requirement for the Associate of Science degree, and the addition of 30 hours of general education courses for the Associate of Arts degree (3.B.5).
Ensuring the outcomes remain relevant and aligned with student, workplace, and societal needs (3.B.4)
Through the College's comprehensive academic program review process, curriculum is reviewed for relevancy, demand, and student success. To aid in review, academic programs annually receive three years of data from institutional research. In addition to the data provided from institutional research, career and technical programs use feedback from advisory boards, focus groups, and employer and student surveys to guide faculty in making curriculum improvements. The College also maintains relevancy through specialized accreditation in programs such as allied health professions, automotive technology, and fire science.
In addition to general education learning outcomes that include skills such as effective communication, numeric literacy, demonstrating an understanding of diversity, problem solving, access and evaluating information, and collaboration, students completing an A.A., A.S., or A.G.S. degree are required to take a cultural diversity designated course prior to graduation (3.B.4).
Designing, aligning, and delivering co-curricular activities to support learning (3.E.1, 4.B.2)
JCCC is currently at the systematic level of maturity with aligning its co-curricular activities and assessing impact. A recent AQIP project on co-curricular alignment collected data on all student organizations, defined "co-curricular" and "extracurricular" activities, and conducted a pilot with several academic units. Following the AQIP project, the process was embedded into the Comprehensive Academic Program Review, and programs and departments align co-curricular activities during the comprehensive cycle of review.
While the College’s process for assessing co-curricular activities is still evolving, clubs and organizations are well-established. The departments of Service Learning, Honors, and International Education are all involved in Comprehensive Program Review at the College. Both Service Learning and Honors have been actively engaged in determining effective assessments for those programs (3.E.1, 4.B.2).
Selecting the tools/methods/instruments used to assess attainment of common learning outcomes (4.B.2)
The College predominantly uses direct assessment in the classroom through embedded assessments. The tools of embedded assessments at the College fall into three broad categories and are tied to specific student learning outcomes: 1) pre/posttest of content knowledge; 2) rubrics designed to measure student artifacts or performances; and 3) questions or assignments embedded within coursework. Embedded assessments are a particularly efficient approach to measure student learning because they make use of tasks assigned in courses and are reflective of the learning taking place in the course. This allows the College to use asessment results with confidence to drive improvement in the curriculum. The indirect form of assessment used for general education student learning outcomes is done through a series of questions within the the Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Success Inventory and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). These instruments do not assess student learning directly, but survey results point to areas where the College is performing as well, and aspects of the undergraduate experience that could be improved (4.B.2).
In addition, academic programs use follow-up survey results; advisory board feedback; and graduation, transfer, and placement rates as additional indicators of curricular success. The College is continuing to mature its documentation of co-curricular activities, an area that has been identified for a potential AQIP project.
Assessing common learning outcomes (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.4)
JCCC approaches the assessment of all courses using faculty-driven, department- or program-designed assessments that are reported and aggregated using a common rubric for each of the student learning outcomes (4.B.4). The goals of the assessment processes at the College are to document and improve student learning; expand faculty involvement and control in assessment; align assessment objectives with existing curriculum; encourage, support, and recognize innovation in faculty-driven assessment; analyze and support numerous approaches to meaningful assessment; and provide institutional resources and structure to support localized assessment at the department and division level (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.4).
The College currently uses the general education criteria as the curriculum-wide student learning outcomes for all students. Regular assessment of student achievement of these outcomes is used to develop improvement strategies and demonstrate our accountability for students’ learning. Assessment activities embedded within the disciplines produce data used to make evidence-based decisions related to curriculum, instruction, and resources. In Spring 2017, the College adopted an AQIP project to develop institutional level learning outcomes that will align with the general education outcomes, but provide greater clarity to the career and technical education programs and non-general education curriculum.
The Office of Outcomes Assessment works with faculty to support assessment activities on campus. The results of assessment initiatives in the general education curriculum as well as the career and technical programs is reported in a yearly update. Additional reports are provided at the Division level in an aggregated format (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.4).