SUBCATEGORY TWO: PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES
Aligning program learning outcomes to the mission, educational offerings, and degree levels of the institution (3.E.2)
JCCC’s mission, vision and values statements reflect the College's commitment to offering opportunities for students that provide economic development, community engagement, and service learning in the region we serve. As an open-door institution, the College works to meet students' needs in order to facilitate student progress through the college-level work required to attain their goals (3.E.2).
JCCC is part of the Kansas higher education system of colleges. As such, the College aligns its transfer curriculum with the Regents schools as well as regional colleges to best serve our transfer students. Career and technical programs use a combination of advisory group feedback, employer input, and external employment projections and trends to align educational offerings and degrees in meeting the needs of the community. The career programs also approach curriculum from a cross-disciplinary model to ensure that students can apply general education skills to their fields (3.E.2).
All students identify individual academic goals as being degree/certificate seeking or non-degree/certificate seeking when applying to the College. JCCC offers a full range of undergraduate credit courses that form the first two years of most college curricula in addition to career and technical programs. The College has more than 100 transfer agreements with regional colleges and universities. More than 40% of enrolled JCCC students plan to transfer to another college or university. The College offers more than 50 programs of study, with nearly 150 one- and two-year career degree and certificate options that prepare students to enter the job market in high-employment fields (3.E.2).
Determining program outcomes (4.B.4)
A 2014 AQIP project led to the College implementing a redesigned Annual Review, Planning and Development and Comprehensive Program Review (Program Review) to facilitate the review of curriculum and setting program goals. Full-time and part-time faculty are encouraged to participate in the departmental reviews (4.B.4). This process covers all academic programs and instructional support units. Program Review has two related components: Comprehensive Academic Program Review and Annual Planning and Development. Both the comprehensive and annual processes are integral parts of the overall institutional evaluation, planning, and development process at the College. The process was designed to:
- Ensure that academic programs remain focused on student success and serving the needs of the community;
- Increase coherence of academic program development and apply continuous quality improvement;
- Enhance the quality of academic programs by assessing program strengths and challenges;
- Align academic program needs and campus priorities with the planning and budget process; and
- Ensure that program priorities are consistent with the College's mission and strategic plan.
In addition to this internal process, program learning outcomes are influenced by several external factors, including specialized accrediting agencies, the Kansas Board of Regents, industry advisory boards, and the needs of transfer students through statewide articulation agreements.
Articulating the purposes, content, and level of achievement of the outcomes (4.B.1)
In both the annual and three-year comprehensive cycle of program review, programs receive and reflect on three years of program data provided by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning and Research. The data provided to the programs gives information on student success such as completion, attrition, graduation, follow-up surveys, and other pertinent outcomes data. Through the program review process, academic programs are encouraged to include relevant data related to external issues, advisory boards, transfer relations, curriculum changes, and assessment results. Additionally, within the comprehensive three-year cycle of Program Review, programs are asked to evaluate currency of program outcomes, review curricular impact, and reflect on student success. Each program chooses measures for established outcomes. In collaboration with the respective division dean, programs continuously monitor measures through annual updates and develop strategies for maintaining or improving results (4.B.1). The annual and comprehensive components are also directly tied to the campus budgeting processes so that programs must link program goals, assessment of student learning data, and action plans to request for fiscal resources and adjustments to budgets.
Ensuring the outcomes remain relevant and aligned with student, workplace, and societal needs (3.B.4)
The Foresight 2020 plan from the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) ensures the state’s higher education system meets Kansans’ expectations and sets long-range achievement goals that are measurable and reportable. Included in Foresight 2020 is a strategic goal to improve alignment of the state's higher education system with the needs of the economy.
KBOR has established alignment for many courses and programs to facilitate articulation across the state's public higher education institutions. This has provided opportunities for faculty teaching in these aligned curricula to collaborate with others teaching in their discipline to discuss and determine common core competencies (3.B.4).
External constituencies and significant trends are examined to give an awareness and understanding of other possible factors that may impact program outcomes. This includes, but is not limited to, recommendations from industry advisory boards and specialized accrediting bodies. For example, programs are often bound to outcomes defined by their specialized accrediting agency. Members of the advisory board offer relevant input to produce the desired outcomes. Programs review documents for these external trends in both the annual and comprehensive cycles (3.B.4).
Designing, aligning, and delivering co-curricular activities to support learning (3.E.1, 4.B.2)
In 2014–2015, Goal 1, Task 1 of JCCC’s strategic plan began the process of aligning and assessing co-curricular activities within academic program offerings. Through the efforts of this task force, co-curricular activities were integrated into the academic comprehensive program review cycle. During the comprehensive cycle of review, programs now catalog co-curricular activities, including the alignment to general education learning outcomes and assessment activities (3.E.1, 4.B.2).
In addition, other co-curricular activities such as Honors, Service Learning, and International Education are included in the comprehensive cycle of Academic Program Review. For these co-curricular units, this includes data elements appropriate to the mission, goal setting, assessment, and program vitality contributing to overall student success (4.B.2). As previously noted, the College is looking to expand the co-curricular assessment activities, potentially through an AQIP project.
Selecting the tools/methods/instruments used to assess attainment of program learning outcomes (4.B.2)
College faculty members are tasked with identifying and implementing common assessment instruments in their disciplines to be used across sections for the purpose of measuring student learning outcomes for general education courses. Faculty also choose the most appropriate program outcomes and campuswide learning outcomes to assess in the career and technical programs. This method of authentic assessment provides the best mechanism to get meaningful and consistent assessment results. Assessments that measure college-wide student learning outcomes are embedded in coursework throughout the curriculum. The most common direct tools utilized are pre/posttests, rubrics to measure student performance, and embedded questions. Assessment tools are selected to have the most relevance to the workplace, transfer institutions, and student experience. In addition, those programs with external certifications or national exams use assessment tools to capture overall competency in specific disciplines.
Indirect tools to measure co-curricular programs and support services are utilized by the College and include survey instruments such as the Community College Student Survey of Engagement (CCSSE) and the Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI). The College’s Office of Institutional Research also regularly conducts employer and graduate follow-up surveys (4.B.2).
Assessing program learning outcomes (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.4)
Through the processes of Program Review, program faculty annually reflect on qualitative and quantitative data and examine trends leading to the establishment of goals and action plans in support of student success (4.B.1, 4.B.4). Programs use reflection and discussion as a basis for considering program vitality indicators of demand, quality, and resource utilization and to provide a program self-assessment of overall program vitality (4.B.2). Additionally, division deans provide programs with a summative assessment of program vitality and engage faculty in discussions of program goals and action plans.