SUBCATEGORY TWO: RETENTION, PERSISTENCE, AND COMPLETION
Collecting student retention, persistence, and completion data (4.C.2, 4.C.4)
Student unit records used to measure retention, persistence, and completion are stored in the College's student information system, Ellucian, a parent company of Banner. The College has utilized the Banner system for a number of years and has developed mature processes for data retrieval and reporting. The department of Institutional Research (IR), housed in Institutional Effectiveness, is responsible for ensuring data retrieval processes are timely and valid (4.C.2, 4.C.4).
Determining targets for student retention, persistence, and completion (4.C.1, 4.C.4)
The College’s strategic planning process serves as a guide for goal setting and tracking on retention, persistence, and completion data. Part of JCCC’s most recent strategic planning process included the development of key performance indicators (KPIs). The KPIs include measurements for graduation and transfer rates, persistence, transfer student performance, student satisfaction, and general education learning outcomes. The targets are set at the 75th percentile mark for all community colleges who participate in the National Community College Benchmark Project (NCCBP) (4.C.2, 4.C.4).
Every three years, the College updates its performance agreement with the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR). The agreement requires the College to identify six goals tied to KBOR’s Foresight 2020 initiative for student success. The President’s Cabinet and Instructional Deans' Council review the indicators and provide updates on initiatives occurring across campus that impact KBOR performance indicators and/or College KPIs. A narrative is completed anually and submitted to the state identifying if the outcome has increased, decreased, or remained flat. The narrative addresses initiatives and/or steps to improve in each of the indicator areas. In Spring 2016, the President's Cabinet decided the College would keep the same KBOR performance indicators over the next three academic years.
Analyzing information on student retention, persistence, and completion
The President’s Cabinet regularly reviews KPIs and progress toward each goal. Strategies and tactics designed to improve specific indicators are discussed for continued support or modification. The annual budget process includes a review of KPIs and initiatives designed to improve overall performance; these projects receive greater funding priority. The Board of Trustees use KPI metrics as part of their overall assessment of the president's annual performance. At the state level, completion data is reported and assessed as part of the KBOR performance agreement.
The Strategic Enrollment Team (SET) evaluates enrollment trends and develops strategies to improve overall enrollment. SET meets monthly to evaluate enrollment trends. One example of SET recommendations is the addition of general education courses in Fall 2015 in a second eight-week session to improve student retention, persistence, and completion opportunities.
Academic programs also monitor and analyze retention, persistence, and completion rates at the program or department level through the Program Review data elements. These annual reports provide three years of trend data on student success within each discipline. Programs set administrative goals for increasing student success and report progress on an annual basis.
Meeting targets for retention, persistence, and completion (4.C.1)
Goals included for both KPIs and the KBOR performance agreement are designed to be ambitious. In order to perform in the top quartile of institutions participating in the NCCBP, the College must make sure resources are appropriately allocated to each measure. Members of the President’s Cabinet are expected to have regular conversations with division leadership regarding each area’s contributions to the defined indicators. KBOR performance agreement data must be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents and must be directly tied to the goals of the institution (4.C.1).
The academic program review process includes a vitality assessment that is completed by both the academic unit and the respective dean. Data on overall enrollments, persistence, and completion are a critical part of this evaluation. Programs with low persistence and completion rates are required to work on and develop strategies to improve their measures (4.C.1).
Selecting tools/methods/instruments to assess retention, persistence, and completion (4.C.4)
JCCC Pulse is a monthly scorecard that provides updates on key metrics related to enrollment, retention, completion, finance, and human resources. The Cabinet has incorporated a review of the data into the weekly strategies meeting for discussion. Additionally, Pulse is distributed to provide in-process data throughout the year to predict and monitor campus outcomes, such as tracking enrollment throughout the term and providing percentages of first-time college students persisting from fall to spring. That particular measure begins updating after spring registration opens. Leadership uses the information in Pulse on students, financials, business processes, and human resources to guide decision-making at the campus (4.C.4).
The IR Office distributes an Enrollment Tracking Report that lists enrollments by a number of characteristics, including student population. This category compares enrollments for first-time, continuing, previously attended JCCC, transfer, high school, and other students. IR performs detailed analysis of different student groups by attributes (i.e. age, major, ethnicity, online vs. face-to-face, etc.) to determine success rates by specific populations (4.C.4).