In his All College Days address, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) CEO Dr. Walter Bumphus spoke about the AACC report “Empowering Community Colleges to Build the Nation’s Future.” In many ways, MCC is meeting and exceeding the recommendations in the report. Through October 15, members of the President’s cabinet are using the Wednesday Message to highlight and celebrate those MCC initiatives that align with the reports seven recommendations. This week message comes from Heze Simmons, vice president, Administrative Services.
The seventh and final recommendation is to “implement policies and practices that promote rigor and accountability. To promote rigor and accountability, community colleges nationwide should implement the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) and improve measurement of student learning and employment-related outcomes.” (“Empowering…Future”, p. 34-36)
In May 2013, SUNY Chancellor Dr. Nancy Zimpher proposed, and the SUNY Board of Trustees subsequently adopted, a resolution that would “…affirm current policies on assessment and approve principles on data transparency and reporting within the State University of New York.” This resolution addressed SUNY’s level of participation in national surveys, benchmarking and assessment efforts, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement, the National Community College Benchmark Project, the Voluntary Framework of Accountability and others.
Monroe Community College was part of the first VFA beta test in 2013. The College completed the first full year of providing data to the VFA the following year. MCC is now in the second year of participation. MCC’s VFA report can be viewed at: https://vfa.aacc.nche.edu/about/pages/default.aspx and clicking on the left panel, “Find VFA Colleges.” The MCC data includes ethnicity, gender, part-time/full-time enrollment, and age of our students. To drill down for more detailed data, click on Dashboards where you’ll find:
· Two Year Progress/Outcomes
· Six Year Outcomes
· Career, Tech education
· Adult Basic Education
Some of the metrics developed to measure our current Strategic Plan are related to the VFA measures listed above. We regularly report on these measures at the Board of Trustees meetings.
SUNY is currently engaged in enhancing its analytics measures by implementing SUNY Excels: a proposed performance system demonstrating the Power of SUNY 2020. Within SUNY Excels, there are five priority areas:
1. Access – Provide educational services of the highest quality, with the broadest possible access to the people of NYS
2. Completion – Increase degree/award production, non-degree completion and services that support student completion; enable those we serve to achieve their goals.
3. Success – Provide robust system and campus supports for student success; students are prepared for the most successful possible launch into further education, career and citizenship.
4. Research – Increase external investment in SUNY research. Continue to increase the level of confidence external entities have in SUNY.
5. Economic, Societal and Cultural Impact – Share the expertise of the state university with the business, agricultural, governmental, labor and nonprofit sectors of the state.
Like all community colleges, MCC has historically been focused on access. More recently, we have enhanced and expanded our focus on retention and completion. Given our longstanding leadership among community colleges, we are ahead of the curve. Adopting SUNY Excels should be seamless for us.
The SUNY report recommends campus participation in a Student Achievement Measure (SAM), which incorporates selected VFA metrics. Thanks to our forward-thinking Institutional Research Director Angel Andreu, MCC was an early adopter of this endeavor. Our data can be found at: https://www.studentachievementmeasure.org/participants/193326.
SAM is an improved method of reporting undergraduate student progress and completion by including a greater proportion of students as well as tracking students who enroll in multiple higher education institutions. According to a recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than one in five students who complete a degree do so at an institution other than the one at which they started. Yet the typical method for calculating graduation rates, as stipulated by federal legislation, counts only those students who enroll full-time and then start and finish at their first college or university. For policymakers and the general public, SAM provides a more complete picture of student progress on the path to a degree or certificate. In these times of declining enrollment and limited funds, it is very important that the College use data transparency and reporting to better serve our students through better programs (degree or certificates) and curriculum.
MCC will continue to build on and strengthen the VFA as recommended in Empowering Community Colleges to Build the Nation’s Future (p. 35):
· Develop the VFA’s workforce metrics to incorporate labor and wage data that reflect outcomes of community college education
· Continue to strengthen ways of reporting student learning outcomes as part of the VFA
· Encourage colleges nationwide to adopt the VFA, and promote statewide participation
· Position the VFA as the standard in measuring community college performance
· Establish an annual evaluation of the VFA’s effectiveness.
VFA and SAM combined with SUNY Excels make for robust methods of analytics to help guide us on our continuing path of student success. They also offer an increasingly important vehicle for communicating the student successes and inspiring work that occur at our College every day.
We invite you to share your thoughts via the President’s Blog.
Vice President, Administrative Services