Middle States Executive Summary
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Middle States) issued a warning to HACC in November 2012. It applied to three specific areas:
- Standard 7 (Institutional Assessment)
- Standard 12 (General Education)
- Standard 14 (Assessment of Student Learning)
Middle States also made a recommendation for improvements in Standard 4, Institutional Leadership and Governance.
Learn about each standard. Discover the steps HACC took to implement, correct or enhance our work. We have made improvements in organizing, documenting and sustaining our work.
Standard 4: Institutional Leadership and Governance
Middle States defines Standard 4 as "the institution's system of governance clearly defines the roles of institutional constituencies in policy development and decision-making. The governance structure includes an active governing body with sufficient autonomy to assure institutional integrity and to fulfill its responsibilities of policy and resource development, consistent with the mission of the institution."
HACC revisited the Shared Governance Taskforce. We then developed new outcome goals.
The taskforce has:
- Established a new process. We based this process on national best practices and a new standing Shared Governance Process Committee. The committee is a decision-making group. Its members represent all groups at HACC, including students, administrators, professionals, classified staff and faculty.
- Assigned the chief of staff to be the chairman of the committee.
- Eliminated outdated and irrelevant Administrative Policies (APs).
- Planned for a searchable, electronic employee handbook. This handbook outlines procedures relevant to the above-mentioned groups.
By establishing governance bodies, we:
- Formed an Administrators and Professional Organization.
- Updated the Constitution and Bylaws of the Student Governance Association.
- Established a Shared Governance Taskforce.
- Assembled an Institutional Effectiveness Taskforce.
Standard 7: Institutional Assessment
Middle States defines standard 7 as "the institution has developed and implemented an assessment process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals and its compliance with accreditation standards."
The Board of Trustees participated in an assessment. They developed an action plan and timeline for future assessment activities.
We also established an Institutional Effectiveness Taskforce. We brought together administrators, board of trustees, faculty, classified staff and students to participate in the taskforce. They made many achievements.
- The taskforce developed an Institutional Effectiveness Plan. This plan includes a timeline for evaluating HACC's efforts. It also draws clear connections between HACC's strategic plan and those plans made throughout HACC. This includes all campuses, academic departments and other HACC departments, such as the Office of Finance and Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
HACC's leadership revised the strategic plan. This resulted in a new mission, vision statement and core values (listed below). The revisions also cover our ability to request money in order to complete strategic initiatives.
- Mission: Creating opportunities and transforming lives to shape the future –TOGETHER!
- Vision: HACC will be the first choice for a quality and accessible higher education opportunity.
- Core Values ("ICE T"): Integrity, Collegiality, Excellence, Trust
Standard 12: General Education
Middle States defines standard 12 as "the institution's curricula are designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in general education and essential skills, including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, and technological competency."
General Education at HACC provides students with essential knowledge and skill foundations. We teach and reinforce these skills through courses.
- The assessment of the General Education has helped us shift our approach. This shift ensures all General Education courses assess essential skills. Essential skills include speech and writing skills, research and analysis. This is regardless of the subject.
- We purchased TK20, a database management system. We can now view connections between course learning outcomes, program capabilities and general education outcomes relating to research, speech and writing skills. We use TK20 for document-planning activities. We also use it to generate assessment reports for all of HACC's academic and non-academic departments.
- We confirmed that the strategic plan aligned accordingly. This resulted in a clear connection between general education assessment and HACC's strategic plan.
Standard 14: Assessment of Student Learning
Middle States defines standard 14 as "assessment of student learning demonstrates that, at graduation, or other appropriate points, the institution's students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional and appropriate higher education goals."
The College Wide Assessment Committee (CWAC) is comprised of faculty from the academic departments. The committee worked to:
- Give HACC faculty a better understanding of assessment practices.
- Make assessments more meaningful. Faculty use assessments to change curricula when necessary. The committee worked with faculty to achieve this.
- Align with the faculty Shared Governance process (Faculty Senate).
- Build a relationship with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.
They also established an assessment cycle. This resulted in:
- The integration of TK20 software. We use this software to monitor and document our assessment work.
- The CWAC overseeing assessment work and professional development efforts. They made this change based on consultation with the Centers for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (CITE). They also worked with HACC units that create and deliver professional development programs for faculty.
- Ties to HACC governance through the Faculty Senate and the Academic Council.
HACC's Commitment to Excellence
We are committed to educational excellence. To achieve this, HACC has:
- Restructured the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. This included hiring a research analyst devoted to faculty assessment needs.
- Hired assessment consultants. These consultants provide guidance and mentoring for best practices. They cover institutional effectiveness. They also cover outcomes assessment for General Education and student learning.
- Purchased TK20. HACC can track and map objectives, outcomes and goals. TK20 also hosts the assessment results and produces data reports on our efforts.
- Communicated assessment results more openly through assessment showcases. We held these showcases live (June 2013 and January 2014) and published summaries online. This communication shows HACC's commitment to assessment and continuous improvement in every area.
- Developed a new Shared Governance process. This process rewrites existing Administration Procedures in a streamlined way.
- Established an institutional effectiveness plan. This plan assesses both academic and non-academic units, such as finance, student affairs and Human Resources. The plan also holds people accountable for established expectations.
- Empowered CWAC. CWAC now trains, mentors, mediates, and oversees Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes and General Education Outcomes' Assessment.
- Hired consultants for functional areas. The consultants made recommendations, and we restructured the Offices of Information Technology and Services, Workforce Development and Security. We also updated our marketing efforts. We now have specific plans to streamline efficiencies and assess results.
- Hired an external auditor. The auditor examined the HACC Foundation's processes and procedures. We developed a specific action plan to correct and enhance the process.