State Fair Community College

5P4 Results for decision making

How do your leaders use information and results in their decision-making process?
In 2003-2004, SFCC made a commitment to data-influenced decision making. At that point the Institutional Planning and CQI Office was charged with developing the college’s first fact book. The fact book (now in its fourth edition) includes critical data elements and KPIs, including both baseline and longitudinal data for the following: credit enrollment by site, degrees, programs and courses; degree programs; noncredit enrollment; financial aid; personnel; facilities; and fiscal data.
 
In addition, the ELT is charged with the oversight of KPIs and specific data watch elements that are benchmarked against specific community colleges similar in size, student demographics, service area, operating budgets and staffing. Benchmarked institutions in Missouri include Jefferson College, Moberly Area College, Mineral Area Community College, and Crowder College. The college’s participation in the National Community College Benchmark Project (NCCBP) allows the college the opportunity to compare and set targets with institutions that have been identified as owning a “best practice” for one or more KPIs.
 
Data-influenced decision making is encouraged at all levels using a collaborative and consultative approach. Depending on impact and cost, employees and leaders are empowered to resolve customer issues, inquiries and complaints. For example, results of the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) indicated a gap between student expectations relative to advisement satisfaction. The AQIP Student Support Improvement Team formed a hot team to look at the issue. Consequently, a Title III grant was written to address the issue. Even though the grant was not funded, the hot team continued to work on the development of an advisement center; the budget was revised to include the initiative and the SFCC Advising and Resource Center (ARC) was created. Students are now surveyed after their advisement sessions. Results from the SSI have been very positive. The college is seeing improved retention rates that are, in part, due to the personal support students are receiving through the ARC.
 
AQIP improvement teams and hot teams provide numerous opportunities for all SFCC employees to participate in planning and to share in the decision-making process.
 
Recently, the AQIP Teaching and Learning Improvement Team spent a year developing an assessment model that has been adopted by the faculty. Heretofore, assessment and student outcome initiatives had failed due to a lack of faculty ownership and involvement. The team took the time and effort to build consensus and ownership of the plan. Consequently, the program review process now includes measurable objectives related to assessment and student outcomes. This kind of participatory involvement is encouraged and recognized.
 
With a focus on continuous quality improvement, SFCC collects and analyzes data used in decision-making processes across the campus. The ELT is ultimately responsible for ensuring that data are accessible and utilized. The board reviews KPIs at its monthly meetings and during regularly scheduled retreats.
 
All employees have immediate online access to the college’s fact book. Additionally, SFCC recently purchased a data warehousing system whereby members of the college community will have immediate access to data, reports, surveys and results. The new system will allow expanded access to “on-time” information and data that are accurate, benchmarked to comparable institutions and that can be compared and analyzed against historical data and trends.

The ELT and AQIP Oversight Team have ultimate responsibility for analyzing data and evaluating the results of programmatic changes, ensuring improvement processes and determining the ultimate impact these changes have on student success. However, every employee, functional unit, hot team and improvement team is charged with the responsibility of reviewing relevant and appropriate data as processes are analyzed and recommendations for change are made. Dashboards are developed for all KPIs and available in hard and electronic form to all employees. The ELT monitors dashboards to ensure that progress is being made toward the stated goals (see Figure 5P4.1).

Figure 5P4.1 Example of KPI dashboard

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