State Fair Community College

9P1 Partnership/collaboration processes

How do you create, prioritize, and build relationships with the:
  • educational institutions and other organizations from which you receive your students?
  • educational institutions and employers that depend on the supply of your students and graduates that meet these organization’s requirements?
  • organizations that provide services to your students?
  • education associations, external agencies, consortia partners, and the general community with whom you interact?
SFCC has no formal institutional process for creating, prioritizing or building relationships except for those relationships that are man-dated. There are localized processes for very specific functions, programs or departments. When looking at the college’s relationships holistically, an informal process emerges.
This informal process can be broken down into three distinct areas: creating relationships, prioritizing partnerships and building and strengthening relationships.

Creating relationships with partners is usually determined by the following:

  • Need usually drives the creation of a relationship. A unit or staff member sees a need that can be met by forming a partnership with an internal or external partner. An excellent example would be SFCC’s partnership with Ellucian. A previous strategic planning process had indicated that the college was in need of integrated technology services. With Ellucian’s support, SFCC consolidated its technology services into a single unit. The college then began to look at technologies more comprehensively across the campus. That was not something the college had been able to accomplish prior to its partnership with Ellucian.
  • Legislation or other governing organizations require SFCC to work with specific entities.
  • Outside organizations or individuals may wish to become a partner and approach SFCC first.

SFCC prioritizes its partnerships in the following ways:

  • Partnerships that are student centered and will help ensure that students achieve their educational and life goals — for example, in partnering with other educational institutions, the college has a process for establishing articulation agreements. The agreements can be initiated by one or more programs seeking to recruit K-12 students from related programs or seeking to help SFCC students advance their education. Similarly, other institutions can approach SFCC programs in an effort to recruit graduates or seek advanced placement for their students (K—12).
  • Partnerships that fulfill the community service mission of our college — The walking track in the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center on campus is one of many examples of community-service based partnerships.
  • Partnerships that will enhance or expand our ability to serve our students and communities — The college works closely with local economic developers to help attract new companies and new jobs to the area. These agreements occur with short turnaround time and can have significant impact on the community’s and students’ futures. The opportunity for 50 new jobs bubbles to the top as a priority very quickly and appropriate resources are mobilized.
  • Partnerships based on additional resources to the college — The expansion of the nursing program involved prioritizing existing and new partners who had a stake in seeing additional graduates in the field. A capital campaign in 2005 resulted in construction of the Heckart Science and Allied Health Center which enabled an additional 36 students in the program annually. In 2008, the Sylvia G. Thompson Charitable Trust added financing opportunities for another 24 students. The additional 60 students resulted in an 83 percent increase in enrollment for the program.

In general, SFCC builds and strengthens relationships by:

  • creating written agreements between partners;
  • holding regular meetings between partners to ensure the flow of communication regarding needs and goals; (The frequency and nature of the meetings are dependent on the partners involved and the nature of the relationship. For example to build K-12 relationships, two superintendent advisory meetings are held with the SFCTC sending school superintendents; the college participates in regional superintendents’ meetings; and two advisory meetings are held with lake-area superintendents.) and
  • publishing the results of the relationship to demonstrate the mutual commitment.
  • It should be noted that while the mission statement, vision and strategic plan are not specifically mentioned in the above process, the fundamental underpinnings of these documents are included.

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