Northland's 2010 Self-Study Summary - Northland College by yaofenjin

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									Note: The Virtual Resource Room documents referenced in this self study will be available online




          Northland's 2010 Self-Study Summary
after the college receives the final report from the Higher Learning Commission. Anyone wishing
copies of individual resources before that date may request them directly from Sherry Lindquist, at
sherry.lindquist@northlandcollege.edu




     Table of Contents
     Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 3
        College History .......................................................................................................................................... 3
        Mission ...................................................................................................................................................... 3
        Vision......................................................................................................................................................... 3
        Northland and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System ................................................... 3
        Northland and Its Economic Impact on the Region .................................................................................. 3
        Self-Study Process ..................................................................................................................................... 3
        Responding to Higher Learning Commissions from 2000 and 2005 Visits ............................................... 4
            Assessing Student Learning................................................................................................................... 4
            Improving Learning Resources .............................................................................................................. 4
            Addressing Merger Issues ..................................................................................................................... 4
            Recommendations in Other Areas ........................................................................................................ 4
     Chapter 1: Institutional Profile..................................................................................................................... 5
        Student Demographics.............................................................................................................................. 5
        Recruitment and Admissions .................................................................................................................... 6
        Retention and Program Productivity ........................................................................................................ 6
        Faculty Demographics ............................................................................................................................... 6
        Information Technology and Instructional Resources .............................................................................. 6
        Financial Data............................................................................................................................................ 7
     Chapter 2: Federal Compliance Information ............................................................................................... 7
        Financial Assistance for Students.............................................................................................................. 7
        Default Rates and Management Plan ....................................................................................................... 7
        Review of Financial Ratios ........................................................................................................................ 7
        Consumer Information.............................................................................................................................. 8
        Satisfactory Academic Progress, Attendance, and Contractual Relationship Policies ............................. 8
            Satisfactory Academic Progress ............................................................................................................ 8
            Attendance............................................................................................................................................ 8
        Transfer Information................................................................................................................................. 9

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   Verification of Student Identity in Distance Courses ................................................................................ 9
   Credits, Program Length, and Tuition ....................................................................................................... 9
      Credits ................................................................................................................................................... 9
      Program Length Comparisons ............................................................................................................... 9
      The 60-Credit Cap ................................................................................................................................. 9
      Programs ............................................................................................................................................. 10
      General Education Philosophy ............................................................................................................ 10
      Center for Outreach and Innovation................................................................................................... 10
      Tuition Rates ....................................................................................................................................... 10
   Federal Compliance Visits to Off-Campus Locations .............................................................................. 11
   Civil Rights Audit ..................................................................................................................................... 11
   Public Disclosure ..................................................................................................................................... 11
      Accuracy and Completeness of Student Information ......................................................................... 11
      Advertising and Recruitment Materials .............................................................................................. 12
      Oversight of Third Party Contractors .................................................................................................. 12
      Professional Accreditation/Authorization .......................................................................................... 12
   Title 38 Eligibility ..................................................................................................................................... 12
   Third Party Comment .............................................................................................................................. 12
Chapter 3: Revolutionizing Growth Strategies........................................................................................... 12
   Doing More with Less ............................................................................................................................. 12
   Planning for the Future ........................................................................................................................... 13
   Support from Faculty, Staff, and the Foundation ................................................................................... 15
   Recruiting and Retention ........................................................................................................................ 15
   Working with Area K-12 Students, Communities, Employers, and Institutions ..................................... 16
Chapter 4: Cultivating High Quality Programs, Services, and Employees .................................................. 18
   Quality Programs .................................................................................................................................... 18
   Quality Services ....................................................................................................................................... 21
   Quality Employees .................................................................................................................................. 24
Chapter 5: Inspiring Student Success ......................................................................................................... 24
   Success in the Classroom ........................................................................................................................ 24
   Success in the "Real World" .................................................................................................................... 26
   Success in Lifelong Learning.................................................................................................................... 28

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   Moving In and Moving On....................................................................................................................... 29
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 29




Introduction
College History
            ·     1949 School Districts Technical Institute in Thief River Falls
            ·     1965 Thief River Falls State Junior College
            ·     1973 Area Vocational Technical Institute in East Grand Forks
            ·     1995 Thief River Falls institutions combine to form Northland Community and Technical
                  College
            ·     2003 East Grand Forks campus joins to form present Northland Community and Technical
                  College

Mission
Northland Community and Technical College is dedicated to creating a quality learning environment
for all learners through partnerships with students, communities, businesses, and other educational
institutions.

Vision
Northland Community and Technical College will be widely recognized as a progressive leader in
community and technical college education, responsive to the needs of our learners through the
use of partnerships, innovation, and technology.

Northland and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System
Northland is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, created in 1995, a system of
25 two-year colleges and 7 universities.

Northland and Its Economic Impact on the Region
The two campuses combine for an economic impact of over $69 million in the region, according to a
2006 study conducted by Wilder Research.

Self-Study Process
The steering committee membership, chair, and editor selected in December 2007. The chair, editor,
and several other members attended a workshop in February 2008, sponsored by the Higher Learning
Commission. The group set three goals for the process: inclusive with involvement from as many
constituents as possible, useful for the college beyond serving as an accreditation report, accessible in
an electronic format. Several committee members also attended the April 2008 annual meeting of the
Higher Learning Commission.



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Criterion teams were formed, each headed by a steering committee member. Membership on the
teams included faculty and staff members. Teams submitted drafts based on core components from
their criterion. Drafts were reviewed by the entire steering committee. The steering committee
realized need for more supporting evidence and reflective statements, the focus of later drafts. The
committee also realized the connections between the college's strategic planning goals and core
components, which led to reorganizing the draft along the lines of the three goals: Inspire Student
Success; Cultivate High Quality Programs, Services, and Employees; Revolutionize Growth Strategies.

Responding to Higher Learning Commissions from 2000 and 2005 Visits
The Commission noted the college had already addressed many of areas noted in the 2000 visit by the
time of Northland's 2005 Change for Request visit: strengthening administrative and leadership
structures, upgrading laboratory facilities, and faculty credentialing. Three areas noted for further
efforts were assessing student learning, improving learning resources on the East Grand Forks campus,
and directly addressing merger issues. The Commission also made recommendations for the college in
other areas.

Assessing Student Learning
The college is addressing this by creating and implementing institutional and program learner objectives
that are being assessed and evaluated through a uniform set of guidelines. The work of the Assessment
and Program Review committee, the Academic Affairs and Standards Council, and the Shared
Governance Council were crucial to the college's success in this area.

Improving Learning Resources
The East Grand Forks library underwent a significant upgrade in FY2009, including the addition of a
significant number of electronic media and internet-based resources.

Addressing Merger Issues
A one-college approach characterizes Northland's yearlong strategic planning process, which involved
over 350 constituents from the college and its communities. The Appreciative Inquiry process involved
three phases: discovery, synthesis, and delivery. The college is now in the delivery phase, with various
college-wide committees working on action plans to meet and exceed specific strategic goals.

Recommendations in Other Areas
Comparable Student Services: Northland implemented college-wide advising training sessions
beginning in FY2008. Registration has also been redesigned, with returning students now able to
register online while new students go through the registration and orientation process in small group
sessions rather than mass registrations. Northland's Creative Services department recently won two
national awards for its online orientation site and its college video site, featuring testimonials from
students in various programs.

Financial Resources: The college has made significant efforts to communicate its financial resources
and challenges to all employees, most recently with the publication of the Budget Book in FY2009, which
is expected to be an annual event. The president also shares information about the college's financial
condition through weekly memos, at in-service meetings, and at monthly All-Employee meetings.

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Foundation Efforts: The Northland Foundation now includes representatives from the East Grand Forks
area and has been well supported with payroll donations from employees on both campuses. In
FY2008, the foundation awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships and grants. In FY2009, the
foundation announced it would offer an additional $100,000 in scholarships for displaced workers
pursuing further education in the next two years.

College-Wide Focus for Students: One example of Northland's response here is in intercollegiate
athletic participation. To assist students from the East Grand Forks campus to participate on athletic
teams, the college has purchased several vehicles with Student Life fees to make cross-campus travel for
practices and games easier for students. Northland has also created the position of Dean of Student
Development to oversee student life activities on both campuses, including intercollegiate and
intramural athletics. Other examples of a college-wide approach include delivering courses through
interactive television, having the faculty travel to both campuses, and extending Fine Arts opportunities
to the East Grand Forks campus.


Chapter 1: Institutional Profile
Student Demographics
Student demographics are presented by class level, gender, age, ethnicity, age range, and residency.
Data is presented by total unduplicated headcount (which includes students enrolled in credit- and non-
credit-based courses and hourly certificate courses), credit-based unduplicated headcount, and total FYE
(full-year-equivalent). Unclassified students are those indicating they planned to take courses without
completing a degree or planned to take courses and transfer, without completing a degree. Uncoded
students are primarily from custom training courses offered through the Center for Outreach and
Innovation, where admission status is not tracked.

Northland's enrollment has declined slightly in the last three fiscal years, although it has rebounded
from FY2008, and the college is presently meeting system expectations for enrollment. As a result of the
enrollment shifts, the Thief River Falls campus participated in a system-sponsored right-sizing initiative
through the Office of the Chancellor, with a goal of consolidating programs operating at several
locations onto the main campus. The East Grand Forks campus recently completed a building project to
add classroom space for the Practical Nursing program, along with other amenities to upgrade the
facility.

It should be noted that the college is becoming increasingly diverse, with White students accounting for
90 percent of the credit-based students in FY2007, but only 87 percent in FY2009. African American,
Hispanic, and Native American students make up the largest portion of Northland’s underrepresented
population. In terms of gender, the mix is largely unchanged over the past three fiscal years.

High school students attending college constitute an area of growth for Northland from FY2007 to
FY2009, from 381 unduplicated headcount in FY2007 to 447 by FY2009. Transfer student numbers are
also increasing, albeit at a slower rate. The college is aware of population predictions from the state
demographer, however, indicating a significant overall population decrease in its service region between

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2005 and 2035. The report also notes that the fastest growing segment of the population is expected to
be those over the age of 65, with the 15-24 age group expected to decline almost 5 percent in the next
decade. With these predictions in mind, Northland has chosen to focus on revolutionizing growth
strategies as one of its three major strategic efforts in the next five years.

Recruitment and Admissions
As an open enrollment institution, Northland's acceptance rate has ranged between 80 to 85 percent
between FY2007 and FY2009. Its conversion rate from accepted to enrolled is trending downward
slightly, from a high of 84.54 percent in FY2007 to its present rate of 77.99 percent in FY2009. The
college also allows high school students to take courses under Minnesota's Post Secondary Enrollment
Option.

Retention and Program Productivity
The number of students of all ethnic backgrounds who are retained from fall to fall has remained steady,
around 45 percent, between FY2007 and FY2009. Students who classified themselves as White or
Foreign Nationals had the highest retention rates, at 43.3 and 45.5 percent respectively, while Hispanic
and Native American students had the lowest retention rates, at 19 and 21.5 percent respectively. In
reviewing the number of graduates by CIP 1 code, between FY2007 and FY2009, the following programs
had the largest average number of graduates, in descending order: Health Professions, Liberal Arts, and
Business/Management/Marketing. The college is meeting system expectations for retention and
licensure pass rates.

Faculty Demographics
The percentage of the faculty with a bachelor's degree or higher has ranged from a high of 55.7 percent
in FY2007 to 51.6 percent in FY2009. Not all faculty members are required to have a bachelor's degree,
however, including those supervising Farm Management students and some faculty members in the
Center for Outreach and Innovation. It is worth noting that the number of Northland faculty members
with doctorates has risen steadily in each fiscal year covered in the report. Unlimited and probationary
faculty members constitute the largest segment of the faculty, compromising almost half. The dominant
ethnic group is White, although the college has increased its representation in faculty members who
claim Hispanic or African American ancestry since FY2007. By gender, the faculty is represented almost
equally by male and female.

Information Technology and Instructional Resources
Northland offers a variety of technology resources to students and employees. Students are able to
have a voice in technology decisions through the Student Access Technology committee, where they
constitute the majority of membership by system policy. The faculty and staff also give input on
technology decisions through the college-wide Technology Utilization committee. Northland provides
both wired and wireless access through a fiber optic backbone and access to a DS3 line. Students and
employees have access to e-mail, network storage, and a host of other options through the college's
website. The Information Technology Services staff members provide support to onsite and offsite

1
    Classification of Instructional Programs

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locations. Dedicated and portable computer labs are available, as well as a number of desktop stations
on both campuses. The college also offers access to Desire2Learn, a learning management system, in
conjunction with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Northland's libraries offer collections and services that support course and program offerings, including
print and electronic resources. The librarians also assist programs with accreditation needs, particularly
with discipline-based databases and periodicals. The physical collection contains approximately 27,000
items, 23,000 of which are located on the Thief River Falls campus. Users at both libraries can also
access NetLibrary E-books and a number of discipline-specific electronic databases. Students can also
access electronic materials off campus through an EZ Proxy system, using an authenticated user name
and password, a particularly valuable resource for online students from other system colleges who may
not have an active Northland library account but who may be taking online courses from Northland
instructors.

Financial Data
Northland's financial report indicates no deficits in FY2007 or FY2008. By state statute, the college is not
allowed to operate at a deficit. Its revenues and expenditures are approximately $32 million annually,
for the period FY2007 through FY2008. FY2009 data will be provided at the time of the site visit.


Chapter 2: Federal Compliance Information
Financial Assistance for Students
Approximately 70 percent of Northland's students are awarded financial aid. Pell grants and Stafford
loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) constitute the largest share of aid. In total dollars, aid has risen
from approximately $13 million in FY2007 to over $17 million in FY2009. In an effort to provide more
incentive for students to consider work study, Northland recently raised its hourly rate of pay from
$8.50 to $9.50 and increased the number of hours students may work each week.

Default Rates and Management Plan
Northland's Federal Student Loan Default Rates for FY2007, the most recent year reported, was 4.6
percent, which is below the national rate of 6.7 percent, and is still below the threshold that would
require a default management plan. Northland has limited control over its default rates, however, as
the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation assumes responsibility for all loans processed at the
college. Northland is responsible for all entrance and exit loan counseling. The system's Integrated State
Records System is designed to prevent the release of any loan proceeds if loan counseling and Master
Promissory Notes have not been completed.

Review of Financial Ratios
The Composite Financial Index has ranged from 0.70 in FY2006 to 2.48 in FY2009, which, while a positive
trend, indicates the college should consider re-engineering the institution, a process that is outlined in
later sections of the full report.



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Consumer Information
Northland informs students and the public of important consumer information via its website. In
addition, the college also sends a postcard to students at the start of each fall semester with links to key
documents, such as campus crime statistics, drug-free policies, equity in athletics, financial
management, policies and procedures, student code of conduct, graduation and transfer rates, tuition
and fees information, financial aid information, and disability compliance.

Satisfactory Academic Progress, Attendance, and Contractual Relationship Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress
Northland uses qualitative and quantitative measures to assess academic progress. Students can meet
with advisors and consult their degree audit report online to review their progress. To maintain
satisfactory academic progress, students must maintain at least a 1.75 grade point average for the first
16 credits, and 2.0 for all remaining credits. In addition, students must complete at least 67 percent of
all credits attempted. Students must also complete their degree within the maximum timeframe if they
wish to retain federal financial aid eligibility. Students whose attempted credits exceed 150 percent of
the requirements for their program are not eligible for aid. Students may exclude up to 30
remedial/developmental credits.

Students who fail to meet the maximum timeframe will be suspended from financial aid eligibility at the
end of the semester, after an evaluation, and are informed by mail. Students may appeal their
suspension, using the appeal process outlined in college policy and in the student handbook. Students
who fail to meet the grade point average or completion percentage requirements will receive a letter
indicating their probationary status and have the right to appeal. Students are encouraged to meet with
advisors, counselors, and Learning Services staff members to develop and academic improvement plan,
which is placed in the student's file. Students may continue on probation as long as they meet the grade
point average and completion percentage in successive semesters. When they reach the overall grade
point average and completion percentage, they are removed from probation.

Students who fail to meet the grade point and completion percentage requirements are suspended and
notified by letter. They may appeal their suspension. The first suspension is for a semester, the second
for a year, and the third is permanent.

Attendance
Northland tracks attendance for financial aid in three ways. First, faculty members are asked to report
students who have not attended any of the first five days of the semester. The students are then
administratively withdrawn and must go through the "add" procedure if they wish to remain enrolled.
The second method is through a voluntary "Early Alert" process, where faculty members use forms to
notify the Early Alert Team of students who have not been in class regularly during the first half of the
semester. Members of the team attempt to contact the student to determine what the issues may be
and offer assistance. The last method of tracking is through the "Last Date of Attendance" procedure, at
the 60 percent point of the semester. Faculty members use the Integrated State Records system to



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report students who have not attended during the previous two weeks of the course. These students
receive a failing grade for the semester in courses where they are reported as absent.

Transfer Information
Students interested in transferring to Northland or to other institutions can access information through
the college website as well as by contacting Student Services. The college evaluates incoming transfer
requests through Policies 3120, 3120P, 3150, and 3150P. Transfer credits from regionally accredited
institutions are accepted for credit at Northland if they represent passing grades, although students are
informed the credits may not apply to program requirements. Courses taken or degrees completed at
system institutions are transferred according to the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum agreement. Credit
from non-accredited institutions, for military experience, or other experience is evaluated by the
college's transfer specialist. Students may be asked to provide appropriate documents to evaluate their
transfer request, such as syllabi or instructor credentials. Students have the right to appeal transfer
decisions and are notified in writing of the committee's decision.

Verification of Student Identity in Distance Courses
As part of the Distance Minnesota consortium, Northland offers online courses and degree programs to
students. Students taking online courses are provided with a login name and password through an
authenticated format, either in person at registration or through notification by letter to their address of
record. Students use this information to log in to Desire2Learn, the course management system used by
the system. Although not all courses required proctored exams, Policies 3290 and 3290P outline the
college's policy and procedure for courses where a proctor is required.

Credits, Program Length, and Tuition

Credits
Courses are based on semester credit hours. Fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks long, with an
additional week for final exams. Summer sessions vary by program needs. A semester hour is
equivalent to 50 minutes. One lecture credit is equivalent to one semester hour. One laboratory credit
is equivalent to two semester hours. Each program area offers at least 16 credits each semester.

Program Length Comparisons
Northland's program lengths compare favorably to those offered at other system institutions and other
regional institutions, as outlined in the report.

The 60-Credit Cap
In the fall of 2007, the Minnesota legislature requested a review of credit caps for baccalaureate and
associate degrees. Northland's associate in science and associate in arts degrees will become 60 credits
in length, unless an exemption is granted. At present, the only Northland programs to have filed an
intent to request a waiver are the Criminal Justice and Associate Degree Nursing programs. The Office of
the Chancellor had not acted on the request at the time this report was submitted for consideration.
The associate in applied science degree is exempt from the credit limit until July 2, 2012, when it will be
reviewed.


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Programs
Northland offers associate's degrees, diplomas, and certificates in the following program areas: Career
and Technical, Liberal Arts /Transfer, Management Education, and the Center for Outreach and
Innovation. The Associate in Arts degree is designed for students intending to pursue a baccalaureate
degree. The Associate in Science degree is designed for students intending to pursue a career in an
occupational or technical field at the paraprofessional level. While many courses may be transferable to
a baccalaureate degree, students may need to take additional general education courses. The Associate
in Applied Science degree is designed for students who wish to prepare for employment at the
associate's degree level and is designed for transfer to a related baccalaureate degree. The Diploma of
Occupational Proficiency is designed for students seeking entry-level or upgraded skills in a profession
and is awarded after successful completion of at least 30(31—see Fire Supression and Radio
Business/New Media) credits in the area of specialization. Courses are not designed for transfer to a
baccalaureate institution. The Certificate of Completion is awarded for successful completion of 10(9) to
30 credits in a specialized area of study and is not designed for transfer to a baccalaureate institution.

General Education Philosophy
The college's general education philosophy aligns with the Higher Learning Commission Statement on
General Education: The purpose of General Education at Northland is to establish a foundation of broad-
based learning that exposes learners to a diversity of views and attitudes, which enhance the intellectual
capacity to be active participants in a global, diverse society. In addition to serving as part of an
Associate in Arts degree, general education courses support technical programs in personal and
professional development in the pursuit of life-long learning.

The college's general education philosophy is infused in its institutional learner outcomes: Foundation
Skills, Thinking Skills, Global and Civic Responsibility, Applied and Information Technology, and Personal
Development. Graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in all five areas.

Center for Outreach and Innovation
Northland's Center for Outreach and Innovation is structured to offer innovative solutions for the
training and development needs of organizations, in the areas of Continuing Education, Corporate
Learning, and Customized Training. COI offers credit- and hourly-based instruction, leading to
certificates and degrees.

Tuition Rates
Tuition and fees at Northland continue to be competitive with other higher education institutions in the
state and will remain unchanged from FY2009 to FY2010, making Northland the only public college in
Minnesota that did not raise tuition. The Board of Trustees commissions a study to review gross and net
costs of attendance. The study noted that between FY2005 and FY2007, Northland's appropriation to
tuition ratio went from 58/42 to 55/45, increasing the burden on students by three percent. This should
be taken in context, as the system-wide ratio was 51/49. The board also approved Northland's request
to charge in-state tuition rates to nonresident students unless there was a reciprocity agreement
between the state of Minnesota and the nonresident student's state. Northland charges differential
tuition for courses in some program areas, outlined at the website and the student handbook. The

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rationale for differential tuition is due to accreditation/approval requirements that mandate low faculty
to student clinical/practicum ratios, the highly technical nature of these programs, and program
administrative oversight requirements.

Federal Compliance Visits to Off-Campus Locations
Northland has one online and two off-campus locations where students can complete at least 50
percent of the coursework leading to a degree. The online site was approved by Minnesota Online,
acting on behalf of the Higher Learning Commission in 2006. Students may also complete at least 50
percent of their coursework leading to a degree in practical nursing or associate degree nursing at the
college's site on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Mahnomen (MN), which was approved by the
Higher Learning Commission in 2006. Finally, practical nursing students may complete at least 50
percent of their coursework leading to a degree at the college's Roseau (MN) site, approved by the
system in 2002. No additional compliance visits are scheduled.

Civil Rights Audit
The most recent Civil Rights audit was conducted in 2005, with the next one expected in 2010-2011.
The college received notification on July 12, 2006, of its compliance with all Civil Rights standards and
guidelines reviewed during the visit.

Public Disclosure

Accuracy and Completeness of Student Information
All Northland faculty members include details on how grades will be calculated in their syllabi, which are
distributed to students during the first week of class. Copies of syllabi are also submitted to the Dean of
Academic Affairs within the first month of the semester. Policy 3090 outlines how the college uses letter
grades and pass/no credit grades, how it calculates grade point averages, provisions for auditing
courses, and the policy on incomplete grades. Policy 3430 discusses student grade appeals. Students
may appeal a final grade or any grade used in the cumulative calculation of a final grade.

Grade appeals must be filed within 30 days of the term posting date, using the Student Appeal/Petition
form. The student may appeal the dean’s decision to the chief academic officer if there is additional
relevant evidence to support the appeal. The decision of the chief academic officer is final. Non-grade
academic appeals, including suspensions, terminations, and late withdrawals, are heard by the
Academic Appeals committee, in accordance with Policy 3240P. The student is informed of the decision
by mail within 10 days and has the option to appeal the decision to the chief academic officer within 10
days if there is additional relevant information to submit. The decision of the chief academic officer is
final. Student Service appeals, including fee reimbursement, exceptions to the computer policy, and
requests for admission, are heard by the Student Services Appeals committee, in accordance with Policy
3240P. The committee forwards its recommendation to the Dean of Student Services, who will inform
the student of the outcome in person or by mail, within 10 days. The student has the option to appeal
the decision within 10 days to the president if there is additional relevant information to submit. The
decision of the president is final. Financial Aid appeals are heard by the Director of Financial Aid.
Students have the option to appeal to the president, whose decision is final.


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Beginning in 2008, Northland Community and Technical College revised its procedure used for recording
and tracking complaints, developing an online form. Under the revised procedure, any complaint that
does not fall under the Student Services, Academic Appeals, or Financial Aid categories described above
is logged into a password-protected database by the supervisor who observed the situation or to whom
the situation was reported. Deans and supervisors review the logs during regular meetings. Complaints
are also analyzed for trends that might indicate a need for further administrative action or policy review.
To date, no trends have been noted.

Advertising and Recruitment Materials
Any advertising or recruiting materials created by Northland are designed according to the system and
institutional style guides, which govern not only graphic and editing elements but also legal aspects of
publication. In addition, advertising, informational, and promotional material created by any
department is reviewed by the Director of Public Relations prior to publication.

Oversight of Third Party Contractors
All third party contracts must adhere to system guidelines, outlined in the system's Professional and
Technical Services Contract. The agreement outlines all expectations and obligations of all parties to the
contract. In addition, Northland may not enter into contractual agreements with any entity where an
indemnification clause is included, per system requirements.

Professional Accreditation/Authorization
All Northland programs subject to an accrediting or authorizing agency are required to list the full
address of the agency on the school's website, along with any notations about candidate status.

Title 38 Eligibility
Northland is eligible to provide education to veterans and eligible persons under Title 38 of the United
States Code.

Third Party Comment
Northland's third party comment notification process and examples of notices can be found in the
resource room.


Chapter 3: Revolutionizing Growth Strategies
Doing More with Less
Declining high school populations in northwest Minnesota have caused Northland to reconsider what it
does to attract new students. For example, the statewide unallocation of budgets has necessitated
reductions in academic program supplies. As a result, Northland has had to close unsuccessful programs
to fund healthier ones. Northland puts significant resources into academics, with a ratio of student FYE
to faculty FTE ratio of 15.03 to 1 in FY2009 (up from 14.94 in FY2008), the second lowest among system
colleges. However, the ratio between student FYE and FTE of all other staff is 20th in the system.
President Temte has set a goal of 17 to 1 for the student to faculty ratio by the start of FY2011. To



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achieve this level, the college will have to increase its enrollment substantially or further reduce the
level of faculty FTE.

Northland is examining other strategies as well, including more efficient class scheduling to eliminate
duplication of low enrollment sections and consolidating programs for administrative efficiency. Other
options include reducing faculty release credits and reexamining the differential tuition for high cost
programs, such as Aviation, Nursing, and Allied Health. The college is also in the process of formalizing a
partnership with University of North Dakota in several areas. One significant area is the unmanned
aircraft system/vehicle arena. UND provides training for UAV pilots for the military, and Northland is
seeking to partner with the university and the Grand Forks Air Force Base (ND) to provide the vehicle
maintenance. As North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have tuition reciprocity, students often
travel across state lines or enroll in online courses and degree programs. Thus, the college needs to
engage in due diligence to remove any artificial barriers created by state lines.

Although the college is challenged by financial considerations, it is also using federal stimulus funds to
respond to identified needs. Faculty and staff members brainstormed ideas for applying the funds
during a series of meetings in FY2009. The college has already made decisions based on the input,
including funding and filling three new positions: a Director of Institutional Research to organize and
lead research and grant writing efforts, an Academic Coordinator to provide high level support for the
vice president and academic deans, and an Online Learning Facilitator on each campus to assist faculty
members in developing hybrid and online courses. All of these positions align with the college's three
strategic goals:

        ·   Inspire Student Success
        ·   Cultivate High Quality Programs, Services, and Employees
        ·   Revolutionize Growth Strategies

Planning for the Future
Northland's first BUDGET BOOK appeared in May 2009, including a chronology and a realistic look at the
future. The college opted to plan for a worst-case scenario through two legislative sessions, assuming
that enrollment would not grow significantly because unemployment in the region continues to be well
below state and national averages, and the demographics of area indicate a downward trend in the
number of high school graduates. For FY2010, Northland's share of the deficit is expected to be $1.6
million, although the college has elected not to raise tuition. Federal stimulus funds cannot be used to
make up the deficit, intended instead for displaced worker programs, recruiting and retention, program
and curriculum development, upgrading technology infrastructure, and augmenting underrepresented
student services.

Northland began its planning process along two tracks simultaneously. The budget process was
redesigned in 2006 as Integrated Planning and Budgeting and continues to operate as outlined in the
college's budget calendar. The college also developed and implemented a Budget Reduction
Development Calendar. Using Integrated Planning and Budgeting, requests are submitted online and
must align with strategic goals of the college and the system. Requests are reviewed and prioritized by


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program directors, supervisors, and/or division chairs, depending on the type of request. The final
budget is approved by the President’s Cabinet based on the availability of funds, alignment with
strategic initiatives, and priority level. For budget reductions, a college-wide Finance committee met
nine times in spring 2009 to review 165 employee suggestions. Their recommendations were forwarded
to the President's Cabinet for review and action.

Representatives from all employee groups were also involved in planning for federal stimulus funds,
based on the college's strategic goals. The President's Cabinet prioritized and reviewed suggestions and
began to act on them in FY2009 and FY2010. The college also sought outside advice from community
and program advisory boards, as well as from area businesses and agencies.

To prepare further for the future, Northland began its new strategic planning process in January 2008,
based on the principles of Appreciative Inquiry. The effort involved over 350 members of the greater
college community, including students, faculty and staff members, administrators, community
members, area business representatives, and local government officials. During the discovery and
synthesis phases, the college determined its three strategic goals: Inspire Student Success; Cultivate
High Quality Programs, Services, and Employees; Revolutionize Growth Strategies. Northland is now in
the Delivery phase, where college-wide committees are designing action plans to meet specific targets
that will help the institution reach its goals in each area. It should also be noted that Northland
achieved many of the goals of its previous strategic plan, Vision 2010, including increasing access and
opportunity with increased online enrollment and an offsite Associate Degree Nursing program offered
at White Earth Indian Reservation, infusing technology college-wide with a computer recycling and
training program and expanded use of Desire2Learn, and strengthening PreK-16 connections by hosting
health fairs and other community-related activities.

As part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Northland is accountable for meeting
system goals in four strategic directions. Direction 1 is to increase access and opportunity, where the
college is meeting expectations for enrollment, although in the "needs attention" category for tuition
and fees, along with most other system institutions. Direction 2 is to promote and measure high quality
learning, programs, and services; Northland is meeting expectations for both the licensure exam pass
rate and the persistence and completion rate. High quality learning has not been defined, although data
was recently collected through the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. Direction 3 is to
provide programs and services that enhance economic competitiveness. Not all measures have been
defined here, but Northland is exceeding expectations in related employment of graduates. The last
direction is to innovate to meet current and future educational needs. Again, not all elements have
been defined, but Northland is meeting expectations for the facilities condition index.

Another way the college is preparing for the future is by reaching out to area employers through the
CEO to CEO visits, with the president, vice president, and the Dean of Workforce and Economic
Development meeting with 14 employers in health care, manufacturing, agricultural produces,
distribution, and construction. The new Commercial Vehicle Operator program and the Central Boiler
Initiative are two ways the college has responded to the needs expressed by employers.



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Other examples of how Northland plans for the future can be found in various work plans submitted by
different areas of the college, including the President's Work Plan, the College Work Plan, Committee
Work Plans, the Facilities Master Plan, the Technology Plan, and the Diversity Plan

Support from Faculty, Staff, and the Foundation
Northland's faculty and staff members support scholarship opportunities for students through
Foundation gifts and payroll deductions. The number of contributors has risen from 69 in FY2005 to
over 100 in FY2009, while contributions have risen from $11,000 to over $27,000 annually during the
same period. The number of awards from the Foundation has increased as well, from $75,900 in FY2005
to $494,000 in FY2009. In addition, the Foundation also established a $100,000 scholarship fund for
dislocated workers in FY2010 and FY2011. By the fall of 2009, over $23,000 was awarded.

Recruiting and Retention
The Marketing Enrollment Team is pursuing six strategies: developing Initiative Teams to tackle
marketing and enrollment challenges, developing a comprehensive social media presence to promote
the college (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), maximizing relationships with media outlets by focusing
on areas with high impact using cost-effective messages, supporting admissions representatives during
high-demand times by streamlining admissions materials and outreach efforts, and finally, developing
an internal communications program to share the team's efforts college-wide and invite feedback.

Northland also reaches out to a diverse audience through its recruiting fairs, locally and regionally, and
at job fairs and career exploration days in areas communities and Native American Reservations. Work
study another means of recruiting and retention and more attractive to students recently with the
increase in hourly wage from $8.50 to $9.50 and an increase in the number of hours students may work,
which Northland hopes will help reverse the downward trend from FY2005 and FY2009.

Other retention and recruiting efforts include efforts of the retention committee, Student Ambassadors
who provide tours for prospective students and their families, and the Pioneer Guides, a group of faculty
members on the Thief River Falls campus who have volunteered to advise and mentor students to help
improve the student success rate. Students can also improve their chances of success in college through
other options such as Learning Services support, advising to select the right courses at the right time
with the newly revised Degree Audit Reporting System, intrusive advising, and personal future building
efforts like the Get Your Stuff Together poster campaign, aimed at reminding students of important
events and dates in their academic careers.

Even with the best retention efforts, some students leave school without graduating. While retention
efforts are important, the college also believes it is important to understand why people leave. The
college is now in the process of designing a "Stop Out, Drop Out" procedure to determine the best way
to identify and survey students who leave for a semester or two or decide to leave permanently without
transferring or completing a degree.

A key group Northland is seeking to retain is its veterans. The college is a Tier 2 institution, meaning it
serves between 15-100 veterans or eligible dependents on each campus. Both campuses have


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established Veterans Resource Centers and assist veterans and dependents in a variety of areas,
including advising, registration, financial aid, and transportation.

Another area where Northland has reached out to encourage students is the White Earth Initiative,
where college faculty members are providing education for a variety of nursing careers, beginning in
2006. The college has partnered with the White Earth Tribal and Community College to provide Nursing
Assistant, Practical Nursing, and Associate Degree Nursing courses, funded through system initiatives,
foundation initiatives (Bremer, Dakota Medical, and Blandin), and through a Health Work Force Grant.
Between 2006 and 2009, 123 participants successfully completed the Nursing Assistant certification, 19
have graduated from the Practical Nursing program, and six have graduated from the Associate Degree
Nursing program.

While the White Earth Initiative represents the college reaching out to a diverse population off campus,
Northland has also reached out to diverse populations on campus as well, particularly its new immigrant
students. One focused area of assistance for this group is supplemental instruction, which is also
available to all students. In the first semester the supplemental instruction was available, 48 students
were identified as eligible using this form of additional academic support. The success rate for
participating students was over 85 percent, with 41 of 48 students passing the course for which they
were receiving supplemental instruction. However, further analysis of supplemental instruction may be
needed to examine additional factors in determining the relationship between supplemental instruction
and success in the course. Other opportunities available to all students at no cost to increase their
chances of success include tutoring services and expanded English language learner tutoring.

Working with Area K-12 Students, Communities, Employers, and Institutions
The college is engaged with its area K-12 students in several ways, including the Marketplace for Kids,
attended by over 1000 elementary students in grades 4-6; Dia Del Niño, a multigenerational fair to
increase community awareness of educational opportunities across the lifespan; Robo Storm Summer
Camp, where area middle school students build and program robots and tour local businesses to see
how programming skills are used, and Nurse for a Day, where third graders learn how to apply casts and
splints, take an x-ray, change dressings, and take temperatures, with college nursing faculty members
and students. Area high school students are also engaged, through sports clinics from the Athletic
department, music festivals, and financial aid seminars conducted by members of the financial aid staff.

Communities and employers are invited to participate in developing and revising curriculum and
planning for the future of the college through Program and Community Advisory Boards, with a
particular focus being the strategic planning process in FY2009. The recent establishment of a
Minnesota WorkForce Center on the Thief River Falls campus is another way the college and area
employers are able to come together. The co-location promotes the relationship between college and
WorkForce Center employees, serving to create an environment to assist WorkForce clients with career
transitions, as well as enhancing the ties between Northland and the region's employers, projected to be
a key element in future federal stimulus funding.




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The Center for Outreach and Innovation collaborates extensively with area employers through credit-
based and non-credit courses. Northland has collaborated with Digi-Key Corporation to create Digi-Key
University, with courses in electronics technology. As of FY2009, 200 employees have received
certificates in Electronics Technology I, and 51 have gone on to qualify for Electronics Technology II.
Students in the program also take general education courses, a testament to the company's
acknowledgement of the importance of the liberal arts. Northland has also worked with Polaris
Manufacturing to create a career ladder with stackable certificates that can lead to an associate's
degree (through Northland) and a bachelor's degree (through an arrangement with the University of
Minnesota-Crookston). Another wide-ranging program is the Foundations of Manufacturing Excellence.
FME is a 120-hour application-based curriculum program for employees in advanced manufacturing
occupations, aligning with the national Manufacturing Skill Standards Council’s Certified Production
Technician credential. Northland collaborates with Alexandria Technical College and Hennepin Technical
College in this effort.

In addition to workforce training, Northland also collaborates with its communities to offer access to the
arts, particularly through its radio station, KSRQ, its campus and community art shows, and its stage,
band, and choral concerts, all with significant community participation.

Northland's partnership with area institutions is exemplified by its approach to Minnesota's Post
Secondary Enrollment Options program. PSEO is a statewide option for eligible high school juniors and
seniors. Juniors must be in the upper one-third of their class or have scored at or above the 70th
percentile in a nationally standardized, norm-referenced test, such as the ACT or SAT. Seniors are
eligible if they are in the upper half of their class or have scored at or above the 50th percentile on a
nationally standardized, norm-referenced test. Northland offers students the opportunity to take
courses on campus or through two off-campus opportunities: College in the High School or Online
College in the High School. College in the High School offers students the opportunity to remain in their
home school with their own teacher. These instructors must have at least a master's degree in their
field and are mentored by a Northland faculty member. Online College in the High School courses are
taught by Northland faculty, through Distance Minnesota. Students take proctored tests while at their
home school. While relatively few students take advantage of the campus-based PSEO options, off-
campus options have seen steady increases in participation. In FY2009, Northland offered 44 college
courses to 600 students in 13 high schools for College in the High School, up from 450 in FY2008. The
Online College in the High School has also seen tremendous growth, as more than 1100 students having
registered for courses through Distance Minnesota since the spring of 2008, with over 400 of them
taking courses from Northland instructors.

The Minnesota Career Fields, Clusters, and Pathways Perkins Initiative is another option to assist high
school students in planning for a college career. Northland has joined with longtime Perkins III partners,
the Pine to Prairie and North Border Secondary consortiums, to create programs of study at the high
school level that will prepare students for future careers. The group recently completed its first career
field plan for Health Science Technology for students in 29 area communities.




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The Distance Minnesota Consortium is a collaboration of four system schools to offer online courses
and degree programs to students across the country. Northland has collaborated with Minnesota State
Community and Technical College, Alexandria Technical College, and Northwest Technical College since
2003, supporting a central administrative office in Perham, Minnesota. Online FYE participation in the
Distance Minnesota Consortium rose from approximately 500 in FY2005 to almost 1400 in FY2009, an
increase of almost 300 percent in only four years. Approximately 30 percent of all consortium students
in FY2009 were from Northland. Online majors accounted for 24 percent of the consortium FYE, while
on-campus students taking online courses made up 75 percent of the student body for Distance
Minnesota.


Chapter 4: Cultivating High Quality Programs, Services, and Employees
Quality Programs
Northland has structures at the system and local level that support innovation. As a part of the
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Northland is able to leverage the support and
resources of a state system for innovation, with its roots in the guiding principles established at the state
level. Northland's mission is included earlier in the introduction and aligns closely with the system
mission: to offer higher education that meets the personal and career goals of a wide range of individual
learners, enhances the quality of life for all Minnesotans, and sustains vibrant economies throughout the
state.

The system mission outlines the importance of enhancing the quality of life for all Minnesotans and
sustaining vibrant economies throughout the state, indicating the society it intends to serve. Northland
plays a critical role in meeting the system's mission in northwestern Minnesota.

Northland's vision, also included in the introduction, is also aligned with the system vision, offering
higher education that meets the personal and career goals of a wide range of individual learners,
enhances the quality of life for all Minnesotans, and sustains vibrant economies throughout the state.
Northland's vision as a progressive, responsible leader in the area, and its practice of collaborating with
constituents as outlined in this chapter, combine to offer access to education that its constituents value.

Locally, Northland has a number of governance structures that serve it well. The college underwent
reorganization shortly after President Temte assumed leadership in 2006, in light of her increased
responsibilities off campus, including monthly meetings with the Office of the Chancellor's Leadership
Council. She has also assumed an active role in several state-level organizations as an advocate not only
for the college, but for the region as well, including the Minnesota Online Executive Committee, the
Rural Economic Alliance, the Greater Grand Forks Economic Development Workforce Development task
force, and the system's Staff and Leadership Development Committee. The organizational structure was
designed using team philosophy and followed a yearlong process of consultation and participation from
all constituents. This philosophy encourages the delegation of authority on the two campuses, based on
the system's delegation of authority to its campuses. While the administration put forth the notion that
disciplinary deans would bring greater unity to the college, the faculty strongly favored campus-based

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deans. Eventually, the campus-based dean structure was retained, although some college-wide
responsibilities have been assigned to each of the two deans, such as responsibility for Developmental
Education, Online Learning, and Articulation.

Student Affairs has also undergone reorganization, as the college believed it was important to have a
leader on each campus who could respond to immediate student conduct and campus climate issues
while also managing college-wide responsibilities. The Dean of Student Services now oversees recruiting
and enrollment management, financial aid, and registration and advising on both campuses, while the
Dean of Student Development focuses on learning services, student life, and athletics.

Another local governance structure is the President's Cabinet, made up of the President and key
advisors, meeting regularly to ensure the effectiveness of the college's governance structures. Recent
significant contributions of the Cabinet have been in the area of policy, structure, processes, and
budgets. Institutional governance is shared between the administration and the faculty as defined by
the faculty bargaining unit contract. The Shared Governance Council's responsibilities include long- and
short-range planning, prioritizing the allocation of financial resources, consulting on the acquisition and
use of existing physical and human resources, conducting institutional self-studies, marketing, public
relations, and recruiting activities. While the focus of the Shared Governance Council is often reactive,
there are also instances where the Council has been proactive as well, such as the faculty-led initiatives
on the program review and sustainability process. Of particular importance to the college are the early
warning, intervention, and administrative support measures now available to the program faculty to
address enrollment and efficiency issues. The Academic Affairs and Standards Council worked to align
courses, programs, and curriculums across the college after the merger, assisting the faculty in
converting course syllabi to the common course outline format available for all faculty members at the
college website. The council is responsible for reviewing and approving academic policy as well as course
and program offerings.

In devising quality programs, the college seeks input and feedback from students, employees, and the
communities it serves. Students evaluate the faculty through surveys in Desire2Learn, which are
available the same semester for faculty members and the deans of academics to review. Students are
also assessed according to plans devised by faculty members with input from the Assessment and
Program Review Committee. Assessment plans are designed to measure institutional and program
learner outcomes, including direct and indirect measures. The plan has four key elements: to validate
program learner outcomes, to identify assessment methods and track graduation rates, to conduct and
analyze assessments, and to use the results for program improvement. The majority of programs have
designed and implemented assessment plans since the format was finalized in FY2006. The vice
president and academic deans also worked with the Assessment and Program Review committee to
design a course shell in Desire2Learn for faculty members to review and comment on their discipline's
plans. Administrators have reviewed plans to offer feedback to faculty members and have assisted
programs that have not yet completed an assessment plan, a focus of fall and spring faculty in-service
meetings in FY2010.




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One focus of assessment is to review curriculum for a global, diverse, and technological society.
Northland uses its Institutional Learner Outcomes in this regard: Foundation Skills, Thinking Skills,
Global and Civic Responsibility, Applied and Information Technology, and Personal Development.
Programs document their assessment of outcomes in their course outline documents as well as in their
assessment plans. Some programs may include Liberal Arts program outcomes in courses, such as
Global and Civic Responsibility, as students in associate degree programs are required to have a
minimum number of credits in Minnesota Transfer Curriculum goal areas addressed in Liberal Arts
courses. Northland students' understanding of these goal areas and their assessment of the extent to
which they have been present in various courses and programs is illustrated in their responses to the
Community College Survey of Student Engagement, discussed in detail in the full report.

Northland also insures quality programs through its program review and sustainability processes.
Programs are reviewed on a five-year cycle unless there is a need to review more often, such as a
program defined as "at risk" through the sustainability process. Northland's program review process is
designed to document and evaluate student achievement of learning outcomes. First, program faculty
members are asked to demonstrate how their programs meet the stated mission and are tied to
strategic directions of the college. Then they are asked to document how students achieve institutional
and program learner outcomes within the program's integrated technical and general education
curriculum. Faculty members can also access system resources to assist in program review. The results
are used to improve the program, along with validations of outcomes from business and industry
partners, such as members of the program's advisory committee. As a result of the process, programs
are able to demonstrate their accountability and value to the college and other constituents. While
many challenges identified during the program review process can be met largely through the efforts of
the program faculty alone, there may be other cases where the college can offer targeted support in key
areas. Knowing when that support might be needed and how best to provide it is the impetus behind
Northland's program sustainability process.

Northland developed a college-wide sustainability process, designed to focus on proactive strategies in
response to the faculty's request for more information earlier in the program review process and
requests for greater participation in developing the review and sustainability criteria. These strategies
are used to identify the strengths and challenges of all programs while offering targeted assistance to
programs considered most at risk for continued viability. Programs are evaluated in six key areas:
Program FYE, Graduate FYE, Cost Ratio, Student FYE/Faculty FTE, Instructional Cost Study Report
comparisons, and Percent Full by Section. Trends and thresholds have been established for each
category, with programs receiving a plus or minus depending on whether they are above or below the
trends and thresholds. Programs with five to six positive rankings are considered in no need of support
at present, while programs with three to four positive rankings are considered in need of improvement,
with program faculty expected to design an action plan to address the areas of concern during the
coming academic year. Programs with two or fewer positive ratings are considered at risk. These
faculty members are asked to meet with the program sustainability committee to develop a plan and
are offered additional resources as needed to help enact the plan. Resources may include targeted



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advertising and recruiting efforts and assistance from program advisory boards. Programs that do not
make progress within the academic year may be considered for suspension or closure.

In addition to academic assessment, the college has also begun to assess other areas, including student
services. Northland's Assessment and Program Review committee invited a Student Services
representative to its September 2006 meeting to discuss the assessment process and initiate the
internal review process. Each office within student services began the process of self-reflection and
writing purpose statements. The process was interrupted due to a departmental continuous
improvement project shift. One of the major projects undertaken during the continuous improvement
process was the college-wide approach to assessment, orientation, and registration. The process was
implemented spring 2008 and has been refined to make it work more smoothly for students and align
the assessment with the college's new strategic plan. The assessment plan, currently in draft form,
outlines purpose statements, goals, strategies, and key performance indicators for student advising. In
addition, an assessment grid is included, outlining the functional area, the responsible supervisor, the
assessment focus, the key performance indicators and assessment method, the frequency of the
assessment, and how the results will be distributed.

Quality Services
Northland engages its students, employees, area employers and communities, and partner institutions
in a variety of ways and evaluates feedback from those constituents to serve their needs better in the
future. Northland measures student satisfaction in many ways, including nationally-developed surveys,
such as the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory, the Community College Survey of Student
Engagement (which replaced the Noel-Levitz SSI in 2008), and the Noel-Levitz/System Priorities Survey
of Online Learning. The college also uses locally-developed instruments to measure satisfaction,
including the Survey of Enrollment Experiences and program/college-wide Graduate Exit Surveys. Areas
of strength for Northland in the Noel-Levitz SSI included the quality of instruction and instructors, ease
of registration, knowledgeable and approachable advisors, clear program requirements, a safe and
welcoming campus, and up to date computer and library facilities. Areas that were classified as having
significant performance gaps included: course scheduling, financial aid, faculty understanding of
students' situations, parking, and concern shown by the college for individual students.

In the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, Northland scores significantly higher than
both cohort comparison groups in student-faculty interaction and in support for learners, an indication
of how the college has addressed concerns raised in the previous Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction
Inventory. In the related items for student-faculty interaction in particular, respondents noted the ease
of contacting faculty members electronically, reflecting the college's effort to infuse technology at both
campuses. In related items in the support for learners category, Northland scored highest in providing
academic and financial resources for student success. The result for student effort, however, is a
challenge for Northland. Students' responses indicated they prepared multiple drafts of written
assignments less often and prepared less for classes than did students responding in the consortium or
cohort groups.



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As a member of the Distance Minnesota Consortium, Northland also received data each semester from
the Noel-Levitz Institutional Priorities Survey of Online Learners. The survey measures priorities and
satisfaction in five areas (access, engagement, learning, satisfaction, and affordability). The survey also
measures factors influencing enrollment and overall perceptions. It is important to note that Northland
instructors also teach online courses that might include non-Northland students and that Northland
students may have non-Northland instructors for their online courses. Northland scored at or above
consortium, system, and national norms in the following areas: reliable platform, ability to stay on track
with educational goals through online education, appropriate instructional materials, sufficient
offerings, and convenient registration, billing, and payment procedures. Areas where Northland scored
below consortium, system, and national norms included faculty responsiveness to student needs,
usefulness of interactions with online instructors, quality of instruction, timely feedback, program
advisor availability, and adequate financial aid.

The Survey of Enrollment Experiences is a locally-developed survey that asks new students about their
experiences in learning about the college and in becoming a student. This survey will be replaced in
FY2010 with the nationally-developed Survey of Entering Student Engagement. Results from FY2008
and FY2009 indicate students feel well informed about the process of becoming a student and satisfied
with their initial experiences, which the college expects to see borne out in the national survey. For
example, in FY2008, over 95 percent of respondents said it was easy or very easy to obtain information
from the college, compared with 96 percent in FY2009. When assessing the helpfulness of information
found at the website, 73 percent chose "helpful" or "very helpful" in FY2008, which increased
significantly in FY2009, to 94 percent. While there are a number of possible explanations for the
increase, it should also be noted that during the same time, the college website underwent substantial
redesign, based in part on feedback from students, staff members, and the faculty.

The Liberal Arts Program Exit Survey is another locally-developed instrument, first administered to
Liberal Arts graduates in the spring of 2008, as part of the process of applying for graduation. Results
from the survey, with respect to student satisfaction, show an overwhelmingly positive response. Of 24
comments received on the 2008 survey, 22 were positive while only two offered what could be viewed
as constructive criticisms (more quiet space to study, more upper level course offerings). Of 16
comments received on the 2009 survey, none of the comments were entirely critical, although a few
offered constructive criticisms.

The Graduate Exit Survey is a locally-developed instrument administered by the Retention committee,
designed to measure exiting students' satisfaction with student services. In comparing results from
FY2006 through FY2008, several trends emerge. One of the most significant trends is the percentage of
students rating their overall experience as a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale—consistently over 80 percent. The
percentage of students rating their overall experience as a 1 or 2 has been consistently under 5 percent.
When looking at specific categories related to services, there has been an upward trend in the
satisfaction ratings for the bookstore, counseling, intramurals, learning services, student organizations,
and technology, perhaps reflecting the impact of the college's focus on student life activities through
grant-funded positions and other initiatives discussed elsewhere in the full report.


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The Graduate Followup Report is system-wide report that gathers data on where graduates are going,
whether it's to further their education or move into the workforce. Northland has a significant number
of programs where 100 percent of students report in-field placement, a fact noted by the system in its
Accountability Dashboard ratings, where Northland exceeds system expectations in "Related
Employment of Graduates." The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor has also noted that the
college's related employment rate for graduates in occupational programs ranged from 97.3 to 98.0
percent in 2006 and 2007, and related employment for all graduates from 2004-2006 ranged from 97.1
to 98.0 percent.

Besides surveys, the college also gathers information by other means, including student focus groups
and dialogues, such as the "You Came …We Listened" focus group in 2005 and the student dialogue
forums that have continued annually since then. Students are invited to participate through e-mail
requests and notifications on posters placed throughout both campuses. A qualitative approach is used
to record responses, noting trends that might indicate areas of concern or praise. Student Affairs staff
members then analyze ways in which they can respond to the concerns, which are publicized in the
college newsletter, the PIONEER PRESS. Some specific responses include adding a financial aid checklist
to the website, creating a list of student clubs and activities for the student life section of the website,
encouraging greater use of Desire2Learn amongst faculty members, making prepaid meal plans
available, and providing tutorials for online services.

The college also seeks to serve its community members and respond to feedback about its service.
Management Education, one of Northland's largest programs, has been serving farm producers in the
region and state for over 50 years, since the establishment of the Thief River Falls Area Vocational
School in 1949. FY2008, for example, the program enrolled an average of approximately 600 students
per semester, with 6693 credits delivered. Annie's Project is yet another example of Northland's service
to area agribusiness, with a focus on women. The mission of Annie's Project is to empower women in
agribusiness to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical
information. With many of the college's Management Education students being male, Annie's Project
served as an excellent way to educate women, including many spouses of Northland's Management
Education students.

With the knowledge that many of its students transfer to other institutions, Northland also seeks to
maintain and improve its relationships with area institutions. In 2004, Northland surveyed its transfer
partners to determine how well the college had prepared its students for transfer and how responsive
college employees were to requests from transfer institutions. The institutions had a positive
impression of Northland's abilities to prepare and advise transfer students appropriately. Very
knowledgeable, well prepared, excellent job, good to work with, go the extra mile, and more than willing
to cooperate were phrases that occurred most often in the respondents' comments about their
experiences with Northland students and transfer staff.

While Northland gathers significant amounts of institutional effectiveness data, it has lacked a
systematic review, analysis, and planning process for improvement. In response to concerns over the
disjointed data collection and analysis process, the college appointed volunteer faculty, staff, and

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administrators to form a college-wide institutional research work group in FY2009 to begin the process
of identifying all college survey data and developing mechanisms to catalogue results. A second aim of
the work group was to make information available to the entire college community in an electronic
environment, through Northland's GroupLink system, as well as through the self-study report itself and
its Virtual Resource Room, available to all employees through Northland's online course management
system, Desire2Learn. The initial work of the committee made it easier for reporting of results to the
community and laid a foundation for the approval of an important leadership position, the Director of
Institutional Research, who will lead Northland's efforts in effect data collection, cataloguing, analysis,
and planning for improvement, beginning in FY2010.

Quality Employees
As a merged college, Northland continues to explore ways to foster a one college identity. To that end, a
number of forums have emerged to encourage collegiality. In-service meetings for faculty and staff
members are college-wide, and the President promotes a number of ways for employees to discuss
issues of concern and offer kudos, including Coffee and Conversation with the President, All-Employee
Meetings, and the Weekly Bulletin. Northland employees are also committed to high ethical standards,
having taken training in the system's Code of Conduct through Desire2Learn as well as adopting its own
Employee Code of Conduct. The college has been quick to respond to audit findings as well, including
those from the system's Financial Audit Report, and it uses standard system contracts for all agreements
with outside agencies, including purchasing, clinical sites, consortiums, and professional and technical
services.

Another way the college is committed to empowering employees is through professional development.
Resources and opportunities abound for faculty and staff members, although budget constraints have
limited some choices. Faculty members and their immediate family members can use tuition
reimbursement and waivers to pursue additional education. Faculty members also have access to funds
through their bargaining unit contract for professional development and sabbaticals and some
discretionary funds from the system and administrators, including the Awards for Excellence grants
during FY2007-FY2009. A new source of funding for employees and students became available in
FY2010, when the Northland Foundation announced the establishment of a fund to support grant
proposals. Staff members have also been able to pursue professional development, particularly through
attending conferences and participating in training opportunities offered by the Center for Outreach and
Innovation, such as the recent Strengths-Based training and Microsoft Office User Specialist training.


Chapter 5: Inspiring Student Success
Success in the Classroom
Two of Northland's programs that are raising the bar, with high expectations of both faculty and
students, are Practical Nursing and Welding. Practical Nursing faculty members recently decided to
require students applying to the program to meet specific entry requirements. After examining student
success rates in their initial nursing courses, the faculty developed a strategy that would help students
be more successful from the very beginning. After examining a number of approaches, they decided on

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a multi-step approach. First, students would need to complete any developmental requirements based
on placement scores. Then, they would need to complete all their general education courses and
medical terminology with at C or better. They would also need to have Nurse Assistant certification
within the past five years (or have successfully completed the course), and their CPR certification would
have to be current. Although those prerequisites would certainly help prepare students for the rigors of
nursing courses, the faculty decided to add one more significant component, the Test of Essential
Academic Skills. This nationally-developed test is designed to measure student preparedness for nursing
curriculum in reading, mathematics, science, and English language usage. Northland's practical nursing
faculty will be working with a psychometrician from Assessment Technologies Institute, the test creator,
to establish cut off scores beginning with students in the spring of 2010.

In an effort to serve students better, program faculty determined that a student who failed to reach the
minimum score after two attempts would be required to provide documentation of remediation efforts
before he or she would be allowed to retake the assessment. Faculty members expect to be proactive in
this regard, encouraging students to review their initial results carefully for areas that might need
remediation. Students will also be encouraged to visit with Learning Services to develop a plan to
strengthen their skills in those areas before attempting the assessment again.

The Welding program has also raised the bar, with faculty members on both campuses becoming
members of the American Welding Society and encouraging their students to join this professional
association. Faculty members have collaborated with AWS to provide students with resources and
opportunities they might not have been able to access otherwise and requested that the Northland
library also join AWS to provide video and print materials from the organization to students. Welding
faculty members extend their association with AWS beyond the classroom however, through the AWS
SENSE program (Schools Excelling through National Skills Standards Education). The program offers
three levels of certification, the first two of which Northland has been certified to offer. Successful
companies have come to rely on AWS certification as a skill measurement. The next goal for the
program is to secure the capital bonding required to become an AWS Test site on the East Grand Forks
campus. As a certified test site, Northland would be able to test and qualify welders in the AWS Certified
Welder Program. Presently there are no AWS Test facilities in Minnesota or North Dakota, so gaining
this status would not only add value to the program for future students but also help the industry to
meet its goals.

Students are also instrumental in promoting and recruiting for the program. Each spring, current
students visit their former high schools to give presentations on their experiences in the program.
Faculty members report that this has been an excellent recruiting tool. The programs on both campuses
reported they had reached capacity at the start of the fall term in 2008 and 2009, for example. Another
recruiting tool is the Behind the Mask welding contest and job fair, an annual event that rotates among
several locations in Minnesota and North Dakota, including the Northland campuses. The event,
sponsored by the Northern Plains section of the American Welding Society, includes a competition for
high school and college students, as well as a job fair with local companies on hand to talk to students
about opportunities in welding.


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Learning Services provides resources for students who want to improve their academic performance.
Individual and peer group tutoring is available, as well as private testing facilities. Northland has also
seen a steady increase in immigrant students using Learning Services, many with Limited English
Proficiency. As part of the system's Access, Opportunity, and Success Initiative, Northland implemented
a series of measures to improve retention and success rates for underrepresented students, beginning
in FY2008. The initiative provided funds for a Success Coordinator on each campus, responsible for
coordinating and providing supplemental instruction, peer tutoring, and college lab assistant tutoring in
conjunction with Learning Services and advising staff. Underrepresented students include students of
color (American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic students), low-income students
(Pell-eligible), and first generation students. Many of Northland's students with limited English
proficiency fall under these guidelines and are specifically addressed in the system initiative, as outlined
in the college's annual report. Concerns noted included failure to understand the time commitment for
college-level work, considering attendance to be the primary factor in grading, and failure to take
advantage of resources that might help them improve their classroom performance. Strategies to meet
these challenges include financial aid advising, intrusive advising, in-classroom presentations promoting
Learning Services opportunities, and supplemental instruction.

While Northland had not tested students using English for Speakers of Other Languages standards in the
past, it began doing so in the fall of 2009 at the request of the system, in an effort to track ESOL
populations more accurately across the state. Students are screened for ESOL Reading Skills test
through background questions and a score on the Reading Comprehension test, criteria adopted with
input from metropolitan-area system colleges with a long history of serving ESOL populations.

Northland's developmental education courses offer remediation for native and non-native speakers of
English who may be underprepared for college-level work. Students with remedial needs in math,
reading, and English are identified through the College Board Accuplacer Test. Prospective students can
view sample tests and information at the college's website. After the merger, cut off scores for
placement were set using input from the system office as well as comparisons with other two-year
institutions nationwide. Shortly after the college set its cut off scores, the system conducted a validity
study to recommend system-wide cut off scores, which Northland adopted with minor variations. The
college continues to allow students who score an 85 in the Elementary Algebra test to register for a
college-level math course. In addition, the college adopted a policy of requiring a student to take at
least one developmental course each semester until all developmental requirements were completed.

Success in the "Real World"
Northland students have many opportunities to learn and to be successful in settings outside of the
traditional classroom as well. Service Learning became part of the curriculum in FY2005 as part of a
system-supported Center for Teaching and Learning grant. A part of the plan involved the creation of
Service Learning Coordinators on both campuses. Over 800 students were involved in service learning
projects in FY2006 and FY2007, after which time funding for the coordinators was eliminated. While
relatively few faculty members have initiated new service learning projects since FY2007, those who had
already incorporated it into their courses have continued to use service learning and say that their
students value the experience.

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Internships provide students with opportunities to develop skills related to the profession in on-the-job
experiences, while Clinical Experiences are also on-the-job opportunities but with significant onsite
faculty supervision and evaluation. Many of Northland's allied health programs require significant
credits in clinical experience, ranging from six credits (Pharmacy Technology) to 38 credits (Radiologic
Technology). Details about the settings, expectations, and supervision of internship and clinical
experiences can be found in the full report.

Student Life activities at Northland offer not only social interaction among students with similar
interests but also opportunities to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom, as many student
clubs are tied to educational programs. In addition to clubs with a focus on programs, both campuses
have active intramural programs and Student Senates. Students from both campuses are able to
participate in Northland’s intercollegiate athletic program. Each campus has unique attributes when it
comes to student life. For example, while there are performing arts events on both campuses, this area
is a strength of the Thief River Falls campus. Northland compares favorably to peer institutions in the
most recent Community College Survey of Student Engagement in the areas of students' awareness of
and participation in student life activities. In recognition of the importance of student life activities, the
college created the position of Dean of Student Development to oversee student life on both campuses.
The dean has been working to bring consistency to how student groups sponsor and report their
activities. More importantly, this office is also working to increase access to and participation in student
life events such as sports, entertainment, club activities, and educational speakers and activities.

Because of Northland's history as a merged institution, student government and funding for student life
and student clubs are still distinct processes on the two campuses. Moreover, because the two student
governments are autonomous organizations within the institution, they have remained distinct from
each other in how they function.

Within this context, the Thief River Falls campus uses a model for student life funding whereby funding
is determined through an annual budget request process. The strength of this process is the flexibility in
club budget request. Clubs can request different-sized budgets to fit their needs or to support special
activities. The East Grand Forks campus uses a model whereby a fixed amount of $1000 is initially
awarded to active student clubs, with an additional $1000 allocated if those clubs include one annual
community service-centered activity. Community service is broadly defined to include an activity that
adds to the value and life of the college community or the broader civic community.

Despite these differences in student government structure, the roles are still similar on each campus.
Through the various student life clubs and activities, Northland strives to help students value a life of
learning, while also developing social networks and skills and fostering a sense of civic responsibility.
Students serving in the Student Senate, for example, are able to consult with the Dean of Student
Services or the Dean of Student Development at meetings on issues such as budgets and tuition, giving
students a voice in decisions made that affect them.




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Success in Lifelong Learning
One way Northland measures Responsible Use of Knowledge is through its Institutional Learner
Outcomes, particularly through Personal Development: Students will develop professional attitudes and
habits of punctuality, honesty, respect, accountability, leadership, professional and personal integrity,
and self-directedness while contributing to personal and group goals. Programs assess their success at
meeting these outcomes as part of their program review cycle. Programs may also use Program Learner
Outcomes from Liberal Arts to demonstrate how their students use knowledge responsibly, as students
pursuing associate degrees would take a number of Liberal Arts courses to fulfill their Minnesota
Transfer Curriculum requirements. Three program outcomes for Liberal Arts are the most relevant here:
Students will evaluate a variety of human responses to cultural conditions; Students will apply
appropriate civic and moral principles to a variety of civic and moral problem-solving situations, and
Students will assess, analyze, and develop personal goals towards optimal health and wellness
throughout their lives. Faculty members in other program areas can determine which courses contain
these outcomes by consulting the Liberal Arts Program Matrix.

Northland fosters a sense of integrity through its policy guidelines, faculty mentoring, and intellectual
property training opportunities. The college designed and regularly reviews policies for student and
employee codes of conduct and academic integrity. The policies also outline procedures for reporting
and addressing violations. One weakness in the area of policy lies in adherence, in particular to the
policy on academic integrity. While faculty members may find and address cases of academic
dishonesty within their own classrooms, not all faculty members necessarily report such cases to their
respective deans. This is likely due to many reasons, including the likelihood that some faculty members
may feel it is within the realm of academic freedom to let the issue remain within their classroom, or
they may not be aware that the policy requires them to report cases to the academic deans. This is a
weakness in consistency of practice that received attention during the fall and spring faculty in-service
days in FY2010. It is hoped that faculty awareness of the policy and a willingness to report incidents will
increase, allowing the college to track incidents of academic dishonesty more accurately.

Faculty mentoring is another way Northland insures all instructors learn to apply their knowledge in
their classrooms in ways that maximize the benefit to students. The college supported a faculty mentor
on both campuses through FY2009, although the release time for these positions was eliminated for
FY2010. At present, groups of faculty members on both campuses are working on revamping the
college's mentoring program. Another targeted form of mentoring is Northland's orientation for new
faculty. These sessions are held at the beginning of fall semester, where new faculty members are
provided with information on payroll and purchasing as well as grading, safety issues, and policies on
data privacy. Faculty members can also consult an online handbook created by a faculty member as a
result of an Award for Excellence grant.

All staff and faculty members are provided with orientation and ongoing education in copyright and
intellectual property issues by the college librarians, through in-service presentations and through
responses for discipline-specific presentations. The college has also established policies on Copyright
and Acceptable Use.


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Moving In and Moving On
Many Northland students leave the institution to enter the workforce, and an increasing number are
moving on to other institutions to continue their education. Northland is attracting its own share of
transfer students as well. The Transfer Student Profile provides information about Northland's transfer
students, whether they are transferring into the college or leaving for another institution. From FY2006
to FY2008, students aged 15-24 (including high school students transferring under Minnesota's Post
Secondary Enrollments option) comprised the largest group of students transferring into Northland,
accounting for more than 65 percent of all transfers in any given year. The gender split has remained
relatively constant at about 65 percent female, 35 percent male. In terms of ethnicity, students
transferring to Northland reflect the ethnicity of the region, with at least 85 percent classifying
themselves as White in any given year between 2006 and 2008. In FY2006, 72 percent of Northland's
credits were accepted by receiving institutions overall, with the highest rate, 89.5 percent, being
accepted by four-year institutions. In FY2007, the overall transfer credit acceptance rate rose to 75.3
percent, while the four-year rate remained the same. Data for 2008 was not available at the time of this
report.

Northland students who transfer to other institutions maintain or improve their grade point average
(GPA) after transfer, which may include a maturation effect. In FY2006, for example, the average GPA
for a Northland student transferring to another institution was 2.85, and the average final grade
recorded at the receiving institution was 2.95. In FY2007, the most current year for which data is
available, Northland's exiting average was 2.79, and the average final GPA recorded at the receiving
institution was 2.91. While the average GPA dipped slightly in FY2007, students still maintained or
improved their GPA after transfer. As this transfer data demonstrates, Northland students do well after
transferring to other institutions, an indication of student success.


Conclusion
Northland’s horizon stretches out in all directions, much like its surrounding prairie landscape.
Opportunities and challenges abound, as outlined in this report. Northland’s capacity to seize those
opportunities and meet those challenges is limited only by its willingness to embrace change and move
forward. This capacity is something the college has consistently demonstrated as it requests continued
accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The college is embedded in both the national and state economic landscapes. The national recession
and deep statewide deficits have stimulated a sense of crisis, with growing insecurity about maintaining
the qualities of the college that are central to its history and identity. It has had to absorb tremendous
reductions in its state allocation while at the same time concentrating on developing a strategic plan
that focuses its resources on student success, quality and growth. The strategic plan has provided
guidance as the college has made reductions and invested in new initiatives.

The merger of 2003 was initiated by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities as a move that would
bring about economy of scale, reduce unnecessary duplication in services and programs, and unite a
portion of northwestern Minnesota that has strong regional similarities. The financial benefits of

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mergers are often overestimated, however, and rest on assumptions that may not be valid. Reducing
various offices from two campuses to one may reduce the number of employees, but it increases
inconvenience for employees and students. People may have to drive frequently between the
campuses to serve students and employees adequately, incurring both travel costs and lost productivity.
On the other hand, being one strong, mid-sized college within the system strengthens the voice and
influence of the college within the state.

There has been phenomenal progress in the technical aspects of merger. Administrative Services (Fiscal
Services, Facilities, Human Resources, Technology, and Safety) plans and operates for one institution.
Student Services (Recruitment, Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid, and Advising) has achieved
common standards and practices and shares responsibilities across the college. Student Development
has unified policies, expectations, and processes, while recognizing the different character and histories
of the student bodies at the two main campuses. Academic Affairs has taken major strides toward
aligning the curriculum, producing a common catalog, adopting institutional and program learner
outcomes, and promoting assessment across all academic programs.

While the college is one institution, it retains unique campus identities. These identities grew out of
differing histories and communities. Because the Thief River Falls campus was an independent college
for many years and the sole higher education presence in its community, it had a comprehensive
mission, offering a broad array of student life opportunities. Its state allocation was intended to support
a college, and the administration maximized tuition revenue to ensure that the college contributed to
the community quality of life. The East Grand Forks campus began as an individual technical institute
and became part of the five campuses of Northwest Technical College, located in a community with a
university that provided community enhancement. It did not have autonomy in decision-making about
tuition and budget development. Its mission was focused on career and technical programs, and it was
not funded in a manner that supported broad student life opportunities or community involvement.
The merger has allowed the comprehensive mission of Northland Community and Technical College to
infuse both campuses and communities.

Since the merger, there have, of course, been pains of adjustment. While technical aspects of merger
have progressed, the marriage of the campuses was not necessarily rooted in love and mutual
admiration. Each campus has had to adapt to many changes in the way it had previously done things,
and there have been fears on both campuses that strengths of the past might be lost or diminished.
Had the college enjoyed the fruits of an expanding economy, demographic growth, and greater public
investment, these fears might have been ignored. However, with the challenges Northland faces,
underlying stresses sometime crack the surface of collaboration and unity.

Clearly, the communities of northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota look to Northland's two
main campuses, its educational sites, and its online offerings as essential elements of regional health
and economic growth. Students report deep satisfaction with their educational opportunities and with
how they are treated by the faculty and staff. Employers report that they would not be successful
without the institution's graduates. Increasingly, Northland is included at the table when important
regional initiatives are being developed and decisions are being made.

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As the college moves into the future, Northland will mandate similarity throughout the college where it
must and promote campus autonomy and uniqueness where it can. These efforts will be guided by the
college's strategic plan, with decisions made based on how they inspire student success, cultivate quality
in every aspect of the institution, and revolutionize growth strategies. Northland will face the
challenges of budget insufficiency head on, acknowledging that some things that have been held dear
may be lost in the short run. The college will be prepared for future times of abundance by becoming a
lean institution focused on continuous improvement and good stewardship of all its resources.

Northland Community and Technical College meets the criteria for continuing accreditation in the
opinion of its constituents, as demonstrated in this report. The college welcomes the opportunity to
consult with its Higher Learning Commission colleagues as it plans the next steps on its journey.




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