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					    Raritan Valley Community College
         Periodic Review Report
Prepared for the Middle States Commission
           on Higher Education
                June 2007
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007




                   Middle States Commission on Higher Education
                              Periodic Review Report



                                    Presented by:
                          Raritan Valley Community College
                                Somerville, New Jersey

                                       June 1, 2007



                                Chief Executive Officer:

                                President Casey Crabill
                                (August 2006 – Present)




                   Commission action which preceded this report:
                                Reaccreditation

                           Date of Evaluation Team’s Visit:
                                    October 2001

                           Team Leader: Dr. J. Elaine Ryan




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Middle States Commission on Higher Education

PRR Certification Statement




Raritan Valley Community College is seeking REAFFIRMATION of ACCREDITATION.



The undersigned hereby certify that the institution meets all established eligibility requirements
of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the accreditation standards detailed
in Characteristics of Excellence.




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                                                  TABLE OF CONTENTS

Section 1 - Executive Summary.........................................................................................1

         1.1 Overview of Institution .....................................................................................1
         1.2 RVCC Mission and Core Values .......................................................................3
         1.3 College Structure and Governance ....................................................................3
         1.4 Preparation of the Report ...................................................................................4
         1.5 Major Institutional Changes ...............................................................................4
         1.6 Abstract ..............................................................................................................5

Section 2 - Summary of RVCC’s Response to Middle States Recommendations ...…6

         2.1 Historical Overview of the Baldrige Excellence in Higher Education
             Methodology ......................................................................................................7
         2.2 Cycle of Assessment Model……………………………..…………………….9
         2.3 Summary of Middle States Recommendations ................................................10
         2.4 Educational Program and Curricula .................................................................11
             2.4a Developmental Studies/Basic Skills ........................................................11
             2.4b Administrative Changes ...........................................................................13
             2.4c Organizational Changes ...........................................................................15
         2.5 Student Services/Student Life/Enrollment/Retention ......................................18
         2.6 Institutional Effectiveness ................................................................................21
             2.6a Academic Program Review......................................................................25
             2.6b Outcomes Assessment and Planning .......................................................26

Section 3 - Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Institution... …………………29

         3.1 Changing Demographics ..................................................................................30
         3.2 Curricula Relevance .........................................................................................31
         3.3 Human Resources Challenges..........................................................................33
         3.4 Outcomes Assessment .....................................................................................34
         3.5 Communication ................................................................................................35
         3.6 Budgetary Constraints ......................................................................................36

Section 4 - Enrollment and Finance Trends and Projections……….…………..……36

         4.1 Strategic Financial Plan Fiscal Years 2008 – 2012………………………….36
             4.1a Enrollment…………………………………………………… ……...…36
             4.1b Tuition and Fees………………..……………………………………….37
             4.1c State Appropriations…………….……………………………………....37
             4.1d County Appropriations……………………………………………….....37
             4.1e Salaries & Benefits……………………………………………………...37
             4.1f Operating Expenses……………………………………………………..38
             4.1g Capital Spending…………………………………………………….….38
             4.1h Financial Forecast…………………………...……………………….…38


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          4.1i Strategic Plan Financial Forecast – Unrestricted Fund
             Actual 2005 & 2006, Budgeted 2007 & 2008, Projected 2009 – 2012…...39


Section 5 - Assessment Processes and Plan……………………………………………40
       5.1 Raritan Valley Community College Assessment Model…………………….40
           5.1a Level I – Institutional Effectiveness……………………………………41
           5.1b Level II – Program and Departmental Review…………………………42
           5.1c Level III – Course Evaluation…………………………………………..44
           5.1d Level IV – Student Learning Outcomes………………………………..44
Section 6 - Linking Institutional Planning and Budgeting…………….……………..45
       6.1 Strategic Planning Model…………………………………………………….46
       6.2 Linking Planning to Budget Model…………………………………………..47

References .….…………………………………………………………………………..49


Glossary .….……………...……………………………………………………………..50


Acronyms .….……………...…………………………………… ………………….…..54




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Appendices
       Appendix A – Board Policy Manual
       Appendix B – Survey Schedule
       Appendix C - Program Review
       Appendix D – Program Review Follow-up Action Plan
       Appendix E – Course Outlines
       Appendix F – Program Review Status Report
       Appendix G – Sample CCSSE Survey
       Appendix H – General Education Goals
       Appendix I – Annual Report of Assessment Activity
       Appendix J – Strategic Planning Project
       Appendix K – CLARUS Market Adult Research Study
       Appendix L – Listening Session Results
       Appendix M – Title III Focus on Learning
       Appendix N – Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan
       Appendix O – NJ General Education Outcomes Assessment Plan
       Appendix P – Business Management Pilot Assessment Plan
       Appendix Q – Environmental Scans
       Appendix R – Quality NJ Baldrige Award Application
       Appendix S – 2003 – 2008 Strategic Plan
       Appendix T – Sample PACE Survey
       Appendix U – Faculty Annual Report & Teaching Effectiveness Template
       Appendix V – IDEA Form
       Appendix W – Follow-up Report to Middle States
       Appendix X – Sample Capital Projects Implementation Schedule
       Appendix Y – Rewards & Recognition and TNT Program
       Appendix Z – RVCC Key Effectiveness Indicators
       Appendix AA – Organizational Chart
       Appendix BB – Catalog
       Appendix CC – Middle States Sub-Committee
       Appendix DD – Quality New Jersey Feedback Report
       Appendix EE – Title III Year End Reports
       Appendix FF – CLARUS Market High School Research Study


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       Appendix GG – New Program Proposal Form
       Appendix HH – Draft Strategic Plan
       Appendix II – Master Facilities Plan




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                            Raritan Valley Community College
                Middle States Periodic Review Report - Submitted June 2007

                                Section 1 - Executive Summary


1.1 Overview

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) is pleased to report on the College’s progress
towards strengthening and sustaining the quality and integrity of the institution since the 2001
Middle States Self-Study. Significant advancements in developing a systematic and sustainable
process to assess institutional effectiveness and learning outcomes have been made. The
organizational structure has been realigned to address the changing needs and requirements of
the student body. (Appendix AA – Organizational Chart) RVCC is in the process of developing
the next strategic plan to maximize the effectiveness of our financial, human and structural
resources and to position the college to meet future challenges. Since the Middle States 2001 site
visit, RVCC has upgraded our facilities to meet increasing academic and technological demands
and are completing construction of a new 40,000 square foot academic building. The College has
expanded credit and non-credit programs to meet the workforce demands of the bi-county region
and have received the largest federal grant in the College’s history to strengthen developmental
education.

Founded in 1965, RVCC is located in Somerset County, New Jersey, and serves both Somerset
and Hunterdon Counties. RVCC is a comprehensive two-year college offering over 80 associate
degrees leading to transfer to four-year colleges or career placement, and 22 certificate programs
which can be completed in a year or less for career entry, enhancement of job-related skills,
and/or the pursuit of lifelong learning. In addition, a broad range of non-credit courses, programs
and customized training is offered through Corporate and Continuing Education (CCE) which
serves an average of 12,000 individuals each year. (Appendix BB – Catalog) Since the site visit
in 2001, student enrollment in credit-bearing programs has increased nearly ten percent from
5,751 to 6,279 students and credit hours increased twenty percent from 47,964 to 57,660 per
semester.

While our service area is often known for its corporate visibility - companies such as Merck,
AT&T, and MetLife call the region home - and its upscale housing market, there are pockets of
the community that are experiencing an influx of immigration. An unprecedented growth in
minority, low-income, and under-educated populations is rapidly changing the demographics of
our service area. The College prides itself on being an institution that welcomes change;
however, this dramatic shift in the student profile calls for an unprecedented transformation of
the institutional culture requiring new educational strategies to fulfill our mission. Prompted by
this cultural shift, RVCC embarked on a journey that led us to embrace a series of strategies that
support the Learning College Model, which postulates that learning should be offered in a
variety of ways to address individual learner’s needs and decision making should be data-driven.




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To that end, RVCC has implemented initiatives which make educational opportunities more
accessible, including developing a ―virtual campus‖ which offers complete degrees and
certificates; ―late start,‖ modular, and time-condensed courses; and delivery of instruction
enhanced by multimedia resources. Through the expansion of the Office of Institutional
Research and Assessment (OIRA) the College has made significant investments in developing
data and research capabilities and most importantly, created a culture that supports inquiry.

The Franklin Higher Education Center is another example of RVCC’s efforts to implement
strategies from the Learning College model. This satellite campus offers credit and professional
development courses in the day, evening and on weekends to the Franklin/Somerset community.
The University Center at RVCC is an alternate means for Somerset and Hunterdon County
residents and other professionals to receive advanced education without having to travel outside
the region. Through partnerships with accredited colleges and universities, the Center provides
courses leading to baccalaureate and graduate level degrees and certificates.

Since the 2001 report, the Division of Corporate & Continuing Education has expanded into
programmatic areas including Allied Health and Teacher Development with program outreach to
address the demands for a trained workforce in areas that demonstrate a critical worker shortage.
The College undertook the development of a Small Business Development Center providing
counseling services and workshops for individuals opening or expanding a small business. The
College also entered into a contract agreement with the Somerset County Prosecutor to relocate,
to the College campus, the Police Training Academy and law enforcement professional
development programs in which over 3,500 individuals are trained annually. Youth programs
were expanded beyond summer athletic camps to include academic enrichment programs.

In addition to RVCC’s educational offerings, there is a myriad of student support services.
Academic and student services include placement testing, tutoring, advising and counseling,
financial aid, disability services, and career counseling. Most services are delivered both
traditionally and online. The College is proud of the many other educational services it provides
for the community. The Children’s Campus is a college-based facility providing child care
services for infants and children up to age five. The Conference Center at RVCC serves as a
conduit to bring corporate and academic communities together. The Edward Nash Theater is a
proscenium style auditorium with one thousand seats, offering a site for concerts, theater and
dance performances. The 100-seat Planetarium features a highly sophisticated projection system
and provides programming for college students, K-12 schools, and for the community at large.

The Evelyn S. Field Library contains over 85,000 books, more than 500 periodicals and 40
databases with access to thousands of journals. In 2006, the library in collaboration with the
English Department initiated required information literacy in English I and English II. Students
learn to evaluate information, learn about plagiarism and discuss issues such as copyright laws.

Established in 2003, the Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism (CEV) promotes the
ideals of volunteerism, citizenship, and service. The CEV encompasses The Institute for
Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The Paul Robeson Institute, and Service Learning. Both
Institutes promote tolerance, understanding and compassion by providing programming to
RVCC students and the surrounding community. Our Service Learning Program offers students



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the opportunity to perform work at a community non-profit agency as part of their academic
course work. The Corporation for National and Community Service has named Raritan Valley
Community College to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with
distinction for general community service and Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts. RVCC joins a
host of four-year colleges and universities, as well as community colleges, across the country in
receiving these honors. The awards recognize the collective efforts of students, faculty,
administrators, and police recruits who have contributed to Service Learning for the academic
year 2005-2006. More than 1,300 students and recruits provided over 32,500 hours of service,
donating the economic equivalent of almost $600,000 in services to the community.

1.2 RVCC’s Mission and Core Values

The philosophical foundation for RVCC is that of open access where all students can pursue
their educational plans without being judged or thwarted by past academic performance or
financial limitations. RVCC’s mission and values provide the foundation for all planning
activities and program/service offerings.

Mission

The Mission of Raritan Valley Community College is to create a community of learners who
value intellectual achievement, scholarship, diversity of thought, leadership, and service to the
community. Our culture supports an environment that is committed to student success, workforce
development, life-long learning, and responsible citizenship. Our quality, open-access and
affordable rigorous programs provide a gateway to education for our community.

Core Values
      Student-centered learning and achievement          Excellence and innovation in teaching
      Mutual respect, responsibility, and                Individual and institutional integrity
       collaboration
      Scholarly work and intellectual growth             Diversity of people and perspectives
      Accountability to all stakeholders                 Responsiveness to community

The key ingredient which ensures the success of the programs and services RVCC offers is its
employees. The employee profile reflects an institution that values full-time faculty and
encourages professional development. College staff number 106 full-time faculty (including
counselors, librarians, and teaching assistants), 275 adjunct faculty, 98 administrators, and 70
paraprofessional and classified staff. All full-time faculty have a minimum of a master’s degree
in the discipline with 36% also having a doctorate. Approximately 50% of all credit hours
offered by the College are taught by full-time faculty.

1.3 College Structure & Governance

The President of the College reports to a fifteen member Board of Trustees which establishes the
broad governance policies for the College and oversees a $40 million operating budget.
(Appendix A – Board Policy Manual) Administrative and operating policies are carried out
through the President’s Executive Staff which is comprised of the Senior Vice President for
Academic Affairs, the Vice President of Finance and Facilities, the Vice President of Learning


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and Technology Services, the Dean of Corporate and Continuing Education, the Dean of
Advancement and the Executive Director of Human Resources. (Appendix AA – Organizational
Chart)

As cited in Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education, ―The institution’s system of
governance clearly defines the roles of institutional constituencies in policy development and
decision-making‖ (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2006, 12). Consequently,
college administrators, faculty and staff participate in governance through the College Forum.
The Forum, established in 1988, meets monthly during the academic year to discuss issues of
concern to the college community and make recommendations concerning college policies to the
President and Executive Staff. The Forum is comprised of nine standing committees which
report to the Forum on a regular basis making recommendations regarding academic programs,
policies and procedures, technology, safety and physical plant, and other student, faculty, and
administrative issues. The committees include Steering, Academic Standards, Staff/Faculty
Development, Community Life, Educational Policy, Ethics, Curriculum, Committee of the
Faculty, and Assessment. The President and Executive Staff review recommendations brought
forward by the Forum and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

1.4 Preparation of the Report

In August 2006, Dr. Casey Crabill joined Raritan Valley as the seventh college president. She
ensured the review process was collaborative and inclusive of all college constituencies by
establishing seven Middle States sub-committees which were co-chaired by a senior faculty
member and a member of the Executive Staff. (Appendix CC – Middle States Sub-Committee)
All academic areas of the College were represented as well as all functional areas. The seven
sub-committees were designed to probe the areas of recommendation from the 2001 Middle
States Feedback Report. The Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs met regularly with the
co-chairs and established a timeline for completion of the review. The sub-committees
represented Educational Programs; Developmental Education; Student Services and Student
Retention; Institutional Effectiveness; Academic Program Review; Outcomes Assessment and
Planning; and Planning and Budgeting. A total of 40 individuals participated in the review
process.

1.5 Major Institutional Changes

During Dr. Ryan’s tenure as President of RVCC, the institution began to address the
recommendations from the Middle States Review Team. RVCC adopted the Malcolm Baldrige
Methodology for Excellence in Education as its approach for continuous improvement. Since the
2001 Middle States site visit, the College has experienced turnover in academic leadership. Dr.
Ryan served as College President until January 2006 at which time Mr. Richard Schaub, former
Board of Trustees member, served for six months as the Interim College President. President
Casey Crabill assumed responsibility in August 2006 and has reinvigorated the College with her
genuine commitment to student success. Other notable changes in senior administrative positions
include the resignations of the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs (June 2004) and the
Vice President for Finance and Facilities (May 2004). The position of Senior Vice President of
Academic Affairs was assumed by Dr. Constance Mierendorf (January 2005) and the Vice



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President of Finance by John Trojan (November 2004). Dr. Constance Mierendorf has accepted
the position of New Jersey’s Sussex County Community College Presidency. Dr. Maxwell
McDew Stevens will assume the responsibility of Interim Senior Vice President of Academic
affairs in June. A formal search for a new Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs will begin
in August with the intent of filling the position by January 1, 2008. Despite these changes in
leadership, the institution has continued to make sustained progress towards addressing the
Middle States recommendations.

The most dramatic change to affect Raritan Valley Community College over the past five years
has been enrollment growth, specifically of students-at-risk. Over 70% of the high school
graduates now admitted need remediation in one or more areas of study. Since 2002, there has
been a 14% increase in the number of students who require remedial education. To address this,
RVCC has revamped the English as a Second Language program and created an Academic
Support Center led by the Director of Academic Foundations, a new position partially funded by
the College’s Title III grant received in 2004.

As a result of implementing Baldrige methodologies, the student enrollment center was
established in 2004, bringing admissions, records and registration, advising and counseling, and
financial aid offices together in a one-stop concept. Our commitment to improving services for
developmental students was enhanced in 2004 when RVCC received a Title III grant, Focus on
Learning. (Appendix M – Title III Focus on Learning) As part of this project, the College has
restructured our tutoring services, bringing all tutoring and testing services under one umbrella.
To assist in retention of all students, RVCC has initiated faculty advising, developed student
leadership opportunities, expanded the honors curriculum, and increased experiential learning
opportunities.

1.6 Abstract

This report represents a current update of Raritan Valley Community College’s efforts to
systematize our assessment processes and to document and utilize outcomes to improve learning.
RVCC has concentrated its improvement efforts on data gathering and analysis to support
planning and decision-making across all sectors of the College. A major goal since 2002 to take
place on campus has been the establishment of a culture that supports inquiry and decision-
making based on data. This deliberate change in culture is in direct response to Middle States
recommendations which focused primarily on assessment issues. The change in culture is
supported by a fully staffed OIRA which collects and disseminates information college-wide that
is used to facilitate assessment, improvement, planning and decision-making.

A significant change in the academic area is the implementation of a streamlined, data-driven
process for conducting program reviews. This process, along with the expansion of the OIRA,
has improved our ability to assess program and learning outcomes. Program review not only
looks at the efficacy of a program, but examines the impact of the program on the college
budget, assessing costs associated with faculty, technology, equipment, and other required
resources. RVCC now has a fully implemented system for reviewing its academic programs and
is in the process of tailoring the academic program review process to meet the needs of the
operational and auxiliary departments.



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Middle States evaluators will find many interrelated concepts within the six sections of the
report. It is difficult to isolate assessment in one section because of its prevalence throughout the
institution and because it has been the focus of improvement for the institution over the past five
years. Our current strategic planning effort recognizes the need to develop metrics to assess goal
achievement and the Board of Trustees understands the importance of continuous improvement
and the necessity to document learning outcomes. These efforts also provide Board feedback to
the College community.

The sections of this report are presented in accordance with the guidelines from the 2004 Middle
States Handbook for Periodic Review Reports. The appendices provide evidence and
documentation for the statements made throughout the report. Since assessment is a major focus
of the accreditation feedback report and this is an area in which RVCC has accomplished a great
deal, some efforts are presented under more than one heading.

The Executive Summary provides an overview of the College including mission and core values, highlights of the
major changes that have taken place since the 2001 Middle States Review, and an outline of the review process.

The Summary of RVCC’s Responses to Middle States Recommendations includes the responses to the six
categories of recommendations found in the 2001 Middle States Feedback Report.

The Narrative identifying the major challenges and/or opportunities highlights the shifting demographic profile of
the student body, changing skill requirements for employment in the bi-county area, human resources challenges,
outcomes assessment status and budgetary constraints.

The Enrollment and Finance Trends and Projections section includes enrollment data for the current and past
three years, projected enrollment, financial plans for the time period covered by the new strategic plan, the two most
recent audited financial statements and corresponding management letters and financial information submitted to
IPEDS for the three previous years.

The Assessment Processes and Plan section provides a snapshot of our current progress towards outcomes
assessment. It discusses the multi-tiered approach implemented to assess overall institutional effectiveness,
program/departmental level evaluation, course evaluation and student learning outcomes.

The Linking Institutional Planning and Budgeting section summarizes RVCC’s approach to strategic planning
and its connection to the budgeting process.


        Section 2 - Summary of RVCC’s Response to Middle States Recommendations


Raritan Valley Community College is committed to continuous improvement and to fostering an
organizational climate under which its mission and goals can be achieved. The implementation
of the Lion’s Den portal demonstrates our commitment to improving communication with
students as well as college employees. RVCC has built an Academic Support Center which
allows us to deliver tutoring services more effectively and the College applied for and received a
Title III federal grant to improve student learning. RVCC encourages and supports professional
development and since 2001 has committed over $1.5 million to improving the knowledge base
of our faculty and staff. Providing accessible and quality education has been and continues to be
the primary mission of RVCC. With the adoption of the 2003 Strategic Plan, the Executive Staff


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recognized synergies between the Baldrige Model for Excellence in Higher Education and the
Learning College Principles. This engaged the college community on a course of continuous
quality improvement and academic excellence. RVCC committed financial and personnel
resources to this endeavor. To introduce college employees to the Baldrige Principles of
Excellence in Higher Education model, Dr. Brent Rubin, a distinguished professor of
communication and organizational psychology and Executive Director of the Center for
Organizational Development and Leadership at Rutgers University, was invited to attend a
special session of the College Forum. RVCC initiated its process of continual assessment and
improvement by adopting the Baldrige methodology to examine key academic and
administrative processes and procedures. The following academic and administrative processes
participated in Baldrige over a four-year time period concluding in 2005:

       Corporate and Continuing Education Division
       Business and Public Service Academic Department
       Enrollment Process
       Scheduling Process

2.1 Historical Overview of the Baldrige Excellence in Higher Education Methodology

Recognizing the need for self-evaluation based on empirical data, a survey schedule was
established by OIRA and implemented to assess campus climate, student engagement and
satisfaction, and employer and alumni satisfaction. (Appendix B – Survey Schedule) Comparable
institutions were selected for benchmarking, including ―Best-in Class‖ and peer institutions
selected on the basis of parameters such as geographic area, size, and demographics. Recognition
of the need for empirical data led to the creation of the Office of Institutional Research and
Assessment.

RVCC implemented the process of continual assessment and improvement by adopting the
Baldrige Excellence in Higher Education methodology to examine administrative processes and
procedures. Additionally, the Business and Public Service Academic Department used Baldrige
principles for self assessment. The following table outlines the training and development
activities that supported the quality initiatives.

Activity              Date       Goal                            Outcome
2-day Corporate and   12/ 2001   To identify, standardize and    Reviewed planning process
Continuing                       document core processes         Articulated goals & action items
Education Division               To identify, document, assess   Documented mission, vision and values
Workshop                         and benchmark outcomes          Engaged internal and external stakeholders
                                                                 in planning, development and
                                                                 communication activities
2-day Business        11/ 2002   To identify departmental        Created Mission for Department
Department                       mission                         Created Marketing Plan
Workshop                         To identify operational         Updated Web page
                                 strengths & weaknesses          Created assessment benchmarks
2-day Enrollment      3/2002     To streamline enrollment        Standardized & documented procedures
Process Workshop                 process                         Created orientation for new employees
                                 To enhance customer service     Identified comparative data
                                 (internal & external)           Documented timeline for production of
                                                                 schedules, catalog, and student handbook



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2-day Scheduling        1/2003      To create a flexible schedule    Analyzed room utilization
Process Workshop                    offering more options to         Modified procedures for the production of
                                    students                         publications
Quality Examiner        5/ 2003     To understand Baldrige           Employee became a Certified Quality
Training (CQIN)                     Quality Methodology              Examiner trained in the Baldrige
                                                                     Methodology
Baldrige Update,        11/ 2003    To invigorate employees          Renewed enthusiasm for quality initiative
Brent Rubin                         To reiterate commitment to       Shared record of accomplishments
                                    quality improvement              Embarked on future direction
Strategic Action        11/2003     To understand leadership role,   Dissemination of available data
Planning Committee                  processes & available data       Understanding of leadership commitment
Kick-off Meeting
CQIN Training,          11/ 2003    To expand understanding of       Certified over 10 Quality Examiners for the
Facilitator – Scott                 the Baldrige quality             Center for Institutional Effectiveness
Epstein                             improvement process              Disseminated understanding of criteria and
                                                                     report processes
M3 Meeting              12/ 2003    To engage past Baldrige          Understanding the difference between
(Meaningful                         participants & Strategic         activity counts, satisfaction measures &
Measurement                         Action Planning Chairs in a      impact measures
Meeting)                            conversation about continuous
Brent Rubin                         improvement
Quality NJ              1/ 2004     To understanding the Quality     Attended monthly progress meetings to
Application Training                NJ application process           ensure progress on the NJ Quality
                                                                     Application
Internal Quality        2/ 2004     To review action plan progress   Reviewed action plan progress and charted
Advisory Meeting                                                     future plans
Baldrige Training,      1/ 2004     To review the Scheduling         Assessed scheduling improvements
Brent Rubin                         Process
College Review of       October –   Review Quality Report by         Revised and finalized the Baldrige
Baldrige Application    December    Cabinet & RVCC quality           Application
                        2004        trained examiners
Baldrige Application    3/2005      Submit Quality Application       Submission for NJ Governor’s Award
Submittal to QNJ
Quality NJ Site Visit   10/2005     Host Quality Team                QNJ Team verification & evaluation
Baldrige Feedback       12/2005     Receive Feedback Report          Shared findings
Response from QNJ
Baldrige Process        12/2005     Discuss Feedback Report          Reviewed findings and determined future
Review Meeting                                                       action

RVCC submitted its application for the Governor’s Excellence Award in March 2005.
(Appendix R – Excellence in Higher Education Award Application) After receiving Quality New
Jersey’s Feedback Report and examining our progress with outcomes assessment, it became
apparent that while the College had become very good at collecting data, generally RVCC did
not complete the cycle of assessment. (Appendix DD – QNJ Feedback Report) In many areas of
the college, improvements were being made, but they were neither systematic nor documented.
The college is now working to close these loops and complete the assessment cycle.

Due in part to the turnover in academic leadership (there were four academic vice presidents
from 1999 – 2003), a systematic review of academic programs was not fully implemented until
AY 2004 - 2005. Many faculty did not recognize the importance of program review. Based on
past history and the perception that the findings of a program review were not acted upon,
faculty viewed the task as ―bureaucratic busy-work‖ that took them away from the important


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work of effective teaching. It became apparent that for program review to be an effective
instrument for continuous improvement, the Cycle of Assessment needed to be complete.


                                2.2 Cycle of Assessment Model

                                         Intended Goals
                                          - Learning Objectives
                                          - Customer Service
                                          - Financial Stability
                                          - Community Outreach

         Using results for                                             Methodology for
         decision making &                                             achieving desired
         quality improvements                                          outcomes



                                           Gathering and
                                           Analyzing data


In an effort to address the disconnect between sharing results of studies and actually
implementing improvements, as of 2003 a new methodology for continuous improvement was
implemented in the academic area. As part of the evolution towards continuous quality
improvement, a comprehensive program of outcomes assessment and program review has been
implemented to determine the extent of student learning and, most importantly, to provide a
mechanism for examining and improving curricula, thus completing the cycle of
assessment. (This comprehensive assessment is discussed in Section 5 - The Assessment
Processes and Plan.)

An illustration of a complete cycle of assessment is the development of our Health Information
Technology (HIT) Associate of Applied Science degree. Feedback from the Advisory Committee
for the Medical Coding Certificate Program, student evaluations, and economic data from the US
Department of Labor informed us that students completing the Medical Coding Program lacked
adequate preparation in anatomy and physiology, as well as the related fields of pathophysiology
and pharmacology. To address these inadequacies, RVCC developed the AAS degree in Health
Information Technology. Graduates of this program are able to sit for the American Health
Information Management Associate national certification exam to qualify as a Registered Health
Information Technician. The US Department of Labor predicts that health information
management and technology jobs will grow 47% through 2012. This new degree program
prepares students for highly skilled professional occupations in the growing health care industry.
RVCC will continue the cycle of assessment by collecting data on certification results and
making ongoing program improvements in the AAS degree.

Since the Leadership Response to the Self Study Recommendations Report dated September 2001
and the subsequent responses - Report on Substantive Changes to Middle States Commission on
Higher Education, August 2002 and Report to the Middle States Commission on Higher
Education, April 2003, RVCC has been working diligently to address the recommendations
contained in the Middle States 2001 Feedback Report. As noted in the report, ―the self study
process was viewed as collegial, productive and open, giving ample opportunity for input and
constructive debate‖ (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2001, 5). A similarly


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
collaborative process was employed during the periodic review process. This section presents the
College’s response to the recommendations. RVCC readily acknowledges that not all of the
quality improvement strategies have produced the results intended, but the journey has provided
the foundation for a data-driven outcomes assessment plan. The College is now in a position to
switch focus from measuring process activity to measuring process outcomes. The first rubric to
assess general education outcomes in an academic degree program has been piloted and is
undergoing review to determine areas for improvement. (Appendix P – Business Management
Pilot Assessment Plan)

2.3 Summary of Middle States Recommendations
A. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM AND CURRICULA
1. The college needs a systematic review of curricula and an outcomes assessment program (refer to section on
Outcomes Assessment.)
B. DEVELOPMENTAL STUDIES/BASIC SKILLS
1. In order to establish ―student services appropriate to the educational, personal, and career needs of students,‖
placement testing policies should be developed that take into consideration the previous educational background of
students as well as the need for assessing students’ readiness for college level work.
2. Concerns regarding assessment of developmental studies outcomes will be addressed in recommendations
regarding Institutional Outcomes, Research and Planning.
C. STUDENT SERVICES/STUDENT LIFE/ENROLLMENT/RETENTION
1. As cited in Characteristics of Excellence, ―support of students requires a well-organized program of student
services extending from recruitment to alumni activities.‖ Characteristics of Excellence also states ―student services
should be broad enough to meet the special needs of students.‖ In order to provide successful and comprehensive
services, an organization must know the needs of their students. Therefore, a student needs assessment should be
conducted. Additionally, a system needs to be in place to routinely evaluate ―who‖ the students are that are attending
Raritan Valley Community College, paying very close attention to the developmental needs of the students while
always watching for changing trends among the population and shifts in demographics. This developmental
approach also supports an enrollment management/services concept whereby policies, procedures, and services are
provided from the point of recruitment through retention of students. While there is a very ambitious retention plan,
no one person is responsible for retention. It is imperative that the college adopt policies, practices and an
organizational structure that meets the developmental needs of students from the point of entry to the point of
departure always striving to create an atmosphere that is student-centered and supportive of the teaching-learning
process.
D. INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS
1. According to the Characteristics of Excellence, ―the deciding factor in assessing institutional effectiveness is
evidence of the extent to which it achieves its goals and objectives.‖ In order to assess the effectiveness of the
institution, the college should develop benchmarking criteria and/or standards against which the institution can be
measured.
E. ACADEMIC PROGRAM REVIEW
1. The college should follow its own schedule and policies for program review and for conducting Focus Groups.
The college should develop systems and processes for accountability to prevent the interruption of these activities in
the future.
F. OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING
1. This team is faced with reiterating the recommendations of the 1991 evaluation team.
    a. It is recommended that learning outcomes are to be developed at the program and course level.
    b. It is recommended that those learning outcomes be assessed.
    c. It is recommended that these assessments result in documented evidence of program and course
       improvement.
2. It is further recommended that the college develop systems and processes for accountability to prevent the
interruption of these activities in the future.
3. It is recommended that the college add to its planning process an assessment of the outcomes of the strategic plan
and to determine if the plan resulted in increases in institutional effectiveness.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
2.4 Educational Program and Curricula

(Note: Outcomes assessment is covered in the Outcomes Assessment and Planning Section and a
detailed description of the Academic Program Review process is covered in the Academic
Program Review Section of the Report).

The Office of Academic Affairs has implemented a multifaceted process for ensuring the
integrity of our educational offerings. The college has implemented a rigorous schedule for
academic program review. To ensure continuity of the program review process, an
interdisciplinary Program Council was formed as a standing committee for scheduling and
processing program reviews, conducting needs analyses for potential new programs, and
providing collegial input and oversight of existing programs. The program review process
requires that all courses in a program be evaluated to ensure content relevance and timeliness.
(Appendix F – Program Review Status Report) The major courses in the program are also
evaluated to ensure that the program provides all of the skills and knowledge required. To assist
faculty in this effort, advisory committees and an outside evaluator are also engaged in the
evaluation process. The review process is vital to ensuring quality educational offerings. Since
the Middle States site visit, RVCC has completed 22 academic self-studies and has a schedule
for completing all other programs. The College is employing a similar methodology for the
review of our non-academic areas as well. (Appendix C – Program Review)

2.4a Developmental Studies/Basic Skills

RVCC faces the challenges of educating an increasingly under-prepared student body and
developing administrative and academic policies that appropriately serve a broad range of
students. Data indicates 78% of incoming high school graduates are unprepared for college-level
work in at least one area. The number of those who tested into at least one developmental course
has increased by 14% since 2002. While serving the growing number of students needing
developmental courses, RVCC is also working more effectively with high schools to ensure that
students are better prepared for the transition to college.

Since developmental courses reside in three separate academic departments - Mathematics,
English, and Communication and Languages, Academic Foundations serves as a link between
the departments to ensure common practices and reporting where appropriate. For example,
each semester’s course offerings are reviewed to be sure that sufficient sections are offered and
that scheduling includes morning, afternoon, and evening sections. Academic Foundations also
oversees the Focus on Learning initiatives, ensuring sustainability and integration into college
systems and procedures.

Various committees also work to ensure the effectiveness of developmental studies. The
Academic Standards Committee establishes remedial holds when students show a pattern of not
succeeding in developmental courses; the Curriculum Committee reviews changes in curriculum
design and new courses; and the Educational Policy Committee reviews and recommends policy.
A Retention Task Force has been established with college-wide representation of faculty and
administrators. Chaired by the new Retention Specialist who arrived in 2005, the Retention Task
Force assesses the success of programs in retaining students. The Task Force meets regularly and



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
has updated the 2000-2001 Retention Plan. The new plan features systematic tracking of
retention data and assessment of retention initiatives, as well as regular sharing of data with
appropriate units.

Achieved student learning outcomes for developmental students indicate RVCC is successful at
providing a solid foundation in developmental education. As indicated by the following charts,
students completing remediation perform the same as or better than traditional students in the
first credit-level course of English and mathematics. These statistics do not include students who
withdrew prior to the tenth day, disappeared at any other point in time, or failed the course.
While it is clear that completion of a course or series of courses leads to success, more needs to
be done to track those students who do not complete the required remediation or who must repeat
a course multiple times.


                            Developmental Math Students Performance in
                                All Entry Level Math Credit Courses
                                           Percent Passing
    Percent Passing




                           95
                           90
                           85                                                          Non-Remedial
                           80
                           75                                                          Remedial
                           70
                           65
                             Fa 0 5



                                     06
                            S 005
                              PR 4
                             PR 0 1



                             PR 2



                             PR 3
                              LL 02



                              LL 3



                             Fa 04
                           FA 2 00




                            S 00
                            S 00



                            S 00




                                  20



                                  20
                           FA 2 0




                                  20
                                  20




                                  2
                                ll2
                                  2



                                  2




                              PR
                               ll
                       LL
                      FA

                            S




                                                     Semester




                       Developmental Students Performance in English I
                                      Percent Passing
    Percent Passing




                      120
                      100
                       80
                       60
                       40
                       20
                        0
                                                                                05




                                                                                06
                                                                                  4




                                                                                  5
                             01




                                              02




                                                              03
                                      02




                                                      03




                                                                      04

                                                                               00




                                                                               00
                                                                              20




                                                                              20
                                    20




                                                    20




                                                                    20
                           20




                                            20




                                                            20




                                                                            ll2




                                                                            ll2
                                                                           PR




                                                                           PR
                       LL




                                           LL




                                                           LL
                                PR




                                                PR




                                                                PR


                                                                          Fa




                                                                          Fa
                                                                         S




                                                                         S
                      FA




                                      FA




                                                      FA
                                S




                                                S




                                                                S




                                                                Semester

                                       Non-Remedial         Remedial Writing and Reading   ESL




                                                                    12
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007


2.4b Administrative Changes

Since the Middle States Feedback Report, the registration procedure has been revised to better
promote student success. In the past, students were able to register for class anytime during the
first two weeks that a course met; allowing a student to miss a full two week’s worth of classes.
The current procedure for a class that meets twice a week in a fourteen week session allows a
student to register before the start of the third class, thereby missing one week of class rather
than two; for a class meeting once a week, a student must register prior to the second class.

Currently, there is a healthy debate on campus focusing on whether or not the registration
procedure is stringent enough to ensure adequate student success. A proposal to require all
students to register for class prior to the beginning of a session was recommended by the Forum
but not implemented by the Executive Staff. The Executive Staff was concerned about the effect
of such a restrictive policy on the adult population. A proposal to mandate assessment of all new
students, regardless of their matriculation status, to ensure that students have the necessary skills
to succeed in the college level courses for which they enroll was discussed by the Focus on
Learning Steering Committee. The Executive Staff needs to see more conclusive data on the
impact of such a policy before making a recommendation about the new proposed policy. This
policy will be a referred back to the Academic Standards Committee of the College Forum for
discussion in the fall of 2007.

Presently two conditions result in mandatory placement testing. Degree seeking students,
whether full or part time, must take the placement test and complete any developmental
sequences in English or mathematics that are required as a result. Likewise, any student seeking
to enroll in a course for which a prerequisite is set may be required to take the placement test and
complete remediation.

Preliminary results based on students enrolled in developmental courses indicate that students
who do not achieve academic success in a class are more likely to drop out of school than those
students who succeed. For the Fall 2004 cohort, first-time students were almost twice as likely to
not be retained for the Spring 2005 semester (38.2% versus 61.8% respectively) if failing at least
one developmental course (Reading/Writing, ESL or MATH). Currently, the registration process
is such that a student can avoid taking the required developmental course(s) until they reach a
course prerequisite barrier. While all math courses have specific prerequisites for skill levels in
math, English I is the only credit course requiring that all remediation in writing be completed.
Therefore, although many students receive assessment to ensure appropriate skill levels, those
who do not declare a major and do not register for a course with prerequisites may enroll in
courses for which they are not academically prepared. Failure to meet the standards of a course
results in reduced success and lower retention. A discussion on how to amend the registration
process so it adequately addresses traditional age and adult students will be brought before the
College Forum during the fall of 2007.

Changes to student assessment and placement procedures have increased the number of students
being assessed in ESL. The Focus on Learning project has piloted the use of a questionnaire
administered to all students prior to taking the placement test for reading and writing, to be sure



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
that second language learners take the English as a Second Language test before attempting the
Compass placement test. In 2006 this resulted in 782 students being assessed for ESL, a 48%
increase over the prior year. The institution of a writing requirement for students at the higher
levels of ESL resulted in 117 of those 782 students being placed in a level of ESL different from
that indicated by placement scores alone. This has resulted in more ESL students being
appropriately placed which should lead to a greater success rate. Assessing student learning
outcomes will be the next step in this improvement cycle for 2007 - 2008.

Opportunity and challenge work side by side, and the debate about registration policies and
procedures continues. However, the goals of ensuring that students have the skills to succeed in
college-level classes and of getting students to the critical first class have also been addressed in
ways that do not require major changes in institutional policies. Efforts to promote early and on
time registration have been initiated. Additionally, curricula changes and large scale faculty
development efforts targeted better retention, improved placements and options for faster
completion of developmental sequences. The Title III grant enables the college to implement
these endeavors more quickly in a more focused manner and provides greater learning support
for students in developmental and credit courses. Accutrack software, which records students’
identification numbers, has been implemented in the Academic Support Center facilitating the
tracking of student usage. Approximately 85% of those students who received tutoring services
returned for the subsequent semester. This surpasses the overall semester-to-semester retention
rate of 58%, providing evidence of successful intervention.

A final opportunity for improving student success lies in the adoption of Accuplacer as the
placement test for Raritan Valley Community College, replacing Compass. The move to
Accuplacer ties into a statewide initiative to establish a common placement tool with standard
placement scores. Using Accuplacer will facilitate more effective assessment of college
placement policies and procedures and enable benchmarking with the other community colleges
in New Jersey. In 2007, the statewide initiative will produce a common definition of college
readiness. Beginning with mathematics, standardized scores were established. Raritan Valley
Community College is an active participant in the process and has committed to adopting the
college readiness cutoff scores in mathematics and English.

While placement testing policy at the highest level of operations has not been changed, new
procedures have been implemented to ensure fairness in testing, adherence to FERPA standards,
and appropriate placement. The Testing Center was administratively moved to Academic
Foundations in August 2005, and testing operations were reviewed with the objective of
improving placement accuracy and client service in the high volume center. Ultimately, a new
position, Coordinator of Testing, was created in 2006 to provide leadership in policy and
procedures related to testing and to ensure high standards of operation. Many changes in testing
procedures have also resulted.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
2.4c Organizational Changes

The Developmental Studies Program at RVCC has benefited from major changes since the last
Middle States Accreditation Report. In 2003, as a result of the Strategic Plan’s focus on
developmental education and English as a Second Language, a new position, Assistant Dean for
Academic Foundations, was created to provide leadership and direction for this area. Improving
student outcomes in developmental education and English as a Second Language was a corner
stone in the 2003 Strategic Plan. While the College has made improvements in student learning
outcomes in these areas, RVCC has not achieved the goals set forth in the 2003 Strategic Plan. In
retrospect, the goals of improving student success by 15% over a five year period, with a 5%
increase occurring in the first year was unrealistic. Nevertheless, our commitment to improving
student learning outcomes remains a top priority and is documented throughout this section.

Focus on Learning is the umbrella for all activities funded through the Title III grant awarded to
RVCC in August 2004; the grant has expedited the implementation of new initiatives in three
areas. What follows summarizes the work being done. (Appendix EE – Title III Year End
Reports) The first, consisting of improved and expanded academic support services, had already
benefited from the college’s investment in a new Academic Support Center (ASC), which
brought together in one newly renovated space all tutoring activities. Opening in Fall 2005, the
ASC has expanded, experiencing a 50% increase in the number of students served in the first 18
months. As previously stated, our data indicates that those students who receive tutoring are
almost twice as likely to return to school the following semester.

Tutors in the ASC now undergo comprehensive training in a program certified by the College
Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). An online tutor training program is available for all
tutors as a refresher course in basic tutoring principles and provides information on the tools and
services provided by the Academic Support Center. Tutoring services have expanded to support
weekend and evening students as well as students at the Franklin site. The Academic Support
Center’s operations are monitored and supported by faculty liaisons from seven departments or
programs. Twenty-eight out of thirty tutors participated in the two-day CRLA training. Of the
students receiving tutoring services, 81% were retained by implementing these changes.

The second area in which substantial accomplishments exist is in curriculum and course delivery
based on best practices. Focus on Learning has launched pilots of re-designed courses in
developmental English, ESL, and developmental mathematics. The English and ESL course
revisions are near full implementation and should be completed by 2007 - 2008. In English, the
focus has been on integrating reading and writing skills, presenting tasks and content with full
scaffolding to ensure new skills continue to develop, and providing instruction that enables
students of diverse learning preferences to succeed. Students taking the revised developmental
courses ENGL 050 – Introduction to College Reading and Composition I and ENGL 030 –
Composition Workshop passed at a rate 10.1% higher than students taking courses in the original
format. RVCC is currently in the process of reviewing the revamped courses, making
improvements and re-piloting the courses with new cohorts to test the validity of curriculum
changes – an essential part of the cycle of assessment.




                                                15
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
Results for English Pilot Courses – Fall 2006
 Type       Outcome              Percent             Fall 2006 English Developmental Courses
 Pilot      Passing (P)             77.6
                                                100
            Did Not Pass (DNP)      16.3         80
            Withdrew (WD)            6.1         60
                                              %                                          Pilot
            Total                  100.0         40                                      Non-Pilot
 NonPilot   Passing (P)             67.5         20
            Did Not Pass (DNP)      22.8          0
            Incomplete (IN)           .6                  P     DNP      IN     WD
            Withdrew (WD)            9.1                        Outcome Type

            Total                  100.0


The first group of ESL students (Fall 2005) participating in a pilot orientation process completed
their subsequent course work with a grade of A, B, or C at a rate 9% higher than non-
participating students; students in the second pilot (Spring 2006) had a success rate 13.5%
higher. Mandatory orientation for ESL students is now ready to be institutionalized and its
impact will continue to be tracked. During the Spring 2006 semester a major curriculum revision
effort was accomplished for the ESL program. English as a Second Language courses now
feature a re-designed sequencing which offers a full range of courses in each of five levels, as
well as standard exit assessments to ensure that learning outcomes are met.The new course
configuration was implemented in Fall 2006. Tracking of students and data-gathering are now
underway to determine the impact of the revised curriculum.

The third area addressed by Title III - Focus on Learning is student tracking and intervention. A
Student Retention Specialist is responsible for expanding the early alert system, developing an
Individual Academic Plan (IAP) process, systemizing college retention planning, and ensuring
that policies and procedures are data-driven and student-centered. The IAP is designed to assist
students in their academic studies by providing them with the tools and resources to improve
course success and completion rates. Currently 50 students are participating in the pilot IAP for
2006 – 2007. IAP components include:

        Placement testing
        Learning and study skills assessment
        Web-based tutorials for running and interpreting a degree evaluation (CAPP)
        Recommendations and referrals to campus resources based on assessment results
        Meetings and follow-up with students
        Student self-assessment at the end of the term

The Retention Specialist conducted a new outreach initiative to students who registered for the
Fall 2006 semester but who had not registered for the Spring 2007. The student population
excluded students on the graduation list for Fall 2006. A letter was sent to each student via e-
mail indicating their non-registered status and whether or not a registration hold existed on their
account. The letter also recommended students review their degree evaluation through the on-
line advising and registration system. The following chart illustrates the impact of this process.




                                                16
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
Retention Letter Results

                                           N      Percent
Letters Sent                              1022    100.0
Students with holds                        634    62.0
Responses                                   25    2.4
Students Registered (as of 1/22/07)        528    51.6
Students Registered w/in two weeks of      253    24.8 (of total non-registered)
receipt of letter                                 47.9 (of total registered)


The goal of the IAP pilot was to promote 30 of the 50 students into the next course sequence.
The pilot cohort exceeded this expectation and 34 students advanced. The next step in the
analysis of outcomes is the examination of the fall-to-fall enrollement rates to determine whether
modifications to the IAP are needed. Once the assessment process for the IAP is complete, the
IAP program will be launched within the Development Studies Program, completing the
assessment loop by spring 2008.

Fall 2006 Individualized Academic Plan (IAP) Pilot Preliminary Results

Total students – 50
Students progressed to next mathematics      34             68.0%
or English course level
Students retained                            38             76.0%
Developmental Mathematics Pass Rate          42             80.0%
Developmental English Pass Rate              13             73.1%


Research provides overwhelming evidence that students who are not prepared for the rigor of
college study benefit from developmental studies programs. Mandatory placement testing applies
only to degree-seeking students, and students who place into developmental courses are required
to see an advisor before registration.

All new full-time students attend College Advisement 101 - a group advising session for
registration purposes, however students placed into developmental courses have explicit
requirements to ensure they stay enrolled in appropriate course sequence. Holds are placed on
their records in Banner to prevent withdrawal from courses without first seeing an advisor, and
those with the greatest need, which place into the lowest levels of reading and mathematics, must
see an advisor to register for subsequent semesters as well. As students experience success and
progress through coursework, the holds in Banner are released and the student takes increased
responsibility for course choices and the completion of registration.

Students who do not experience success in their developmental courses are monitored and
various interventions are applied. An early alert system was launched in 2004. Faculty teaching
developmental courses voluntarily monitor attendance, homework, engagement in class
activities, and other signs of progress during the first two weeks of class. At the end of the
second week or beginning of the third week, faculty enter early warning grades into Banner.
Students with early warning grades receive a letter during the third week of the semester,
advising them to speak with their professors, take advantage of free tutoring, see an advisor, or
follow some other course of action.



                                                          17
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
In the event of repeated failure in developmental courses, students may be restricted to a single
course for one semester, required to take a one credit Math Study Skills course, or suspended for
one semester. Following suspension, students may return, but are required to take the Student
Success Seminar. The Student Success Seminar focuses on such topics as study skills, study
habits, and goal setting. It also provides regular contact with an advisor, who monitors student
performance and intervenes when appropriate. A study to correlate the effects of Math Study
Skills and Student Success Seminar with student performance is planned to be completed by
2008.

2.5 Student Services/Student Life/Enrollment/Retention

As cited in Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education - Standard 8, ―Every institution’s
admissions practices should ensure that students have a reasonable opportunity for success in
meeting their educational goals, including transfer, graduate, part-time, adult, and non-degree
students, and all others matriculating at the institution. In some institutions, additional support
services may be required in order to ensure the retention and success of its students‖ (Middle
States Commission on Higher Education, 2006 34). In addressing Standard 8, RVCC re-
examined student services and the organizational structure and implemented changes where
appropriate.

Another organizational change was implemented in Marketing and Recruitment. The
Recruitment Department was reorganized in order to offer more specialized services to students.
One academic recruiter is responsible for recruiting high school students and the second for
recruiting adults. The Associate Director of Recruitment oversees the operation and is
responsible for developing and implementing strategies to reach underserved markets and
communities, including students for English as a Second Language. Recognizing the growing
number of students who speak Spanish as their native language, the Department successfully
hired two recruiters fluent in Spanish.

Since the Middle States Accreditation Feedback Report, the admissions, records, and registration
areas reviewed their processes and redefined their procedures modeled on Baldrige Excellence in
Higher Education quality management principles. Changes were made in direct response to the
long delays for academic advising and registration. Additionally, Disability Services was moved
to Advising and Counseling. To assist with the large number of students who require academic
advising, by contractual obligation, faculty now participate in advising. These changes were
driven, in large part, by data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement survey
(CCSSE) in which students indicated their dissatisfaction with support services. This evidence
was presented to the Executive Staff and an appropriate budget allocation was made to support
these initiatives.




                                                18
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
 YEAR     ACTIVITY                   DESCRIPTION
 2004     Establishment of Student   The Student Enrollment Center brings Admissions, Records and
          Enrollment Center          Registration, Advising and Counseling, and Financial Aid Offices
                                     together in a one-stop office.
 2004     Founding of the Center     The CEV brings together student activities, service learning
          for Civic Engagement       opportunities, the Holocaust and Robeson Institutes, internships
          and Volunteerism (CEV)     and experiential learning to provide for increased civic
                                     responsibility.
 2005     Development of College     College Advisement 101 (a program for all first time, full-time
          Advisement 101             students) provides workshops to give students initial exposure to
                                     services at the college and teach them necessary skills such as web
                                     registration and Lion’s Den navigation.
 2005     Establishment of           Transfer and Career Services brings all the department staff in one
          Transfer and Career        location coupled with a convenient, accessible waiting area for
          Services Center            students and confidential office space to conduct counseling.
 2006     Implementation of the      The CAPP Degree Audit provides for efficient and accurate
          Curriculum, Advising       advising and student self-evaluation. CAPP is a Banner software
          and Program Planning       program for a degree audit or degree evaluation. It shows a
          (CAPP) Degree Audit        student’s progress toward degree completion.

Despite the organizational changes that have been implemented, the high demand for student
services is not consonant with the resources available. Based on our analysis of changing
demographics, the number of enrolled full-time students who are new high school graduates
increased from 470 students in 2002 to 665 students in 2006, representing a 41.4% increase in
new high school enrollments. While many admirable advances have been accomplished, such as
making services available through virtual technologies, there are still significant problems such
as not enough personnel to provide advising and counseling, and career and transfer counseling.
This has hampered initial efforts in retention and student development. Additional advisors and
counselors are needed to continue to assist students seeking information and assistance with
degree progress, support the development of Faculty Advising, participate in the delivery of
College Advisement 101 to new students, intervene effectively with at-risk students, integrate
transfer college information and programs with academic advising, lead in the development and
implementation of a freshman seminar program, provide career and crisis counseling with
proactive information, programs, and services which minimize the impact of crisis events on
student persistence and goal attainment.

In Transfer and Career Services, a newly renovated center brings together all department staff in
a single location with a convenient, accessible waiting area for students and confidential office
space to conduct counseling. An internship program has been established and linked to academic
goals to provide experiential learning for students in areas related to their major. A web-based
job posting system has been designed to provide students and employers with 24 hour access to
information. Many new transfer articulation and dual admission agreements have been signed,
bringing the total number of articulation agreements to 48 as of 2007. The New Jersey Transfer
database initiative has been fully implemented for course transfer articulation as well as
electronic transcripts. Web-based services including online advising, career information and
appraisal services, tutoring, and orientation have been expanded.




                                                 19
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
To address the 2003-2008 Strategic Plan goals promoting increased civic engagement and
experiential learning opportunities, the Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism (CEV)
was established. (Appendix S – 2003-2008 Strategic Plan) Under the CEV, student activities,
service learning opportunities, specialized internships and experiential learning has expanded.
Student volunteer opportunities have been consolidated through the Make-A-Difference team;
student activity programming has expanded to include musicians, dances, bus trips, intramurals
and lectures; and leadership opportunities now include the Leadership Seminar Series, a one
credit leadership development course, and a NJ Community College Leadership Day.

The number of students engaged in service learning has grown annually since 2002, with over
1,000 students currently participating. The total number of students participating from 2002-
2005 is 3,600. Each semester every student participating in Service Learning provided
approximately 25 hours of service to more than 200 community organizations in Somerset and
Hunterdon Counties. That is over 90,000 hours of service contributed to the community over the
four year period. According to Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings, a new study
released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, using Independent Sector’s
estimate of $18.00 an hour, a standard measurement for the value of a volunteer’s time, the value
of the 90,000 hours donated by RVCC service learning students equates to $1,620,000.

As cited in Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education - Standard 9, ―Delivery of student
support services should be flexible in nature and should vary depending on the modes and levels
of educational delivery. Consistent with institutional mission, programs should be available to
provide support to diverse student populations such as older students, students with disabilities,
international students, distance and distributed learning students, and students at sites other than
a main campus‖ (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2006, 34) To address
Standard 9, RVCC set out to determine ―who‖ our students are and what educational services
they need.

In the fall of 2002, RVCC commissioned CLARUS Corporation to research adults between the
ages of 25 and 40. (Appendix K – CLARUS Market Adult Research Study) Telephone
interviews were conducted with 400 individuals residing in Somerset and Hunterdon counties.
As a direct result of the study, the class schedule was modified to better serve adult learners. To
respond to the survey respondents requests for more convenient and flexible course delivery
systems, associate degrees in Business Administration, Liberal Arts, and Management
Information Systems were made available completely online. To support the online learner, the
full spectrum of student services is available online, including but not limited to advising,
registration, tutoring, library information services, and career services.

CLARUS also identified the need to conveniently bring baccalaureate and graduate degrees to
the residents of Somerset and Hunterdon Counties. To accommodate this need, the University
Center was expanded. The center exists to provide prospective students a convenient way to earn
advanced undergraduate or graduate degrees from many four-year universities in New Jersey
without leaving the bi-county area. University Center partners include Centenary College,
Fairleigh Dickinson University, Felician College, Kean University, Rider University, Rutgers
University, Seton Hall University, and Stevens Institute of Technology. RVCC continually looks
to add partners that will meet the needs of students, the local community and businesses. Eight



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
different bachelor’s degree programs and seven different master’s degree programs are currently
offered.

In spring of 2004, CLARUS Corporation was again commissioned to conduct market research of
high school juniors attending public high schools in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties.
(Appendix FF – CLARUS Market HS Research Study) The research involved surveys completed
by 465 students. As a result of the research, the Marketing Department launched a
comprehensive marketing campaign targeted at the high school audience that involved a series of
direct mail postcards showcasing student success in transferring to four-year colleges, a direct
mail campaign targeted at the parents of high school students, and e-mail campaigns targeted at
high school students and their parents and guidance counselors. The prospective students Web
pages have been customized to enable easier access to information and better serve our various
student populations (i.e., high school student, returning adult, Corporate and Continuing
Education).

Satisfaction and level of engagement are regularly assessed using the CCSSE for current
students; surveys are also conducted of our new graduates. (Appendix G – CCSSE Survey)
Student Summits are organized by the Executive Staff to listen to student concerns on a regular
basis. At the start of every semester, the Executive Staff meets with student club officers and
members to hear what is on their minds. Two outcomes of the Student Summits are the
implementation of faculty advising and ―One World,‖ a program designed to integrate an
educational theme into the academic program and student activities. This year’s theme is Health
and Wellness.

This academic year, the Executive Staff conducted Listening Sessions with over 200 students as
part of the strategic planning process. As a result of the Listening Sessions, a new student lounge
opened up in January 2007.

2.6 Institutional Effectiveness

The 2002 MSA Accreditation Feedback Report urged that adequate data resources be developed
to make effective, information-based decisions. In 2002-2003 the Office of Institutional
Research and Assessment was reorganized and three new staff members hired. The President’s
charge to the office was to generate the data needed to conduct peer comparisons, pursue
benchmarking studies, and analyze trends and patterns of change in college enrollment and
student outcomes. RVCC applied for the NJ Governor’s Excellence Award in 2005 after
developing a set of Institutional Effectiveness Indicators. The report by the site visit team for the
Governor’s Award noted the significant developments made in generating a solid information
base, but then cited the College for lack of any documentation noting use of the data in decision-
making. Recently, the Director of Institutional Research and Assessment has become active in
numerous committees, and is now facilitating the distribution and explanation of college
information for use in changing policies and procedures. A significant effort is now being made
to develop a ―downloadable‖ web-based college Fact Book that can be easily found by RVCC
staff, faculty and administration, increasing accessibility and use of this data.




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June 2007
A major challenge being addressed is broadening the knowledge of college faculty and staff to
data. Decision-makers must be provided, not only the data, but more importantly, support in
approaching the data as useful information for improvements in teaching and learning. And
finally, the data providers must be prepared to generate useful information for completing the
feedback loop to assess the progress made in institutional changes.

The following illustrations outline the framework of our institutional assessment activities:


                                                                         Academic Affairs Example


                                                                                                         RVCC                    College Mission
                                                                                              Institutional Effectiveness




                 Division Mission                  Academic Affairs        Human Resources               CCE
                                                                                                                                  Finance &
                                                                                                                                  Faciltities
                                                                                                                                                       Technology
                                                                                                                                                    Learning Services
                                                                                                                                                                             Advancement



Departmental
Goals &                      Academic                Academic &
                            Departments            Student Services
Objectives

     English                 Science &             Metrics: FT/PT faculty ratio, avg. class size,
    Department              Engineering
                            Department             # of students served

        A.S.                   A.S.
                                                         A.S.
                                                    Environmental
                                                                           Program Level: Program Review
   Biotechnology             Chemistry
                                                      Science              Metrics: # of majors, # of graduates, enrollment growth

 General Education            Elective
                                                   Program Specific
                                                                                                  Course Level: Student learning Outcomes
     Courses                  Courses
                                                       Courses                                    - content specific & general education goals
                                                                                                  Metrics: Indirect evidence - course completion rates,
     English I                 World                  General                  General
                                                                                                  success in next course
                            Civilization I           Chemistry I               Biology I          Direct evidence – percent of population less than
                                                                                                  proficient, proficient, or mastery of specific learning
                                                                                                  outcomes and general education goals




                                                                           Student Activities Example


                                                                                                         RVCC
                                                                                              Institutional Effectiveness     College Mission


                                                                                                                               Finance &           Technology
                                                      Academic Affairs      Human Resources             CCE                                                             Advancement
                   Division Mission                                                                                            Faciltities      Learning Services




                                   Academic             Academic &
                                                                                              Departmental
                                  Departments         Student Services                        Goals &        Student Life &                       Marketing &
                                                                                                                                                                        Foundation
                                                                                                           Civic Engagement                       Recruitment
                                                                                              Objectives
            English                Science &                                                                                   Student
                                                                                                                                                  Paul Robeson
           Department             Engineering                                                                                  Activities
                                                                                                                                                    Instittue
                                  Department



               A.S.                  A.S.
                                                            A.S.
                                                       Environmental
                                                                                 Metrics: # of students                     Service Learning
          Biotechnology            Chemistry                                                                                                        Athletics
                                                         Science                 served, number of                              Program

                                                                                 volunteer hours
        General Education           Elective
                                                      Program Specific
            Courses                 Courses                                                                                   SAFE Grant        Academic Projects
                                                          Courses



            English I                World               General                General                                                            Academic
                                  Civilization I        Chemistry I             Biology I                                   Police Academy          Courses




                                                                                    Course Level: Student learning Outcomes
                                                                                    - content specific & general education goals
                                                                                              22
                                                                                    Metrics: Indirect evidence – S.L. participation rates
                                                                                    Direct evidence – employer surveys, journals, impact statements
Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007



The Board of Trustees is also demanding information on student outcomes, enrollment trends,
program costs, auxiliary enterprises, operating expenditures, cash flow and budget analyses. The
OIRA compiled much of this information for the first strategic planning session in August 2006.
The Board of Trustees also received information from the environmental scan process and
strategic listening sessions. (Appendix J - Strategic Planning Project) Additionally, data from
three focus groups examining Corporate and Continuing Education, the College Foundation and
Developmental Education were also provided to the Board of Trustees as part of the strategic
planning process. The Board’s demand for data is clear evidence that the institution at all levels
expects a data-driven rationale for decisions.

Various initiatives have been created to encourage student success at the College beginning with
the implementation of the 2003 – 2008 Strategic Plan. (Appendix S – 2003-2008 Strategic Plan)
They are significant improvements in pass rates for ESL and developmental studies courses;
expansion of services to facilitate transfer; increased graduation rates and professional
development for RVCC students; and strengthening the college curriculum to reinforce the core
competencies identified in the general education goals and objectives. Indicators of institutional
effectiveness have been developed for each of these goals and are regularly reported to the units
responsible for goal attainment.

Every other spring semester the CCSSE survey is administered to a selected sample of currently
enrolled students in specific courses. (Appendix B – Survey Schedule) Each fall the OIRA
conducts a mail survey of recently graduated alumni with questions targeting the job search
experience and preparation for employment or further education. In fall and spring, during the
graduation application period, graduating students complete a survey of satisfaction with college
services and the academic experience. At the end of each academic term students complete the
Individual Development and Educational Assessment (IDEA) survey assessing learning
outcomes and teaching strategies.

IDEA provides information regarding student perception of faculty-identified learning outcomes.
This is an improvement over previous evaluation tools in that it directly addresses learning
outcomes rather than only teaching strategies and delivery style. Each course’s learning
outcomes can be more easily categorized using this tool. This is an area of assessment that
requires additional attention. The impression is that faculty are not utilizing the information
provided in the IDEA reports as intended. Training sessions on interpreting the report need to be
provided on a regular basis for faculty to assist them in making appropriate use of the
information to improve instructional practices and for faculty, department chairs and
administrators using the IDEA reports in making reappointment, tenure and promotion
recommendations. (Appendix V – IDEA Form)

Over the past several years, the Curriculum Committee has reviewed all course offerings by each
academic department in an effort to standardize course outlines and to post them on the RVCC
web site. Armed with accurate and current information, students will be better able to select
courses in keeping with their educational goals. In addition, the standardization of course
outlines allows more seamless transfer of courses. To drive home the seriousness of outcomes



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
assessment, faculty have been told that any course outline that has not been brought up to the
current standard with stated learning outcomes and methods of assessment will not appear in the
2007-2008 course catalog or schedule.

A new strategic plan is currently being developed. Each of the goals and critical success factors
of the final plan will have measurable indicators for success. Metrics for assessing progress will
be developed in consultation with responsible institutional units. Trend analyses and
benchmarking studies will be conducted by OIRA to measure the success of changes in policies
and procedures. This practice of developing metrics to measure critical success factors is a direct
result of the years of implementing Baldrige methodologies. Implementation strategies for the
strategic plan will include annual measures and target benchmarks.

Each semester the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment distributes statistics on
changes in the demographic characteristics of enrolled students. Studies relating demographics to
student outcomes, such as retention, graduation, and transfer rates, are also conducted as an
integral part of the program review process. During the 2003 – 2006 academic years, OIRA has
produced enrollment forecasts using age and gender characteristics of the service area
population. Population trends and demographic analyses are conducted in consort with the
strategic planning process.

Peer comparisons are made with national data from CCSSE, the Kansas Study of Instructional
Costs (KS Study), the National Community College Benchmarking Project (NCCBP), the
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Peer Analysis System (PAS).
Each of these data-gathering consortia provides internet access allowing survey and project
participants to select peers for comparisons. Comparison choices can be based on selecting
aspirational, competitive, jurisdictional, or normative peers. An extensive list of measures is
available in each data repository. In addition to comparisons with these data sources, external
benchmarking can also be conducted with information from the NJ Fact Book and by consulting
with collaborative peers for performance analysis of unpublished data and information
exchanges about best practices. Data is actively being used in program development to provide
justification for curricula modifications, budget development, and strategic planning. Enrollment
data, student outcome data, cost analyses, and economic data are being used to direct financial
resources in hiring faculty and student support personnel. The Board of Trustees and the
Executive Staff incorporate reviewing and acting upon this data as part of the annual review
process.

Internal benchmarking is accomplished by selecting outcome measures for goals set forth in the
strategic plan and tracking changes over time. Historical trend analysis is a regular feature of
institutional reporting. Comparisons can also be conducted internally; using data from the
discipline and program level, those units with better performance measures can be consulted by
other units regarding best practices.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
2.6a Academic Program Review

In accordance with Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education - Standard 11
(Educational Offerings) educational programs and curricula should exhibit:

   ―sufficient content, rigor and depth to be characterized as collegiate…,

   clear linkages between the design of specific courses, programs, and learning activities and the
   articulated goals of the specific program of which they are part and to the overarching mission of the
   institution; and

   responsiveness to new research findings and modes of inquiry‖ (Middle States Commission on
   Higher Education, 2006, 41-42).

To meet the requirements of Standard 11, each program review is intended to be a self-study of
the program showing how it supports the mission and goals of RVCC. The review also serves as
an historical document of the program, identifying changes made over time in relation to the
college's current strategic plan. The guidelines for Program Review recommend that academic
programs be reviewed every four years. (Appendix C – Program Review)

The Academic Program Council (APC), created by the Senior Vice President in 2006, is a
recently created advisory committee to the Division of Academic Affairs. Its membership
consists of a representative from each academic department, the Library, technology, student
services, institutional research, career counseling, and advising. The mission of the council is to
provide a cross-college forum for reviewing the efficacy of new programs and to respond to
Program Review Action Plans as generated by the program review process. The purpose is to
open dialog among all departments about curriculum issues before they are presented to the
Curriculum Committee. The APC also advises faculty of new program proposals that are
presented through the newly developed needs assessment process. (Appendix GG – New
Program Proposal Form) The needs assessment process considers not only demand for programs,
but also ties the planning process to the budgeting process.

Additionally, the APC may review curriculum that is being revised or eliminated. Reviews of
prerequisites, new partnerships, and new delivery systems are also discussed. Working in
conjunction with the APC is the Dean of Academic Resource Development who maintains the
schedule for program review and notifies academic department chairs when programs in their
departments are up for review. Additionally, as a strong indicator of institutional support, the
most recent faculty bargaining agreement, dated 2005, provides the equivalent of one contact
hour overload compensation for faculty who complete a program review.

The OIRA plays a vital role in program review working closely with the academic department
chairs to establish key data elements needed to assess the effectiveness of each degree or
certificate program. These data elements are reported on and interpreted in the program review
report. The process culminates with an external consultant reviewing the program and all
documentation. Program improvements are developed from the internal review process and the
external consultant’s observations. Program goals and objectives are turned into action plans and
included in the academic department’s annual report and submitted to the Senior Vice President


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
for Academic Affairs. Progress toward these goals and objectives is addressed in the subsequent
year’s annual report. Recommendations for program improvements are brought to the Program
Council and the Curriculum Committee and the cycle of continuous improvement begins again.
(Appendix D – Program Review Follow-Up Action Plan) Since the 2001 self study, 40 program
reviews have been completed, 19 of which used the new comprehensive model, and the rest of
the academic programs have been scheduled for review. (Appendix F – Program Review Status
Report)

Since 2002, in further response to the MSA recommendation regarding curricula review, the
Academic Affairs Division has implemented policies and procedures that are student-centered
and supportive of the teaching and learning process. Evidence can be found in each course
outline within a degree or certificate program. It is the policy of Academic Affairs that each
course outline contains the following components: (Appendix E – Course Outlines)

       Statement of course need
       Statement of general educational goals and learning outcomes
       Statement of grade determinants
       Modes of teaching and learning
       Statement of assessment instruments

2.6b Outcomes Assessment and Planning

The structural organization of assessment activities is provided by the Senior Vice President of
Academic Affairs and is supported by the OIRA and the Assessment Committee. The
Assessment Committee establishes the overall parameters of assessment and works closely with
different areas to provide training and support. The goal is to gather data and provide evidence of
student learning. The Assessment Committee has been charged with developing an efficient and
effective way to collect and store assessment documentation and is currently evaluating
electronic portfolios. The OIRA assists with the establishment of research questions, maintains
college data for internal and external purposes, and pursues a proactive research agenda.

Since 2002, significant progress has been made in the area of outcomes assessment and planning.
The fact that a cultural shift is occurring is evidenced by the increasing number of assessment
activities taking place. However, this is still an area in need of further attention. RVCC has
made great strides at the institutional, program and course levels, but are just beginning to
examine individual, course-specific student learning outcomes.

After the Baldrige Feedback Report, it was evident that there was a need to develop strategies for
effective implementation. The Vice President for Academic Affairs instituted an incentive plan
to motivate faculty to become engaged with outcomes assessment. The leadership has recognized
the following cycle of academic assessment:

   1.   Articulate learning outcomes
   2.   Provide learning opportunities
   3.   Collect evidence of achievement of learning outcomes
   4.   Use information to improve student learning outcomes



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007


Consequently, RVCC has been building its Academic Outcomes Assessment Plan and Activities
around this four step process. The Plan is guided by the following student learning-centered
principles of RVCC:

   1. Assessment is guided by RVCC’s mission.
   2. The purpose of assessment is improvement of educational programs and services
      ultimately leading to improvements in teaching and learning.
   3. Assessment of student learning and development is a collaborative process involving
      faculty, staff, and students.
   4. Assessment results are not used for faculty or staff evaluation.
   5. The assessment process itself is an evaluative process.

The increasing focus on outcomes assessment has made it necessary to develop a consistent
definition of assessment and learning outcomes. In AY 2005-2006 the following definitions
were accepted and are being used for planning and discussing outcomes assessment:

   1. Assessment: The systematic inquiry into student learning and other results of the
      educational process for improvement and accountability.
   2. Assessment Instrument: A device adopted, adapted, or constructed for the purpose of
      assessing student learning outcomes. Examples of assessment instruments include
      assignments, examinations, and portfolios.
   3. Learning Outcome: The specific knowledge, competencies, attitudes and/or skills to be
      acquired by the student.

At the institutional level, The OIRA has developed an assessment plan to gauge the overall
health of the institution. Institutional data is collected, analyzed and distributed to the Executive
Staff, Board of Trustees, faculty and staff. Much of the information is posted on Lion’s Den for
easy access and the OIRA’s open-door policy encourages employees to seek out information.
The indicators that are routinely examined to assess institutional effectiveness are:

 Enrollment Trends                             Survey Results
   demographic distribution                       CCSSE
   full and part time                             PACE
   developmental courses                          Graduating Student Survey
                                                  Alumni Survey
 Degree Completion Rates                       Cost per FTE
 Course Completion Rates                       Transfer Rates
 Grade Distribution                            Financial Aid Trends

All programs and departments have clearly defined missions and goals. This is true of degree
programs as well as non-degree programs. To assess the effectiveness of individual programs
and departments, an annual report is developed and submitted first to the Executive Team
member responsible for the program and then to the President. In addition to the annual report,
individual academic programs undergo a complete program review every four years. (The
Academic Program Review process was discussed in the section of this report titled: Academic


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
Program Review). To further reflect on the teaching and learning process, all fulltime faculty
write yearly self-evaluations and use the section on ―Teaching Effectiveness‖ to reflect on their
pedagogical improvements. (Appendix U – Faculty Annual Report & Teaching Effectiveness
Template)

Career training certification programs within Corporate & Continuing Education are measured
by 1) the successful completion of a midterm, final and skill test; 2) the number of individuals
who obtain national/state certification or a credential that is used in the pursuit of their
professional development for licensing requirements; and/or 3) the job attainment of individuals
after they have successful completed a non-credit program.

All degree programs were reviewed in 2006 to bring them into compliance with the New Jersey
General Education Transfer requirements. This was a major undertaking at the college and
involved participation from faculty, enrollment services and the transfer office. This realignment
of degree programs will help facilitate seamless transfer to New Jersey four-year institutions,
greatly benefiting students. Guidelines for General Education Courses were established to
comply with the NJ requirements.

The first step in realigning degree programs was the development of student learning outcomes.
In order to develop student learning outcomes it was important to articulate clearly the learning
objectives and methods of assessment. To accomplish this, course outlines have been
restructured to include measurable learning outcomes (Appendix E - Course Outline Format)
Appendix E indicates that specific and measurable language is used when articulating learning
outcomes. All faculty and departments have received training in the course outline revision
process; course outlines have been revised and are available to students through Lion’s Den. All
educational goals on the course outline directly reference corresponding general education goals.
(Appendix H - General Education Goals)

An Assessment Committee, a standing committee of the Forum constituted in 2006, serves as a
review, advisory, and recommending body in matters dealing with assessment at the course,
department, program, and institution level. It reports to the Senior Vice President for Academic
Affairs. Members are elected representatives from each academic department, Advising and
Counseling Services, the Library, Institutional Research and Assessment, and College
Advancement. One student representing the student body is appointed to serve a one-year term.

In AY 2004-2005 the Annual Report of Assessment Activity was piloted in the Math and Visual
and Performing Arts Departments. To date, the Math Department has the most clearly articulated
and working assessment plan. Evidence of student learning is collected by means of course
embedded questions on final exams. The questions reflect specific course learning outcomes and
rubrics are used for the scoring of the questions. Students’ proficiency is defined as either
proficient, somewhat proficient, or not proficient. These results are compiled annually (though
individual courses are assessed on a three year cycle) and are included in the Math Department’s
annual report.

In AY 2005-2006 the Annual Report of Assessment Activity (ARAA) was revised and re-piloted
(Appendix I – Annual Report of Assessment Activity) Support for assessment has been
institutionalized and faculty are offered training and compensation for completing the reports.


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007


      Results:
          o 45 Faculty assessed a total of 89 courses.
          o Results were compiled and included in department annual reports.
          o In AY 2006-2007 the Annual Report of Assessment Activity will be expanded to
              include a sample of direct evidence of student learning. Training for full-time
              faculty will take place in the Fall 2007 semester.
          o Two pilot assessment projects were launched in Fall 2006, one for the assessment
              of the A.A.S Degree in Business Management and the other for the A.F.A. Degree
              in Graphic Arts. The pilot project for the A.A.S Degree in Business Management
              assessed the learning outcomes of the general education goals set forth by the
              College. (Appendix P – General Education Outcomes Assessment Plan for AAS
              Business Management)
          o Annual Report formats have been changed to include outcome results and
              improvement plans for the coming year.

The Pilot Assessment in Business Management project to measure the attainment of general
education goals in a career program brought diverse challenges to the professors teaching the
three courses in the project. Many challenges centered on developing appropriate instruments to
measure general education goals. In the Macroeconomics Course, both review sheets and exam
questions have been re-written in order to more clearly connect to the general education rubric.
In addition, homework assignments have been re-worked with the same goal in mind. In the
Principles of Management course, new essay questions were incorporated into exams to address
the rubric requirements in a clearer, more straightforward way. In Business Law, the next time
the course is delivered the professor will build on the use of technology as a research tool. The
incorporation of an experiential piece, such as a series of ―web field trips‖ would serve not just to
reinforce course content, but also to enhance the skills that students acquire in order to
demonstrate they have met the goal of using technological tools for research, information
analysis, problem solving, decision making, and creative production. Results from the pilot project
for the A.A.S Degree in Business Management are presented in Section 5 – Assessment
Processes and Plan, subsection 5.1d - Student Learning Outcomes. The assessment in the A.F.A.
Degree in Graphic Arts focused on discipline-specific student learning outcomes. The outcome
of both pilot projects will be assessed and will follow the prescribed cycle of assessment.

            Section 3 – Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Institution
______________________________________________________________________________

Raritan Valley Community College, like all institutions of higher learning, faces numerous
challenges and opportunities as RVCC attempts to fulfill our mission. Many of the challenges
listed below are being addressed internally while solutions to other challenges require a more
comprehensive, creative and collaborative effort with County, State and Federal Agencies. The
Executive Team works closely with the Board of Trustees to identify, prioritize and resolve the
challenges that face RVCC.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007


3.1 Changing Demographics

The key external factor which presents significant challenges is the rapidly changing
demographics of the bi-county region. Somerset and Hunterdon Counties are experiencing
increases in the size of their graduating high school classes and increases in recent immigrants
residing in the counties.

The following chart illustrates the change in the demographic profile of each county with respect
to ethnic diversity. Over a five year period, there have been significant increases in Spanish-
speaking populations as well as an overall increase in African-American and Asian populations.

   Demographic    Total Population    % White       % Black or    % Asian       % Hispanic
   Changes                                          African                     or Latino
                                                    American
                  2000      2005      2000   2005   2000 2005     2000   2005   2000   2005
   Somerset       297,490   314,960   79.3   73.6   7.5    8.9    8.4    11.4   8.7    11.3
   County
   Hunterdon      121,989   126,116   93.9   93.3   2.2    1.4    1.9    3.2    2.8    3.3
   County

The influx of immigrants provides a wonderful opportunity for us to provide services to a new
cohort of students and in turn enrich the cultural diversity on campus. However, many
immigrants require extensive developmental course work which will strain our remedial services.
In addition, many live in areas which have limited public transportation, making it necessary for
RVCC to find new delivery methods for educational services.

One solution to this challenge is to bring education out into the communities. RVCC is now
offering credit courses, non-credit courses, youth enrichment and English as a Second Language
in the community of Bound Brook (Somerset County). The College expanded course offerings at
the Franklin (Somerset County) site and is delivering English as a Second Language instruction
and accent reduction courses to businesses throughout the two counties through Corporate and
Continuing Education. Since 2002, the number of matriculated English as a Second Language
students has increased 20%.

The changing demographic profile of the student body is acting as a catalyst for increased
cultural diversity awareness. At the November 2006 board meeting, the Board of Trustees
adopted a Diversity and Inclusion Policy which solidifies the institution’s commitment. As stated
in the Board policies manual, ―Raritan Valley Community College serves a diverse community
in a world-wide economy. Educational experiences should contribute to a student’s
understanding of peoples, ideas, values, experiences, abilities, and cultures different from his/her
own.‖ (Appendix A – Board Policy Manual)

In addition to the increase in cultural diversity, the College is facing a shift in the age distribution
of our students. The graduating classes of the high schools in the two counties are expected to
increase to 5,927 students by the year 2010 from the current size of 5,253. If all else remains
constant, at our current draw rate of 14%, the increase in high school graduates equates to an
additional 94 full-time students. This increase in traditional age students presents challenges in


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
many areas, from delivering student services in an expeditious manner to providing adequate
student space and parking.

As more full-time students enroll, the need for additional informal student meeting space and
expanded academic advising becomes apparent. While a policy of faculty advising has been
instituted in the 2005-2008 full-time faculty contract, there is still a lack of sufficient personnel
during peak enrollment periods to counsel students. In recognition of the shortage of student
service personnel, College Advising 101, which provides group advising sessions for all new
students, has been instituted. Cross-training possibilities among RVCC staff are also being
explored so that the College has a cadre of employees who can assist during peak registration
periods starting in the summer of 2007.

The opening of the new academic building in August 2007 will ameliorate some of the current
overcrowding. The long-range facility plan also addresses the lack of student space and
recognizes the need for appropriate learning environments that will support the practice of
collaborative learning. The College is currently exploring funding alternatives for a new student
center. (Appendix J – Strategic Planning Project) Meanwhile, faculty and staff, recognizing the
shortage of student space and the importance of creating an environment that encourages student
engagement, willingly agreed to the conversion of the Faculty/Staff Dining Room into a Student
Center/Game Room. In addition, a faculty lounge was converted to a student lounge. To provide
students and staff with additional options for food and beverage, especially in the evenings and
on weekends, a portion of the Welcome Center was converted to a Starbucks cafe.

The 2006-2007 academic year saw full-time enrollment reach record levels. Simultaneously,
RVCC is seeing a decrease in the number of part-time students due to a decrease in the 25-40
year old population. The number of potential students in this cohort is projected to continue to
decline through 2015. In order to attract and retain this cohort, RVCC has implemented a new
educational delivery system which makes obtaining an associate degree more convenient.
According to the CLARUS marketing research, working adults want time-compressed, modular
education that is conveniently located. (Appendix K – CLARUS Market Research Study)

The College for Working Adults (CWA), which began in 2006, enables adults to work full-time
and earn an associate degree in just 2 ½ years. The CWA model is being exported to local
industry including a pilot project in Manufacturing Technology. Another program targeting the
adult market segment is SAIL (Share, Achieve, Indulge and Learn). Intended for adults who are
looking for intellectual stimulation and an opportunity to enjoy the experience of being in a
classroom, SAIL is designed to make returning to college a stress-free experience and encourage
adult participation in collegiate life.

3.2 Curricula Relevance

On the curricular side, the college is being challenged to maintain up-to-date course and program
offerings to ensure a sufficient supply of skilled workers especially in high growth fields such as
biotechnology and health science related fields. In order to meet this challenge, the College has
partnered with other educational institutions to bring innovative and cost effective programs to
students. Additionally, to insure that each student graduates with the highest possible skill level,



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
RVCC must offer courses which assist students requiring remedial courses as well as provide
advanced courses for honors students.

The primary vehicle for assessing curricula relevance is through the Program Review Process.
The following five curricular programs illustrate our creative and collaborative response to this
challenge:

A. Somerset County Academy for Health and Medical Sciences – RVCC has partnered with the
Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School to offer a new, challenging educational
opportunity for academically talented high school students from Somerset and Hunterdon
counties who are interested in specializing in the health sciences. September 2006 marked the
opening of the Somerset County Academy for Health and Medical Sciences, a four-year, full-
time program dedicated to advancing the educational and personal development of students
seeking careers in allied health, such as doctors, nurses, medical technicians, researchers and
health care managers. The partnership between Somerset County Vocational & Technical High
School and Raritan Valley Community College will give the exceptional students enrolled in the
program a chance to earn an Associate Degree from RVCC in a health related field while
simultaneously receiving a high school diploma.

B. Emergency Management and Medical Assistant - As part of the commitment to provide
programs that keep pace with the needs of the workforce and the community, new degree and
certificate programs in the areas of Emergency Management and Medical Assistant have been
developed. The Certificate of Completion Program in Emergency Management and Preparedness
is being offered in conjunction with the Raritan Valley Regional Public Safety Institute. The
program addresses the key components of the emergency management system and is
recommended for those seeking to enhance their personal or professional knowledge—especially
individuals involved with the emergency and public health services, local government, private
business and industry.

C. Associate of Science in Biotechnology - Raritan Valley Community College has developed a
degree and a certificate program in biotechnology. This initiative has been furthered by a
$375,000 grant from the National Science Foundation titled, Quality Matters: the Advancement
of Biotechnology at RVCC. In addition, the College has entered into a partnership that will
enable graduates of RVCC’s new biotechnology degree program to pursue a master’s degree at
Kean University’s prestigious New Jersey Center for Science and Technology. Under the
recently signed agreement, students who receive an Associate of Science in Biotechnology from
RVCC can transfer with junior status into Kean’s combined degree program leading to a
Bachelor of Science in Science and Technology/Molecular Biology and a Master of Science in
Science and Technology/Biotechnology.

As a result of economic and employment demand, other new degrees were developed including
the Associate of Applied Science in Food and Beverage Management, Associate of Applied
Science in Game Development, Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assistant, and a
certificate in Medical Coding leading to an Associate of Applied Science in Health Information
Technology.




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D. Corporate & Continuing Education Professional Development Programs – In an effort to
address the learners who may have an interest in pursing a career in healthcare and to respond to
the dramatic growth of the health care industry, alleviating the tremendous shortage of health
care workers, the Corporate & Continuing Education Division established Allied Health
programs in 2001. Since then, many career training courses, such as Dental Radiology, Certified
Nurses Aide (CNA), Phlebotomy/Lab Assistant, EKG, Pharmacy and Surgical Technician were
added. New programs were also developed in the field of clinical research. A Clinical Research
Associate (CRA) certificate course, Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) certificate course and
a Clinical Data Management (CDM) in the Pharmaceutical Industry certificate course are
offered. These programs are designed to provide students with the industry expectations of
related job roles, including key features, differences, challenges, job criteria and demands. As the
demand for qualified and trained CRAs, CRCs and CDMs continues to grow, the programs can
open doors to new and exciting career opportunities in clinical research and clinical trials.

Many of the courses are awarded with State and National certifications. CCE also works
cooperatively with the academic department in providing joint offerings so as not to ―compete‖
with the credit programs. Areas include Real Estate, Computer Technology and some ESL
programs such as Accent Reduction.

E. Allied Health Programs – Corporate & Continuing Education is offering new programs in
clinical research. Programs leading to a Clinical Research Associate (CRA), Clinical Research
Coordinator (CRC) and Clinical Data Management (CDM) in the Pharmaceutical Industry
certificates are being offered. These certificates are designed to provide students with the
required skills for related jobs. As the demand for qualified and trained CRAs, CRCs and CDMs
continues to grow, the programs will open doors to new and exciting career opportunities in
clinical research and clinical trials.

3.3 Human Resources Challenges

A major challenge faced by the Human Resources Department is promoting diversity in the
workplace. RVCC’s mission has always been the education of the entire community and calls
for intellectual diversity as one of its primary goals. As the student demographics change (i.e.
race, gender, sexual orientation, full-time/part-time status), it is imperative that employees
receive training in providing support to the new student population by understanding and
addressing differing needs.

Improvements in the employee recruitment process are underway. Development of an
affirmative action plan will assist in addressing the need for a more diverse workforce. HR is
currently developing an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) based on U.S. Census information which
will help to identify where underutilization (minority and women) occurs within the employee
base. The comparative data will act as a vehicle to develop a strong recruitment strategy to
better serve the community and students. The plan will also help to educate search committees
to be more mindful of finding diverse candidates who better mirror the current student
population.




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Challenging the College and specifically the Human Resources Department is succession
planning. Succession planning, which is in its beginning stages, should be enhanced by the
current appraisal system for staff. There are two different processes of evaluation for fulltime
employees, one for faculty and another for administrators and staff. The faculty evaluation
process is defined in the collective bargaining agreement. It sets performance goals and
determines tenure standards for full-time faculty. The current appraisal system for staff was
created three years ago by a task force of college employees. The previous performance appraisal
system was not tied to institutional goals or individual growth plans while the new system is
designed to align with the strategic divisional and departmental goals as well as overall college
goals. The new criteria are based on factors related to output (goal achievement, quality of work,
quantity of work, timeliness and flexibility), position-related requirements and behaviors that
support overall performance (creative thinking, customer service, communication, external
awareness, interpersonal skills, job knowledge/skill, valuing diversity, leadership, ethics and
professionalism, and intellectual growth). This system also provides employees a chance to note
philanthropic and committee work which fall outside of their duties.

As stated earlier, the tool itself is well-developed, but additional training for both managers and
staff is required to enhance appropriate and consistent usage. The Human Resources Department
will continue to provide training sessions to ensure that the system is used to its full potential.

3.4 Outcomes Assessment

While outcomes assessment remains a challenge for RVCC, the College has made significant
improvements in our ability to collect, analyze and use data. As cited in Characteristics of
Excellence in Higher Education, ―effective assessment processes are useful, cost-effective,
reasonably accurate and truthful, carefully planned, and organized systematic and sustained‖
(Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2006, 26). The first ingredient in a successful
college-wide assessment plan is support from its leadership. During President Ryan’s tenure, the
College implemented the principles of the Learning College and Baldrige Excellence in Higher
Education; both methodologies emphasize the use of data to guide decision-making and resource
allocation. The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment has developed indicators that are
relevant for peer comparisons, benchmarking, and internal trend analysis. The measures are
appropriate for observing change in the short run and documenting long-term alterations in
structure and process. Many of the measures are extracted from federal reports that are based on
standard definitions and provide access to data for a significant number of participating
institutions. Other measures have been developed in collaborative relationships with voluntary
peer institutions. They often include data not normally found in government reports and are used
for measuring special areas of interest. Finally, the college continually works with administrators
and faculty to meet the need for ad hoc reporting of non-standard processes and unexpected
changes at the institutional level. Sources of this data are derived from institutional records and
surveys. Surveys are frequently used to collect attitude and satisfaction information. (Appendix
B – Survey Schedule) The Academic Program Review process also defines outcome assessment
measures and has the complete support of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Measures for overall institutional effectiveness have been developed and are being utilized to
examine trends in graduation, transfer, and retention rates and other variables that demonstrate



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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the health of the organization. Student and employee satisfaction surveys, as well as student
course evaluations, are administered on a regular basis. (Appendix V – IDEA Form) All this
information is used to make program and curricular changes that enhance the teaching and
learning process. (Appendix J – Strategic Planning)

A remaining challenge in the area of assessment is the creation of an effective, efficient, and
systematic process for assessing individual student learning outcomes. The past Senior Vice
President, Dr. Marie Gnage, began the development and implementation of an Outcomes
Assessment Plan that included student learning outcomes. (Appendix W – Follow-up Report to
Middle States) The plan identified four major components of the instructional area for review:
basic skills (Academic Foundations and English as a Second Language), general education,
programs/major fields of study, and course level review. As previously stated, program review
has been systematically implemented. As part of that process, all course outlines have stated
learning objectives and assessment methodologies. Academic Foundations assesses its student
learning outcomes within the context of the Title III grant. (Appendix M – Title III Focus on
Learning Report)

Assessing student learning outcomes in general education and in major program areas of study
remains challenging. To avoid some of the pitfalls of the past which resulted in faculty being
skeptical of initiatives which frequently resulted in reports that were never used, in 2005 Senior
Vice President Constance Mierendorf implemented a multi-tiered approach to assessing student
learning outcomes. Additionally, to ―prevent the interruption of these activities in the future,‖ Dr.
Mierendorf has formed a College Forum Committee on Assessment which is charged with
monitoring the progress of assessment, including program review (Middle States Commission on
Higher Education, 2006, 26). (Appendix N – Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan.)

During fall 2006, two pilot programs were launched to assess student learning outcomes; one to
assess general education in a major area of study and another to assess content-based student
learning outcomes in accordance with Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education -
Standard 11. To begin the task of assessing student learning outcomes, in 2006, the Business
and Public Service Department piloted a general education assessment plan for the Associate of
Applied Science Degree in Business Management. (Appendix P – Business Management Pilot
Assessment Plan) Also in 2006, the Visual and Performing Arts Department assessed student
learning outcomes for program/content-specific learning in the Associate of Fine Arts degree in
Graphic Design. During Spring 2007, the results of the pilot assessments were evaluated and the
plan modified. Wherever student learning outcomes were deemed not satisfactory, changes to the
curriculum or teaching pedagogy are being considered for implementation in fall 2007.

3.5 Communication

Even with the use of integrated technology, no easy methods exist to notify students of activities
and changes in programming, as not all students regularly view Lions Den, the campus portal.
Campus-wide communication of new programs and policies remains a challenge as educational
programs and student activities continue to grow. RVCC is beginning to implement pod-casts
and text messaging of important announcements to the College community.




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3.6 Budgetary Constraints

Complicating all of the above is the fact that the prescribed funding formula for Community
Colleges in New Jersey as set forth by the original legislation creating the NJ community college
system has never been realized and the burden of costs has shifted to Somerset and Hunterdon
counties and to student tuition. The 2006 – 2007 budget was reduced by $285,000 from the
previous year’s state funding. Somerset and Hunterdon counties have increased funding by
$500,000 over the same period. However, the College’s greatest challenge continues to be
providing access to quality education at an affordable price. The college is facing fiscal
challenges that require dedicated and competent personnel but RVCC continues to be asked to do
more with less funding. There is an ongoing struggle to develop a budget that will achieve our
mission and prepare students to succeed in the global economy of the 21st century while
maintaining a work environment that is collegial, personally fulfilling, and environmentally safe.


             Section 4 – Enrollment and Finance Trends and Projections
______________________________________________________________________________

4.1 Strategic Financial Plan Fiscal Years 2008 -2012

The College has been preparing a new strategic plan since Spring 2006. Constituencies from the
College, Board of Trustees and community stakeholders have participated in its development and
on-going review. The expectation is that the Board of Trustees will approve a final plan by
September 2007.

With respect to financial considerations, the Board has narrowed its focus to determining the
reasonableness of future tuition increases, continued student affordability and permanent
additions to faculty and staff in light of anticipated significant enrollment growth. Their
discussions have been impacted by the particular budget problems the State of New Jersey faces
over the next few years. Beyond achieving the mutually agreed upon goals outlined in the draft
Strategic Plan, the Board endeavors to operate the College with a modest surplus each year, such
that the cumulative surplus represents 5% of the unrestricted operating budget. (Appendix HH –
Draft Strategic Plan)

The following assumptions and financial presentation are preliminary and will be made final
with the adoption of the new strategic plan.

4.1a Enrollment

External demographic analysis indicates that the number of NJ high school graduates will
increase nearly 30% by 2013. The forecast conservatively reflects growth of only 4% each year.
All of that is expected to come from traditional-aged, full-time students.




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4.1b Tuition and Fees

Management and most of the Board believes that tuition should at least keep pace with inflation.
Additional funding is essential to meeting the plan goals and that is not likely to come from
neither the State nor a greater share from the Counties. The cost gap between Community
Colleges and 4-year institutions is expected to widen, making The College’s sector even more
attractive. For the truly needy, ―free‖ Federal and State support is more than adequate to cover
our tuition and fee levels for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the projected annual increase is
4%, less than $150 each year. Tuition at four-year state universities is approximately $20,000
per year compared to Raritan Valley’s tuition of under $4,000 per year.

4.1c State Appropriations

Future annual support is capped at $5,952,000, the same level as FY 2008. New Jersey State
budget woes have no easy solution. Although our sector has been successful in lobbying
legislators for restoration of previous cuts and guarantees of capital spending, the outlook is
guarded. The amount available to the College will vary because the funding formula is based on
its share of credits compared to the other 18 community colleges in the state.

4.1d County Appropriations

The College’s two counties are the most generous in the state. The College has enjoyed 4%
annual increases for the last few years and that is approved for FY 2008. However, RVCC
expects the level of incremental support to be lowered to 3.5% in FY 2009 and succeeding years
as other County programs are likely to become negatively impacted by state budget issues.

4.1e Salaries & Benefits

Base salaries are forecasted to increase by 4% each year, the same amount provided for in the
current four bargaining unit contracts which expire June 30, 2008. Fringe benefits will rise 7%
overall because medical insurance premiums are expected to climb by 10%.

The level of public employee salaries and benefits is under significant scrutiny by state
legislators as they grapple with ways to reduce state budget deficits. While the College pays for
healthcare directly, its choices of plan offerings and benefit levels are mandated by law. With
respect to pensions, both the College and employees contribute to two major plans. The State
plan is seriously under-funded and will likely be restored to balance by a combination of reduced
benefits and higher participant contributions. If benefits are reduced there will be offsetting
pressure to make up the difference in salary. The overall assumptions of 4% in salary and 7% in
benefits appear conservative in light of this uncertainty.

Essential new positions will be carefully added during the forecast period in response to growing
enrollments. One incremental full-time faculty position will be required each year to maintain
the current ratio of credit hours taught by full-time faculty. Adjunct faculty will be hired as
necessary to support the remaining instructional load. One new counselor will be added in FY




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007
2008 and 2009 and an advisor in FY 2011. An enrollment specialist will be needed in FY 2009
and a facilities tradesperson in FY 2010.

4.1f Operating Expenses

Overall, expenses are projected to rise 2.8% during the period, slightly less than anticipated
inflation. The College re-bids virtually all contracts every one to three years as a good business
practice or as required by law. In preparing the forecast, RVCC did review every natural account
number (e.g. telephone, supplies, etc.) to be sure that the increase was reasonable. By the end of
FY 2007 the College will have begun operating a state of the art co-generation facility to produce
most of its electricity needs at lower cost. In addition, spending on deferred maintenance projects
will also keep current plant repairs at modest levels.

4.1g Capital Spending

All capital projects are funded by the two Counties supporting the College and go through a
separate approval process each year. They have been very responsive to our needs. The County
Treasurers prefer that the larger projects be pre-qualified for participation in a special state plan
for community colleges called Chapter 12, wherein the state pays for half of the total debt
service on bonds issued by the county. The money available for future projects is determined by
the amount of retired principle from previous sector projects and any new state funding. The
New Jersey Council of Community Colleges allocates project support via an application process
that determines project worthiness.

The new strategic plan anticipates that the College’s first Student Center (at least 40,000 square
feet and an approximate cost of $15 million) will be funded in FY 2011 with an opening by mid-
FY 2012. The new building will house student activity services, club offices, recreational space,
a small theater and some performing arts offices and classrooms.

The plan also calls for expanded parking (a 10 % plus increase each year) in FY 2008 and FY
2011. In addition, the cafeteria will be renovated and enlarged in FY 2009. While a much larger
Fitness Center is proposed for the Physical Education Building in FY 2009, it depends on a
successful grant application to the Department of Homeland Security for a new multi-county
Police and Emergency Services Academy to be located on the campus. The project is gaining
momentum in that ―shared services‖ are desirable and at least four counties will benefit from the
new facility and training program. The multi-county Police and Emergency Services Academy
will provide a state-of-the-art training facility in those areas with the largest growth potential in
the tri-state area.

4.1h Financial Forecast

The Financial Forecast reflects the careful evaluation of programs and services within the
context of the most recent strategic planning sessions and the Facilities Master Plan. (Appendix
II – Facilities Master Plan) The College is exercising its due diligence to make sure that our core
programs continue to flourish and only new programs that can be supported by enrollment and/or
strategic partners be developed. While tuition increases are inevitable, RVCC continues to award



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June 2007
student aid and scholarships in increasing amounts. Raritan Valley Community College
participates in federal and state financial aid programs such as Pell Grant, Supplemental
Educational Opportunity Grant, Tuition Aid Grant, and Stafford Student Loans. In addition to
these need-based programs, RVCC also offers a wide variety of Academic Scholarships.

In the spring of 2007, the Board of Trustees adopted ―Scenario Analysis‖ to evaluate the impact
of various risk factors on the operating budget. They have requested budget models with varying
enrollment numbers, state aid and benefit contributions. The analysis is designed to improve
decision making and allow for contingencies. The forecast that is presented below illustrates the
realistic, yet conservative view of management. Additionally, the Board is actively engaged in
monitoring the capital and minor capital budgets.

                       RARITAN VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
             STRATEGIC PLAN FINANCIAL FORECAST - - UNRESTRICTED FUND
           ACTUAL 2005 & 2006, BUDGETED 2007 & 2008, PROJECTED 2009 – 2012
                       AUDIT FORMAT, DOLLARS IN THOUSANDS
4.1i




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
June 2007



                     Section 5 - Assessment Processes and Plan
______________________________________________________________________________

Raritan Valley Community College’s Assessment Plan provides an ongoing and systematic
review of its academic programs and its core student support services. The purpose of the plan is
to identify areas for improvement and demonstrate the effectiveness of the institution in
achieving its mission. RVCC is committed to assessing performance across the entire college in
an effort to measure student learning as an outcome of the academic program, student support
services and the open access philosophy. Assessment is coordinated through the Office of the
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. The OIRA and a college-wide assessment
committee work together to frame questions, develop and analyze data, and share results.
Assessment activities are developed in accordance with Middle States Commission on Higher
Education’s Six Guiding Principles for Student Learning Assessment:

   1. Assessment must be grounded within the context of the institutional culture
   2. The plan must be realistic and supported by appropriate resources
   3. Academic leadership needs to be supported by faculty, staff, administrators and the
      involvement of students
   4. Assessment activities should have clear goals
   5. Assessment should be systematic, utilize direct and indirect measures of evidence, utilize
      a variety of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods, and be embedded in courses,
      programs and overall institutional processes
   6. Information gained through assessment activities should be meaningful and lead to
      continuous improvement at the course, program, unit and institutional level (Middle
      States Commission on Higher Education, 2006, 3)

The assessment plan is multi-tiered and utilizes a cycle of assessment to produce meaningful
information and quality improvement.

                 5.1 Raritan Valley Community College Assessment Model


                                                 Student
                                                Learning
                                                                Level IV
                                                Outcomes



                                                 Course
                                                Evaluation                 Level III


                                         Program/Departmental
                                            Level Evaluation                     Level II



                                       Institutional Effectiveness
                                                                                            Level I




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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5.1a Level I - Institutional Effectiveness

The Director of Institutional Research and Assessment reports directly to the President, affirming
the importance of data-driven decision-making. The main goal of the OIRA is to provide
information which allows monitoring alignment of college programs with the strategic plan.
Central to the use of data supplied by the OIRA is its validity, reliability and accessibility. Data
should provide information on trends within the College, collaborative peer comparisons, and
benchmarking with a variety of national research projects. With these criteria in mind, the OIRA
developed key indicators that are reviewed each semester by the Executive Staff and yearly by
the Board of Trustees. Management decisions about tuition, facilities, programs, support
services, technology, and employees are based on an analysis of the data within the context of
the current economic and socio-cultural environment. The OIRA uses internal data derived from
student records and in-house surveys, as well as nationally recognized surveys, to collect data
about RVCC students and employees.

In order to assess instructional costs and productivity, RVCC participates in The Kansas Study,
which is the first national study of community college costs. The Kansas Study allows a
comparison of the institution’s cost of delivering a student credit hour of instruction with
national and peer groups by academic discipline. As a result of participation in the Kansas Study,
another dimension has been added to the Academic Program Review process. Based on the
results of the study, the College is able to allocate resources more effectively in hiring new
faculty. As senior faculty retire, the cost and viability of associated programs taught by that
faculty member are analyzed and a replacement strategy is developed on the basis of enrollment
demand and costs, not simply a one-for-one replacement strategy.

Participation in The National Community College Benchmark Project provides opportunities to
report outcome and effectiveness data, receive reports of benchmarks, and compare data with
that of other institutions. This study has been particularly beneficial for benchmarking course
success rates in both developmental studies and college credit courses. Additionally, according to
national data, RVCC’s advisor/counselor-to-student ratio was well below the average. This data
combined with data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement validated the
need to direct resources toward Enrollment Services. The outcomes are the development and
implementation of College Advising 101, hiring an additional advisor/counselor and creating a
―peak-time phone bank.‖

National survey instruments such as the CCSSE survey and the Personal Assessment of the
College Environment (PACE) are routinely conducted as part of the assessment plan to monitor
the organization’s climate. CCSSE provides a tool for assessing the level of student engagement
and PACE is used to assess the perceptions of faculty, staff and administrators concerning the
college climate. Results from the CCSSE survey led to the expansion of career services and the
integration of additional experiential learning opportunities with academic programs. Results
from the PACE survey brought about two new human resource programs, the Rewards and
Recognitions Program and TNT. (Appendix Y – Rewards and Recognition Program and TNT)




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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The OIRA conducts two in-house surveys to assess student satisfaction - the Graduating Student
Survey and the Alumni Survey, the results of which are used to assess the impact of career
programs on student employment, transfer programs on transfer success and the extent to which
students achieve their community college goals. The College has been able to increase Perkins
funding by demonstrating that RVCC degree programs lead to increased employment
opportunities.

Other indicators of effectiveness are generated internally from Banner and are analyzed to
ascertain the overall health of the organization, aid in management decisions and provide
information for program and departmental level review - the next level of assessment in the
overall assessment plan. (Appendix Z – RVCC Key Effectiveness Indicators)

5.1b Level II - Program and Departmental Review

Academic Program Review is the vehicle used to assess the effectiveness of degree and
certificate programs. Program review is a comprehensive study of a program which determines
its viability and identifies strategies to strengthen program outcomes. Each program review
follows the same basic format, efficiently systematizing the review process and keeping it on
schedule. Streamlined guidelines adopted in 2004 include standard data elements, supplied by
The OIRA, which are used to assess program outcomes. Faculty leading program reviews no
longer need to hunt through data files contained in public folders. Instead data packets are
prepared by the OIRA and provided to the lead faculty conducting the review. The process
requires an outside consultant to review the findings and submit a formal response to the
department chair responsible for the program. The lead faculty member must then respond to the
consultant’s report and provide follow-up action plans. (Appendix C -Program Review)

As a vehicle for conducting needs analysis for potential new programs and for providing
collegial input and oversight of existing programs, in 2006 an interdisciplinary Academic
Program Council (APC) was formed. Effective Fall 2006, faculty who have completed a
program review are now invited to make a brief presentation, reporting on the highlights of the
findings and discussing the action plan for improvements. A master file of all program reviews
has been assembled and a schedule/status report is maintained and shared on an ongoing basis
for planning and accountability. The recently updated guidelines call for each academic program
to be reviewed every four years.

During 2005 - 2007, major progress has been made in completing program reviews. Prior to
2003, records show that only 12 programs had completed a self-study and some of those
(Nursing, Ophthalmic Science, Paralegal) were required by accrediting agencies. Since 2002, 22
self-studies have been completed, 19 of which are in the new format, and an additional eight
have been started in the current year.

The process for Academic Program Review is as follows:

   1. The Dean of Academic Resource Development maintains a schedule and status report
      that identifies when academic programs are scheduled for review.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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   2. Department Chair identifies lead faculty to conduct self-study. The lead faculty are asked
      to identify the core courses to be included in the data packet from the OIRA to determine
      student success rates.

   3. Dean notifies Director of Institutional Research and Assessment which programs are
      scheduled for review and data packets are prepared.

   4. A self-study kick-off meeting takes place with the designated academic administrator, the
      lead faculty member(s), and the Director of the OIRA. At this meeting, the guidelines are
      reviewed, data are shared - including a list of peer institutions for purpose of
      benchmarking, timeframe and deadlines are set and a contract in the form of a ―paid
      professional assignment (PPA)‖ is signed. The PPA is then signed by the Senior Vice
      President for Academic Affairs and a copy is sent to the lead faculty.

   5. The lead faculty member(s) prepare a draft self-study. The draft is reviewed for
      completeness by the designated academic administrator. The self-study document is
      shared with members of the academic department for their input and to generate
      consensus before final submission.

   6. Once any necessary edits or changes are made, an external consultant is identified. The
      external consultant is chosen based on his/her recognized expertise in the field and
      familiarity with the types of teaching and learning challenges inherent in the program.
      Frequently, consultants are brought in from area four-year schools with which there are
      transfer agreements. The consultant could also be from a peer two-year institution. The
      consultant is sent a copy of the self-study, the curriculum and relevant course outlines, as
      well as the guidelines for the consultant’s report, and a contract for services. A visit to
      campus is scheduled which usually includes faculty/department discussions, tour of
      facilities and a meeting with the Chair and key academic administrators, including the
      Senior Vice President. The lead faculty member receives the PPA stipend once the
      consultant’s report is received.

   7. The lead faculty member makes an oral report to the Academic Program Council on the
      self-study, the consultant’s recommendations and the department’s action plan to
      implement those recommendations. A copy of all relevant documentation is filed and
      maintained in the Office of Academic Resource Development. The Status Report for
      Program Review is updated and publicly shared. The Department Chair is responsible for
      monitoring the progress of action items and documenting this progress in the annual
      report. Annual reports are reviewed by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

To prevent disruption of the process, the Dean of Academic Resource Development maintains
the spreadsheet of programs and the last program review date. Working closely with the Senior
Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Dean will remind chairpersons when programs in their
departments are up for program review again and follow up with chairpersons to ensure that
program review is underway. APC will be kept apprised of progress on program reviews.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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The Academic Program Review process has been fully developed and implemented. The College
is now preparing to replicate the review process for other student support services and business
processes. While assessment has been happening in these areas, it has not been systematic nor
formally documented. This is an identified area of weakness and will be an important goal in the
new strategic plan.

5.1c Level III – Course Evaluation

Since the 2001 Middle States Feedback Report, course outlines have been updated using a new
format which recognizes the need for explicit student learning outcomes and methods of
assessment to be clearly stated. This provides the foundation for assessing the effectiveness of
individual courses. Each course outline identifies the general education requirements it fulfills
and clearly states content learning objectives. Course completion rates, student evaluations and
student performance in subsequent courses are all indicators of course assessment. (Appendix H
– General Education Goals) The IDEA course evaluations along with the faculty member’s
Annual Report of Assessment Activities provide data used for course improvement. (Appendix
V – IDEA Form) To systematize and sustain the momentum in course evaluation, each faculty
member is paid a stipend of $200 upon completion of Annual Assessment Reports for two
courses. (Appendix I - Annual Reports of Assessment Activity)

5.1d Level IV – Student Learning Outcomes

The goal of this most focused level is to develop an implementation strategy for assessing the
achievement of student learning outcomes from the perspective of meeting general education
goals. To date, the College has piloted one Student Learning Assessment Project. The pilot
program examines student achievement of the general education goals in the A.A.S. Degree in
Business Management. (Appendix P – Business Management Pilot Assessment Plan) The
following chart illustrates the results from the pilot assessment:

 Percentage of students who attained various levels of competency in business classes

 Gen.            Macroeconomics              Principles of Management                 Business Law I
 Ed.      Deficient   Competent   Mastery   Deficient   Competent   Mastery   Deficient   Competent   Mastery
 Rubric
   1      37         50          13        33           45           22         25           25        50
   2      25         50          25        NA          NA            NA         25           13        62
   3     NA          NA         NA         NA          NA            NA         38           12        50
   4     NA          NA         NA         22           56           22         NA           NA        NA
   5      37         50          13        67           11           22         75           25         0
   6     NA          NA         NA         NA          NA            NA         37           63         0
   7      49         13          38        NA          NA            NA         NA           NA        NA
  NA – Not applicable as this was not a goal of this course

Over the past five years RVCC has built the foundation for such evaluation. The outcomes of the
Business Management Degree assessment are under review and an implementation schedule for
all degree and certificate programs is being developed. The following steps outline the strategy
for accomplishing this arduous but beneficial task:



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  I. Teaching/Learning/Assessment Cycle (Standard 14 Assessment of Student Learning)
          a. Conduct a review of course outlines to verify the connectivity between learning
             outcomes and general education goals, verifying that purposeful opportunities
             exist for achieving learning outcomes.
          b. Ensure that current course outlines are readily accessible in an online format.
          c. Assess Student Achievement of Learning Outcomes utilizing direct and indirect
             evidence.
          d. Establish a methodology to use results of assessment process to improve teaching
             and learning.

 II. Implementation Strategy
          a. Allocate resources to conduct review of course outlines
                  i. Create governance structure to ensure a systematic and continuous
                     assessment process and to provide feedback for improvement
          b. Develop a college-wide dissemination system to ensure accessibility
                  i. Create an assessment web page
          c. Create a method for collecting evidence of student achievement of learning
             outcomes
                  i. Audit degree programs for general education compliance
                 ii. Complete course assessment sheets
                iii. Develop a process for creating skills rubrics for each general education
                     goal
                iv. Gather direct and indirect evidence of student learning
                 v. Assess student learning in highly enrolled general education courses and
                     two core courses in each degree program
          d. Use assessment results to improve teaching and learning and inform planning and
             resource allocation decisions
                  i. Identify gaps in general education implementation and modify curriculum
                     and pedagogy accordingly
                 ii. Develop rubrics in an interdisciplinary approach
                iii. Select random samples of direct evidence such as student work, test
                     results, employer and graduate surveys, and online discussion threads;
                     select random samples of indirect evidence such as course evaluations,
                     grades, honors, awards and scholarships, participation in
                     student/community life, and CCSSE results
                iv. Apply rubrics to pre-selected courses
                 v. Make improvements to teaching and learning based on assessment results


               Section 6 - Linking Institutional Planning and Budgeting
______________________________________________________________________________

The Board of Trustees, which is specifically charged with long-range planning, began a new
strategic planning process in August 2006 designed to chart the course for RVCC for the next
several years. RVCC’s approach to strategic planning is to be inclusive of all constituencies of
the college and the community-at-large. The goals of the strategic planning process are to:



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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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      Re-evaluate educational mission
      Re-examine institutional priorities
      Preserve core values
      Effectively allocate resources
      Better serve stakeholders

The strategic planning process is as much an assessment process as it is a planning process. A
strategic planning committee, organized under the auspices of the Forum, is analyzing data and
debating the substance of the plan which will enable the College to strategically position itself
for the future. They will provide opportunities for the college community to receive preliminary
information, review drafts, and debate issues related to the development of the plan. This group
will work with data from environmental scans, institutional research, and community listening
sessions to help craft the Critical Success Factors (key focus areas) and to help design multi-year
goals that will allow RVCC to succeed. (Appendix L – Listening Session Results)

6.1 Strategic Planning Model

                        Strategic Planning Process


                                       Community
                                            &
                                         Student
                                    Listening Session
                                         Results
              Environmental                                   Front Door
                   Scan                                        Initiative
               Information                                    Responses
                                   Strategic Planning
                                       Committee



                          Institutional              Middle States
                            Research                   Feedback
                              Data                      Report




During the spring of 2006, as a prelude to strategic planning, RVCC faculty and staff formed six
environmental scanning teams, each with a particular area of focus. These teams worked together
to review data, reports, and other available information sources to identify trends that had a
likelihood of impacting the college. There are six areas in which trends were identified:
Demographics, Economics and Labor Force, Education, Lifestyles and Values, Politics, and
Science and Technology. Each team then analyzed ways in which the identified trends were
anticipated to impact the college and also developed appropriate possible actions to be taken to
minimize negative impact and capitalize on positive opportunities from each trend. (Appendix Q
- Environmental Scans)


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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In addition to these environmental scans, President Crabill held Community Listening Sessions
in 2006 where key stakeholders and students were invited to discuss the future of the College.
Responses addressed what the College is doing right, how RVCC can improve and what social
and economic changes are on the horizon that will impact RVCC. Also, starting in 2006 the
Front Door Committee was created and charged with making recommendations to improve our
front door services, i.e. all those processes and points of contact which impact a student’s
decision to attend this college. This committee will identify and define all areas that provide a
piece of the ―front door‖ and recommend revisions of policy, practice, supervision, location,
schedule, support, etc. to improve the overall condition and function of how the College
welcomes, processes and introduces students to RVCC.

As part of the final blueprint for the new Strategic Plan, each strategic goal has measurable
outcomes that correspond with the mission of the college. Each goal is specific, measurable and
follows a time-table for assessment of deliverables. The following is an illustration of the
linkages between strategic planning and resource allocation.

6.2 Linking Planning to Budget Model
                                 Linking Planning to Budget/Resources

                                                                        Strategic Planning Implementation Program
  External
  Environmental                                                         -Annual Operational Plan
  Analysis                                                                * Implementation Schedule
  - Environmental                                                         *Outcomes Assessment Plan
                           Identification of                                  - Outcomes identified
    Scan                   Strategic Drivers
  -Community &                                                                - Metrics identified
                           (with assumptions)                                 - Responsible department assigned
    Student Listening
    Sessions
  - Advisory Boards
                                                                              Resource Allocation
                                                                              - Budget
   Internal                                                                   - Academic Plan
   Environmental                    Strategic Planning Goals                  - HR Plan
   Assessment                       Desired Outcomes                          - Marketing & Recruitment Plan
   - Current Resources:             Prioritization Schedule                   - CCE Plan
      * Capital                                                               - Facilities & Technology Plan
        Major/Minor &
       Operating Budgets
      * Human                                                                    Annual Review
      * Technological                                          Annual            - Institutional Effectiveness Indicators
      * Facilities                                             Cycle             - Operational Plan Metrics
   - Policies &                                                                  - Program/Departmental
     Procedures               Identification of                                    Annual Reports
   Front Door                 Strengths &                                        - Program Review
     Initiative               Weaknesses                                         - Course Evaluation
   - Institutional                                                               - Student learning
     Research Data                                                                 Outcomes
   - Middle States
     Feedback Report                                                                 Annual BOT Retreat
                                 Full Evaluation Process                             - Evaluate
                                 Three-Year Strategic Planning Cycle                 - Begin Planning Cycle




Part of the strategic planning process is connecting budget allocations to college priorities. An
important step in allocating the operating budget is the process for conducting budget hearings
which was instituted in AY 2002 – 2003. Every department (academic and non-academic) has
the opportunity to present its budget to the Executive Staff in an open meeting. Any employee
may attend the budget hearings and ask questions. Once all departments are heard, the Executive
Staff has the task of allocating the operating budget to the departments within the framework of
the strategic plan. The most significant discussions involve requests for new employees, since


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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the employee payroll and benefits account for 66% of the operating budget. The Board of
Trustees entrusts the budgeting process to the President and the Executive Staff with the
provison that a 5% reserve be held for emergencies. The allocation of major capital supports the
goals of the facilities plan. The Board of Trustees works with the Executive Staff to implement
the facilities plan. A capital projects implementation schedule is developed, updated and
reviewed monthly by the Board. (Appendix X – Sample Capital Projects Implementation
Schedule) Minor capital is allocated to support departmental goals.




                “It is not the end point but the journey that is most important.”

                                       Joseph Campbell




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                                        References

Middle States Commission on Higher Education. (2001, October 28-30). Report to the Faculty,
      Administration, Trustees and Students of Raritan Valley Community College, Somerville,
      NJ 08876-1265. Philadelphia: Author.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education. (2006). Characteristics of Excellence in
      Higher Education. Philadelphia: Author.

Raritan Valley Community College (2003). 2003-2008 Strategic Plan. Somerville, NJ: Author.

Raritan Valley Community College. (2006). Board Policies Manual. Somerville, NJ: Author.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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                                    GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Academic Standards Committee – Forum Committee designed to review, revise and
recommend matters concerning the academic standing of a student.

Academic Support Center – the center for tutoring services located on the ground floor of the
Somerset building.

Accuplacer- an integrated testing, placement and reporting system used to evaluate students’
English and mathematics skills.

Baldrige Model for Excellence in Higher Education – an assessment framework that applies
educational criteria to performance outcomes.

Banner – an integrated administrative system with portal, information access, content
management and academic solutions.

Board of Trustees – the fifteen member governing board of RVCC. The Board is comprised of
3 sub-committees: Personnel and Programs, Finance and Facilities, and Audit.

Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism (CEV) – the division of RVCC that promotes
service, citizenship and volunteerism, and houses the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide
Studies and the Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice.

CLARUS Market Research – A market research firm that focuses on understanding the needs
and requirements of community colleges.

College for Working Adults – Accelerated Associate Degree in Business Administration
allowing students to take cohort classes on Friday nights and Saturdays.

Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) – a nationally normed tool for
assessing the quality of community college education.

Corporate and Continuing Education (CCE) - the non-credit division of RVCC offering
career-related job enhancement opportunities.

Curriculum/Program Advisory Boards – groups of industry and community partners who
provide information on the competition, market needs and expectations of customers in order to
inform college programming and curricular needs for the future.

Diversity and Inclusion Policy - Raritan Valley Community College serves a diverse
community in a world-wide economy. Educational experiences should contribute to a student’s
understanding of peoples, ideas, values, experiences, abilities, and cultures different from his/her
own. Raritan Valley Community College must provide exceptional educational opportunities to
its communities. The Board directs the President to work diligently to ensure that the college


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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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places a high value on diversity and that its programming, practices, and policies create a
genuine climate of inclusion, academic freedom and open intellectual inquiry.

English as a Second Language (ESL) – program providing developmental studies in English to
non-native speakers of the language.

Environmental Scan – a collection of data on the demographics, population changes and
competitors, and labor trends in the bi-county region used to anticipate growth and demand for
new programs.

Executive Staff – the President’s direct reports, including the Senior Vice President of
Academic Affairs, the Vice President of Finance and Facilities, the Vice President of Learning
and Technology Services, the Executive Director of Human Resources and the Deans of
Advancement and Corporate and Continuing Education.

Facilities Master Plan – the plan that tracks the progress of the facilities improvement projects
slated for the campus over the next twenty five years.

Fact Book – a compilation of RVCC statistics on enrollment, academics, faculty, student
satisfaction, survey results and financial history.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) – the federal law that protects the
privacy of student records.

Focus on Learning - Title III grant received by RVCC focusing on remedial education.

Forum – the college governance structure that serves as a recommending body to the President
and Executive staff. Standing committees of the Forum include Academic Standards, Committee
of the Faculty, Community Life, Curriculum, Educational Policy, Faculty Development, and
Administrative/Staff Development.

Franklin Center – RVCC’s satellite campus in Franklin offering the Franklin/Somerset
community credit and professional development programs.

Galileo – a series of programs and scholarships at RVCC intended to increase the enrollment of
math and science students in the bi-county area.

Graduation Survey – an attitudinal and service satisfaction survey administered to each
graduating class at RVCC.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies – an institute that promotes tolerance, understanding, and
compassion to ensure goodness will prevail over evil; serves as a repository of Holocaust and
genocide literature and audio/visual materials with outreach services; and evokes reflection and
remembrance while encouraging active community participation to build a more humane society.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders – the highest ranking governing officials of
Hunterdon County, consisting of five elected members, similar to county commissioners or
supervisors.

Individual Development and Educational Assessment Survey (IDEA) – a measure of student
motivation, effort and work habits.

Learning College - a new approach to higher education delivery that places learning first and
provides educational experiences to anyone, anytime, anyplace.

Lion’s Den – the college’s web communications portal serving faculty, staff, administration and
student needs.

National Community College Benchmarking Project – a national community college
benchmark and data collection reporting process.

Paul Robeson Institute – an institute founded to preserve the Paul Robeson legacy in the
community where he came of age as an artist, athlete, orator and scholar; and to promote ethics,
education and social justice.

Personal Assessment of the College Environment (PACE) – information from this data
collection is used to improve the quality of educational services and the overall college climate
environment.

Program Council - committee that oversees the creation, deletion or changes to all academic
programs.

Public Folders – the college’s intranet.

Quality New Jersey Feedback Report – the NJ Governor’s feedback report based on the
Baldrige Model for Excellence in Higher Education criteria.

Remedial education – the group of programs providing a foundation in reading, writing and
mathematics that prepare students to successfully complete college-level credit courses.

Service Learning – provides students with the unique opportunity of serving in the community
and receiving academic credit for their work.

Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders – the highest ranking governing officials of
Somerset County, consisting of five elected members, similar to county commissioners or
supervisors.

Student Enrollment Center – RVCC’s one stop student service center comprising the
Enrollment Services, Records and Registration, Financial Aid and Advising and Counseling
offices.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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Student Handbook – updated annually, the compendium of college policy and academic
procedure information, academic calendars and Code of Conduct rules and regulations for
students.

Strategic Plan – updated every five years, the Strategic Plan aligns new college initiatives with
the goals and resources to accomplish them.

Title III Grant– this federal Department of Education grant assists institutions of higher
education to improve and strengthen their academic quality, management and fiscal stability.

Transfer rate – the percentage of RVCC students, computed annually, who transfer to four-year
degree granting institutions nationwide.

University Center – the alternate means for students in our region to complete advanced degrees
from partner institutions without having to travel outside the bi-county area.

Virtual Campus – the online campus of RVCC, offering complete degrees and certificates
online, with no campus residency component.

Welcome Center – located on the ground floor of the College Center, the Welcome Center
provides information and gives directions.




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Middle States Periodic Review Report
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                                          ACRONYMS

(AAP)     Affirmative Action Plan

(APC)     Academic Program Council

(ARAA)    Annual Report of Assessment Activity

(ASC)     Academic Support Center

(CAPP)    Curriculum, Advising and Program Planning

(CCSSE) Community College Survey of Student Engagement

(CEV)     Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism

(CDM)     Clinical Data Management

(CQIN)    Continuous Quality Improvement Network

(CRA)     Clinical Research Associate

(CRC)     Clinical Research Coordinator

(CWA)     College for Working Adults

(HIT)     Health Information Technology

(IAP)     Individual Academic Plan

(IDEA)    Individual Development and Educational Assessment

(IPEDS)   Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

(NCCBP) National Community College Benchmarking Project

(OIRA)    Office of Institutional Research and Assessment

(PACE)    Personal Assessment of the College Environment

(PAS)     Peer Analysis System

(PPA)     Paid Professional Assignment



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