Category 5: Leading and Communicating

 

Reacting
Systematic
Aligned
Integrated
Isolated tasks and
activities address
immediate needs
Repeatable, proactive
processes with clear
and explicit goals
Stable, consciously
managed, regularly
evaluated
Regularly improved
through analysis,
innovation and sharing

MCC has a 90-year history of Leading and Communicating in Flint and Genesee County and is increasingly viewed as a leader institution in the two-year college network.  Over the past several years, this leadership has been recognized by numerous regional, state, and national organizations, including the Aspen Institute's Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  Integrated processes for leading and communicating are key to MCC's ability to perform its essential functions as outlined in the mission statement.

Strategic planning and revision of the mission statement demonstrate a great deal of continuity and consistency as outlined in 5P1.  MCC has used the same process to develop three consecutive 5-year strategic plans that now span the years 2001-2018, an impressive length of time given the average turnover of CEOs and executive leadership in higher education.  A number of leadership development activities take place through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and through the well-established Leadership group described in 5P2 and 5P3.

Since 2009, a number of MCC employees have attended Chair Academy worldwide leadership academy for college and university leaders.  Several past graduates of the Chair Academy also serve as formal mentors to new attendees to the 18-month Foundation Leadership Academy.  MCC employees have attended other leadership development programs, and a number of faculty and administrators use StrengthsQuest tools to formulate and lead work teams on campus.  Some faculty even engage student groups with StrengthsQuest.  Data and decision making remains a highly-developed strength of MCC through its business intelligence and data warehousing practices.  Increasingly college problems and issues are solved through disciplined use of MCC's growing data warehouse and Cognos business intelligence reporting tools.

Recently, a Cultural Values Team was assembled to implement the recommendation of an AQIP Action Project.  This group was charged with developing a Cultural Values Statement for MCC.  The statement, which appears in 5P1 and is explained in greater detail in 5I1, was formally adopted by the college and is being marketed to college students, faculty and staff to promote civility and respect in the MCC community.

One of the more significant AQIP Action Projects to study an internal student success problem (developmental education and mandatory placement) resulted in the college President launching a community effort to address literacy issues in the surrounding community.  In response to issues raised about MCC, the President formed an external effort to unite and align local organizations that promote literacy policy and training in the surrounding community.  The result was a the President's Literacy Summit, held in October of 2013 which is described in 5I2.

In summary, the activities and results described for Leading and Communicating indicate that MCC is performing in an Integrated manner that is regularly improved through analysis, innovation and sharing.

5P1MCC’s Mission, Vision and Values.As part of the strategic planning processes in 2001, 2006, and 2012, the same college President has led the entire institution through an extensive exercise in mission evaluation and development.  Significant changes were made to MCC's mission statement in 2001; an abbreviated process to revisit the mission was conducted during the strategic planning process in 2006; a tightening and revision of the existing mission was undertaken in 2012.  All three processes used information gathered during community town hall meetings, internal open forums, and surveys that specifically engaged stakeholder input and review in the mission statement.  Most recently, MCC used a "refresh" process to slightly alter the mission and strategic goals as detailed in the Institutional Overview and 8P1 below.

CC1A.

(1) The current mission statement is the culmination of efforts that began as part of the strategic planning processes in 2001 and 2006.  In 2001, significant changes were made to the mission statement.  In 2006, an abbreviated process to revisit the mission was conducted and also involved the input of key stakeholders.  During this year, an effort was made to shorten the statement.  400 people, including community members, students, faculty, members of the Board, and staff completed a survey where they were asked to choose the best mission statement.   The two most popular statements were identified from this survey and the EC choose one to recommend to the Board of Trustees for adoption.  The mission statement appears in Figure IO-1 on the first page of this Portfolio.

Despite the long-standing nature of a formally-adopted mission statement, MCC has never had a statement of organizational values.  One of the major recommendations of a previous AQIP Action Project on Campus Cultural/Behavioral Readiness was the creation of an institutional values statement.  This team was formed to study the behavioral concerns, cultural expectations, and interpersonal management skills required of students in a diverse college setting.  In addition, the team studied ways to improve students' ability to understand and meet college expectations such as how to respectfully deal with peers, faculty, and staff (e.g. campus civility).  As reported in the outcome section of the AQIP Action Project Directory, this team has made its formal recommendations to the President and Executive Cabinet.  The team's recommendations fell into the following major categories:

  • Formation of a team to write a cultural values statement for MCC
  • Enhancements to New Student Orientation
  • Increased training for faculty/staff of behavior management

The team's first recommendation to create a "cultural values statement" for Mott Community College has been accomplished.  This team was co-chaired by a faculty member from the Fine Arts/Social Sciences division and a staff member for the Office of the Registrar.  The faculty co-chair was also a member of the original Action Project team.   The statement has been submitted to the President and Executive Cabinet, universally approved and communicated to the entire college community during an all-employee breakfast in September 2013.  The President presented the newly-adopted statement to the college community himself.  The statement appears below:

Mott Community College faculty, staff and students are dedicated to creating a positive learning environment through appropriate appearance, responsible behavior, and respectful communication.

Figure 5-1 Mott Community College Cultural Values Statement

The development of this statement is an example of leading and communicating.  Given the sensitive and culturally-specific nature of its topic, this team took great effort to involve a wide segment of the college community in the topic of civility and behavioral concerns on campus.  Three separate "Civility" surveys were deployed, one targeting faculty, the second targeting staff, and the third targeting students.  Results were analyzed and cross tabulated to determine priority/severity of certain issues and then presented at faculty meetings.  Team members presented an "update" at two separate faculty meetings.  Additional qualitative responses were collected at the meeting (a microphone was passed around and responses were captured in real time by typing them on a screen during the meeting).

Input on "civility statements" in course syllabi were solicited from all college faculty and compiled as part of the team's research activities.  In addition to team activities, the actual membership represents a broad involvement of the campus community.  One of the co-chairs of this team is a former president of the faculty association and current honors coordinator and faculty counselor; the other is a dean of workforce development with extensive experience in non-credit and first-time college students.  Membership on the team included a wide range of faculty, as well as administrators and staff from Academic Affairs and Student Services.  A detailed explanation with the expectations and examples that were provided by the team appears in 5I1 below.

CC1A.

(2)  MCC's mission statement embodies the traditional role that community colleges play in society.  This mission is the cornerstone of all of the college's operations, including our academic programs and student support services. 

For instance, one of the ways in which Mott "cultivates student success and individual development" pursuant to the mission statement, is to help prepare students for university transfer.  Students seeking to transfer to a university can complete an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Fine Arts, an Associate in General Studies or an Associate in Science degree.  These degrees allow students to complete general education and liberal studies credits that are accepted at most transfer institutions. 

Further, Mott also has been committed to creating occupational programs that lead to gainful employment.  This "cultivates student success and individual development" as well as, "improves the overall quality of life in a multi-cultural community" by helping to create a local educated workforce.  Students seeking immediate employment can complete an Associate of Applied Science Degree in specialized areas such as health, business, human service and industry. A complete list of programs is available here: http://www.mcc.edu/programs_courses/assocdegree.php  

MCC also offers Certificates of Achievement.  These programs generally require one year of full-time coursework and are designed to help students gain entry-level jobs.  Programs of study include Computer Applications Specialist and Dental Assisting.  A complete list of programs is available here:
http://www.mcc.edu/programs_courses/certificates.php

In addition to our academic programs, MCC has several student support services in place to aid in student success.  For instance, MCC's Counseling and Student Development Division (CASD) assists students in developing an academic plan for success, planning their career, preparing for graduation, deciding upon a major and choosing what classes to take. In addition, CASD is there to assist students with personal or health concerns. 

The Student Employment Center is there to help students and alumni find jobs.  Some student's work on campus as Student Assistants or Student Ambassadors and others get assistance finding off-campus employment.

MCC's Learning Center offers several types of student support.  This Center houses the federally funded TRIO-SSS program which is designed to support and encourage eligible students transferring to a four-year institution.  Qualifying students have a variety of free services available to them including a laptop loan program, financial assistance and professional tutoring.   In addition, the Learning Center offers a Perkins program to assist disadvantaged students in occupational programs.  Students are eligible if they have a disability, are economically disadvantaged, are a single parent, a displaced homemaker or someone struggling with English proficiency.  Qualifying students can receive mentoring, professional and peer tutoring, peer academic coaching and attend workshops. 

MCC's Disability services office works collaboratively with students, faculty and staff to create an inclusive educational environment for students.  They provide accommodations, services and auxiliary aids to students with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973).  The office aids students with several disabilities such as Autism spectrum disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. 

Finally, MCC provides several other services to help with student academic success.  The humanities division operates a Writing Center, which provides students with one-on-one guidance as they complete writing assignments.  The Math empowerment center was created to offer free math support to students.  They offer drop in math tutoring and a place to work on math homework and get help as problems arise.

(3) The annual budget represents the programmatic direction and vision of the college.  It is also designed to meet both the legal requirements and the needs of the college.

5P2 and 5P3 Leadership Direction Toward Mission, Vision, and Values.Consistent and stable direction toward mission and goals is set during the 5-year strategic planning process and annual objectives process.  For the past three strategic planning cycles, the entire plan with strategic objectives is printed in a tri-fold brochure that is widely available throughout the college.  Leadership for the strategic planning process comes from the Office of the President; the facilitation of the plan development comes from the department of Planning, Research & Quality Initiatives.  Copies of the plan are distributed to the college community—particularly the managers of functional areas of the college—throughout the year by the President. 

The newly-developed Cultural Values Statement (Figure 5-1 above) is also widely promoted by the President, who has chosen to empower the team that wrote the statement to take charge of marketing and promotion efforts for the statement.  Employees are promoting the statement in a variety of ways by displaying it in public spaces, and reprinting it on syllabi and e-mail signatures.  In addition, a campaign promotion to run the statement on MCC's closed circuit InfoChannel TV monitor system is planned.

Another vehicle of communication with and among leaders at MCC is the Monthly Leadership Group Meeting, a training and development feature organized by the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).  The following table reprints the purpose statement of the group, which appears on every agenda:

PURPOSE:  To provide a setting where the needs of managers and supervisors, as the college's leadership/management team, can be addressed.  Identified needs include:

  • Sharing information about plans and activities at the College so the management team can support College direction and one another.
    • Sharing information with one another in advance to enable members of the leadership team to provide information to other team members about how their operation might be impacted or how their operation can help the manager initiating action.  Goal is to have managers knowledgeable about developments first so they can respond to questions.
    • Sharing information with one another in advance so team members can work with their departments to assess the impact of anticipated changes and to prepare for them.
  • Providing learning opportunities focused on developing and improving supervisory, managerial and leadership skills and knowledge, including the opportunity to learn from one another.
  • Sharing information about new employees.
Figure 5-2 Monthly Leadership Group Meeting Purpose Statement

One key way in which all of the above directions take student and stakeholder needs and expectations into account is through the conscious use of the AQIP categories.  Since adopting AQIP in 2005, MCC's leaders have used the AQIP categories to set strategic direction and communicate priorities.  Even prior to becoming an AQIP institution, MCC used the 9 categories to organize the 2001 strategic plan, a practice that continued through the 2007 and 2013 plan documents.  The familiar model used by AQIP to illustrate the categories, reprinted here, has been an extremely useful visual aid in communicating the centrality of student learning.  This framework was printed in every version of the strategic plan, and has been part of every AQIP presentation to the college and surrounding community:

AQIP Quality Category Framework
Figure 5-3 AQIP Quality Category Framework

The CQI orientation built into the framework is something a wide group of college leaders are attempting to model as a direction through Action Project team activities, presentations, and strategic planning documents.  This graphic appears in several college-wide presentations throughout the year.  The AQIP Quality Category Framework is also prominently featured on MCC's quality program web page, which may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/aqip/aqip_index.shtml

CC1B.   

(1) MCC's mission is articulated best through the institution's Five-Year Strategic Plan.  As detailed in 5A, the Strategic Plan contains initiatives directly reflective of the mission statement.  These documents are all made public on the institutions website and can be found here: http://www.mcc.edu/about/about_stratplan.shtml

On the level of the Board of Trustees and Executive Cabinet (EC), the mission statement of the college is central to most decisions and formal structures for policy making.  The mission statement of the college is printed on all agendas of the Board of Trustees committee of the whole meetings; it also appears on the agenda for the Board's two subcommittees: Finance and Personnel. 

CC2C.

 (1) The Board holds its meetings in accordance with the Open Meetings Act of 1976, retaining records of meeting minutes and activities.  Examination of these records indicates that Board deliberations are indicative of the commitment of Board members to preserve and enhance the institution.  Board meeting minutes can be accessed here: http://www.mcc.edu/about/about_board_minutes.shtml

(2) The governing board reviews and considers the reasonable and relevant interests of the institution's internal and external constituencies during its decision- making deliberations.

   Board policy 1241 states that, "the Board acknowledges the institution's responsibility to seek community input from a wide range of community stakeholders" and consequentially, the Board structures its own meetings and activities to facilitate community access pursuant to the Open Meetings Act of 1976.

(3)  Board policy 1361 states that, "Board members must maintain un-conflicted loyalty to the interests of the citizens of the College District. This accountability supersedes any conflicting loyalty such as that to advocacy or private interest groups or membership on other boards or staff….a Board member's first and foremost obligation when confronted with issues supported by special or private interest groups is to represent and act only in the best interests of the College." 

Further, policy 1361 has a process in place for dealing with Board members who have a potential conflict of interest, whereby anyone believing that he or she has information indicating that a Board member has a conflict of interest shall make a written disclosure of the facts and circumstances to the Board Chairperson, who is then able to take appropriate action.

(4) The governing board delegates day-to-day management of the institution to the administration and expects the faculty to oversee academic matters.

The governing board retains only three standing committees.  First, a finance/audit committee is responsible for the general oversight of the various funds of the college and other issues are areas that have financial implications for the college.  These take the form of monthly financial statements, reports from the President or staff, annual audits and other information deemed appropriate.  Second, a personnel committee is responsible for the oversight of the College personnel policy decisions including personnel related activities and needs.  Finally, the board policy committee is responsible for the drafting of new policies as well as review of existing policies as needed, in consultation with the President. 

Outside of these committees, all of the day-to-day operations of the institution are left to administration and faculty.  For instance, internal matters are generally left to Academic Affairs, Student Services, and the College Professional Study Committee (CPSC), which is made up of members of the administration and faculty exclusively.

While setting institutional priorities and allocating resources, the Executive Cabinet routinely uses the mission statement and its associated 5-Year Strategic Plan as a guide.

CC5C.

(1) As described in category 8 core component 5A, when the Board considers the upcoming budget, they are aware of the administration's plans to implement the initiatives put forth in the institution's Five-Year Strategic Plan and take these into consideration when allocating resources.  In addition, Board policy 3920 states that, "financial resources will be allocated to purposes consistent with the College mission, current strategic plan, grand requirements and conditions of special gifts and bequests." The full text can be accessed here: http://www.mcc.edu/board_policies/3000.shtml#bp3920

(2) The institution links its processes for assessment of student learning, evaluation of operations, planning and budgeting.  As discussed in Category 8, the Board oversees all of these processes. 

(3) As described in detail in Category 8, MCC has used an inclusive process of stakeholder input for the development of institutional priorities.  In addition, Board policy 3920 states that, "Input from College staff will be sought in the development of the institution's strategic plan, programs and facilities needs.

5P4Seeking Future Opportunities.Managers in both academic and non-academic areas engage in a variety of activities that scan for future opportunities for the development of programs and services that support the organization's mission.  Participation in state and national professional organizations, subscriptions to e-mail lists and journals, as well as conference travel and site visits afford faculty and staff the opportunity to respond to future trends and seize emerging opportunities.  In addition, MCC conducts environmental scans as part of its strategic planning process.  These future-oriented activities afford leaders with the knowledge and direction to guide the organization toward opportunities that enhance a strong commitment to student learning.

5P5Organizational Decision Making.Apart from the MCC Board of Trustees, which sets policy and broad strategic direction for the college, MCC utilizes a number of teams, task forces, work groups, and committees to make decisions or recommend courses of action.  Chief among these is the President's Executive Cabinet (EC).  Comprised of executive managers from across the institution, EC makes top-level recommendations to the President for action.  Another long-standing body that makes important decisions at MCC is the College Professional Study Committee (CPSC).  MCC's equivalent of a faculty senate, CPSC is made up of faculty and administrative representatives and has standing committees for Academic Affairs, Curriculum, and Distance Learning.  Ad-hoc committees—such as Academic Dishonesty or General Education—are formed periodically on an as-needed basis. 

Since becoming an AQIP institution, MCC has maintained formal Action Project teams that use a formal CQI process to study issues and make recommendations to the President.  For a detailed description of MCC's AQIP Action Projects, including the current status of their work, see 8P3 below.

CC5B. 

(1)  MCC engages its internal constituencies in the institution's governance in several ways.  First, as described in detail under 2C(4), the Board has two subcommittees, Personnel and Finance that review and recommend to the Committee of the Whole.  Second, the College Professional Study Committee (CPSC) sets academic policy such as class size and course prerequisites.  This committee is created through the faculty CBA and has members from both the faculty and administration.  In addition, the institution has many standing advisory committees made up of faculty and staff, which recommend numerous college processes.  These include the Wellness Advisory Committee, the Professional Development Advisory Committee, Experiential Learning Advisory Committee, Developmental Education Steering Committee and the College Life Enhancement Fund Committee.

(2) In order to ensure that the governing board is knowledgeable, Board policy 1330 states that, "New board members are required to participate in an appropriate orientation program designed to acquaint them with the College, Board operating procedures, policy, duties and responsibilities.  Additionally, budgets, audit reports and collective bargaining agreements will be provided to the new Board members for review."
http://www.mcc.edu/board_policies/1000.shtml#bp1330

Further, the Board of Trustees is encouraged to participate in educational activities that enhance their ability to govern effectively as community college trustees.  This policy reflects the Board's belief that well-informed trustees are better able to make informed decisions on the many issues confronting them:
 http://www.mcc.edu/board_policies/1000.shtml#bp1330

The decision to pursue the AQIP model of accreditation, for example, was based on the work of an exploratory committee entitled the Accreditation Recommendation Committee (ARC), which was formed for the specific purpose of making a recommendation to the President and Executive Cabinet.  Members of the committee attended the 2005 AQIP Colloquium and brought materials and ideas back to campus.  The ARC held formal and informal meetings on campus and eventually recommended that MCC begin the self-evaluation process to become an AQIP institution.  The President also periodically convenes a group entitled the President's Advisory Council (PAC) for input on funding measures which will require community support.  Comprised of community members and MCC employees, this group disbands once the Board of Trustees decides to place a funding measure—such as a bond authorization or millage question—on a public ballot.

5P6Use of Data in Decision Making.A wide variety of data are used in decision making at MCC.  Much of the data resides in the college's Enterprise Resource Platform (ERP) system, Datatel Colleague.  The college's data are available for use by team leaders, managers, and other college employees through queries on live data in Colleague, as well as queries through MCC's business intelligence software, Cognos, which can query live data or MCC's data warehouse.  A variety of standing work teams and operational areas of the college make regular use of these data to set departmental priorities, allocate financial and staffing resources, and evaluate programs for expansion, modification or deletion.  MCC's ERP and data warehouse architecture is represented in the following figure:

MCC ERP Database/Data Warehouse Architecture
Figure 5-4 MCC ERP Database/Data Warehouse Architecture

In addition to direct analytics that target live or archived data to support decision making, MCC's Institutional Research department maintains a large number of reports that drive internal decisions.  Cataloged in MCC's Cognos environment, these data are described in detail in 7P1 and 7P2 below. 

CC5C. 

(4) Board Policy 3920 states that, "Long-term financial forecasts will be developed with underlying rationale and clearly stated assumptions to protect assets through adequate fiscal resources."  In addition, it states that, "The Board will designate and set aside appropriate fund reserves to support plans for long-term capital and operating commitments."

The institution monitors all sources of revenue including enrollment patterns and state aid.  This information is then presented to the Board as well as to the employees in an open forum.  This year's open forum presentation and data on funding trends can be accessed here
: http://www.mcc.edu/accounting/ppt_acct/brd_present_06-25-12.ppsx

(5)  MCC anticipates emerging factors and incorporates them into the planning process.  For instance, in order to help students be successful in the globalized economy, the Strategic Plan state that Mott will "Monitor global markets for emerging fields of study that will bring new opportunities for students, the community and the region." In addition, the institution adopted global awareness as one of its general education goals.

5P7and5P8Internal Communication. A comprehensive set of internal communication methods are used at MCC to connect faculty, staff and students in productive collaboration.  MCC maintains state of the art e-mail, telephone, and collaboration software such as GMail, GoogleDocs, and the other tools that are part of Google Apps for Education such as Chat, Forms, Drive, etc.  While all employees still maintain access to telephone and voice mail, many employees communicate primarily through e-mail and Google chat in between their face-to-face interactions. 

As described in 6I1 below, Information Technology Services (ITS) recently rolled out a new web portal for MCC employees and students called "MCC4me"in August of 2013.  The name for the portal was suggested by a faculty member in the Technology Division; the winning name was chosen as part of a contest.  MCC4me is MCC's first step in transition to a "portal" orientation for internal and external web-based services.  It will be a single sign-on environment for college news, e-mail, WebAdvisor, BlackBoard, grades and attendance submission, etc.

Meetings are still a vital part of the communication culture at MCC.  In addition to the Monthly Leadership Group Meetings described in 5P2 and 5P3 above, the President maintains regular meetings with the leadership of MCC's employee unions.  The President also hosts frequent open forums for all employees.  Hosted periodically by the President, these meetings are scheduled on an ad-hoc basis to address important developments facing the entire college community.  In recent years, most of these employee open forums have focused on budgeting, finance, and labor relations issues. 

CC1B. 

(2) The Strategic-Plan is a five-year process, with the most recent starting in 2013.  The plan identifies overarching goals and identifies particular strategies to help meet the overarching goals.  For example, one of the 2013-2018 overarching goals is Student Learning and Success.   Specific strategies include, "utilize research to assess and develop curriculum to meet the needs of students, employers, the community and transfer institutions," and "develop pathways that support the timely completion of degrees for all students."  In all, there are 27 overarching goals, each with a list of strategies explaining the strategies that will be emphasized to reach those goals.

(3) Both the mission statement itself and the strategic plan identify MCC students and the community as a whole as the intended constituents of the institution's services. 

The President also used open forums to engage the wider college community on issues related to AQIP and strategic planning.  The strategic planning process is the most recognizable manner in which leaders communicate a shared mission as it relates to the performance of the institution as a whole.  The strategic planning process is described in detail in 8P1 below.

MCC publishes a monthly newsletter entitled the Connection.  Articles include feature stories, a column entitled "Around Campus" listing recent activities and accomplishments of MCC faculty and staff, "News You Can Use," and a monthly events calendar.  Archived editions of the Connection from 2004 to the present may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/pdf/connection_nwsltr/connection_nwsltr_archive.shtml

5P9Leadership Development.A variety of leadership abilities are encouraged and developed among faculty through the activities of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), described above in 1P11.  MCC communicates and shares leadership skills and best practices among college managers through regular meetings of the monthly Leadership Group, described in 5P2 and 5P3 above.  At present, MCC has no other formal processes for the development of leadership knowledge and abilities for staff.

CC5B. 

(3)  As described in 5B(1), MCC's College Professional Study Committee (CPSC) is made up of faculty and administrative representatives.  This committee also has standing committees for Academic Affairs and Curriculum.  Other committees reporting to CPSC include Distance Learning and Academic Computing.  Meetings of this committee and its subcommittees are open to any member of the college.  In addition, any faculty member, student or administrator can originate proposals for subjects of study.

5P10Maintenance of Mission, Vision and Values.Another key mechanism for the maintenance of MCC's mission is the policies of the MCC Board of Trustees.  At the governance level, terms of office for the 7-member Board of Trustees are 6 years and staggered to ensure continuity.  There has also been relatively little turnover in senior management.  The Board recently completed a comprehensive revision of standing Board policies.  A complete directory of all Board policies, which are published prominently on the college's web site, may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/board_policies/policy_index.shtml

The college mission statement is printed on nearly every official MCC publication, and the mission and values of MCC has been included in every job posting and recruitment document for many years.  The following table is an example of the manner in which Human Resources incorporates MCC's mission in the hiring process:

Why would I want to work at Mott Community College?

Since being founded in 1923, Mott Community College (MCC) has established a tradition of excellence and has grown to become the largest college in the Flint/Genesee County region. In 2011, the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization, ranked MCC among the top 10 percent of community colleges in the nation. Mott maintains a high level of integrity in its practices and relationships both internally and externally. The College's most important resources are the students it serves and the employees who provide those services. The College recognizes that educational experience is enriched through the interaction between students and employees of differing sex, race, ethnic background and abilities. Every effort is made to encourage and promote diversity at the College.
Figure 5-5 Example of MCC’s Mission in Employment Opportunities FAQ

This paragraph appears as the first question/answer in and informational FAQ document which may be accessed here:
http://www.mcc.edu/hr/hr_employmentopps_faq.shtml

5R1 and 5R2 Measures and Results for Leading and Communicating.As part of the recent development of the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, MCC contracted with widely-respected polling firm EPIC-MRA to conduct a comprehensive community perception survey for Mott Community College.  Between the dates of June 16-19, 2013, EPIC-MRA surveyed 400 Genesee County citizens using live telephone interviews.  Results from the perception survey were overwhelmingly positive in the areas of Leading and Communicating.  Two questions that asked respondents to rate the importance of MCC in overall quality of life and economic development yielded "important" ratings above 90%.

Question Very Important Somewhat Important Of Little Importance Not Important Undecided/Refused Total Important
5. How important would you say MCC is to the overall quality of life in Genesee County? 74% 23% 1% 1% 1% 97%
6. How important do you feel MCC is to Genesee County's economic development? 72% 20% 3% 2% 3% 92%
Figure 5-5 EPIC-MRA Strategic Planning Survey / Importance and Impact (June 2013)

The survey also asked respondents to rate the performance of MCC at fulfilling its stated mission and the handling of tax dollars and community resources.  These results were exceedingly positive as well.

Question Excellent Good Just Fair Poor Undecided/Refused Total Positive
4. Generally, how would you rate MCC for its ability to meet the educational needs of people in Genesee County? 45% 42% 4% 0% 9% 87%
8. MCC is supported by student tuition, student fees for technical courses, some state funds and local property taxes for operations.  Knowing this, how would you rate the college's handling of your tax dollars? 21% 52% 11% 2% 14% 73%
Figure 5-5 EPIC-MRA Strategic Planning Survey / Rating of MCC (June 2013)

5R3Benchmarking Leading and Communicating. MCC has been searching for ways to effectively benchmark its efforts in leadership and communication.  As reported in 2009, MCC perceives Category 5 to be an institutional strength but had not identified common metrics for comparison.  The results from the EPIC-MRA poll on community perception indicate strong performance, but they are not common measures for comparison with other institutions.

In researching what other effective AQIP institutions use to benchmark for leadership and communication, MCC identified the National Initiative for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness (NILE) Personal Assessment of the College Environment survey (NILE-PACE).  In early 2014, MCC will administer a campus climate survey such as NILE-PACE for the first time.  Other institutions use this instrument to regularly assess and compare their performance to that of other institutions.  The NILE-PACE metrics have been viewed as a "Strength" by AQIP Systems Appraisers (Moraine Park Technical College is one recent example).  For example, the following PACE items can serve to benchmark for leadership:
1. The extent to which the actions of this institution reflect its mission
2. The extent to which my supervisor expresses confidence in my work
4. The extent to which decisions are made at the appropriate level at this institution
5. The extent to which the institution effectively promotes diversity in the workplace
6. The extent to which administrative leadership is focused on meeting the needs of students
15. The extent to which I am able to appropriately influence the direction of this institution
22. The extent to which this institution has been successful in positively motivating my performance
29. The extent to which institution‐wide policies guide my work
44. The extent to which my work is guided by clearly defined administrative processes

Other institutions use the following measures for benchmarking communication:
9. The extent to which my supervisor is open to the ideas, opinions and beliefs of everyone
10. The extent to which information is shared within the institution
12. The extent to which positive work expectations are communicated to me
13. The extent to which unacceptable behaviors are identified and communicated to me
16. The extent to which open and ethical communication is practiced at this institution
20. The extent to which I receive timely feedback for my work
21. The extent to which I receive appropriate feedback for my work
24. The extent to which there is an opportunity for all ideas to be exchanged within my work team
30. The extent to which work outcomes are clarified for me
33. The extent to which my work team provides an environment for free and open expression of ideas, opinions and beliefs
41. The extent to which I receive adequate information regarding important activities at this institution
45. The extent to which I have the opportunity to express my ideas in appropriate forums

While MCC has not yet administered NILE-PACE, our plan is to utilize metrics like these and others will in order to close the present gap for benchmark measures that assess leadership and communication.

5I1 Recent Improvements in Leading and Communicating.One powerful example of a recent improvement in leading and communicating is the work of the Cultural Values Statement team.  Described in 5P1 above, this team developed an institution-wide cultural values statement and the following expectations and examples for campus behavior for faculty, students and staff.

EXPECTATIONS EXAMPLES
APPROPRIATE APPEARANCE
  • Dress for success!
  • Wear clothing that is appropriate for the setting, task or activity. Dress codes may be required for specific programs, courses or jobs.
  • Respect dress and/or adornments which reflect characteristics or expectations of one's religion, ethnicity or culture.
  • Wear clothing and apparel that contributes positively to the campus climate and learning environment. Be considerate of how your appearance may impact others.
Examples of Inappropriate Attire Include
  • Underwear as outerwear.
  • Excessive fragrance/odor.
  • Pajamas as daywear.
  • Revealing clothing.
  • Clothing with symbols/colors/styles which promote intimidation, violence or exploitation.
RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR
  • Observe regulations and rules of the College.
  • Be considerate of how one's behavior impacts others.
  • Create a positive learning and working environment in and out of the classroom/office by respecting diverse opinions and viewpoints.
  • Show respect for one another by using appropriate time management skills; by being punctual to class, work and meetings; and arriving prepared for such.
In Public Places
  • Monitor volume as well as choice of words.
  • Avoid profanity.
  • Avoid horseplay/running.
  • Be aware of traffic flow in hallways, stairways, sidewalks and roadways.
  • Place trash/litter in the proper receptacles.
RESPECTFUL COMMUNICATION
  • Communicate in a positive manner.
  • Follow processes for dispute resolution and conduct themselves in a respectful manner.
  • Communicate with one another on the telephone, through email or in-person using respectful language.
  • Use appropriate, non-threatening language when disagreeing with one another and resolve differences calmly. Keep in mind that it is not always what we say, but how we say it.
  • Help students and others express their diverse opinions through open dialogue. This is a learning environment where everyone should be encouraged to find their own individual voice while mutually respecting others.
  • Exercise professional etiquette with digital devices.
Professional Etiquette for Digital Devices
  • Conclude a telephone call/text message before greeting a customer or receiving service.
  • Obtain permission to take someone's picture.
  • Limit electronic device usage to outside of the office or classroom (unless directed by your instructor).
  • Only using laptops in the classroom for educational purposes.
Figure 5-5 MCC Cultural Values Statement / Expanded Definitions and Examples 2013

The Cultural Values Statement team was created as the primary recommendation of an AQIP Action Project studying non-academic factors for student retention and success.  Based on a number of surveys deployed to staff, faculty and students in 2009, the AQIP team recommended that a cross-functional group of employees work to develop a values statement for MCC.  The surveys and results used by the AQIP team in 2009 were discussed at length in the 2009 Systems Portfolio.

Many of the survey item results pointed toward appearance, behavior and communication as primary issues in campus civility.  The challenge for the cultural values team was to craft as statement the campus culture could aspire to without dictating any particular cultural practice (or singling out behavior that unfairly targeted a specific group).  One example that appeared in the survey results was "sagging pants," a complicated fashion/cultural dress.  The statement crafted by the team does address appropriate appearance, including dress, but does not single out a particular practice.  For this reason, the work of the team has been accepted in a very positive fashion.  In many ways, the new Cultural Values Statement can be seen as the "positive" version of MCC's Student Code of Conduct; in other words, the statement does not tell students, faculty and staff what not to do, but rather what expectations we all share as an MCC community.

5I2 Improvement Efforts for Leading and Communicating.A recent and powerful example of the impact that AQIP has had on MCC's leadership and communication is the 2013 President's Literacy Summit.  After hearing the recommendations of the AQIP Action Project on Developmental Education/Mandatory Placement, the college President became interested in what community organizations in MCC's service district were doing to address literacy issues in the greater geographical area surrounding Flint and Genesee County.  He began by hosting a breakfast meeting at MCC for higher education, K-12, community non-profit and faith-based leaders.  This grew into a partnership with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce that culminated in The Flint & Genesee Literacy and Basic Skills Network.  Recently the President asked this group to document answers to the following questions:

  1. Describe the most critical literacy priorities in our community.  (Share examples, stories, and facts that support the need for literacy action in our community.)
  2. What action do we need to take within our community, region, and state to target this problem?
  3. What programs and services currently exist in our community? What can you or your organization bring to the table?
  4. What additional resources are needed?
  5. How do we communicate/market these programs and services to the community?  How do we target those individuals in need of programs and services?

In September 2012, this culminated into a publication entitled, "Solving Flint & Genesee's Basic Skills Crisis."  The report urges collective impact calls for the greater community:

  1. commitment to a shared goal;
  2. use of common measures;
  3. aligning services among multiple agencies to help reach the shared goal;
  4. active, highly visible communication about the goal and progress towards it; and
  5. an organization that serves as the "backbone" to provide support to the collaborating partners.

The founding partners of the Network have committed to this Collective Impact strategy.  Mott Community College has agreed to serve as the initial backbone organization that will support the Network's efforts. Connecting educational programs to one another to ensure efficient and effective transitions from basic skills education to postsecondary education and training requires strong relationships among community-based organizations, basic skills providers, and postsecondary institutions. These partners currently provide services in the area, care deeply about these issues, have trust and relationships in the community, and are trying to overcome similar challenges individually.  The opportunity here is to provide the leadership, time, resources and space needed for these partners to work together to ensure alignment among them that creates clear pathways that articulate from low basic skills to postsecondary education.

Effective programs also require faculty who can align basic skills training with the skills learners will need to move on to occupational training and who can contextualize basic skills training to the occupational content and employment opportunities learners will encounter as they continue their studies and move into careers. These institutions can often share their areas of expertise among themselves using a framework where each partner sees themselves as providing specialized services along well-connected pathways that connect learners to a full range of services.