Category 3: Understanding Students’ and Other Stakeholders’ Needs

 

3P1 Identification of Changing Student Needs. Changing student needs are identified through a variety of avenues: professional regional and national conferences, memberships in national student service and academic affairs organizations, direct surveys of new and continuing student opinions, continuous analysis of inquiries coming in through the College Information Center (CIC), as well as feedback from faculty and student government representatives. Analysis and action plans are developed using a team approach with the participation of all levels of staff. Data from internal and external sources are uses as well as environmental realities such budget, staffing and technology resources. Managers develop annual and short term goals and objectives which are reported on monthly.

3P2Student Relationships. Relationship building with students begins with the first person to person contact students. In most cases, that individual is an admissions professional, counselor/advisor or program coordinator. Students are encouraged to join and participate in organized student clubs which are associated with various degree and certificate programs. For a detailed discussion of student organizations, see 1P10 and 1P16 above. Students are also informally mentored by college faculty and staff. Surveys that are conducted regularly are listed in the following table:

Survey Title Audience Time Frame Description
Survey of New Students First Semester (First Time At Mott) students Fall Semester Paper Surveys mailed to sub-group of New Students (those who received specialized services and/or interventions; On-Line Survey link emailed to remainder of New Students.
Current Student Satisfaction Survey Currently Enrolled students Fall Semester On-line, open to all currently enrolled students, deployment coincides with Fall Final Grades period.
Student Evaluation Of Instructor Survey (SIEF) Students in selected classes Last two weeks of each semester Paper Surveys provided in secure packets, administered in classroom. On-Line version used for Distance Learning classes.
Exit Survey Applicants for Graduation May of each year Paper Survey mailed with cover letter (First Class) and link to On-Line version included in letter.
Graduate Follow-Up Survey Associate Degree and Certificate recipients Twice per year: Oct/Dec Feb/March Paper Survey mailed with cover letter (First Class) and link to On-Line version included in letter.
Leaver Survey Students who have left the college without receiving a degree or certificate. Twice per year: Oct/Dec Feb/March Paper Survey mailed with cover letter (First Class) and link to On-Line version included in letter.
Figure 3-1 Regularly Deployed Internal Surveys at MCC

Students are recruited and encouraged to serve on standing committees. The office of Student Life is charged with the mission of developing student leaders and providing opportunities for students to interact with college administrators including the Board of Trustees. The President of the college has established and maintained a continuing dialogue with students along with his executive staff in open “town hall” type meetings held several times a year on the main campus and all extension sites.

Students are welcomed by the senior administrators in Student Services and are encouraged to stop in with questions, concerns or just to chat. Student Service offices are designed to be visible, open and approachable. Glass walls were selected when remodeling was done to the main and upper levels of the Student Service Building. This design encourages interaction and also draws students into staff offices. Relationships are also formed and nurtured through use of student employees. Student employees become liaisons to the broader student body and constitute a valuable communication resource.

3P3and3P4Stakeholder Group Needs and Relationships. MCC communicates its mission to students and stakeholders by printing or linking to the college mission statement whenever possible. MCC has strong relationships with a variety of organized and informal stakeholder groups, and it is through these relationships that the organization analyzes changing stakeholder needs. Detailed answers describing these relationships with suppliers and recipients of MCC students appear in 9P1 and 9P2. Additional information about processes related to associations, partners, and agencies appear in 9P5 and 9P6. Finally, a description of how MCC deals with organized student clubs and their changing needs appears in 1P10.

3P5Student and Stakeholder Targeting. New groups are targeted for educational offerings and services on an ad-hoc basis. Individual program faculty or student services staff respond to apparent needs in the community or expressed direction from senior administration. At present, no formal process exists for targeting new student populations or stakeholder groups apart from those that exist as part of the normal business of individual programs or departments.

3P6Student and Stakeholder Complaint Processes. Procedures for the collection and analysis of student and stakeholder complaints are well-documented in formal procedures at MCC. These processes include provisions for courses of action and communication. MCC faculty and staff assist students in achieving their educational goals, but there are times when students may have concerns and complaints regarding their educational experience at MCC. The first step in pursuing all concerns should be an informal discussion with the faculty or staff member. If the student concerns cannot be resolved through informal discussions, there are formal procedures to be followed by the student and college in responding to student complaints. The procedures for student complaints against faculty are a part of the Faculty Master contract.

If a student with an academic concern wishes to formally pursue resolution of that concern, the Academic Complaint Process is initiated within 45 calendar days of the cause of concern. The following table outlines MCC’s Student Academic Complaint process:

Step 1 Student contacts faculty member regarding concern in an attempt to resolve the matter.
Step 2 If the concern remains unresolved, the student should contact and meet with the appropriate Dean before completing the Student Academic Complaint Form.
Step 3 The Dean will attempt to resolve the concern informally with the student and faculty member.
Step 4 If the concern remains unresolved after meeting with the Dean, and the student wishes to pursue the matter, the Student Academic Complaint form is to be completedwithin 10 business days and forwarded to the appropriate Dean. Step 5 Either party may appeal the written decision of the Dean by asking within 5 business days that the complaint be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Figure 3-2 Student Academic Complaint Process

The entire formal procedure for student complaints against faculty and Student Academic Complaint Forms are available in division offices. Students who wish to begin a formal complaint process about an MCC staff member should first meet with the staff person’s immediate supervisor. The supervisor will inform the staff member of the complaint and attempt to resolve it. If the complaint is not resolved, the student should submit a written complaint to the supervisor. The written complaint must include the name of the staff member against whom the complaint is being filed and must be signed and dated by the student.

3R1Student and Stakeholder Satisfaction. MCC conducts the following annual surveys as measures of student and stakeholder satisfaction: Exit Survey, Graduate Follow-up Survey, Student Satisfaction Survey, and New Student Survey. A list of regularly-deployed surveys appears in Figure 3-1 above. Data and reports for these surveys from 2001-2008 may be found on the Institutional Research Survey Results page below:
http://mccfact.mcc.edu/IR_SurveyResults.shtml

3R2Results for Student and Stakeholder Satisfaction. Apart from the Student Satisfaction Survey and Graduate Follow-Up Survey, MCC’s primary measure of student satisfaction is the Student Instructor Evaluation Form (SIEF). This long-standing instrument has been in place for more than two decades with relatively little change in process or design; it is a pencil-and-paper survey and is required to be given at regular intervals for both full- and part-time faculty. MCC’s faculty contract and CPSC both mention SIEF extensively. It is widely acknowledged that the SIEF process and the instrument itself are in need of revision.

SIEF reports are provided to faculty and available in aggregate. “Yes” responses rarely dip below 90% for any item, and results vary little from semester to semester. A potential AQIP Action Project at MCC would be to study the SIEF process and design an improved survey instrument. Results from the Fall 2009 SEIF are reprinted in the following table:

Question Yes No
The course objectives were clear. 95% 5%
The course was well organized. 92% 8%
The instructor presented the course content clearly. 92% 8%
The instructor used a variety of approaches to meet different learning styles. 85% 15%
The instructor showed enthusiasm for teaching. 95% 5%
The instructions for assignments were clear. 94% 6%
Generally, the instructor was well prepared. 96% 4%
Evaluation procedures were fair. 95% 5%
The instructor encouraged students to participate and contribute. 94% 6%
This course helped me improve my knowledge or skill. 93% 7%
Figure 3-3 Student Instructor Evaluation Form (SIEF) Report 2009/2

The purpose of evaluation is to improve instruction and encourage professional growth. Each faculty member must have Student Instructor Evaluation Forms (SIEF’s) administered in each class at least once annually. Results from SIEFs are provided to the instructor. An aggregate summary of results for each faculty member and for the division is also made available to the dean.

Full-time continuing contract faculty and adjunct faculty meet with the Dean once every four years for an evaluation. The content includes a summary of each year’s SIEFs and a written self evaluation. The faculty member may also choose to include peer evaluation(s) and/or administrative evaluations. Part-time (non-adjunct) and probationary full-time faculty are evaluated at least every other semester. These evaluations include classroom visitation, administrative evaluation, and peer evaluations, in addition to the SIEF, as well as an annual meeting with the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

MCC also conducts a survey of graduates. The survey asks graduates to rate their satisfaction with their current employment, education attainment, and asks them to rank pay and skill levels before and after graduation. The 2007 Graduate Follow-Up Survey Report may be accessed here:
http://mccfact.mcc.edu/Surveys/Graduatefollow07.pdf

3R3Performance Results for Student Relationships. MCC has fully supported its student athletic teams for many years and the groups of students involved in inter-collegiate teams have not only earned state and national recognition for the results of their competitions, but also have proven themselves to be fully engaged students in their courses of study, resulting in successful academic achievement in both our curriculum as well as at transfer institutions. The graduation and transfer rates of student athletes as documented in IPEDS data show that our athletes have stronger retention and completion rates than the overall college population:

  Graduation Rate Transfer Rate
2005-2006 All cohort 6.3% 14.6%
  Student Athletes 26.0% 42.6%
2006-2007 All cohort 7.4% 14.4%
  Student Athletes 25.2% 44.0%
2007-2008 All cohort 11.2% 14.3%
  Student Athletes 26.1% 43.0%
Figure 3-4 Graduation and Transfer Rates: Overall Compared to Student Athletes

MCC also maintains support for several student organizations and clubs; information about these clubs may be found in 1P10 and 1P16 above.

The Dean of Student Services and IR office have begun focused studies on the “new student experience” by designing and measuring contacts with first-time freshman. The Dean’s office purchased customized Welcome Packs and distributed them to over 200 students during personal conversations with the Dean and staff. These conversations focused on student goals, student need for support services and other interventions in the first semester enrollment process. The Welcome Pack contained materials selected to inform and guide students and the durable folio provided students with an easily recognizable place to store their MCC materials. In Fall 2008, these students were sent a survey by way of first class mail to assess their experiences. The same survey was conducted with the other new students who had not participated in the Welcome Pack intervention. The comparative results, although conducted with small sample sizes, identified areas that can be targeted for further improvements. The survey study will be conducted with future Fall semester students to measure change and guide planning efforts.

3R4and3R5Performance Results for Stakeholder Relationships. At this time, MCC does not systematically collect or analyze measures of its relationships with stakeholders. Anecdotal accounts of positive relationships with program advisory groups, industry and trade organizations, as well as oversight and regulatory agencies exist across the organization; formal measures—both quantitative and qualitative—of these relationships are needed.

3R6Results Comparisons for Understanding Student and Stakeholder Needs. MCC currently has no benchmark data for results in this category. We have considered becoming part of the National Community College Benchmarking Project (NCCBP), but no action has been taken as of this time.

3I1Recent Improvements in Understanding Student and Stakeholder Needs. The Student Services area has made recent improvements to MCC’s advising structure, including changes to faculty advisor schedules and time selection. These improvements were made to place student needs ahead of staff preferences, and more improvements are planned. A recent renovation to the Student Services area in the Prahl Center building is also more conducive to student access and comfort.

Another systematic improvement in understanding the needs of our students and stakeholders is the creation of the College Information Center (CIC) as a one-stop on-line and phone resource for questions related to financial aid, admissions, registration and billings. Most students no longer have to come on campus to get their questions answered or conduct business. The scholarship application process has been moved to a totally on-line format, increasing our ability to make awards quickly and reach hundreds more students. MCC also created a one-stop building for enrollment functions and support services such as tutoring and disability accommodations

3I2 Improvement Efforts for Understanding Student and Stakeholder Needs. A culture of openness and consultation with employees and community helps MCC select specific processes to improve. After detailed research and consultation with students, MCC invested in building a new facility for fresh, made-to-order food on campus, a need expressed by students and staff alike. The need for such a facility was the most popular result of MCC’s AQIP Conversation Day in November of 2005. A presentation made at several community forums held throughout MCC’s service district on the topic of proposed Action Projects, including food service, may be accessed here:
www.mcc.edu/aqip/pdf_aqip/Final_Forum_Pres.ppt

It is interesting to note that the proposed Action Project on “Nutrition and Food Service” was not selected as one of the first three AQIP Action Projects, despite the fact that it was the most popular proposed project in employee surveys. In large part, this is due to the fact that issues facing students—such as degree completion tools, hands-on learning experiences, and professional development for staff—were viewed to be more important as the institution endeavored to determine “what matters most,” a theme and phrase that continued to hold a prominent place in discussion about institutional priorities in the wake of 2005’s AQIP Conversation Day.

After Conversation Day, MCC began using CQI-informed principles to proceed with what it had learned about staff and student need for non-vending machine food service and social gathering space on campus. The college transformed an empty breezeway between two buildings; research identified this as a high-traffic area that would be a convenient gathering space for students and staff alike. Tables have AC outlets for laptop computers, and the space is almost always filled with students who are studying, gathering, or waiting between classes. A gallery of photographs detailing that transformation may be viewed here:
https://www.mcc.edu/physical_plant/reno-gallery.shtml

The process behind internal and external survey research on food service is described in greater detail in 2P5 and 2P6 above. In addition to our own research, MCC also contracted with an external consulting firm which conducted focus groups with students and employees.