Category 5: Leading and Communicating


5P1MCC’s Mission, Vision and Values. As part of the strategic planning processes in 2001 and 2006, the President 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. Both processes involved community town hall meetings, internal open forums, and surveys that specifically engaged stakeholder input and review in the mission statement. The mission statement appears as Figure O-1 .

Proposed Statement # %
1) The mission of Mott Community College is to provide the community with learning opportunities that enable people to achieve their goals. 35 22.2%
2) The mission of Mott Community college is to provide high quality, accessible and affordable educational opportunities and services - including university transfer, technical and lifelong learning programs - that promote individual development and improve the overall quality of life in a multicultural community. 82 51.9%
3) The mission of Mott Community College is to provide educational opportunities and services that promote learning. 18 11.4%
4) The mission of Mott Community College is to provide high quality, accessible and affordable educational opportunities and services - including programs focused on university transfer, technical and lifelong learning, as well as workforce and economic development - that promote student success, individual development, and improve the overall quality of life in a multicultural community. 87 55.1%
5) The mission of Mott Community College is to serve as a learning center for the community by providing educational opportunities and services. 35 22.2%
6) The mission of Mott Community College is to provide a learning-centered college that empowers individuals and organizations to achieve their goals. 39 24.7%
Figure 5-1 2007 MCC Mission Statement Survey

From over 400 responses, we determined the two most popular potential mission statements for inclusion in the Mott Community College 2007-2012 Strategic Plan. These final two mission statements (number 2 and 4 above) were part of a final survey. The shorter of these final two (number 2) was the finalist and was recommended by EC to the Board of Trustees.

5P2and5P3Leadership Direction Toward Mission, Vision, and Values. Strategic direction toward mission and goals is set during the 5-year strategic planning process and annual objectives process. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. Providing learning opportunities focused on developing and improving supervisory, managerial and leadership skills and knowledge, including the opportunity to learn from one another.
  3. 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 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 continues through the current plan. 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

Simply printing this model on MCC materials does not ensure that the ideas behind the AQIP categories and processes are embedded deeply in college systems. 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. The AQIP Quality Category Framework is also prominently featured on MCC’s quality program web page, which may be accessed here:

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.

One such example of MCC’s commitment to seek future opportunities for student learning and local economic development is the Office of Regional Technology Initiatives (RTI). Under the direction of the college President, an Executive Dean of Regional Technology Initiatives focuses on establishing and maintaining regional partnerships that support the overall mission of the college to meet community needs. RTI efforts generally involve collaboration between educational institutions, workforce development and economic development entities, government, labor, and other organizations. RTI projects address both immediate needs and long-term technologies that are expected to impact the education and training services that the college will deliver. Examples include:

  • Participation and leadership in a 13 county regional partnership under the U.S. Dept. of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) project focused on diversifying the regional economy through talent development, innovation and collaboration.
  • Collaborating with internal college departments and external workforce development partners to develop creative education and training programs that combine credit and non-credit activities that address workplace needs.
  • Developing curriculum for both academic programs and workforce training in cutting-edge technologies and practices such as Product Lifecycle Management, Computer Aided Process Planning, Collaborative Design, etc.
  • Secure funding to work with regional companies who desire to use advanced technology tools to improve the development and design of new products.
  • Provide faculty professional development and equipment acquisition by leveraging grant funding 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 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), which is described in greater detail in O2. 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. Greater detail about CPSC as a decision-making body may be found in 1P1, 1P2 and 1P3. Other on-campus advisory groups, such as the Center for Teaching and Learning Advisory Council (CTLAC), the Job Evaluation Committee (JEC), Academic Branch Council (ABC) all meet regularly to make decisions and/or recommendations to the President and other managers on campus.

Since becoming an AQIP institution, MCC has maintained 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.

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.

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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. 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 Report Taxonomy, these data are described in detail in 7P1 and 7P2.

5P7and5P8Internal Communication. In addition to the Monthly Leadership Group Meetings described in 5P2 and 5P3, the President maintains regular meetings with the leadership of MCC’s employee unions. The President also hosts 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.

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 O1 and 8P1.

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:

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 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. At present, MCC has no other formal processes for the development of leadership knowledge and abilities for staff.

5P10Maintenance of Mission, Vision and Values. MCC has no formal leadership succession plans; however, a fair amount of consistency exists in organizational leadership. 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. In 2006, MCC identified leadership succession as an area of concern in its Strategy for Action Workbook prepared for its first AQIP Strategy Forum: “Leadership and staff development is a critical vulnerability for MCC. Strong competition from similar institutions for potential employees, combined with the unique geographic and economic challenges in the State of Michigan and our community, hampers our ability to fill positions and be attractive to job seekers.” MCC continues to view this as an area of concern.

Another key mechanism for the maintenance of MCC’s mission is the policies of the MCC Board of Trustees. The Board recently-formed a Policy Committee and is systematically revising standing Board policies. A complete directory of all Board policies, which are published prominently on the college’s web site, may be accessed here:

The college mission statement is printed on nearly every official MCC publication, and the mission and values of MCC are included in every job posting and recruitment document. 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 has established a tradition of excellence. From academics to athletics, from economic development to high technology, MCC is nationally recognized as a leading force. As the Flint Journal stated in a recent editorial, “Mott Community College is the backbone of higher education for Genesee County and beyond.” 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 FAQ document which may be accessed here:

5R1and5R2Measures and Results for Leading and Communicating. While many effective processes exist for leading and communicating at MCC, we do not regularly collect and analyze measures of these activities. We have no results to report in this category.

5R3Benchmarking Leading and Communicating. MCC currently has no comparison data for leading and communicating. While we feel that MCC’s leadership and communications processes effectively guide our organization, we are not able to benchmark our results in this category to other higher education organizations or organizations outside of higher education.

5I1Recent Improvements in Leading and Communicating. MCC takes a leadership role in a number of regional and national initiatives. One particular example within the last few years is MCC’s leadership role in Quad-POD (Professional and Organizational Developers). Formed in late 2003, Quad-POD is a collaboration between the University of Michigan–Flint, Kettering University, Mott Community College, and Baker College that focuses on improvement of post-secondary education in Flint area colleges and universities. Quad-POD recognizes that quality teaching practices benefit students directly and that faculty need to be engaged in continuous professional development as teachers. Faculty are encouraged to become more reflective about their teaching practices, to learn the literature regarding effective teaching and learning practices, and to incorporate new methods and technologies into their teaching.

Quad-POD was formed in the recognition of shared concerns and commonalities facing faculty at area higher education institutions. Since its inception, directors and coordinators of the four institutions’ faculty development units have met on a quarterly basis, rotating from institution to institution. These members include the Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching at Kettering University; the Director of Center for Teaching and Learning at Mott Community College; the Assistant Director of the Effective Teaching and Learning Department at Baker College; and the Director of the Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan-Flint. Over the past years, faculty from area institutions have been invited to attend faculty development programs at other area institutions, and a number have done so.

Quad-POD holds an annual Quad-POD Teaching Institute, a jointly sponsored professional development day for area college faculty and relevant staff members. This Annual Institute benefits the Flint higher education community in a number of ways. First, it allows faculty from various institutions to make or renew connections between one another. These connections have the potential to facilitate communication regarding pedagogical issues, to ease the transition of transfer students between institutions, and to increase a sense of collaboration between area institutions. Secondarily, the Institute allows us to host a conference with an expert of national or international reputation in college teaching, by spreading the costs across institutions and creating an “economy of scale” for such a costly presentation.

Quad-POD continues to hold annual Teaching Institutes to promote ongoing collaboration among teaching faculty at the four institutions. The long-term goal is to create a climate in which high-quality teaching practices are valued, supported, and celebrated through ongoing high-quality professional development.

5I2Improvement Efforts for Leading and Communicating. Despite the impressive number of initiatives that have MCC in a local, regional, or national leadership role, no specific process exists to set targets for improved performance in leading and communicating. Internally, a great deal of work is done with managers to communicate and improve in the Leadership Group (described in greater detail in 5P2 above). The tone for MCC’s prominent role in leadership positions is set by the President and EC. For more detail on these efforts on leading and communication, see 9P5 and 9P6.