Category 9: Building Collaborative Relationships


9P1Relationships with Organizations that Supply MCC with Students. Students come to MCC from a wide variety of sources including local K-12 school districts, other higher education institutions, as well as community groups that provide career counseling and other types of assistance. In addition to education and service organizations that directly supply students, State and Federal programs such as Michigan Works! agencies in our service delivery area constitute an indirect source of students; these include Career Alliance and the Thumb Area Consortium. Programs such as No Worker Left Behind, the NAFTA retraining program, Veterans Affairs benefits programs, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, and many others also supply MCC with incoming students for both credit and non-credit instruction.

MCC engages in a number of activities to create positive relationships with K-12 schools, including a formal K-12 Partnership and Tech Prep program. To build and prioritize relationships with other educational institutions, MCC is an active participant in the Greater Flint Educational Consortium (GFEC). The MCC President sits on the GFEC Board, and a variety of MCC administrators, faculty and staff participate in its activities. The partnership’s formal goals are listed in the following table:

1 Develop and implement collaborative efforts which facilitate sharing of staff and resources.
2 Foster relationships which promote and enhance education.
3 Assume the leadership role in the development of a quality/competitive workforce.
4 Pursue quality and equity of educational opportunities for all members of the K-16 community.
Figure 9-1 Greater Flint Educational Consortium (GFEC) Goals

The GFEC has a number of standing groups that work to build and maintain collaborative relationships, including the K-16 Writing Committee, the K-16 Math Committee, the Beyond High School 8th Grade Project, the Senior Year (High School) Project, and the Senior (High School) Exit Survey. More information about the GFEC is available here:

MCC has also developed strong relationships with transfer institutions through the Admissions and Registrar’s office; a number of universities, which sometimes supply MCC with students, have a presence in our University Center, which is described in 9P2 below. A strong recruitment program exists that regularly places MCC employees at area recruitment fairs and events at area high schools.

In addition to strong partnerships with area K-12 school districts, MCC has partnered with a high school that is resident on its campus since 1991. Mott Middle College (MMC) is a guidance-based middle college/high school serving youth in Genesee County and districts geographically adjacent to Genesee County. Open to students in all of the county’s 21 public school districts, the program is designed to provide “intensive care education” to students with academic potential that are at risk of dropping out before high school graduation, are achieving well below their potential, are underprepared and/or under-represented in higher education. MMC offers a fresh start to students who desire to transfer their academic and co-curricular program to the middle college/high school. MMC accepts 9th, 10th and 11th grade students both in the Fall and Winter semesters. MMC redesigned into a 5-year early college program during the 2003-04 school year.

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9P2Relationships with Organizations MCC Students Will Attend or Join. As a long-standing provider of freshman and sophomore level instruction, MCC has a rich history of supplying students to four-year colleges in Michigan and around the world. MCC began as a junior college in 1923. In our geographic area, the primary destination of our students is the University of Michigan—Flint. Many also attend Baker College, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, and the other state universities in Michigan. The Admissions and Registrar functions regularly work to create and build upon relationships with transfer schools. MCC also operates a University Center, a unique partnership that allows students to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a major university, right on MCC’s campus. Current partners in the University Center are University of Michigan—Flint, Cleary University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Michigan State University, and Rochester College. The University Center offers junior, senior, and graduate level credit. MCC provides the classroom space, parking, library, and computer facilities. Partner institutions provide the curriculum and faculty. Students with associate degrees may be able to transfer from 60 to 90 credits toward a baccalaureate program. New programs are being added every year to meet the needs of MCC students and the community.

A fundamental element of MCC’s relationship with the employer community is the work of program advisory committees and program coordinators. The following table outlines the upcoming schedule of formal advisory committee evaluation activities through the year 2013:
Evaluation Year Programs to be Evaluated
2008-2009 Manufacturing Simulation Technology, Food Services Management, Early Childhood Education, Automotive Technology - Certificate, Automotive Technology, Occupational Therapy Assisting, Associate Degree Nursing - R.N., Practical Nursing, Accounting Information Systems
2009-2010 Communications Technology - Certificate, Communication Technology, Computer Occupations Technology, Cosmetology - Certificate Of Achievement, Air Cond., Heating And Refrigeration Technology - Certificate, Air Conditioning; Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Interpreter Education, Auto Body Repair And Painting, Graphic Design, Physical Therapy Assisting, Respiratory Therapy
2010-2011 Cosmetic Services, Building & Construction Technology, Electronics & Electrical Technology, Quality Assurance, Fire Protection Technology, Photographic Technology, Social Work Technician, General Business, Business Management - Certificate, Business Management
2011-2012 Computer Network Engineering, Computer Network Administration, Nail Technician, Mechanical Operations Technology, Geographic Information Systems, Computer Information Systems
2012-2013 Computer Aided Drafting And Design, Computer Aided Drafting And Design, Criminal Justice - Certificate, Criminal Justice, Dental Assisting - Certificate, Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Production Operations Management - Certificate, Production Operations Management, Office Management, Marketing Management - Certificate, Marketing Management
Figure 9-2 Program Review in Occupational Education (PROE) Evaluation Schedule

Every occupational program at MCC has a formal advisory committee comprised of volunteer members from the employer community and workforce in the area of study. Program coordinators are a direct link to the workforce that students will join upon completion of our programs, and the members of the advisory committees provide valuable input into the direction and currency of programs. Occupational programs are part of a cycle of evaluation that engages the advisory committees in formal surveys on the currency and effectiveness of program curriculum and activities. The Program Review in Occupation Education (PROE) process is a major component of MCC’s ongoing development of relationships with the employer community.

MCC also has strong relationships with the local employer community, as a number of our programs are designed to prepare students directly for the workforce. The activities of the department of Student Employment Services are designed to create and maintain relationships with private sector partners that employ our students upon graduation.

A rich system of relationships with local employers also exists in non-credit areas of MCC through the office of Workforce Development. MCC has also assumed a leadership role in the development of a consortium of Workforce Development partners. The Regional Workforce Development Consortium (RWDC), established under MCC leadership in 1998, is a ten-county Consortium representing Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair and Tuscola Counties. It brings together partners representing business, industry, educational/training institutions, workforce development agencies, governmental entities, economic development boards and chambers of commerce. Its purpose is to address skill shortages and gaps in the regional labor market. More information about the consortium may be accessed here :

9P3and9P4Relationships with Organizations that Supply Materials and Services. MCC constantly creates and strengthens relationships with a wide range of external vendors and organizations that provide service directly to our students. Perhaps the most significant of these relationships is with the Mott Community College Bookstore, which is a contracted service run by the Follett Corporation. MCC negotiates a lease with Follett, which operates the bookstore in the Prahl Center building on MCC’s main campus. In addition to the MCC Bookstore, another significant on-campus vendor relationship is for food service. During MCC’s 2005 AQIP Conversation Day, the need for a social gathering space with freshly-prepared food was identified as a very important need by the college community. An open space was identified and renovated to become a kind of campus commons called The Bear Bistro. A local restaurant owner was selected to operate the Bear Bistro, which is now regarded as one of AQIP’s major successes on our campus. A more detailed description of the Bear Bistro and MCC’s process for launching the partnership may be found in 3I1.

MCC also has significant vendor relationships with entities that supply technology services directly to students. The entire MCC e-mail platform is now part of a partnership with Google; GMail is now the official e-mail system for all college faculty, administration, and staff. During the Winter 2009 semester, ITS converted all student e-mail accounts from an on-campus UNIX platform to GMail. In addition to the partnership with Google, Blackboard Inc. also provides services directly to students as MCC’s primary online instructional delivery platform. Both GMail and Blackboard are administered locally by ITS.

Given the transparency and public scrutiny applied to the purchasing of materials and services in higher education, MCC has a comprehensive set of policies and procedures for competitive bids, Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and other procurement processes. Within these guidelines, MCC has a number of stable relationships with high quality vendors for office supplies, recycling, water, and facilities contractors. MCC maintains a Manual for Purchasing Procedures which outlines the formal processes for competitive bids, RFPs, and purchasing guidelines. The Manual for Purchasing Procedures may be accessed here:

MCC also maintains a Supplier Guide, which may be accessed here:

9P5and9P6Relationships with External Associations, Partners, and Agencies. MCC engages in formal associations, partnerships and agencies in the form of paid memberships. These memberships can be broadly classified into regional/economic organizations, institution-wide professional organizations, and department-specific organizations. Members of the EC set the tone for these external memberships, which are evaluated and prioritized through the annual budgeting process. At the department level, most formal and informal relationships are closely related to the job functions and goals of work areas. A selection of currently-held memberships in national or international organizations is listed in the following table:

The Higher Learning Commission
American Association of Colleges and Universities
The Chair Academy
National Council of Instructional Administrators
American Association of Community Colleges
Council of North Central Two Year Colleges
League for Innovation In The Community College
National Council for Workforce
American Dental Association
American Red Cross
American Society of Employers
Association for Institutional Research
Association of Fundraising Professionals
Association of Physical Plant Administrators
Association of Veterans Education
College Reading And Learning Association
Council for Opportunity In Education
Council for Resource Development
Delta Pi Epsilon
Friends of Michigan Libraries
Friends of the Library USA
Hospital Purchasing Association
International Association of Chiefs of Police
National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators
National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
National Association of Veterans Programs
National Business Education Association.
National Community College Council for Research And Planning
National Institute of Business Management
National League of Nursing
National Student Nurses’ Association
National Association. College And University Business officers
National Association. Educational Procurement
National Student Financial Aid Administrators
National Fire Prevention Association
National Junior College Athletic Association
Public Relations Society of America
Society of Human Resource Management
Fig 9-3 Institutional Association, Partner, and Agency Memberships (selected)

MCC is also engaged in a variety of regional professional and economic development organizations at the state, county, and municipal level. Many of these associations are state chapters of national organizations in which MCC departments and employees take active leadership roles. Enabling objectives in the 2007-2012 Strategic Plan also make participation in local and regional economic development organizations a priority. Specifically, the objectives provide for the following: “Expand our capacity to be involved and responsive to local, regional and state plans for economic growth and align our resources and assets to enhance the viability of the community [4-1-d];” and “Be an active member of local and regional economic development initiatives and organizations including the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce, Next Steps Committee, Genesee Global Action Team (chair), Automation Alley (foundation board member), and the Genesee/Shiawassee Education Advisory Group (co-chair) [4-2-b].” A selection of currently-held memberships in regional and economic development organizations is listed in the following table:

Better Business Bureau of Detroit
Birch Run Area Chamber of Commerce
Clio Area Chamber of Commerce
Clio Area Historical Association
Davison Area Chamber of Commerce
Flint River Corridor Alliance
Genesee Intermediate School District
Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce
Genesee Valley Rotary
Grand Blanc Chamber of Commerce
Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce
Greater Flint Health Coalition
Hartland Area Chamber of Commerce
Holly Area Chamber of Commerce
Lapeer Area Chamber of Commerce
Metropolitan Detroit Bureau of School Studies
Michigan Association of School Boards
Michigan Community College Association
Michigan Works
Rotary Club of Flint
Sunrise Kiwanis
Genesee Area School Business Officials
Howell Area Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Community College Athletic Administrators
Michigan Community College Student Services Administrators
Michigan Community College Business Officers Association
Michigan Community College Human Resource Association
Michigan Nonprofit Association.
Michigan Student Financial Aid Administrators
Michigan Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel
Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police
Michigan Association of Continuing Education And Training
Michigan Honors Association
Michigan Library Consortium
Michigan Occupational Deans Administrative Council
Michigan Public Purchasing Officers
Michigan Public Risk Management Association
Mid-Eastern Michigan Library Cooperative
Fig 9-4 Regional/Economic Association, Partner, and Agency Memberships (selected)

In addition to formal memberships with external organizations, there exists a well-developed expectation that individual college leaders engage in local service. This expectation is set at the very highest levels of the organization by the President, who serves as chair of the Board of Hurley Medical Center, one of the major hospitals in our service area. Numerous MCC faculty, administrators, and staff serve in appointed and elected capacity on the boards of local non-profit organizations, charities, and service clubs. A few MCC employees also hold elected office on local school boards or in municipal government.

9P7Internal Relationships Among Organizational Units at MCC. Relationships between and among departments and work units at MCC are most commonly formed around the identification of shared interests related to a particular problem or service. One way in which MCC departments consciously forge internal working relationships has been through the activities of AQIP Action Project teams. As part of the team design, all AQIP Action Project teams are cross functional with wide representation from across the organization.

Another major initiative that has fostered integration and communication across college departments is the use of the college’s information systems, especially Datatel. As part of the Colleague Release 18 conversion described in 8I2, the President and EC made the strategic determination that Datatel Colleague should be the primary tool for ERP and computer systems management unless some other process was absolutely required. This has resulted in the Foundation for MCC switching to the Institutional Advancement module of Colleague. It has also brought together numerous work teams as part of our strategic effort to gain maximum return on investment from the Datatel product. In addition to project-driven concerns, conscious efforts have been made to create relationships across areas of the college. When the new Vice President for Academic Affairs arrived in 2006, she broadened her regular managers meeting to include administrators from Student Services. The resulting Academic Branch Council (ABC) fosters communication regarding changes that impact other areas.

9R1and9R2Measures and Results for Internal and External Relationships. MCC does not regularly collect or analyze measures of internal relationships. A number of internal relationships are well established and add significant value to the organization, but no quantitative or qualitative measures of these connections are routinely collected and analyzed. A number of measures exist for external relationships. As part of the budgeting process, membership dues in local, state, and national organizations are tracked at the department level. Membership, attendance, and participation in the MCC Alumni association is tracked, as are donations to the Foundation for MCC and the Bruin Club, MCC’s athletic booster. The 2008 Annual Report for the Foundation for MCC may be accessed here:

9R3Benchmarking Results for Collaborative Relationships. At present, MCC has no benchmarking data that demonstrate how its processes for Building Collaborative Relationships compare to the performance results of other organizations.

9I1Recent Improvements in Building Relationships. The entire college recognizes the importance of building collaborative relationships. Systematic and comprehensive processes are developed by different divisions/departments to enhance information sharing, best practices and recognize state-wide trends in workforce development, student services and regional development.

Significant improvements in building relationships with other higher education institutions have taken place through MCC’s participation in the Michigan Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO). MCC Registrar’s office staff has also participated in state-wide projects including development of the Michigan Transfer Wizard web site and the K-16 alignment activities. Major improvements in the internal processes for awarding transfer credit have resulted from these collaborative efforts. A key stakeholder group for the college is the group of over two dozen K-12 school districts which compose MCC’s primary service delivery area. The college’s New Student web site provides a rich collection of information and service links such as the Web-based campus tour request process which allows a school to create a custom request for a visit by groups of all sizes and interests. This process provides a simple way for the visiting school staff to arrange for an effective and enjoyable experience while on our campus.

A geographic area of relatively high job growth and stable communities is located in the southern portion of our service area. A major project to relocate key services which was completed in Winter 2009, is designed to build relationships and provide customized higher education opportunities to the Southern Lakes corridor. These services include Continuing Education and Corporate Services, regional CNA testing, and the Institute for Medical Simulation. All Workforce Development services that compose an extensive network of outreach and community support were located in the Wagner/Workforce Development Center, adjacent to the Michigan Works/Career Alliance Center.

9I2Improvement Efforts for Building Collaborative Relationships. A recent improvement in relationship building is the work of the Action Project charged with increasing experiential learning and co-operative education in all areas of MCC’s curriculum. The Experiential Education Action Project maintains an active page on MCC’s quality web site. The Team’s formal project description, meeting minutes, research reports, AQIP reviewer comments, and recommendation to the President and Executive Cabinet may be accessed here:

As part of its work, the Team performed a baseline survey of currently-offered collaborative relationships that result in practical experience for MCC students. The Team’s initial survey was directed at program coordinators and counts the number of courses that fit into the eleven relationship types:

External Relationship # %
Paid Co-Op 5 4%
Unpaid Internship 9 8%
Internship 15 13%
Externship 11 9%
Field Experience 15 13%
Service Learning 10 8%
Job Shadowing 8 7%
Clinical Experience 17 14%
Simulated Work Situation 15 13%
Practicum 6 5%
Volunteer 8 7%
Figure 9-5 Experiential Education/Co-Op External Relationship Types

The Team also surveyed these relationships by division:

Division # %
Business 17 18%
Counseling 4 4%
Fine Arts 4 4%
Health Sciences 26 28%
Humanities 9 10%
Information Technology 8 9%
Science & Math 0 0%
Social Science 17 18%
Technology 8 9%
Figure 9-6 Experiential Education/Co-Op Relationships By Division

To augment this survey activity, the Team engaged both the credit and non-credit areas of the college in investigating and researching the topic. It also developed a rich body of web-based resources on collaborative relationships, including meeting minutes, agendas, resources from other institutions, and other materials on the central AQIP web site. Team members made demonstrations of these web-based resources to internal college groups including supervisors, managers, and faculty. The Team also defined terms related to experiential education, curriculum, co-op, etc. and produced an inventory of credit courses with co-op, internship, externship, and practicum experiences.

Because it was charged with investigating this topic in both the credit and non-credit functions of MCC, the Team began to inventory non-credit experiential opportunities and external relationships and sources for experiential education and began the preliminary design of “clearinghouse” to match students (credit, non-credit, Workforce Development, and Continuing Ed) with opportunities. In an effort to connect their efforts to previous work on this topic, the Team reviewed the recommendations previously submitted to CPSC in 1995 by the ad-hoc Experiential Learning Committee and found many similarities between their analysis and the 1995 recommendations. The Team made a special effort to tie their recommendations to the 2007-2012 Strategic Plan and HLC’s Criterion Five of Engagement and Service. The Team’s presentation to the President and Executive Cabinet (EC) may be accessed here:

The President and EC have approved the Team’s recommendation, and plans are being developed to implement its work during the remainder of 2009 and in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Another distinctive aspect of MCC’s culture that fosters collaborative relationships is our long-standing reputation for responsiveness to external entities that are close to the college, including governmental and community organizations. This has led to the college being a host to regional events, including political rallies and meetings for government officials and candidates. In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama hosted a town hall meeting in the manufacturing bay of our Regional Technology Center (RTC). Previously, the same spot was the venue for a rally by presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004. Michigan’s governor Jennifer Granholm has hosted events on our campus, including a town hall meeting this past April.

MCC has also partnered with other community organizations and the Foundation for Mott Community College (FMCC) to host lectures by prominent speakers such as Bill Cosby, Spike Lee, and Lech Walesa. As part of the Ballenger Chair eminent persons lecture series, past events have included topics such as women in science, stem cell research, nanotechnology, and other emergent topics in scientific and cultural life.