Category 8: Planning Continuous Improvement


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

As an AQIP institution, Planning Continuous Improvement has slowly but steadily become one of MCC's strengths.  AQIP and CQI-related projects account for a large number of institutional change processes.  In addition to official AQIP Action Projects, a growing number of teams and work groups consciously use 7-step CQI processes to manage projects.  We believe the current status of this aspect of MCC's systems and processes to be at the level of Aligned and steadily approaching Integrated.

Strategic Planning and formal Action Projects continue to be the most visible of MCC's CQI efforts, and several retired projects have matured into continuously improving and vibrant aspects of the college.  For example, one of MCC's very first Action Projects focused on professional development for all employees.  The recommended strategy of this team resulted in the creation of the office of Professional Development and Experiential Learning, led by an Executive Dean.  This area now coordinates institution-wide professional development for all employees through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).  In addition, this area also includes a number of faculty reassignment leadership positions in the area of adjunct faculty professional development, technology in teaching, as well as experiential/service learning projects.  This project and the implemented solution were described in detail in the 2009 Systems Portfolio.  More recently, projects on Mandatory Placement/Developmental Education and Campus Cultural/Behavioral Readiness have created lasting change on campus.

National initiatives such as Project Win-Win and Achieving the Dream (AtD) have also had a significant impact on MCC.  The Office of Physical Plant, Public Safety, Athletics, and other areas of Student Services and Administration regularly use continuous improvement tools in daily management, as is described in the process and improvement questions below.  As noted previously, MCC has also been recognized by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program for the past two consecutive years; the activities leading to this recognition constitute a great amount of benchmarked data analysis and sharing with other institutions.  Still, goal setting and external benchmarking (described in 8R2, 8R4 and 8R5) remain at the Systematic to Aligned level of maturity.

Over the past two to three years, the department of Planning, Research and Quality Initiatives has hosted workshops in the CTL on the use of CQI Quality Tools.  In addition to these general sessions, various departments have employed 7-step CQI processes for operational problem solving.  On more than one occasion, the President/CEO of the organization has brought together ad hoc groups to work on emergent issues or problems.  This kind of commitment to CQI on the part of the President (described in 8I2 below) represents planning for continuous improvement that is approaching the innovation and sharing status.  In addition, activities such as the report automation project currently underway in Institutional Research (described in 8I1 below) demonstrate Integrated CQI planning.

In summary, the activities and results described for Planning for Continuous Improvement indicate that MCC is performing in an Aligned manner that is stable, consciously managed, and regularly evaluated.

8P1 MCC's Key Planning Processes. MCC's primary planning process is a 5-year strategic planning cycle conducted by the President and Executive Cabinet.  A long-term President and CEO, Dr. M. Richard Shaink has led three consecutive 5-year strategic planning cycles.  The 2013-2018 Mott Community College Strategic Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees on November 26, 2012. This is the third consecutive five-year strategic plan presented since 2000-2001. The plan is based on seven categories of overarching goals: student learning & success; technology initiatives; systems improvement; economic development; human resources development; institutional image & community relations; and budget/finance. The plan contains 27 overarching goals, many of which were revised and/or updated from the previous 2007-2012 Strategic Plan.

Since 2001, MCC has used an inclusive process of stakeholder input for the development of institutional priorities.  The current goals were updated using a "refresh" process, where departmental managers engaged all employees to suggest revisions and additional goals.  The strategic planning process was also designed to garner input from numerous college stakeholders and other external data sources. The plan also incorporates feedback from outside sources such as recent external reviews from The Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program, Achieving the Dream (AtD), and the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). In addition to a variety of environmental scanning activities, MCC has a sustained practice of collaboration and benchmarking with local K-12 school districts and other comprehensive community colleges.  The Executive Cabinet analyzed and synthesized the internal and external feedback generated during the strategic planning process to create a model strategic plan suitable for input from members of the college community, and ultimately for approval by the Board of Trustees.  This plan is meant to be a consistent and comprehensive guide to college planning and institutional priories for the coming years.  The 2013-2018 MCC Strategic Plan is widely distributed in an easy-to-use cardstock pamphlet and may be found here:

8P2 and 8P6 Selection of Short- and Long-Term Strategies.Long term strategies are set during the strategic planning process; for the past three cycles, the strategic plan has been a five-year period (2001-2006, 2007-2012, 2013-2018).  During these cycles, the larger components of the strategic plan have been termed "Strategic Goals."  On an annual basis, the short-term components underpinning the strategic goals are termed "Enabling Objectives."  The annual review of enabling objectives is timed to coordinate with the end of the fiscal year and budgeting for the next cycle:

1-0 Student Learning & Success
2-0 Technology Initiatives
3-0 Systems Improvement
4-0 Economic Development
5-0 Human Resources Development
6-0 Institutional Image & Community Relations
7-0 Budget/Finance
Figure 8-1 MCC Strategic Planning Categories (2013-2018)

These seven strategic planning categories are also built into the coding structure of MCC's AQIP Systems Portfolio database; enabling objectives have budget, strategic planning, and AQIP question category numbers assigned to them in this database.


(1) MCC maintains the fiscal resources to support all of its operations.  One indicator of the fiscal stability of an institution is the Total Composite Financial Indicator Score (CFI) that is calculated and reported to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) each year. As indicated in the table below, for FY 2011 and FY 2010, the institution's CFI was within the HLC's preferred range of 1.1 to 10 for public institutions.  For FY 2012, the institution's score of .5 fell out of the preferred range due to a $6.1 million dollar decrease in the perpetual trust's investment accounts. This decrease caused a significant reduction in the Net Operating Revenue Ratio and Return on Net Assets calculations.  We anticipate a rebound in these investments for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013. As detailed below in subsection 5A5, the institution
From a human resources perspective, the institution monitors enrollment rates in order to maintain adequate faculty to student ratios and forecast future hiring trends. A detailed analysis of current enrollment data and predicted employment forecasts can be found here:

MCC also maintains an adequate physical and technological infrastructure.  For instance, the college's five-year capital outlay plan includes a recent facilities assessment.  This assessment identifies and evaluates the overall condition of capital facilities under the college's control and includes a description of facility age, use patterns, and an assessment of general physical condition.  According to the report, all of the facilities are in "fair" to "excellent" condition and are being utilized for the functions they were intended.  Further, the report indicates that with very few exceptions, existing utilities and infrastructure systems are adequate to support current and 5 year programmatic needs, with only routine maintenance. For a detailed discussion, this report can be accessed here:

(2) MCC does not receive revenue from a superordinate entity.

Strategies are linked to action plans in a number of ways that take into account available resources and future needs of the college.  For AQIP Action Projects, each team is assigned a sponsor who serves as a member of the Executive Cabinet (EC).  Team sponsors help ensure that any potential recommendations are within the priorities set by the cabinet and available resources.  In addition, funding for technology and infrastructure improvements are incorporated into scheduled maintenance and repair in the Office of Physical Plant.  Part of this strategy selection is delineated in the formally-adopted "Implementation Procedure" adopted by the Board of Trustees:

  1. MCC Board of Trustees approves five-year MCC Strategic Plan.
  2. College-wide dissemination of Strategic Plan and related materials.
  3. President directs Executive Cabinet to identify action steps or enabling objectives that can be accomplished in upcoming year that apply to one or more of the strategic goals or objectives.
  4. Each Executive Cabinet member conducts a planning process to identify current fiscal year action plans with measurable outcomes.
  5. Review of plans by full Executive Cabinet to determine cross-functional impact.
  6. Communicate to Board of Trustees the linkage between the Strategic Plan and the budget. (Beginning with current fiscal year, during board consideration of upcoming budget, management will communicate to the Board the action steps planned to be implemented for each strategic objective.)
  7. Implementation.

Human Resources expenditures, such as hiring and salary negotiations, are part of a comprehensive strategy within parameters set by the Board of Trustees.  One example of this is the Table of Authorized Positions (TAP), which ensures that there is sufficient funding for any hiring that takes place at MCC.


(3) MCC is committed to its purpose as a community college and attentive to the appropriate functions of two-year institutions.  Our mission statement intentionally describes the objectives of community colleges and acts as a guidepost for the institution's initiatives.  For example, MCC's codification of institutional priorities, called the Five-Year Strategic Plan, contains initiatives directly reflective of the mission statement such as, "ensure that MCC programs and services are directly related to the current and emerging labor market needs of our region" and "utilize research to assess and develop curriculum to meet the needs of students, employers, the community and transfer institutions." In addition, our budgeting process is linked to their implementation.  During Board consideration of the upcoming budget, management communicates to the Board the action steps planned to implement these initiatives.  Accounting for the initiatives in our budget ensures that we continue to meet our objectives as a two-year institution.   

(4) As described in detail under category four, MCC maintains a rigorous hiring process that acts to ensure only the most qualified candidates are hired. 

(5) 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. The President of the college is responsible for the overall budgeting process and presenting budgeting recommendations to the Board.  Prior to the end of each fiscal year, the Board adopts a balanced General Fund Operating Budget and other fund budgets as appropriate, to the end of the current fiscal year, in accordance with the Uniform Budgeting and Accounting Act of 1968.  In addition, the Board's Finance/Audit committee receives and reviews budget reports on a monthly basis.

8P3 Development of Action Plans.Since joining AQIP in November of 2005, MCC has consciously used the Action Project process as a model for organizing key action plans.  As part of our participation in AQIP, we maintain three "official" Action Projects which are listed in the AQIP Action Project Directory.  MCC has twice received helpful and positive feedback on the progress made toward these formally-stated Action Project goals.  MCC initially selected projects that were quite large in scope.  In consultation with AQIP staff, peers at other AQIP institutions, as well as internal members of our various quality efforts, Action Projects have focused on shorter and more distinct project goals.  MCC has made considerable progress toward its AQIP Action Projects. 

MCC uses a formal 7-step process for all AQIP projects; these stages are also used to track the progress toward the Team's goals.  These 7 steps are quite common in CQI and were introduced to MCC during a series of on-site training sessions conducted by Carol Tyler, former director of the quality program at Fox Valley Technical College shortly after the launch of AQIP at MCC in 2005-2006.  The 7 steps have been useful in providing a framework for quality work on our campus: 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Identify area for improvement Define current situation Analyze current situation Develop an improvement theory Implement best strategies Monitor results Adjust, standardize, or plan further
Figure 8-2 MCC’s 7-Step Quality Process

The following table lists the current AQIP Action Projects underway at MCC for 2013-2014: 

Project Name Description Status
Green Initiatives The goal of this team is to study and recommend college-wide recycling and green initiatives. As a large organization with over 800 employees, more than 10,000 students, and several campus buildings and facilities, a great many opportunities exist for reducing waste and creating greater energy efficiency. This team will analyze the current situation for green/recycling activities on campus and recommend programs and strategies that match the culture and facilities planning of MCC. STEP 2:  Define Current Situation
Retention The goal of this Action Project team will be to study and recommend institution-wide student retention strategies, including broad-based initiatives designed to keep students progressing toward degrees, as well as systems related to MCC's ERP system, Datatel Colleague. While many retention initiatives have existed on our campus, this Action Project team will be a cross-functional work group that recognizes student retention as a college-wide effort that is not located in any single area or department. This new Action Project is an outgrowth of a previous CQI team focused on implementing two Datatel modules, Wait List and Retention Alert. With the Wait List implementation complete, many of the team members working on the Retention Alert module will transition to this new Action Project team. Step 2: Define Current Situation
Student Pathways The goal of this project is to study and recommend improved and streamlined "pathways" for student progression through programs of study. Specifically, this Action Project will focus on student entry and exit points, as well as improved intake and student lifecycle/progress management with an emphasis on timely completion of degrees. A special emphasis will be placed on institution-wide strategies for improving and expediting student progress toward successful completion including simplified or streamlined college processes and systems. STEP 2:  Define Current Situation
Figure 8-3 MCC's Current AQIP Action Projects

8P4 Alignment of Planning Processes.A number of well-developed planning processes exist at MCC.  In many cases, these processes stand alone and are not coordinated and aligned in a central "plan of plans."  The Athletics Department meetings take place between all department employees quarterly.  Auxiliary Services Team members meet collectively or in smaller functional groups to review customer input and plan to meet or exceed expectations.  This is done on a weekly basis if not more.  The planning process for the Grant Development Office is available through the following link:

Planning processes for the Office of Physical Plant are primarily driven by two things: the Asset Management Program and the Capital Outlay Program.  Asset Management is the process that assesses the College's over 70,000 tracked assets and prioritizes repairs and/or replacement based on condition and length of time since last being updated, depending on the relative importance of the asset category. This assessment yields a prioritized listing for maintenance and repair and replacement with expenditures made based upon available funding.  Funding is requested via the prioritized listing developed from the Asset Management Program.  Capital Outlay is the process that gathers all known capital improvements needed at the College, as well as those that are "wants" more than "needs," and prioritizes capital projects based upon College strategic and tactical plans as informed by the College's senior administration. 

Student Services uses strategic enrollment practices to meet the needs of stakeholders.  The Workforce Development mission is examined periodically and revised by campus leaders, with input from the students, employees, and other key constituents.

8P5 Objectives and Goals at MCC. An ongoing process of goal and objective development and tracking is initiated by the President's Office on an annual basis.  Each of the "enabling objectives" are tied to an "overarching goal" in the 5-year strategic plan.  Under the direction of the President and EC members, managers develop and define their own objectives and select measures and performance targets.  These are then compiled into an annual set of enabling objectives and presented to the Board of Trustees by the President. 

8P7 Risk Assessment in Planning.Risk is factored into a number of ongoing processes at MCC, including labor relations, facilities, public safety, instruction, and administration. The college holds a variety of insurance policies to plan for and mediate risk to its human and physical capital.  MCC Board Policy directs the President to maintain risk management policies:

4620 Risk Management
General: The President or his/her designee must develop, implement, and administer a comprehensive risk management plan to provide adequate and reasonable protection and safety to the College, its facilities, the Board, employees, students, and the general public.
LEGAL REF: MCL 389.103, 121, 124, 125 and 128 et seq., as amended

Figure 8-4 MCC Board Policy 4620: Risk Management

In April of 2009, MCC created and filled a new position entitled Supervisor of Purchasing and Risk Management.  MCC's office of Physical Plant also has a Risk Management Coordinator.

During the College's Strategic Planning cycle, Auxiliary Services Team members meet to define objectives, select measures, and set performance targets.  Action plans are reviewed on a quarterly basis in most cases or as the plan requires reviewing and refining the action plan.  "Risk" at the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) has generally been seen as compliance with statutory environmental, health, and safety requirements, with risk being shared through insurance instruments.  Last year, the College made a commitment to develop a College-wide risk management strategic plan and assigned its development to OPP. OPP is preparing to present a strategy to develop an Enterprise Risk Management program to senior administration and the board of Trustees in the near future.

Well-documented examples of risk assessment in planning certainly do exist.  Perhaps the most detailed analytical model of risk assessment in place at present is the 7-year operating forecast that has become part of the annual budgeting cycle.  Since MCC's 2000 NCA/HLC Self Study, when accounting and finance was identified as a weakness and made the subject of a 2003 focused re-evaluation visit, stronger financial controls and modeling for changes in revenues and expenditures has become a mature practice in our organization.  Presentations and detailed reports demonstrating an analytical look at financial risk dating from 2002-2013 may be accessed here:

The most current 7-year forecast anticipates risk by modeling changes to expenditures due to salary and benefit costs, as well as changes to revenue streams such as tuition, fees, property taxes, and state appropriations.  This forecast is prepared by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and was presented to the Board of Trustees in January 2012:

  Amended Budget 2011-2012 Initial Budget 12-13 Forecasts
13-14 14-15 15-16 16-17 17-18 18-19
Tuition and Fees 39.0 40.6 42.2 43.9 45.6 47.4 49.2 51.1
Property Taxes 18.9 17.7 17.1 17.1 17.4 17.6 17.9 18.4
State Appropriations 14.4 15.0 15.5 15.9 16.3 16.6 16.9 17.2
All Others 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.9 4.0
Total 76.0 76.8 78.4 80.6 83.0 85.4 87.9 90.7
Revenue Increases   1.0% 2.1% 2.8% 2.9% 2.9% 3.0% 3.2%
Salaries 39.5 40.6 41.8 43.4 45.1 46.8 48.6 50.4
Fringe Benefits 17.6 17.0 17.8 18.6 19.4 20.3 21.2 22.2
All Others 19.7 19.2 20.4 20.9 21.4 21.9 22.4 23.0
Total Expend 76.8 76.8 80.0 82.9 85.9 89.0 92.2 95.6
Expend. Increases   -0.1% 4.1% 3.6% 3.6% 3.6% 3.6% 3.6%
Surplus/(Deficit) -0.80 0.01 (1.6) (2.3) (2.9) (3.6) (4.3) (4.9)
Fund Balance - End 6.7 6.7 5.1 2.8 (0.1) (3.7) (8.0) (12.9)
Figure 8-5 MCC 7-Year Operating Forecast (April 2013)

The most current Accounting/Finance 7-year forecast presentation may be viewed here:

8P8 Development of Human Capacity to Address Change.A number of key college processes are designed to nurture the talent of MCC employees.  Recognition of the changing nature of higher education and MCC's environment is built into our hiring and recruitment processes, which are described in greater detail in 4P3, 4P4, and 4P5 above. 

MCC is dedicated to providing the necessary training and resources required for employees to make the changes necessary for implementation of its strategic initiatives and programs.  For instance, one of the institution's retired AQIP action projects was focused on increasing experiential learning.  To do so, the institution created the experiential learning advisory committee and an office for experiential learning within the CTL.  This office is open to faculty members seeking guidance in including an experiential learning component in their classes.  In addition, representatives from this office and other faculty who have implemented experiential learning have given reports at several faculty meetings.  

The need to create a culture of responsiveness and change is built into the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan itself, particularly in section 5-0 Human Resources Development.  The newly-revised enabling objectives for this section of the plan are listed below:

  • Promote a culture that fosters collegiality, creates a sense of community among faculty and staff, and furthers employee responsibility for outcomes.
  • Maintain rigorous selection and performance standards for faculty and staff.
  • Provide comprehensive professional development opportunities that improve teaching and learning, develop leadership, and strengthen employee skills.

In addition to this overarching emphasis on employee development in the strategic plan, MCC has a dedicated department within Academic Affairs to attend to the professional and personal development of all employees.  The Executive Dean of Professional Development and Experiential Learning provides leadership over a number of activities designed to nurture employee potential.  Programming through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) addresses employee skills such as technology usage, best practices in classroom management, teambuilding, etc.  The activities of the CTL are described in greater detail in 1P11, 4P8, and 5P9 above.

8R1 and 8R4 Effectiveness and Benchmarking of Planning Processes and Systems. For two consecutive years, MCC has been ranked in the top 120 community college in the United States by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.  In 2011, MCC was selected as one of the Aspen Prize Top 10 colleges.  As part of a rigorous selection process, MCC's performance results for wage data in preparing students was a component of the ranking process.  Figure 8-6 shows MCC's standing among the other Top 10 finalists for the 2011 Aspen Prize:

Institution Class of 2010 Composite Employment Index (CEI) Annualized Salaries and Wages for 2010 Employed Graduates Class of 2010 Relative Wages
Class of 2005 Composite Employment Index (CEI)
Annualized Salaries and Wages for Employed 2005 Graduates in 2010
Class of 2005 Relative Wages
County Unemployment Rate
County 5 Year Job Growth Rate
MCC 177 $45,344 218% 181 $43,160 111% 13.7 -16.0%
Average of 10 Finalists 186 $30,100 132% 188 $39,256 107% 9.2 0.4%
Figure 8-6 Aspen Institute Labor Market Outcomes Data (2011)

The Aspen Institute's formula for ranking colleges included local unemployment, job growth and wage data.  While the specific formulas were kept confidential from both the institutions and the public, the benchmarked results show MCC provides a positive impact on earning power of graduates.

Unlike other external benchmarking activities, MCC has not identified common data or performance measures to compare with other similar institutions.  Since the department of Planning, Research and Quality was created in late 2008, attempts have been made to align the college's various planning processes with AQIP and institution-wide quality initiatives.  The Executive Dean of Planning, Research and Quality also serves as MCC's AQIP liaison and the Institutional Research function at the college also resides in this department.  Operationally, MCC finds its planning processes to be effective, but there is still an opportunity to formalize benchmarking activities for planning and process improvement.

8R2 Performance Results for Organizational Planning. MCC tracks the goals and objectives set forth in the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan through the activities of the Executive Cabinet on an annual basis.  In addition to the annual, operational management of organizational planning, MCC's former AQIP Action Projects are tracked and have resulted in numerous institutional improvements that have become lasting parts of organizational culture.  Annual reports and peer feedback on these projects may be found in the AQIP Action Project Directory.

Project Name Description
Professional Development Resulted in the creation of the office of Professional Development and Experiential Learning and the creation/expansion of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), a professional development space with numerous faculty consultants on technology, pedagogy, and adjunct faculty issues.  Created the Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC), described in great detail in 4R3. 
Degree Audit Resulted in the institution-wide rollout of Datatel's Degree Audit module.  Plans are underway to provide degree audit access to students through Datatel's WebAdvisor environment.
Experiential Education Resulted in the expansion of experiential education offerings and service learning initiatives at MCC.  Created the Experiential Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC), described in greater detail in 2R4.
Cultural/Behavioral Readiness Resulted in the development and adoption of a campus-wide "Cultural Values Statement" aimed at elevating the expectations for students, faculty, and staff to model civility and professional behavior.  A complete description of the cultural values statement development can be found in 5P1.
Mandatory Placement/Developmental Education Resulted in a dramatic change from "voluntary" placement into developmental courses in conjunction with participation in Achieving the Dream (AtD).  Since the completion of this project, MCC now has mandatory placement for Reading, Writing, and Mathematics on the basis of Accuplacer test scores.
Comprehensive Wellness Resulted in the creation of an institution-wide Wellness Committee which plans and promotes campus health and fitness activities such as yoga, exercise and stress reduction seminars through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).
Figure 8-7 MCC's Retired Action Projects w/ Status

8R3 Target Setting for Organizational Planning.Due to the nature of its mission, MCC does not set specific targets for enrollment for credit or non-credit offerings.  Enrollment increased dramatically during the recession; in Fall 2009, unduplicated credit enrollment was 10,890 and increased to as high as 12,614, but has returned to just over 10,000 for Fall 2013.  The decline in enrollment was anticipated and our projection is that enrollment will remain flat in the 10,000 range for the next 1-3 years.

MCC's most specific performance targets are set for financial planning by Accounting/Finance and approved by EC and the Board.  Budget-related targets include the Board Policy to limit overall general fund spending for salaries and benefits to no more than 77% of the total expenditure.  The 7-year budget forecast also provides trend data and projections for revenue as well as expenses.  Introduced in 2003, the Board Compensation Philosophy is an example of a specific performance target built into institutional policy:

5100 Compensation 
General: Total compensation (the combined economic value of wages and benefits) should reflect the College's ability to pay and the Board's desire to compete effectively in the labor markets in which the College recruits. External market data will be taken into consideration in the design and implementation of compensation and benefit programs. Employee compensation and benefits represent the most significant expenditure in the College budget.
The following basic policy statements apply:

  1. Total compensation/benefits must not exceed 77% of the total operating budget.
  2. The President is directed to review all budget proposals and labor agreements with specific emphasis on total compensation and recommend only actions that fall within the 77% maximum and that will preserve the College's long-term fiscal stability.
  3. Supplemental staff may be engaged by administration to accommodate College needs such as variations in workload, covering short-term non-recurring tasks or consulting services.
  4. Consistent with the Public Employee's Health Benefits Act (Public Act 106 of 2007), benefit plans will be reviewed and, if necessary, put up for bid to ensure that program design is consistent with this policy and that the price paid for benefits is appropriate.
  5. Compensation and benefit programs should be structured to facilitate recruitment and retention of high quality, dedicated faculty and staff.

LEGAL REF: MCL 389.103, 121 and 123, as amended

Figure 8-8 MCC Board Policy 5100 Compensation Philosophy

While many areas and departments set specific targets for performance on an annual basis, no comprehensive system for setting targets for performance exists on an institution-wide basis.  An in-depth discussion of MCC's 7-year budget forecast can be found in 8P7 above.

8R5 Measures and Evaluation of Planning Processes. MCC's strategic planning process is measured and evaluated on an annual basis when "enabling objectives" are developed by department managers and submitted to the appropriate cabinet member for consideration by EC.  These objectives are compiled as part of the strategic planning process and presented to the Board of Trustees on an annual basis.  Because a new 5-year strategic plan was recently adopted, these enabling objectives are currently in development.  Once established, the objectives are reviewed and evaluated at the Executive Cabinet level by functional area: Academic Affairs, Student Services/Administration, Human Resources, Accounting/Finance, etc.

8I1 Recent Improvements in Continuous Improvement. A number of college planning processes have been consciously improved since the submission of the 2009 Systems Portfolio.  One key example is a report automation and process documentation project underway in the department of Institutional Research.  A comprehensive effort to standardize and automate key reporting responsibilities has been underway in IR for over one year.  For many years, a number of compliance reports were developed through unconnected and/or manual processes in separate spreadsheets or databases.  The report automation project seeks to leverage MCC's business intelligence tools and data warehouse technology and expertise in Information Technology Services (ITS) to build reporting processes that are repeatable and more accurate.  An important component of this report automation work is a renewed focus on data integrity.  The complex report automation process has already uncovered significant problems with source data that are addressed as part of the ongoing revision.  Among the reporting processes that are under revision or re-engineering this year are: Activities Classification Structure (ACS) 6 reports; Perkins Core Indicators; IPEDS Fall Enrollment, Completions, 12 Month Enrollment, Student Financial Aid, and Graduation Rate Survey (GRS); Annual Institutional Data Update (AIDU); and Career Education Consumer Report (CECR).  As these reporting processes are automated using Cognos reporting software and data warehouse source information they are becoming more accurate and require less processing time by IR analysts.  The time-intensive task of automating these reports is expected to pay off in greater accuracy and dramatically reduced processing time on the part of IR staff.  Documentation of these processes for future use is also an important component of the ongoing improvements to this area.  Additional details about MCC's use of Cognos business intelligence software and data warehousing is provided in 5P6 above.

One stated goal in the 2009 Systems Portfolio was the development of ongoing quality improvement training for all employees.  The CQI training sessions offered by Planning, Research & Quality are now offered on regular intervals through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).  After feedback from the 2009 Systems Appraisal, a comprehensive series of workshops on process improvement and quality tools was developed that are now offered on a limited but consistent schedule.

8I2 Improvement Efforts for Planning Continuous Improvement. One way in which MCC's culture helps to select processes for improvement can be found in the impact of AQIP outside of the three official Action Project teams listed in the directory (see Figure 8-3 above for a listing of MCC's current official Action Projects), as well as recently-completed AQIP Action Projects (listed in Figure 8-6).  Since 2009, MCC became an Achieving the Dream (AtD) institution and has utilized AQIP activities in participation with the national completion agenda.  Two former AQIP Action Projects (Mandatory Placement/Developmental Education and Student Behavioral/Cultural Readiness) became major consumers of AtD data and activities.  MCC also participated in the Win-Win college completion initiative in 2012.

One recent example is the implementation of institution-wide reading level prerequisites for all credit courses.  This implementation was a result of the work of the Mandatory Placement/Developmental Education Action Project, but the large-scale shift to reading prerequisites on courses created process issues and disagreements between Academic Affairs and Student Services.  The President personally convened a group representative of both areas of the college and used CQI tools (such as process mapping, fishbone diagrams, and traditional data analysis) to forge a compromise on implementation.  As a result, the new reading level prerequisites are being implemented on November 1, 2013 in preparation for the Winter 2014 semester.