The institution, appropriate to its mission and purposes as a higher education institution, develops and implements a broad-based and integrated system of research, evaluation, and planning to assess institutional effectiveness and uses the results for institutional improvement. The institution identifies institutional outcomes which can be validated by objective evidence.
A.1 Institutional research is integrated with and supportive of institutional planning and evaluation.
Since the last accreditation visit in 1992, Irvine Valley College has been engaged in a comprehensive and systematic process involving research and evaluation, planning, and outcomes assessment that encompasses all areas of its operations.
In August 1996, the college devised a strategic plan (3.1) spanning the years 1996-2001. This document, patterned after accreditation self-study models, was the result of broad involvement from all constituencies. A number of other public documents addressing discrete elements in the planning process preceded the Strategic Plan: the Matriculation Plan (1994) (3.2); the Organizational Assessment (1995) (3.3); the Technology Initiative Report (1995) (3.4); the Student Success Plan (1995) (3.5); the Educational and Facilities Master Plan (1995) (3.6); and the Foundation Strategic Plan (1996) (3.7). In fall 1997 the dean of library, information services, and technology prepared the Distance Education Plan (3.8) following a request from the college president. All of these documents constitute both products of institutional research in its various forms and broadest sense (collection and interpretation of statistics, interviews, surveys, and needs assessment) as well as planning guidelines. Institutional research related to student performance is conducted by the college's Matriculation Office.
The Strategic Plan (3.1, pages 27-30) also identified the need to develop a process and timeline for program review by January 1997. To that effect, a group of faculty and administrators began working on a program review process, a draft of which was developed during fall 1996 and spring 1997. The committee issued a Program Review Handbook (3.9) and timelines in spring 1997 (3.10), and scheduled pilot-testing of the process on four programs. Several academic courses are also scheduled for review during academic year 1997-98 in what is intended to be a six-year cycle for each course (3.11).
IVC has made significant progress since its last accreditation to enhance its planning and evaluation functions. The centerpiece of this effort, the Strategic Plan (3.1), is being implemented in a number of areas as evidenced by the status report issued by the Office of Instruction in fall 1997 (3.12, pages 4-6).
The district has contracted with Buzzeo, Inc. to produce a comprehensive data management system that will enable the college to effectively gather information for use in statistical analysis and research. Developing the necessary technological access has been largely successful thanks to funds provided by the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) as part of a district-wide technology initiative (3.13) and the college's own contributions. The implementation of this initiative at IVC has been slow but steady. This is due, in part, to a lack of sufficient personnel to attend to needs created by a project of this magnitude, to an administrative change in the technology area, and to the unavailability of funds necessary to bring the college technologically up to date within a relatively short period of time.
A campus research office has yet to be established and currently most research is done by faculty, by staff committees, or by an individual charged with some aspect of the planning process. Planning for alternative schedules, the scope of distance learning, and assessing the effectiveness of newly created initiatives remain outstanding issues.
The Institutional Effectiveness Survey (3.14) was distributed to approximately 525 IVC faculty and staff members. Of these, 176 actually completed the survey, including 11 administrators; 67 full-time and 47 part-time faculty; 32 full-time and nine part-time classified; and 10 participants who did not indicate their staff affiliation but whose responses were included in the survey results. Of the 85 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey, Item 12 (3.14, Section three, page 4), 54% disagreed with the statement that "institutional research is integrated with and supportive of institutional planning and evaluation."
A.2 The institution provides the necessary resources for effective research and evaluation.
As a result of the college's Organizational Assessment (3.3, page 19), the position of director of research services was established, reporting to the dean of information services, to provide college-wide institutional research in an organized and systematic fashion and produce useful and current information. The director's responsibilities included college-wide research, student tracking, and student equity; however, the director's reassigned time for matriculation-related research was cut from 40% to 20% and for comprehensive research to 20% beginning in the fall of 1997. Further, the recently approved faculty contract eliminates all reassigned time effective July 1, 1998. The position of director is currently vacant.
For several years, the SOCCCD published a number of reports compiled under the name "The Almanac". This data is now available on-line at www.socccd.cc.ca.us/ref/ almanac/s8almanac.htm through the district's Web site. The Almanac is a comprehensive document that includes information about the district's demographics, enrollment (including transfer rates to the University of California and California State University), and budget and financing (see sample reports, 3.15). This information is district as well as college-specific. The Almanac does not, however, attempt to interpret this data. The district's web site (www/socccd.cc.ca.us) also contains links to a number of research tools gathered from a wide variety of sources (3.16).
Also worthy of mention is a new information systems software being developed by Buzzeo Inc. under contract with the SOCCCD. As part of this project, the existing student information systems will be replaced with a comprehensive and fully integrated system that, among other features, will allow for a wide variety of tracking mechanisms as described in the "Features Representation Document for the Student Tracking Focus Group Session" (3.17, pages 7-12). The new information system was developed through the use of focus groups that included representation from both colleges and the district. It is expected to be in operation sometime in fall 1998. A complete list of focus group documents is available at http://www.socccd.cc.ca.us/district/it/acanag.
IVC began the testing and implementation of a student photo identification system during summer 1998 with ID cards expected to be issued to students in mid-September 1998. In addition to providing photo identification, the system will also allow IVC to track use of services such as Counseling, the Health and Wellness Center, and other services available to students. While the tracking system will provide valuable data on the demand for services, in order to protect the confidentiality of students it will not generate personal student data.
Reductions in institutional support for research constitute a serious impairment to the institution's ability to determine its effectiveness in a systematic way. The director of research services would have provided research in the areas of matriculation, prerequisite and corequisite validation, student tracking, student equity, and other college-wide research. Some of these functions are currently being carried out on a limited basis only. The commitment to institutional research both at the district and the college needs to increase, particularly in a climate that places ever-greater demands for accountability from institutions of higher education. The district sporadically generates some research data useful to the college, but curtailed its own research function by eliminating the position of director of planning and research. A 20% reassignment or stipend does not suffice to carry out the duties of the college director of research service (3.3, page 19). Subsequent to the Organizational Assessment and the reassignment of the dean of economic development, the college administration identified the need for grant preparation as well as planning for the use of the Tustin Marine Base in 1999 and decided these combined responsibilities warranted a dean position. The president has recommended to the chancellor and the Board the need for a dean of research, planning and resource development. It is hoped that this will occur sometime during the 1998-99 fiscal year.
Of the 109 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey, Item 13, (3.14, Section Three, page 5), 72% disagreed that "the institution provides the necessary resources for effective research and evaluation." Disagreement was highest among administrators (90% of 9 respondents) and full-time faculty (86% of 46 respondents).
1. The college will employ a dean of research, planning and resource development in an effort to provide stronger support in these areas.
A.3 The institution has developed and implemented the means for evaluating how well, and in what ways, it accomplishes its missions and purposes.
As a comprehensive community college, IVC has embraced the following fundamental educational missions as outlined in the college catalog (3.18, page 7): transfer programs; vocational and career enhancement programs; basic skills courses; community education programs; and economic development (the latter was officially included as part of the college mission statement during the 1997-98 academic year) (3.19).
Clearly, one of the most obvious tools for assessing how well the college fulfills its missions and purposes is the accreditation self-study. An integral part of this process included surveys of faculty, staff, administration, and students for the purpose of assessing institutional quality. Other examples of recent initiatives designed to measure the institution's effectiveness in carrying out its mandates are program review (which encompasses all areas of college operations, not just instructional programs), the Student Success Plan (3.5), and, to a limited extent, institutional research. For vocational programs, the state-mandated advisory committees (3.20) from relevant industries provide means for assessing program quality and compliance with industry standards. A partial list of institutional research focusing on academic performance at various levels includes "Factors Related to Success and Failure in Writing 201, May 1996" (3.21); "An Evaluation of Several Early Alert Strategies for Helping First Semester Freshmen at the Community College and A Description of the Newly Developed Early Alert Retention System (EARS) Software, August 1992" (3.22); "Course Success Rates for Fall 1995 and Spring 1996, September 1996" (3.23); "Campus Climate Survey, July 1995" (3.24); "Qualification Study of the ESL Writing Sample, April 1996" (3.25); "Learning Skills of IVC's First-Time College Students, June 1996" (3.26); and "An Analysis of Student Performance at IVC, September 1997" (3.27). In early 1996, the college participated in a survey of business needs conducted by Orange County community colleges and several community partners (3.28). In 1997, another survey conducted by the community colleges of Los Angeles and Orange County provided the college with employer needs (3.29).
The college continues to enhance transfer activities through various activities. Among these are Pathways (3.30), the UC application on-line program, which is available in the Transfer Center and making Transfer Easy (MTE), which had over 300 student contacts. The Dean's Tea (3.31) reinforces successful completion of courses for transfer. IVC and the University of California have been awarded a grant to assist in increasing enrollment of community college transfers from 10,900 in 1995-96 to 14,500 or more students by the year 2005-6, representing an increase of approximately 33% over 1995-96. The grant has allowed for the creation of the Orange County Transfer Consortium. The consortium is composed of Orange County Community Colleges and the University of California, Irvine. This consortium will be working to accomplish the following tasks:
As noted above, the college has developed various mechanisms to measure effectiveness including Program Review that serves as the umbrella mechanism for evaluation of all college programs and services. Three programs, Writing program (Office of Instruction), the Health and Wellness Center (Office of Student Services), and Foundation (Office of the President), have undergone program review and the results will be used to improve these programs and refine the program review process. All results gathered will need to be interpreted meaningfully (i.e., translated into an action plan) and clearly tied to a central planning document, such as the Strategic Plan, to make the planning process more effective, more focused, and easier to evaluate periodically. The program review process has been revised to broaden the handbook's applicability to all college programs and the revised mechanism, once Academic Senate has approved it, will be used to conduct subsequent program review (3.32). Survey results suggest a perceived deficiency in this area. Of the 113 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey, Item 14, (3.14, Section Three, page 5), 65% did not agree that the institution "has developed and implemented the means of evaluating how well, and in what ways, it accomplishes its missions and purposes."
1. The college will continue to implement and revise its program review process and establish outcome measures.
2. The college will publish and disseminate outcomes of its planning and evaluation efforts through appropriate means including the college's web page.
A.4 The institution provides evidence that its program evaluations lead to improvement in its programs and services.
The college's Strategic Plan (3.1, pages 27-30) identified the need to develop a process and timelines for program review by January 1997 and pilot-testing on three programs occurred in spring 1997: the Writing program (Office of Instruction), the Health and Wellness Center (Student Services), and Foundation (Office of the President). The results obtained will be used to refine the process and improve the programs. Currently, public information (Office of the President), community and contract education (Office of Instruction), grants and special projects (Office of Instruction), and parking (Office of Business Services) are scheduled to undergo program review.
Though delayed by the late appointment of the chair of the Committee on Courses, review of the following instructional programs under a six-year cycle of curriculum review (3.11) is currently scheduled: Accounting; Computer Information Science; Art; Applied Psychology; Art History; Biology; Astronomy; Chemistry; Administration of Justice; and Anthropology.
In compliance with state law, college vocational programs have an industry-based advisory committee that reviews curriculum and provides advice to ensure the program meets current industry standards (3.20).
A final version of the program review document has yet to be approved by the Program Review Committee.
Since instructional program reviews are tied to curriculum review when appropriate, and since there was limited curriculum action in fall 1997, curriculum review schedules have fallen behind. It is essential that curriculum review move forward to ensure that the institution proceeds with its plans for self-assessment.
Item 15 of the Institutional Effectiveness Survey (3.14, Section Three, page 5) asked if the institution "provides evidence that its program evaluations lead to improvement in its programs and services." Of the 116 respondents, 70% of administrators, 68% of full-time faculty, 54% of part-time faculty, and 6% of full-time classified (67 total) did not agree with this statement.
1. The college will continue to implement its program review process and monitor
resulting action plans in order to assure improvements.
B.1 The institution defines and publishes its planning processes and involves appropriate segments of the college community in the development of institutional plans.
IVC's Strategic Plan 1996-2001 (3.1) was the result of substantive work done by the Strategic Plan Steering Committee (chaired by a faculty member) and six focus groups. Each of these focus groups included representatives from faculty, staff, students, and administration. Most recently, the college president has restructured the strategic planning process to include more comprehensive input from faculty, staff, and administrators through a written survey aimed at identifying strategies to improve student access, success and quality of educational programs (3.33). Other planning documents, including the Matriculation Plan (1994) (3.2), the Organizational Assessment (1995) (3.3), the Technology Initiative Report (1995) (3.4), the Student Success Plan (1995) (3.5), the Educational and Facilities Master Plan (1995) (3.6), and the Foundation Strategic Plan (1996) (3.7), have been prepared with broad participation from all college constituencies. Other planning processes are conducted through weekly meetings of the Executive Council (composed of the college president and the three vice-presidents), the Administrative Council (president, vice-presidents, and deans), the Instructional Council (vice presidents, deans, academic senate president, community education director), and bi-monthly meetings of the President's Council, whose membership includes college administrators and representatives from all governance groups. Minutes of these meetings are broadly disseminated (3.34). Planning also occurs within individual units of the college (academic schools, departments, and programs) through faculty and staff meetings.
The college has made significant efforts in involving all segments of its community in the planning process through all the governance groups. Planning documents have been broadly disseminated. The strategic plan survey (3.33) and the scheduled cycle of program review (3.10) ensures that all members of the college community have the opportunity to become involved in developing institutional plans. Of the 133 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey Item 16 (3.14, Section Three, page 6), 59% agreed that "The institution defines and publishes its planning processes and involves appropriate segments of the college community in the development of institutional plans."
B.2 The institution clearly defines and integrates its evaluation and planning processes to identify priorities for improvement.
The Strategic Plan (3.1, pages 9-10) focused on six themes or priorities for improvement: Promoting Financial Partnerships; Developing Technological Access; Refining Shared Governance; Developing and Reviewing Programs; Providing Alternative Schedules; and Responding to Student Diversity. Each of these themes contained an action plan, although individual components of each plan were not prioritized. The college's Student Success Plan (3.5) is also an action-oriented document that focuses on goals and the activities supporting them.
In fall 1997, the vice-president of instruction developed a Status Report for Year II of the Strategic Plan (3.12, pages 7-9) that noted both progress made and areas where improvements were needed in the various sections of the plan. The report also identified point persons responsible for carrying out activities identified under each section, beginning spring 1998.
Most recently, the college president has restructured the strategic planning process to include a written survey aimed at identifying strategies to improve student access, success and quality of educational programs through more comprehensive input from faculty, staff, and administrators (3.33).
As noted above, the Strategic Plan has identified priorities for improvement. It needs to be considered a living document to which other documents and reports relate. Through the shared governance process, the college will continue reviewing and updating the Strategic Plan on a scheduled basis, making modifications and re-evaluating priorities as needed, not only in terms of their sequence but also in terms of their total number. A priority or a "theme" has been established for the current year of the Strategic Plan to focus more directly the college's planning efforts on student access, success and quality of educational programs. The results of the process will then be discussed and prioritized at the school/department levels of the college and by the vice presidents of student services, business services and instruction in their respective areas. A final set of college-wide strategies will be developed by the president in conjunction with the Administrative Council and governance groups. Every effort will be made to allocate available institutional resources according to the strategies that are developed. Of the 113 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey, Item 17, (3.14, Section Three, page 6), 57% agreed that "the institution clearly defines and integrates its evaluation and planning processes to identify priorities for improvement."
1. The college will continue to evaluate its Strategic Plan for possible modification, as needed, and determine whether it should focus on a more limited number of priorities.
B.3 The institution engages in systematic and integrated educational, financial, physical, and human resources planning and implements changes to improve programs and services.
In addition to the planning process resulting in the Strategic Plan, there are other areas where planning occurs.
The college's Committee on Courses (3.35, page 4) cyclically reviews and revises the instructional curriculum as needed and considers proposals for new programs and courses.
Recent requirements by the state of California stipulate that facilities planning be tied to an educational plan in order to qualify for state funding. This resulted in the college's Educational and Facilities Master Plan (1996) (3.6), which is periodically revised (supplemented by the college's program review process) as required by the state.
Chaired by the vice-president for business services, the college's Budget and Operations Committee (3.35, page 2) consists of representatives from each of the academic schools, classified staff, and students. The committee's charge is to review the financial condition of the college and make recommendations for budget priorities for the current or the following year to the college president through the President's Council. Meetings are held monthly or more often if necessary.
New faculty positions are first identified and recommended at the school level, then prioritized through a process devised by the college's Academic Senate, using available enrollment and staffing data (3.36). During spring 1998, the district Board of Trustees approved hiring 10 new faculty members recommended for fall 1998 (3.37, page 6), contingent upon available funding.
The college has formed a classified staff hiring committee to develop a procedure for identifying and prioritizing classified staffing needs (3.38). This procedure allocates positions, based on ratios, to the Offices of Instruction, Student Services, Business Services, and the President. Vacant positions are filled as funding permits.
IVC has been consistent in carrying out its planning functions and continues to make efforts to effect improvements. As an example and result of exceptional physical resources and educational planning, the college opened a state-of-the-art Library in fall 1997 that provides student and staff access to computer technology that is designed to promote greater use of computer-assisted and online instruction. The college also has several building projects on the state chancellor's list but budgetary constraints, both at the state and local levels, have prevented the college's advancement of its goals in this area of capital projects and in meeting a number of its needs (see Standard Nine). In spite of continued enrollment growth, additional classroom space may not be available due to insufficient capital outlay funds from the state.
Replacement of vacant staff positions or hiring for new positions will probably not keep pace with demand due, in part, to rising personnel costs. The college continues to manage its resources wisely and to adhere to prudent fiscal policies in order to meet its obligations.
Curriculum planning, including a plan for distance education, and staff development have occurred slowly but steadily for most of the academic year. Of the 122 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey, Item 18 (3.14, Section Three, page 7), 53% disagreed that the institution "engages in systematic and integrated educational, financial, physical, and human resources planning and implements changes to improve programs and services."
No changes are recommended at this time.
C.1 The institution specifies intended institutional outcomes and has clear documentation of their achievement.
IVC has established a number of desirable outcomes in areas of student success, program review, and its strategic plan. Program Review has been pilot-tested and has thus far yielded results in the following areas: Writing program, Health and Wellness Center and Foundation. The Strategic Plan 1996-2001 will continue to be updated as more goals are implemented as evidenced by the status report issued by the Office of Instruction in fall 1997 (3.12, pages 4-6).
Program Review and the Strategic Plan have begun to yield results and work continues. Still, of 104 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey, Item 19 (3.14, Section Three, page 7), 63% disagreed that the institution "specifies intended institutional outcomes and has clear documentation of their achievement."
1. The college will continue to clearly document achievements by disseminating status reports of the annual review of the Strategic Plan to ensure that faculty, staff and administrators are aware of current institutional goals.
C.2 The institution uses information from its evaluation and planning activities to communicate matters of quality assurance to the public.
Information concerning the college's educational accomplishments resulting from its evaluation and planning efforts is typically handled by the Public Information Office and the IVC Foundation through press releases and brochures such as the "Irvine Valley College and Foundation Annual Report, 1996-1997" (3.39). The college is required by law to provide information regarding campus safety and crime statistics and does so through the "Student Guide to Awareness and Campus Safety" (3.40) updated and published each year. The guide is available to the public, staff and to new and prospective students.
IVC can certainly take pride in its many educational accomplishments. The "Irvine Valley College and Foundation Annual Report" (3.39) is a handsome document that contains data on student characteristics (page 4), a progress report on planning efforts (page 5), enrollment trends (page 19), and budget data (page 11), among other items. This is, in fact, the college's equivalent to a "Fact Book," which in essence serves as a vehicle to communicate matters of quality assurance to the public; 5,000 copies of the 1996-97 edition were distributed. The college needs to develop a means of assessing the public's perception of its quality. Of the 113 respondents to the Institutional Effectiveness Survey, Item 20 (3.14, Section Three, page 7), 67% did not agree that the institution "uses information from its evaluation and planning activities to communicate matters of quality assurance to the public."
2. The college will conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment to determine the public's perception of the institution and educational needs of the community-at-large.
C.3 The institution systematically reviews and modifies, as appropriate, its institutional research efforts, evaluation processes, institutional plans, and planning processes to determine their ongoing utility for assessing institutional effectiveness.
IVC has published a "Six-Year Calendar of Reports and Reviews" (3.41) covering the years 1996-2001, that establishes a regular schedule of review of its planning documents. Even though the calendar does not explicitly require research, the reports and reviews will necessitate appropriate research be conducted. The Matriculation Advisory Committee updated the college's Matriculation Plan (3.42) during academic year 1997-98, although this review does not figure in the six-year calendar.
IVC continues to introduce systematic and integrated institutional planning and evaluation into the culture of the institution. Program review was itself reviewed in the fall of 1997 (3.32). Still, systematic planning and evaluation have not yet been fully integrated into the fabric of the institution. Item 21 of the Institutional Effectiveness Survey (3.14, Section Three, page 8) asked if the institution "systematically reviews and modifies, as appropriate, its institutional research efforts, evaluation processes, institutional plans, and planning processes to determine their ongoing utility for assessing institutional effectiveness." Of the 106 respondents, 72% of administrators, 61% of full-time faculty, 53% of part-time faculty, and 50% of full-time classified (a total of 55) disagreed with this statement.
1. Through the shared governance mechanism, the college will continue to review its institutional research efforts, evaluation processes, institutional plans, and planning processes, making changes where necessary.