Dear colleagues,

I am writing to update you on the work of the VCCS Reengineering Taskforce and share with you how your substantial input is improving the draft recommendations and the focus we are placing on the process beyond the end of the taskforce in November.

To date, we have conducted nine town hall meetings at our community colleges.  We are working now to schedule four or five more in the coming weeks.

You have sent, and I have read, more than 400 email messages on this issue, ranging from reaction to the taskforce recommendations to original ideas offered for consideration.

Through the work Patrick Tompkins, the chair of CFAC, and others who sit on that panel, dozens of pages containing more than 100 additional thoughts, reactions and suggestions have been forwarded to me, and the taskforce. Further feedback has been obtained at peer group meetings across the state.

Thank you for helping us make this process better.

The second draft of the taskforce’s recommendations offers some significant changes over the previous version with clearer, better articulated, goals.

(SECOND) DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendations from the Virginia’s Community Colleges Reengineering Task Force

A Change Agenda with a Student-First Focus

  1. Redesign Developmental Education
    Redesign developmental mathematics, reading and writing in order to enhance student success; implement the recommendations of the Developmental Education Task Force; and take steps to prevent the need for remediation by working with local school divisions to improve the college readiness of high school graduates.
  2. Implement Shared Services  
    • Centralize “Back-Office” Functions of Financial Aid
      Conduct a pilot to centralize student financial aid “back office” processes  at Tidewater Community College resulting in greater individualized service to students, improved student affordability and access, and reduced processing costs per student. 
    • Leverage VCCS Purchasing Volume
      Leverage the purchasing volume of the VCCS and increase operational efficiencies to provide significant cost savings.
    • Pilot Shared Services Distance Learning System
      Offer a distance learning system option to VCCS colleges, that will expand their capacity for greater student access and comprehensive course offerings through a shared services arrangement, piloted by Northern Virginia Community College, sharing both FTE and tuition revenues.  
    • Expand Opportunities for Development of Consortia
      Encourage the exploration of consortia program possibilities both in academic programs and all other areas of the college in order to increase student success and operational efficiency. This will increase opportunities to offer academic programs when and where they might not otherwise be feasible, and allow campuses to combine some operations for operational efficiencies.
  3. Strengthen and Diversify the VCCS Resource Base
    Strengthen and diversify the VCCS Resource base with the following strategies:   

    • Adhere to implementation of the six year financial plan adopted by the State Board for Community Colleges;
    • Pursue an aggressive strategy to increase the proportion of students receiving financial aid, including streamlining financial aid processing;
    • Encourage college foundations to focus fund raising efforts on the goal of fulfilling by 2015 the unmet financial needs of all middle income students that want to attend their college.
    • Provide professional development and other services to college foundations to increase their capacity in resource development; 
    • Expand the pursuit of external funding opportunities with grants and contracts;
    • Seek increased state support through modification and funding of state guidelines and policies to recognize the mission of the VCCS;
    • Position workforce services and continuing education as revenue producing functions through further efficiencies and improved effectiveness;
    • Pursue opportunities to expand public-private partnerships with business and industry;
    • Leverage the use of proven strategic financing mechanisms such as debt financing and performance contracting
  4. Articulate Learning Outcomes for Courses to Enhance Student SuccessUtilize the VCCS faculty peer group structure to articulate learning outcomes for courses, beginning with prerequisite courses and courses with high enrollment currently demonstrating low success rates and/or low persistence rates to subsequent courses and award completion. Included in this process would be the development of mutually agreed outcomes, associated learning objects, student achievement benchmarks, and multiple assessment methodologies.
  5. Foster a Culture of High Performance
    Support the creation of high performance systems that utilize fully the talent and potential of our people, leverage the power of technology, enhance productivity, and produce better outcomes for students.

    • Reinvesting in Our People
      Develop strategies that encourage and reward sustainable improvements in individual and organizational performance.
    • Innovation Through Technology
      Develop a dynamic strategic planning process to achieve a culture of innovation through the use of technology in order to promote student success and more effective and efficient use of resources.
    • Managing with Productivity in Mind
      Provide additional management tools that make objective and useful data on the cost-effectiveness of operations within the college available to decision-makers, along with professional development on how to use the data in a way to promote improved productivity and efficiencies.
  6. Reposition Workforce Services As A High Performance Operation Meeting Employer Needs While Contributing To The Financial Strength Of Virginia’s Community Colleges. 
    •  Evaluate, acquire and implement an automated enterprise system for registration, enrollment and tracking of open enrollment, community service and employer contract training courses in order to provide accurate and auditable data, reduce staffing costs, become more efficient, and provide improved customer service.
    • Identify barriers to cost effective, entrepreneurial operations and promote changes to operational and funding policies and guidelines where appropriate.
  7. Automate Student Success Solutions and Develop Public-Private Partnerships for Student SuccessRedesign the delivery of selected services to students such that those functions are most effective in promoting student success and delivered in the most cost efficient manner.  Possible services include automation solutions for course planning and academic advising, early alert and student intervention tracking, appointment scheduling, transfer planning, graduation application and access to high school transcripts, as well as leveraging private sector services to process transcripts and to provide supplemental, electronic tutorial support.
  8. Expand the Teaching Faculty Employment Spectrum
    Develop and implement new faculty position options, such as Contracted Adjunct, Half-time Teaching Faculty, Lecturer, and 10-11 month Teaching Faculty to provide needed flexibility for college management of faculty resources.
  9. Conduct Credit Audit of Academic Programs
    Colleges will review their curricula through a credit audit of their academic programs with an unusually high number of credit hour requirements in order to determine whether the same program and general education outcomes could be achieved by students with fewer credit hours, thereby reducing time to degree for students and eliminating some tuition expense for students.
  10. Continue Re-engineering Efforts
    Establish Re-engineering Task Force II to oversee implementation of the re-engineering recommendations by utilizing expanded workgroups of functional experts and by continuing to consider and recommend additional ideas.

THE PROCESS MOVING FORWARD

Last week, our college presidents agreed to the strategic direction of the draft recommendations, which will advance to the State Board for acceptance at their November meeting. From there, this process will continue with a second, expanded task force, something that I have been calling Task Force II. 

The initial Task Force had many ideas presented to it, some of which need further development and are not reflected in the recommendations, and yet even more new ideas continue to surface.   Task Force II will be charged with developing performance metrics for each of their existing recommendations as soon as possible, monitoring progress on implementation of the recommendations, and continuing to pursue new ideas.

We will strive to make Task Force II more inclusive and responsive to those who work throughout Virginia’s Community Colleges. That involvement will be in the form of both opportunities for on-line interaction with Task Force members and greater opportunities for constituent groups to be represented on workgroups that will provide guidance on implementing the recommendations. 

There is no one-size-fits-all way to implement the ideas the task force has generated.  Some will be tested in a pilot before being fully implemented. Others require further development.  Each recommendation will have its own path to follow:  a set of metrics outlining the problem or issue to be resolved and the related expectations tied to the recommendation, the constituent groups to be involved in the further development or implementation of the recommendation, the timeline, and the responsible parties for overseeing implementation of the recommendation.

You have played a significant role in helping us sharpen and improve this process and the recommendations it has produced. Thank you for that and for continuing to be involved as this process moves forward. It is exciting to think about the ways we can partner to improve student success and outcomes by reinvesting in you and our co-workers, by becoming savvier about the way we use technology and by the way we manage with productivity in mind.

Sincerely,

Signature

Glenn DuBois, Chancellor
Virginia’s Community Colleges

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