TO: All VCCS Employees
FROM: Glenn DuBois
DATE: January 27, 2012
RE: VCCS Reengineering Update

Dear colleague:

Good morning from Eastern Shore Community College!

Later today, I will be hosting another gathering in my series of town hall-style meetings to talk with you about the VCCS Reengineering effort and why it is so important not simply to our community colleges but our entire commonwealth.

This afternoon, we will continue that conversation with a meeting at Thomas Nelson Community College. Hope to see you there!

Preparations are under way for faculty members serving on the Reengineering Taskforce to continue to give in-person updates at peer group meetings. That includes a return visit to the New Horizon conference.

These live reports to our colleagues, emails like the one you are reading now and our dedicated website at www.rethink.vccs.edu are among the many ways we are working to ensure this process is as transparent and inclusive as possible. We seek ideas to do what we do even better and would love to hear from you.

2012 General Assembly Session

As you well know, the General Assembly is under way. While there are a few thousand pieces of legislation, the Governor’s introduced two-year budget bill captures most of the attention.

Earlier this week, I was asked to speak to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education to talk about the impact that budget would have on our 23 community colleges.

The bottom line is that the budget is good news for higher education in general and our community colleges in particular.

I would invite you to read a transcript of my remarks by clicking on the link.

And please visit our blog at www.VaHigherEd.com, where we keep you updated on legislative matters affecting our community colleges and you can read the stories of our students who come to meet their lawmakers as part of our Every Day is Community College Day effort.

The Time is Now for Community Colleges

That’s a theme I talk about a great deal during my town hall meetings. I see, hear and read more and more supporting evidence of that every day.

Let me share just a few examples of what I am talking about.

Sunday, the New York Times printed an intriguing article entitled, “Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class.” It does a good job of explaining the challenge our nation faces in building its manufacturing industries and creating middle class job opportunities.

The article indirectly says a potential and likely solution is more community college graduates:

“Companies like Apple “say the challenge in setting up U.S. plants is finding a technical work force,” said Martin Schmidt, associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In particular, companies say they need engineers with more than high school, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Americans at that skill level are hard to find, executives contend. “They’re good jobs, but the country doesn’t have enough to feed the demand,” Mr. Schmidt said.

President Obama addressed that issue, and our mission, directly in his State of the Union Address he gave this week:

I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills.  Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.  Think about that –- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.  It’s inexcusable.  And we know how to fix it… Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -– places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

That vision is already occurring in many of our community colleges. WSET – ABC 13’s website posted a story they reported this week on how this type of opportunity is being created at Central Virginia Community College:

“It’s that simple, pass that weld test and you’ve got the job,” said Jewel Newman, professor of welding.

The welding program just had 12 graduates, and 11 of them already found local jobs.

There are, of course, similar success stories coming from our other 22 colleges – and that should be celebrated!

My take-away from this week, and a driving force for our reengineering work, is that we need to do a whole lot more. Don’t worry; however, we’re up to that task. I know it.

Town Hall Meeting Schedule

The input you gave me last year at town hall campus meetings across the state was invaluable in helping us refine, improve and move forward on many of the big ideas at the center of our reengineering work.

As I’ve mentioned in previous messages, I want to continue that dialogue with you this coming year. I intend to visit each of our 23 community colleges before the end of the academic year.

Below is a schedule of when those visits will be occurring. This chart will be updated in future emails.

DATE

COMMUNITY COLLEGES

TOWN HALL MEETING TIME

9/27/11

GCC

10:00 a.m.

10/5/11

PHCC
NRCC

9:30 AM
1:00 PM

10/26/11

SSVCC
(Alberta)

1:00 p.m.

11/2/11

WCC
 MECC

9:00 – 10:30 AM
12:30 – 2:00 PM

11/9/11

PVCC
JSRCC

9:30 – 11:00 AM
2:00 – 3:30 PM

11/29/11

LFCC
RCC

POSTPONED/RESCHEDULED
1:30 – 3:00 PM

12/1/11

NVCC

1:00 – 2:30 PM

12/5/11

TCC – Portsmouth

12:00 – 1:30 PM

1/20/12

LFCC

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

1/27/12

ESCC
TNCC

9:15 – 10:45 AM
2:00 – 3:30 PM

2/3/12

VWCC
DSLCC

10:00 – 11:30 AM
2:00 – 3:30 PM

2/29/12

BRCC

1:30  – 3:00 PM

3/2/12

VHCC
SWVCC

9:30 – 11:00 AM
1:30 – 3:00 PM

3/7/12

JTCC

1:30  – 3:00 PM

3/12/12

PDCCC 

2:00  – 3:30 PM

3/14/12

CVCC
DCC

10:00 – 11:30 AM
2:00 – 3:30 PM

A Sampling of Updates

There are more than two dozen reengineering task force work groups now at work. You can track the progress of every single one of them through the dashboard at www.rethink.vccs.edu.

Here are updates on just a few of the issues I am often asked about during my campus visits. (The numbers contained in the parentheses correspond to the workgroup numbers on the dashboard.)

(2.) Implement Developmental Education Task Force Redesign Proposal (English)
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

The Virginia Placement Test – Mathematics (VPT – Mathematics) went live for students on November 14, 2011. The McCann Help Desk is tracking, on a weekly basis, the number of tests taken as well as the number of calls they received. It is encouraging to note that the former number is high, while the latter number is low. System office staff is working with McCann representatives to address any issues identified by colleges. Colleges are now enrolling students in the new MTE and MTT courses to begin in January 2012 based on students’ outcomes on the VPT – Mathematics.  Developmental mathematics faculty who participated in the 2011 Chancellor’s Developmental Education Institute met with other Institute participants in a second follow-up session on November 14, 2011. Dr. Hunter Boylan of the National Center for Developmental Education was the facilitator. The application process for the 2012 Chancellor’s Developmental Education Institute will be launched soon. Representatives from four colleges (Northern Virginia, Tidewater, John Tyler, and Germanna Community Colleges) joined system office staff in late November in a meeting with colleagues from Borough of Manhattan Community College to share the process and outcomes of the VCCS Developmental Mathematics Redesign.

(17.) Improve Learning Outcomes and Reduce Student and College Costs
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

The fall semester was a productive one for the ALO initiative. The following milestones were reached:

  • A survey of faculty and administrators guided the selection of the first courses to engage the ALO process and the development of an ALO How-To Guide.
  • The Re-engineering Task Force II endorsed the process and progress of the faculty-led ALO Workgroup.
  • The Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Committee, Council of Deans and Directors, Academic and Student Affairs Council, Advisory Council of Presidents, and every Peer Group meeting were updated on ALO progress and plans.
  • The ALO Workgroup submitted its final report to Vice Chancellor Susan Wood.
  • The Vice Chancellor, in consultation with the Academic and Student Affairs Council Executive Committee, approved the Workgroup’s ranked list of ALO courses. PSY 200, BIO 101, and ACC 211 will be the first courses to engage the ALO process.

The PSY 200 Curriculum Committee of faculty representatives from each college will be constituted in January to articulate learning outcomes, following well established models both in the VCCS and nationally. Updates to and solicitation of input from all VCCS psychology faculty will be a core component of the process, including a presentation on PSY 200 learning outcomes at the New Horizons conference. Psychology faculty will be invited to apply for $5,000 grants to develop on-campus, online, and hybrid iterations of PSY 200. Colleges will retain autonomy in deciding whether to adopt these iterations or continue creating unique approaches to the delivery of instruction.

Enhancing student achievement through the alignment of learning outcomes and the leveraging of faculty talent to deliver these outcomes is the primary goal of the ALO initiative.

(6.) Pilot Shared Services Distance Learning Systems
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

The enrollment in the shared courses continues to increase for spring 2012. Fifty-seven unique courses spread across the ten partner colleges have a current enrollment of 619, as of December 17, 2011. Discovered, as we neared the end of the fall 2011 semester, was the circumstance that although the end of semester date may be the same there are different deadlines across the partner colleges for the posting of final grades. This has resulted in extra effort by the Extended Learning Institute (ELI) faculty of Northern Virginia Community College, the liaisons, the Registrars and Student Information System (SIS) personnel at the partner colleges to ensure that final grades are posted with the least disruption to partner college business practices. Plans are in place to address different practices at partner colleges for dynamically dated course grade postings for spring 2012.

Stay Engaged

These are, again, just a few of the updates available to you on the dashboard at the rethink website.

Should you have comments or questions that are specific to the efforts of an individual workgroup, I would encourage you to email the leads of those groups. The names and email addresses of the leads are included for your convenience on the individual workgroup pages.

Of course, please feel free to send me any thoughts related to the reengineering process at rethink@vccs.edu. I look forward to reading those emails personally and passing them along to the taskforce.

I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start! I hope to see you at an upcoming town hall meeting, or read any thoughts you wish to email me in response of this message.

Sincerely,

Glenn DuBois

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