TO: All VCCS Employees
FROM: Glenn DuBois
DATE: March 30, 2011

RE: An update on VCCS reengineering

Dear colleagues:

Great news: Today begins a new era for the rethink.vccs.edu website!

The website now includes a dashboard that will connect you to the latest information about the VCCS Reengineering Taskforce and the workgroups that are responsible for implementing reengineering ideas.

From the dashboard, which can be found in the middle of the front page, you can click through each goal to see the charge to individual workgroups and the groups’ latest updates.

On the right side of the individual goal screens, you will see the name and email contact information for the individual who is leading the workgroup. In some cases, there are multiple people identified. This arrangement ensures that you have convenient access to these people to share your concerns, thoughts and comments.

There is an additional space on the right side for additional background documents that will likely fill-in as the work of groups advances.

The rethink.vccs.edu website will be updated regularly to ensure this reengineering process remains inclusive and transparent.

A Sampling of Updates
It is ambitious to think that a single email could update you on every reengineering workgroup – perhaps it is equally ambitious to think that anyone wants to read an email that long.

For this message, I am including the latest from a few workgroups, placing an emphasis on the subject areas identified as priority by the college faculty and staff members of the Reengineering Taskforce:

Redesign Developmental Education
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on these topics.

The redesign of developmental mathematics, reading, and writing is moving forward, guided by the vision of The Turning Point. The first issue of a report tracking progress toward the three goals of developmental education redesign (the Developmental Education Annual Report) was shared with vice presidents, presidents, and State Board members. Two exciting new professional developmental opportunities – a Developmental Education Symposium and the Chancellor’s Developmental Education Institute – are planned for April and June 2011, respectively.

Developmental mathematics redesign is guided by the vision launched in The Critical Point. Mathematics faculty members have been identified to serve as campus implementation leads for developmental mathematics to assist in coordinating implementation at campus and college levels. Other mathematics faculty members are serving on a small Placement Test Team to assist McCann Associates in developing customized placement/diagnostic assessments for mathematics. Implementation planned for spring 2012.

Developmental English Redesign Team members are finalizing recommendations for the redesign of developmental reading and writing. Draft recommendations have been shared with English faculty and with academic and student services vice presidents. The Team’s report will be presented to presidents at their April meeting. Recommendations reflect the integration of reading and writing instruction for students entering VCCS colleges deemed not college ready in English. Implementation planned for fall 2012.

Reinvesting in Our People (Faculty Evaluation)
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

In January, 20 master teachers, many of whom were former SCHEV outstanding faculty award recipients as well as Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award recipients convened to work on the question: How can the ineffective faculty evaluation system, which serves neither the faculty members nor the colleges well, be fixed? Their conversation will form the basis of determining the skills, values and attitudes that new faculty must demonstrate to secure a continuing contract. Thus far, a workgroup, led and mostly staffed by faculty members, has been convened to discuss an evaluation system that is specific to new and multi-year faculty, the development of a quality enhancement system that fosters continuous improvement and professional growth, and a reward/recognition system that provides a mechanism to recognize efforts that exceed expectations. The thrust of this effort comes down to three broad questions:

1. Can we make the evaluation process simpler?
2. Are the expectations appropriate and rigorous enough to truly determine how well a new instructor fits with his or her students, department and college?
3. Can we change the focus from evaluation to professional development and growth for experienced faculty members?

There remain many details to explore on reforming faculty evaluations. Some of that will occur at this year’s New Horizons Conference, where faculty members will lead a discussion on this topic.

Expand the Teaching Faculty Employment Spectrum
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

The workgroup for this idea is currently being assembled. The workgroup’s 28 current members include: college presidents, academic vice presidents, academic deans, faculty, workforce services, human resources, institutional research, and system office staff. The workgroup will begin meeting in early April and will organize into a structure that allows smaller subgroups to develop each of the new faculty roles. To date, the new faculty roles being proposed are contracted adjunct, half-time faculty, lecturer, and 10- or 11-month faculty. The workgroup will develop a timeline for the development and proposed implementation for each of these roles and will create a detailed plan for gathering input from all constituency groups along the way.

Articulate Learning Outcomes for Courses
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

In spring 2011, the Articulate Learning Outcomes workgroup, with representation from teaching faculty, college administrators, and system office staff, will organize, obtain resources, and begin the implementation process. The action plan for summer 2011 includes establishing selection criteria for a STEM, O/T, and general education course for the pilot phase and developing an implementation template. In September, the work group will report progress to and solicit feedback from teaching faculty and VCCS governance bodies. During the 2011-12 academic year, discipline faculty curriculum teams will write the learning outcomes and define student achievement goals for each of the three selected courses.

Conduct Credit Audit of Academic Programs
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

In an effort to reduce time-to-degree for students, the planned audit process will direct colleges to review existing academic programs to determine whether the program-specific and general education learning outcomes can be achieved in fewer credit hours. Details of the process, to include guidance to colleges and a mechanism to document college analysis of program length, are under development. Draft materials will be shared with academic vice presidents at the May meeting of the Academic and Student Affairs Council.

Promote Academic Program Consortia
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

This initiative creates an opportunity to address unmet workforce needs across Virginia through the creation of college consortia for delivery of academic programs in innovative, collaborative, and cost-effective ways. The VCCS program approval process will be revised to reflect further questions about the many potential ways colleges could collaborate to deliver a program as feasible alternatives to stand-alone program delivery. In addition, regional and statewide workforce needs will be examined strategically to determine high-need occupational areas that could benefit from and are well-suited for a consortial delivery arrangement.

Innovation Through Technology
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

With a focus on student success through a more efficient use of resources, this goal will work toward achieving a culture of innovation through the use of technology. To achieve this goal, an Innovation and Technology Task Force is being planned, the Technology Council continues looking at strategic ways of using technology, and discussions on shared services and their use in our system are underway. We are particularly interested in developing the Virginia Education Wizard as a student performance tool.

Managing with Productivity in Mind
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

Making objective and useful data on the cost effectiveness of college operations available through additional management tools is the primary aim of this goal. In addition, professional development on how to use the data in a way to promote improved productivity and efficiencies is also part of the goal. One part of the solution is the implementation of a decision support system which includes a data warehouse and tools to support business intelligence and “productivity oriented” decision making. A Request for Proposals (RFP) for the software is currently underway, and a workgroup is being created that will assist with the implementation of the decision support system.

Shared Services – Leveraging VCCS Purchasing Power
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on this topic.

This workgroup is meeting weekly via conference call to discuss ways to better leverage procurement opportunities across the 23 community colleges and the system office. Training is being planned for procurement officers to be delivered at the upcoming Administrative Services conference in May and information will be provided to additional groups (VPs, Business Managers, Facilities, HR) at that meeting. Informational updates will be provided to Presidents at ACOP meetings. The workgroups are exploring opportunities to enhance delegated procurement authority for non-capital and non IT procurements. System-wide utilization of unlimited delegated procurement authority at Virginia Western CC, John Tyler CC and Tidewater CC is being examined for large procurements common to all colleges. Greater use of cooperative procurement language in solicitations and contracts is being explored. Procurement Officers at the colleges will be asked to provide feedback to the committee on challenges that they face and suggestions on how improvements can be made. The subcommittee and workgroup are comprised of folks from functional areas and colleges that can provide valuable feedback as different ideas and options are evaluated.

Automate Student Success Solutions and Develop Public-Private Partnerships for Student Success
Click here to keep up with the latest work being done on these topics.

In the interest of redesigning the delivery of selected services to students such that those functions are most effective in promoting student access and success and delivered in the most cost efficient manner, the following progress has been made:

1. A self-service graduation application was released and a workgroup convened in February to prioritize enhancements;
2. Early alert and automated scheduling vendors have been identified and examined;
3. An electronic high school transcript pilot has been initiated with the identification of five colleges that will receive electronic transcripts this spring;
4. Consultants have been solicited to develop functionality within SIS that will allow for the display of detailed course summaries to augment course planning information available to students; and
5. A survey on tutoring services has been administered and will be used to determine if a negotiated rate with one or more private tutoring providers may lower costs to individual colleges.

The Word is Getting Out
The challenges facing Virginia’s Community Colleges are not unique to the commonwealth. Community colleges across the country are facing funding cuts, enrollment jumps and the hurdle of serving those unprepared for college-level classwork.

What is unique, however, is that together we are addressing these challenges head-on in Virginia. We are doing that with the ambitious public agenda of Achieve 2015 that is focused on student success; and we are doing that in developing the internal methods for pursuing those goals through reengineering.

I recently had the chance to describe our approach to the National Association of Developmental Educators  at their national conference. Our work is being watched closely by many who are waiting to learn from our success.

Virginia’s Community Colleges know how incredible our teaching faculty and staff members are and we know the untapped potential our many students hold. Together, we are building a process that honors all of those people by better positioning them to succeed.

I deeply appreciate your contributions to that process just as I am grateful for the work you do at Virginia’s Community Colleges every day.

As always, 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.

Sincerely,

Signature

Glenn DuBois

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