TO: All VCCS Employees
FROM: Glenn DuBois
DATE: June 1, 2011
RE: The latest on VCCS reengineering

Dear colleague:

Congratulations on helping Virginia’s Community Colleges reach the end of another successful year! We are making progress on our strategic plan, Achieve 2015, and along the way we are serving more and more students and employers – exactly what Virginia is looking to us to do. This year we again served a record number of students, a total headcount of 286,920, or 5,677 more than last year.  Our graduations ceremonies were a tangible and exciting reflection of your success – you can be very proud of all that has been accomplished this year.

Increasing awareness

The needs for and challenges of Virginia’s Community Colleges continue to gain attention and traction across the commonwealth and the nation.

Half of the students earning high school diplomas in the coming month will need developmental education when they arrive at our colleges in the fall.  These numbers continue to highlight the importance of our reengineering efforts to completely rethink how we identify students that need developmental education and how we help them get over those hurdles more quickly and more efficiently.

This challenge recently caught the attention of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and inspired editorials in a number of papers including the Washington Examiner and the Daily Press. Our challenge with these students was explored further in a Washington Post column. Meanwhile, both our credit and non-credit credential programs earned praise from The Virginian-Pilot as viable and needed alternatives for students who may not seek a bachelor’s degree.

State Board advocacy and support

Our State Board for Community Colleges continues to be our strongest advocate for our reengineering efforts and for providing a balanced approach to meeting our financial needs.  As you will remember, one of the major reasons for introducing our reengineering effort was because of declining state resources. We still have a reduction in state funding next year while we continue to anticipate additional students at our doors. Following a six-year strategic plan adopted to support Achieve 2015, our State Board approved an increase in tuition and mandatory fees for this fall of $9.50 per credit hour. Support from the Governor and General Assembly allowed us to moderate that increase, and our reengineering efforts gave us credibility that we are doing our best to be more effective and efficient in how we carry out our mission with fewer resources.

A sampling of updates

There are more than two dozen reengineering task force work groups now in action. 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.)

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

The workgroup held two “kick-off” conference calls to accomplish the following items:

  1. Introduce workgroup members to begin getting to know one another;
  2. Discuss the reasons for this idea and some of the goals to achieve;
  3. Determine what type of information the workgroup will need before it can begin working on proposals for the new roles; and
  4. Discuss how the workgroup should organize itself to accomplish this task.

The next step is to schedule a web conference with Dr. Chris Lee, vice chancellor, human resource services, to better understand the human resources policies and laws that will govern the work of this workgroup. At that time, the workgroup will also have a presentation focused on institutional research data. Following these two presentations, the workgroup will have their first face-to-face meeting.

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

A proposed budget and a proposed workgroup have been submitted to the System Office. Implementation of the Articulate Learning Outcomes recommendation is expected to commence in summer 2011.

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

A draft proposal that includes identified issues, solutions and an example of the student process for a fall 2011 pilot launch has been sent to Academic Services & Research. Four college visits provided additional issues and solutions for the proposal. Partner colleges are selecting courses, identifying liaison duties and contributing to the collaborative Memorandum of Understanding.

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

A concurrent session on reengineering ideas, including faculty evaluation that was presented at the New Horizons conference was very well received. Subsequently, a survey about the concepts being considered for a new evaluation system was sent to all faculty. Results of the survey will be available this summer. Future meetings to review the Master Teacher suggestions for faculty standards and to review results of the survey are being arranged.

The VCCS Reengineering Incentive Plan

As you can see, this has been a pivotal year for us in many ways. Our reengineering efforts, our progress on Achieve 2015 goals, the continued increase in the numbers of students being served – these all point to the hard work of our faculty and staff. Without your dedication and creativity we would not be where we are now.

You have been doing more with less and you have been asked to do that for quite some time now. The fiscal challenges facing the commonwealth have led to fewer faculty and staff members throughout our community colleges with heavier workloads, serving more and more students. It has been more than four years since you and your coworkers have received an across the board pay increase and we have had only one bonus in that time.

Your hard work and commitment to the people we serve should be recognized, even if the VCCS is positioned to do so only modestly.

At our recent State Board meeting, our Board members supported the creation of the VCCS Reengineering Incentive Plan to recognize your efforts. They recognize and sincerely appreciate all that you are doing.

As part of the plan, your college president will soon submit five goals for your college to meet in this first year of implementation of our reengineering implementation. Three of those five goals will apply to every community college. The other two will be customized to your individual college. All of the goals will be aligned with Achieve 2015 or our reengineering implementation goals.

Should your community college show sufficient progress in meeting those goals by mid-November, college employees will receive a bonus on December 1, 2011. The money for these bonuses will come from existing college budgets. Full-time faculty and staff members will receive a bonus equal to two percent of their annual salary. Adjunct faculty members and part-time employees will receive a smaller monetary award. I anticipate that your college president will provide you with a more detailed briefing on our Reengineering Incentive Plan. 

Stay engaged

This is, of course, just some 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 read those emails personally and pass them along to the taskforce. Thank you for all that you do to make our community colleges so successful and I hope you have a wonderful summer!

Sincerely,

 

Glenn DuBois

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