TO: All VCCS Employees
FROM: Glenn DuBois
DATE: October 26, 2011
RE: The Latest on VCCS Reengineering

Dear colleague:

Greetings from Southside Virginia 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.

We also have faculty members who are serving on the Reengineering Taskforce giving in-person updates to many of the peer groups happening this fall across the state.

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 are constantly on the lookout for ideas to improve how our colleges operate and would love to hear from you.

From the Mailbag

I’m glad to share with you some of the good thoughts that come back from your colleagues in response to these emails.

“When students apply to a VCCS institution we ask for a copy of their high school diploma, but it would be very helpful to me if I actually had a copy of their high school transcript,” wrote a counselor from Northern Virginia Community College. “The transcript would tell me so much about how a student did academically in high school. Presently, a student comes to NOVA and when we ask what they would like to major in they might say engineering, computer science or nursing, but in reality they do not have the academic skills or math skills to enter their desired program of choice.  If I, as counselor/advisor, could ascertain that at the entry level I could be a lot more pro-active about how to advise these students.”

As more and more people have come to agreement that high school is no longer the finish line, we are building stronger relationships with our K-12 partners. From sharing with them the Virginia Education Wizard to help their students build college and career plans to working with them to reduce the number of students who come to us needing developmental education we are making progress. You are on to something here. The more seamless we can make the transition from high school to college, I believe, the better the chance we have of making our students successful. Thanks for taking the time to write me.

“Regarding the Reinvesting in Faculty Task Force, when should we expect another opportunity for faculty comment?  [We have] a number of interesting ideas in the August 2011 summary,” wrote a Virginia Western Community College professor.

The opportunity is now. I would encourage you to contact the lead person for that workgroup and move your ideas forward. That person’s email address and telephone number are on the dashboard for your convenience. We need all the good ideas we can find. Thanks for asking.

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 a previous message, 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. I will update the chart in future emails as more meetings are solidified.

DATE

COMMUNITY COLLEGES

TOWN HALL MEETING TIME

10/5/11

PHCC
NRCC

9:30 AM
1:00 PM

10/26/11

SSVCC
(Alberta Campus)

1:00 p.m. 

11/2/11

WCC
MECC

9:00 AM
12:30 PM

11/9/11

PVCC
JSRCC

9:30 AM
2:00 PM

11/29/11

LFCC
RCC

9:00 AM
1:30 PM

12/1/11

NVCC

1:00 PM 

12/5/11

TCC (Portsmouth)

12:00 PM

1/13/12

VHCC
SWCC

9:30 AM
1:30 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 Curriculum Team for Developmental English Redesign held its initial meetings on September 9, 2011 and October 7, 2011. Thirty-two reading and writing faculty from 23 colleges comprise the group, which is co-chaired by Dr. Brent Kendrick (LFCC) and Ms. Laura Powell (DCC). At its first meeting, DECT members created initial draft of separate reading and writing student learning outcomes.  These were vetted with college faculty between meetings and on October 7, DECT members met to discuss the integrated reading and writing model and develop a draft set of integrated student learning outcomes. These will be shared with college faculty. Further meetings of the DECT are scheduled for early November and early December.  Participants in the 2011 Chancellor’s Developmental Education Institute met for their initial follow-up meeting on September 23. Dr. Jaime Lester from George Mason University presented a session on faculty leadership in a time of change. Faculty reviewed progress on their action plans developed at the Institute and shared strategies with each other. The 2011 Institute participants will meet again on November 14 for a session facilitated by Dr. Hunter Boylan of the National Center for Developmental Education.

(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 Articulate Learning Outcomes (ALO) workgroup is laying the foundation for the curriculum teams that will re-engineer specific courses.  ALO subcommittees will identify criteria for selecting the first ALO courses; design a standard process for ALO curriculum teams to follow; create an incentive plan for colleges to develop and pilot model on-campus, hybrid, and online courses; and determine the metrics by which the success of the ALO initiative will be measured. ALO communication strategies include presentations at all peer group meetings, presentations to the Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Committee and the Academic and Student Affairs Council, and the dissemination for comment by VCCS stakeholders of ALO workgroup materials before they are revised and forwarded to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Research in mid-December. The target date for the first ALO curriculum team to be constituted and begin re-engineering a course is Spring 2012.

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

The fall semester Shared Services Distance Learning (SSDL) courses are underway. Students at partner colleges are taking advantage of shared services such as Smarthinking and Proctor U, and completing proctored tests with the help of their liaisons and partner college testing centers. Preparations are underway for the spring semester as partner colleges select the courses they will share. The Director of Statewide Delivery visits the partner college’s campus and consults with interested participants, answering questions, and finding collaborative solutions. The SSDL pilot welcomes the addition of New River Community College to its partnership. The partner college’s Finance Officers held a conference call on September 21, 2011, and finalized the invoicing process. A “Catch Up” workgroup conference call happened on September 26, 2011, and college representatives shared their experiences to date. Conference call minutes reside on the SSDL site.

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.

Sincerely,

Glenn DuBois

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