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RCTC currently has three active AQIP action projects. The following three summaries provide a July 2016 update on the projects. You can read the complete versions of RCTC action projects in the Higher Learning Commission's AQIP Action Project Directory.
Assessment of Student Learning (ASL) Closing the Loop
The assessment of student learning is a critical component to the advancement and continuous quality improvement cycles of RCTC’s classes, courses, disciplines, and programs. In the spring of 2016 RCTC embarked on a new assessment project: “Closing the Loop”. The purpose of “Closing the Loop” is to help faculty systematically assess how students are learning in their classes. This type of classroom assessment focuses on pedagogical improvements, not specific grades.
“Closing the Loop” provides faculty one avenue to record, track, and make improvements to specific assignments or projects in their classes. The overall structure of this assessment document is as follows: 1) faculty choose an assignment/project in a single class where they want to improve student learning. 2) faculty record student scores to create a benchmark, 3) faculty implement a new pedagogical strategy designed to improve student learning, 4) faculty measure and record student scores after the improvement implementation, 5) faculty record if and how much student learning improved or did not improve, 6) faculty report on next steps. “Closing the Loop” follows the AQIP Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle, and is but one of many methods of assessment by faculty.
Master Academic Plan: Mapping the Future of RCTC’s Educational Offerings and Services
Fall 2015, RCTC begin the creation of its first Master Academic Plan, or MAP. The purpose of creating RCTC’s MAP is to provide a roadmap that will advance RCTC’s academic mission, vision and values. Truly beginning at a grassroots level, the MAP design process was to collect critical internal and external environmental data to help mold RCTC’s portfolio of academic programs and student support services.
Gathering input from RCTC faculty and staff in more than 80 academic programs, disciplines, and student support areas, the overarching goals of the Master Academic Plan are to:
- Identify internal and external demands to create a portfolio of programs and services to meet current and future student, community, business and industry needs.
- Develop strategies to increase student learning and success.
- Identify needs to create a comprehensive faculty/staff professional development program.
- Identify campus and technology needs to develop a comprehensive instructional delivery plan that supports innovation and enhances student success.
Scheduled for completion in fall 2016, RCTC’s Master Academic Plan will provide information and data to lead the academic and student based direction of the college for the next three years and beyond. It will also inform the creation of the College’s Comprehensive Facility Plan and Master Technology Plan.
Strategic Enrollment Management: Improving Student Retention
RCTC Strategic Enrollment Management Council (SEMC) has initiated a special project designed to improve practices and processes that will enhance student retention, inform budgeting decisions, and promote overall greater student success. Taking a laser focused approach with this project, the Council is creating targeted initiatives to help improve the success of five “at risk” student populations. From institutional data gathered over the last three years, the demographic groups of focus for this project are: first-year students, males, students of color, adult learners, and developmental education learners.
The Strategic Enrollment Management Council sent a task force to the HLC Strategy Forum in February, 2016. From that forum the action project was created. The remainder of the spring semester was used to evaluate student retention and attrition data, from which the targeted demographic groups were chosen. During the summer of 2016, strategic initiatives were designed to improve retention of these populations. Implementation of initiatives will begin fall, 2016, with measurement of student persistence and retention taking place fall 2017 and spring 2018. From the results of that data additional action steps will be identified and implemented. The overall goal of this project is to increase the institutional retention rate by 3%.