Accreditation

AQIP Current Action Projects

Early College High School Initiative

Summary:
The Early College High School initiative at Aims Community College is a partnership between Aims, School District 6 and Windsor Charter Academy and is intended to provide area youth with the opportunity to complete an Associate of Arts degree while they earn their high school diploma. The ECHS initiative is intended to reduce the need for remediation in post-secondary education, provide high quality and rigorous academic instruction in a small school community, increase the number of underserved students entering postsecondary education and reduce the students' overall postsecondary educational costs. Each of these four points addresses key institutional processes or priorities.

Aims’ reasons for taking on this Action Project now:
The ECHS initiative is a priority for Aims Community College as it is (1) a board directed initiative and (2) it addresses several key issues in postsecondary education as outlined in the above description. The ECHS initiative is an opportunity to continue to focus on reducing remediation rates as well as an opportunity to collaborate with k12 to improve postsecondary access and success for our communities' youth. It is part of a larger vision to increase post-secondary access and success for our local community. The larger vision of the Division of Extended Studies is to increase access to and success in postsecondary education via concurrent enrollment and collaborative partnerships with our local school districts. The ECHS initiative is one of several initiatives supporting that larger vision.

Measures or indicators to monitor success during and at the end of the project:
In order to monitor progress on the ECHS initiative we will work closely with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to determine appropriate metrics and tracking mechanisms. Additionally, we work with the Office of Assessment to determine an assessment plan for the ECHS courses aligned to the Aims Community College assessment process and procedures.

The measures for this project are evolving, but will include:

  1. Enrollment
  2. Retention
  3. Graduation
  4. Post-high school enrollment in postsecondary education
  5. Course level assessment to ensure high quality, college-level teaching and learning

We will be establishing baseline measures over the course of the 2015-2106 school year.
In addition, a combination of quantitative (ex. graduation and retention data) and qualitative (ex. focus groups and open ended question surveys) measures will be used to fully understand the impact of the ECHS on Aims and our surrounding communities.

Institutional-level Student Learning Outcomes - Where are we headed?

Summary:
Aims Community College is working on our approach to assessment of student learning.  Last year we focused on working with faculty to develop more substantial course/department level projects. Now our focus has expanded to institutional-level assessment while continuing to cultivate and expand course/departmental level assessment efforts.  This project addresses development, implementation, and deployment of our newly determined Institutional-Level Student Learning Outcomes (ILSLOs) for assessment of student learning in key courses across the institution.  The Assessment Office, along with multiple academic areas will determine courses where the ILSLOs best fit.  The Assessment Office will then determine structure and sequence to create a systematic college-wide assessment plan for measuring ILSLOs.

Aims’ reasons for taking on this Action Project now:
Recommendations from the Higher Learning Commission, along with best practices in assessment of student learning, indicate a need for improvement and expansion of our assessment practices and efforts as a whole.  Several comments in our last systems appraisal specifically indicated the need to redefine, expand, and improve our approach to assessment of student learning as well as develop and measure Institutional-Level Student Learning Outcomes.

We value our learners, want to ensure their success, and want to be able to demonstrate their growth. To ensure we can demonstrate growth, we must be able to measure growth.  To measure growth, much broader involvement in academic assessment needs to take place. As such, assessment goals have been included as part of our strategic planning: 

Long-term Goal 1: Prepare Aims for the learning needs of current & future students.
 
Under this long-term goal we have designated a mid-term goal which states that 80% of our Academic departments will participate in assessment at the course, programmatic or institutional level.

Measures or indicators to monitor success during and at the end of the project:
This project will impact the related mid-term institutional goal: 80% of academic departments to be participating in assessment at the course, program or institutional level. 

 

Business Process Review (BPR) Action Project

Summary: 
The Business Process Review is designed to assist with rethinking and redesigning the way every college process is completed, to better support the College’s mission. Phase 1 of the project will identify, analyze, and re-design business processes in Human Resources and Business and Finance to achieve dramatic improvements in critical performance measures, such as cost, quality, service, and time. Using a workshop format, a representative group of Aims stakeholders will:

  • Systematically examine the current HR and BAF business process(es) identifying opportunities and obstacles
  • Streamline to be as efficient as possible
  • Evaluate electronic processing
  • Recommend to Cabinet process improvement implementation plans

Aims’ reasons for taking on this Action Project now:
The Business Process Review will provide opportunities for the entire College to rethink the design of each process. In doing so, Aims employees will identify changes that will positively impact costs and quality, and ultimately help to improve internal and external customer service.  Additionally, by involving employees in the BPR process and utilizing cross-functional teams, the College hopes to improved productivity and attention to quality control. Members of the cross-functional teams will gain new insight into how they are dependent on the speed and accuracy of others in completing tasks and achieving their own responsibilities.
The first year of the project will focus on processes in the Business/Financial Services and Human Resources departments.

Measures or indicators to monitor success during and at the end of the project:
The following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been developed for the BPR.  These may be adjusted slightly after the first workshops.

  • Number of fully implemented processes on December 31, 2016
  • Process cycle-time improvement (Percentage of service requests resolved within an agreed-upon/acceptable period of time)
  • Increased customer (end user) satisfaction (survey)
  • Percentage of processes where completion falls within +/- 5% of the estimated completion
  • Sum of redesigned processes/Sum of all active processes
  • Average time (e.g. in hours) between the submission and approval
  • Percentage of correspondence replied to on time (24 hours benchmark)
  • Percentage of incoming service requests of customers have to be completely answered within x amount of time
  • Number of process errors (% reduction from benchmark)

 

Course Quality Assurance Plan for the Aims Online Learning Management System

Summary: 
This project will focus on the faculty-led development of a new course quality assurance (QA) plan and QA template within the Learning Management System (LMS) to ensure that courses using the online environment are meeting usability and accessibility standards.

Aims’ reasons for taking on this Action Project now:
Aims has selected this project to ensure course quality by providing consistency, continuity, and accessibility of course using the online learning environment and to promote student success and retention rates. Based on an online course program review, and in anticipation of a pending systems Portfolio and CQR, indicating inconsistency in structure and content among online courses, this project has received priority status.  
The expected timeline is 36 months with a 75% completion rate by end of 2017-18. The template has been created and is currently in use as faculty update or create new courses within the LMS system, this template is also modeled in training courses taught at the institution, including EDU 263/ CPD 238 Teaching and Learning Online course.

Measures or indicators to monitor success during and at the end of the project:

  • Using an inclusive Quality Assessment (QA) evaluation instrument such as the Quality Scorecard from the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Quality Matters, or any instrument, which includes a subset of rubrics that encompass the use of technology and pedagogy at several levels across the institution.
  • Continue to review template and trainings with DAS department periodically to ensure new formatting requirements, etc.
  • Add questions into end of semester student survey within IEA