Posted at 11:55 p.m. Nov. 20, 2013

College commits to completion goals

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Self study

Laramie County Community College Board of Trustee Dr. Kevin Kilty discussed the review of the board during the Nov. 20 business meeting. The review polled students, staff, faculty, the president's cabinet and board members on the effectiveness of the board of trustees.

Photo by Mandy Neely.

The Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees passed a motion Nov. 20 committing to Complete College America Wyoming taskforce’s proposal of a 5 percent a year increase to the degree and certificate completion rate during the next 10 years.

Results from Cizek Associates, Inc.’s 360 self-evaluation canvass of the board of trustees’ performance were also presented to the board.
LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer pitched a draft of Complete College America’s aggressive degree and certificate completion goals to the board where it was met with mixed reactions as the trustees discussed the implications of adopting such a resolution.

“The thing that’s not on [the draft] is how much additional budget we had over the previous years,” Trustee Dr. Kevin Kilty said. He estimated the overall cost to meet Complete College America’s expectation could be near $300 million.

LCCC’s president’s cabinet discussed the resources needed, Schaffer said, and increased efficiency could compensate for a percentage of the goal without requiring extra funding.

“Pull up our catalog and look at how many of our programs require three or more semesters at 19 credits. A full-time, college-ready student cannot move through our program in two years or even two and a half years,” Schaffer said as he proposed changes to the academic programs that might make them more “complete-able” and, therefore, raise completion rates.

Kilty, who was the lone vote against the resolution, said this may account for some completion success issues, but the problem does not solely reside with students who drop courses. He said some students who start college unprepared need a year of remediation.
However, Trustee Ed Mosher noted: “We’re talking about a 5 percent goal for the community college system, not for LCCC. Our resolution is well-designed, and it’s set up to support that function for the community college system.”

LCCC has increased degree and certificate completions by 55 percent during the last 10 years, reported Schaffer, who theorized this was largely because of increased enrollment rates. He said a large portion of the required completion rates of Complete College America’s resolution could be obtained by simply maintaining increases in enrollment numbers.

Trustee Don Erickson said just before he made a motion for the board to adopt the proposal: “Prior to the meeting today I was really thinking that I was not going to support this. The 5 percent [completion rate increase] appeared to be somewhat pulled out of the air. I’ve come around. I could see myself supporting this.”

The LCCC trustees also received the results of a 360 self-evaluation compiled by Marti Cizek of Cizek Associates, Inc., of Phoenix, Ariz.
The number of people polled was increased this year in an effort to provide more data critical to a review, Cizek said. The canvass invited 33 people to participate, and 26 responded. Students, staff, faculty, the president and his cabinet and members of the LCCC board of trustees were among those who responded to the survey.

The 360 self-evaluation review found the board of trustees to be meeting expectations of 97 percent of those polled.

“The survey is designed to be critical,” Cizek said.

Erickson asked if an objective approach was employed in selecting members to take part in the survey. Participants were selected from a group of individuals who have frequently observed the board and its performance, Schaffer said.

The board received a 63 percent approval rating in institutional effectiveness from faculty members. The board gave itself a 67 percent. Staff members who participated in the survey rated the board low in all categories.

“I don’t find these results all that surprising,” Kilty said.

Kilty suggested the formation of a subcommittee to review the results offered by the canvass.

Chair Merrell said she would be willing to form and be a part of the subcommittee. Trustees Bill Dubois and Don Erickson also volunteered for the subcommittee.

In other board business:

Trustees discuss adding student ex-officio