State of the College 2017

Convocation 2017
Tuesday, August 22

State of the College
President Deneece G. Huftalin



 Download slides.

Strategic Plan

Each year on this date, I take the opportunity to share a "state of the college" address, to help ease us back into a new year, set or reset the stage, and remind us all of the accomplishments to date and our work ahead.

We are now one full year into our current strategic plan.

Our vision is for the College to be a model for transformative and inclusive education.

Our mission focuses us on preparing students for successful transfer and to have quality workforce skills to build their career.

And we share a robust set of values that include constructs such as collaboration, inclusivity, innovation and learning. We know that in order to meet this vision and mission and demonstrate the values by which we do our work, we must all take on new challenges - individually and collectively.

And it bears noting, that we stand with this vision, mission and values this year, in a strangely different context nationally than we did one year ago. One week ago, my husband Tim and I had the good fortune to be traveling with ten of our SLCC students in India. Students who had Traveled to India, to the village of Wai, and who were working with the youth there to strengthen learning and literacy. Our students also participated as scholars, sharing their reflections on science and spirituality as part of the Maharashtra Institute of Technology's Global Peace Summit. As I listenened to our students sharing their experiences of cultural understanding, inclusivity and respect for our global brothers and sisters, despite perceived racial, religious or cultural barriers, the events of Charlotesville, VA were taking place. I take solace in the fact that at SLCC we are clear about our values, that while we recognize and honor freedom of assembly and speech as fundamental rights, we stand clearly for love, acceptance, inclusion and against hate. As we begin this new year, begin it with a renewed commitment to welcoming all of your students or colleagues into your class, your office, and our College with a sense of belonging, grounded in respect, and buoyed by a universal belief in humanity and the power of education to heal.

The work we do each day here is important work. And it is work that demands quality and continued advancement. So as a way to frame our progress, let me point to a quote by Nelson Mandela:

"It always seems impossible until it's done."

Last year at this time, we were looking forward to some major initiatives and some heavy lifts. To many, some of these things may have looked impossible. But guess what? We did it. So let's take a look at many of the things that may have looked impossible at one time, but have been accomplished in just one year. Things that have been accomplished by taking a look at our work - as Phil Hanson has demonstrated this morning - and envisioning how we can do that work in a new and different way. When we consider our own and our students' bounds, we can envision the freedom of being limitless while still operating within a distinct discipline.

First, to make progress towards our strategic goals, last year we created an entirely new decision-making structure at the college using Collaborative Work Teams, a College Planning Council, and a College Coordinating Council in order to have holistic, institution-wide conversations to inform and advance our strategic plan. And that structure has yielded some impressive results:

Guided Pathways CWT

Our most ambitious initiative is the SLCC Pathways project. With a collaborative work team that met over the last year, we have started a multiple-year effort that will transform our current student intake, advising and support services as well as our curriculum, learning climate and communication processes all with a goal toward enhancing learning and clarifying students route to completion.

Based on research of various models, study of best practices and numerous discussions across the college, the Pathways Collaborative Work Team developed recommendations that have resulted in the establishment of a definition for SLCC Pathways, and eight distinct pathways for students to choose from. There is a lot of detail to the team's work and in order to see the full list of recommendations and scope of the team's work, I would encourage you to visit the college's strategic planning website.

The definition for Pathways that has been adopted as we move forward is this: "SLCC Pathways provide a guided program of study intentionally designed to enhance student learning and clarify a student's route to program completion, a career and/or further education."

I'm grateful to the Collaborative Work Team chaired by David Hubert for getting us started on the Pathways initiative. Moving forward, we've designated a new Collaborative Implementation Team for the next phase that includes: 1) developing curriculum alignment and course sequencing within each pathway, 2) re-engineering the student intake, advising and support experience, and 3) delivering effective marketing and communications to students and potential students on the college website and recruitment materials and delivering institution-wide updates for faculty and staff about pathways progress.

The sponsors of the implementation team are Provost Clifton Sanders and Vice Presidents Dr. Chuck Lepper and Alison McFarlane.

In order to maintain a fully focused effort on SLCC Pathways, Kim Cosby, formerly an associate dean of the school of business, will serve for the academic year as the director of the Pathways project. She will lead collaborative teams comprised of academic, student affairs and institutional marketing and communications staff and faculty as we continue this transformational work. Jon McGowan in the business department will assume the interim position of Associate Dean for Computer Sciences and Information Systems.

Data Governance CWT

The Data Governance CWT - led by our emeritus vice president Barbara Grover, defined and clarified various roles for data governance in an effort to eliminate confusion around how we access, use and store data.

We now have a data cookbook - a centralized data dictionary as well as trained stewards on its use. The collaborative work team also drafted a charter and membership for an ongoing Data Governance Council. Through this work the IT Steering Committee's membership and charge has been revised. Moving forward the Office of Information Technology will take the lead on implementing the data security model that has been established. I want to extend my thanks to the data governance CWT for this important work that will help us collect, store and use data for strategic decisions and data-informed practices.

Strategic Enrollment Management CWT

The Strategic Enrollment Management CWT led by Kate Gildea-Broderick and Michael Navarre has made several recommendations regarding the improvement of intake processes and will continue to implement approved changes. Moving forward the CWT will specifically focus on optimizing intake and enrollment from non-traditional students, CBE and online students. They will also be delving into retention strategies.

An additional subgroup has been formed in conjunction with a Family Self Sufficiency (FFS) grant to identify best practices for retention of students of color.

Talent Acquisition and Workplace Culture CWT

The Talent Acquisition and Workplace Culture CWT's work, under the direction of Dr. Roderic Land and VP Dennis Klaus, has been completed with several accomplishments that are reflected in the college's new hiring policy, and branded job postings that have been created to promote diversity and SLCC's inclusive culture. We are also strengthening our search committees by creating a new resource on campus called a Search Advocate. We sent eight of your colleagues to Oregon State University this summer to be trained on how to help search committees write job descriptions, recruit and interview using equitable and inclusive practices. Those that we sent included: Roderic Land, Marni Fisher, James Broadbent, Jason Pickavance, Anjali Pai, Nick Burns, MaryJane Kelleher, and Kamal Bewar. These colleagues are now available to sit on search committees and help you with hiring and they will be creating training opportunities to allow more folks to learn these strategies. There is also a new Diversity Hiring Resource Guide available on the Inclusivity and HR Websites, which provides great tips for creating an inclusive search process.

New CWTs

With Pathways and SEM CWT's continuing, we are also adding two CWT's to help achieve our strategic goals.

First, we have established a Civic Action CWT. The Executive Sponsor is Vice President Tim Sheehan and the group will be led by Jen Seltzer Stitt. The primary focus of the work will be to develop and recommend specific institutional actions to make community engagement a cultural norm. Scalable and sustainable methods and initiatives to increase the number and expand the breadth of SLCC employees using their community engagement leave will be developed. A kick-off day of service is set for Friday, September 8 th. Watch the SLCCToday weekly newsletter for more information on that event.

With the same focus and structure as a CWT, new work will be taken on by the President's Committee on Inclusivity and Equity to develop and enhance our faculty professional development curriculum related to inclusivity. Their charge for this academic year will be to develop, in conjunction with faculty, a formal curriculum to assist faculty in augmenting their knowledge of equity-minded pedagogies and strategies and applying them in the learning environment. Through a series of practices and events, faculty will be eligible for a designation based on demonstrated use of the identified knowledge, skills, and abilities at SLCC.

The President's Committee on Inclusivity and Equity has also created an IAMSLCC pledge designed to solidify the College values and reaffirm our commitment to an inclusive education environment. Later today, I will be sending a Presidents message with a link to a new I AM SLCC video and a link to an invitation to take the pledge if you have not already.

Let's pause and have a round of applause for the work that advanced the college this past year. And there's more…

As you entered the arena today, a list of many of the past year's accomplishments were projected on the monitors. At the recent senior leadership retreat we shared accomplishments of departments and divisions throughout the college. In a 30-minute period of brainstorming, we identified 64 unique projects that were accomplished last year. Most of them tied to strategic goals, but many of the accomplishments --- although important --- don't get the same airtime as the CWT work does. In addition to what you've seen on the screen this morning, let me share just a few to help illustrate the comprehensive work occurring at the College. It's important to recognize all of your efforts as a reminder that we come to work every day to support our students and our community through our strategic initiatives.

  • We opened the Dumke Center for STEM Learning with a DNA sequence cutting instead of a ribbon cutting. If you haven't seen the center and even if you have and you want to visit again, you're invited to an Open House throughout lunchtime today to see this newest, collaborative place of discovery.
  • Last year we looked at data and realized that 36 percent of SLCC students transfer prior to earning an award. These students complete a significant portion of their program of study at SLCC only to transfer a few courses short. So our Student Affairs office ramped up our efforts in reverse transfer credit and are working with our USHE partners and transfer students to transfer the credits they subsequently earn back to SLCC so that we can formally recognize the work they have accomplished. To date we have given 136 awards total - the majority to students who transferred to the U of U, and we believe there is great potential to expand this program.
  • Through changes in prerequisites and placement scores, and with extensive advising, we are getting students in the right math classes for their degree pathways . We are streamlining math requirements as they relate to majors and ensuring students only take MATH 1050 for STEM related majors. And Math 1030, Quantitative Reasoning, no longer has an Intermediate Algebra prerequisite, so students pursuing nonSTEM majors have a more direct route to QL attainment. The result: while we are only one year into this project, the preliminarily results are very promising. We saw a 22% increase in enrollment and 25% increase in the number of students who earned QL from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 .
  • ·We have established Business and Computer Science Pathways to Westminster College which gives our students a direct path to junior status. Seven students have already been admitted and awarded and have received an average of $25k per person in merit based scholarships.

Align with and Respond to Workforce Needs

  • ·We have increased the total number of embedded certificates in our Associate Degree programs to allow students to earn stackable, workforce recognized credentials along the way. As companies tend to specialize within a market segment, our certificates and degrees are paralleling those needs.
  • In the past three years SLCC has increased the number of stackable certificates of proficiency in CTE programs by over 600%.
  • By way of example, this year in our Computer Science and Information Systems programs, SLCC students have earned more than 460 degrees and certificates including 340 industry-aligned, stackable credentials in areas such as software development, computer science fundamentals, network and systems administration, network routing and switching, and web programming and development.
  • A recent CTE Wage Study conducted by our Institutional Research office in collaboration with Utah Department of Workforce Services, shows that SLCC students who earned a CTE degree or certificate in 2015 realized a 63% increase in their wages within one year of graduation.
  • Our data also show that a quarter of SLCC students earn the necessary courses for a certificate within their field, but do not apply to have it transcripted. This results in a significant underrepresentation of the number of certificates that students complete. Because we were passively waiting for students to apply for graduation, approximately 1,900 certificates were earned but not awarded every year. We knew we needed to remove the barriers to formally awarding certificates so an auto-award process to award certificates to enrolled, degree-seeking students was created. In this first year we have conferred approximately 60% more awards than the previous year. While it may flatten now that most of the back awards have been completed, we do expect that we will continue to award between 40% and 50% more awards per year.
  • One very visible change in our workforce programs is the emergence of the Westpointe Workforce Technical and Education Center in the Northwest quadrant of the city. If you haven't driven the I-215 corridor recently, please do! The building is out of the ground and on track to be open at this time next year, providing training for diesel mechanics and trucking, welding, machining, composites and plastics fabrication, solar technology and advanced engineering.
  • The launch last year of our SLCC Promise is perhaps our biggest step towards affordable participation and completion. SLCC Promise has already helped more than 700 members of our community realize the dream of accessing higher education. We distributed more than $800,000 in Promise funds during the first year of the program. Earlier this month we were on track to distribute an additional 450 awards with that number still growing for this academic year.
  • We expanded the PACE program Cottonwood high school with acceptance of an additional 35 ninth graders into the program largely from refugee populations. Since the program began in 2011, 478 students have participated. Currently, more than 270 students are in the pipeline to attend SLCC. Twenty-eight of the PACE students who attended SLCC are continuing in the ACCESS U program, the established pathway for students to transfer to the University of Utah.
  • We have simplified our Financial Aid and scholarship process to allow students greater ease in applying for and receiving scholarships by implementing a software called AwardSpring. This simpler process has resulted in nearly double the number of students applying for scholarships year over year. And because students now fill out just one application that can be applied to many different scholarships based on specific criteria, we saw the number of scholarship applications submitted increase more than 400% from fall to fall (2016 - 2017).

There are many other accomplishments worth noting as well. Over the past year, as a college we:

  • Launched the Employee giving campaign with more than 260 participants and $26,000 of additional scholarship and programming support. Thank you to EVERYONE who participates!
  • The development office raised $3. 8 million dollars - a record year!
  • We have been awarded several large grants including: a Strengthening Institutions grant from the DOE for 2.2 million focused on improving achievement in STEM, $334,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) aimed at increasing the number and diversity of geology majors and improving their transfer rates. We've also been awarded $189,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities aimed at creating a summer institute for College faculty examining the history of the book and exploring new modes of publication, including techniques to more effectively address the needs of people with disabilities.
  • Launched SLCCToday to minimize email correspondence and communicate more effectively. Just a note here - THIS is your weekly college communication. Please read it. Please contribute to it. We have done away with bombarding you with email and now you have ONE source for all college news.
  • Added Men's and Women's club sport soccer and both teams had a remarkable first season!
  • Strengthened innovation in our coursework by embedding high impact practices throughout our courses. Whether it's undergraduate research highlighted at our Science, Math and Engineering symposium or civic engagement or service learning as highlighted through our Civically Engaged Scholars program, or embedded internships as in our Utah Aerospace Pathways program, innovation and active learning is stronger than ever at SLCC.
  • And in proposed new or expanded building news, we are currently preparing a legislative request to fund a general education building which will be the first building on the 90 acres of land that we have acquired for a Herriman campus. The request will be a joint partnership with the University of Utah, who will also offer classes and student support services in the building, so that a student can complete both their SLCC associate's degree and U of U bachelor's degree at the Herriman campus.
  • We will also make a legislative request to bond for an expansion of the Student Pavilion at the Jordan campus to create a 45,000 square foot student center to meet the needs of student on campus, particularly for student advising and student events. The expansion will allow for the consolidation of some offices in order to support additional classroom and lab spaced for general education and allied health courses.

CONCLUSION

So you see, our strategic plan is anything but impossible.

We have made measurable progress. Although there is still a lot of work to be done to fully meet our goals … goals of completion, equity, participation and innovation, we are doing it collaboratively, collectively, intentionally, and with remarkable employees. Our students and our community are the recipients of this amazing work. I am so grateful to all of you for the commitment you give to our students when you come to work at SLCC every day.

Over the past year, we had a lot of our long-standing employees retire. There are many new faces around the college. I'd like to ask those of you for whom this is your first SLCC Convocation to please stand. Now more than ever, it's important for you to know you're in capable hands, so let me share a recent photo of our Executive Cabinet minus Dr. Roderic Land and Dr. Chuck Lepper.….here are your leaders!

Seriously, as we continue our work toward our 2023 goals, I am appreciative for the leadership of the Executive Cabinet. Let me introduce the people behind the glasses:

  • Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness: Jeff Aird
  • Vice President for Business Services: Dennis Klaus
  • Special Assistant to the President: Dr. Roderic Land
  • Vice President for Student Affairs: Dr. Chuck Lepper
  • Vice President for Institutional Advancement: Alison McFarlane
  • Provost for Academic Affairs: Dr. Clifton Sanders
  • Vice President for Government and Community Relations: Tim Sheehan

Capably leading our students this year are our remarkable Student Life and Leadership Officers:

  • Hector Amezcua Nunez, Special Assistant to the SLCCSA President for Inclusivity and Equity
  • Amber Caine, South Region VP
  • Cristina Cendejas, Central Region VP
  • Amelia Hansen, North Region VP
  • Brock McCloy, Publicity and Advertising VP
  • Josselyn Ramos, Executive VP
  • Aynoa Rincon, President
  • Leone Tunuufi, Clubs and Organizations VP

Our Faculty Senate will be led by: Adam Dastrup

Faculty Association will be led by Craig Ferrin and Staff Association will be led by David Brower.

Thanks to all of you and your leadership teams for your service to the college.

It continues to be my honor to represent our students, faculty, staff and administrators, and I remain deeply appreciative of your hard work and commitment to Salt Lake Community College Thank you.

THANK YOU!