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Defining Excellence: Lessons from the 2013 Aspen Prize Finalists Presentation at Innovations 2014 Dr. Rob Johnstone, National Center for Inquiry & Improvement.

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Presentation on theme: "Defining Excellence: Lessons from the 2013 Aspen Prize Finalists Presentation at Innovations 2014 Dr. Rob Johnstone, National Center for Inquiry & Improvement."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defining Excellence: Lessons from the 2013 Aspen Prize Finalists Presentation at Innovations 2014 Dr. Rob Johnstone, National Center for Inquiry & Improvement (NCII) Joshua Wyner, College Excellence Program, The Aspen Institute COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM

2 THE ASPEN PRIZE Winners and Finalists Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA (2013) Valencia College, Orlando, FL (2011) Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla, WA (2013) Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY (2013) Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown, SD (2011, 2013) Miami-Dade College, Miami, FL (2011) West Kentucky Community & Technical College, Paducah, KY (2011) Brazosport College, Lake Jackson, TX Broward College, Ft. Lauderdale, FL College of the Ouachitas, Malvern, AR Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Perkinston, MS Mott Community College, Flint, MI Northeast Iowa Community College, Calmar, IA Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College, Cumberland, KY Southwest Texas Junior College, Uvalde, TX WINNERS FINALISTS w/ DISTINCTION FINALISTS 2

3 COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Completion outcomes Learning outcomes Labor market outcomes Equity in outcomes THE ASPEN PRIZE Four measures of community college excellence: High absolute performance Improvement over time 3

4 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Outcomes of Prize finalist colleges: Completion/Transfer rates that far surpass the national average Three-year completion and/or transfer rates compared to the national average 4 Lake Area Technical Institute (ND) Santa Barbara City College (CA) Santa Fe College (FL)

5 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Outcomes of Prize finalist colleges: Exceptional improvements over time in completion Increase in the number of credentials awarded at Valencia College, *Note: Enrollment increased by only 40% between and COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM 5

6 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Outcomes of Prize finalist colleges: Exceptional equity in access for underrepresented populations % Difference between underrepresented minority enrollment in institution and percentage of the population in the college’s service area (TOP THREE PERFORMERS) 0% means the college’s enrollment has the same proportion of underrepresented minority students as the general population; i.e., minorities are fully represented at the college 6

7 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Outcomes of Prize finalist colleges: Far greater equity in outcomes than the national average Three-year completion and/or transfer rates for underrepresented minority students compared to the national average 7 Brazosport College (TX) Santa Barbara City College (CA) Santa Fe College (FL)

8 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Outcomes of Prize finalist colleges: Exceptional short-term labor market outcomes for graduates Average salaries of recent graduates compared to the average for all new-hires in the region (TOP THREE PERFORMERS) 40% above avg. Regional average 79% above avg. Regional average 82% above avg. Regional average 8

9 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Outcomes of Prize finalist colleges: Exceptional long-term labor market outcomes Average salaries of graduates 5 years after graduation compared to the average for all workers in the region (TOP THREE PERFORMERS) 55% above avg. 38% above avg. 65% above avg. Regional average 9

10 Lessons from the Aspen Prize: Themes emerging from site visits to finalist colleges COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM 10

11 Themes characterizing the institutions that achieve exceptional outcomes for students: 1.Strong leadership & vision 2.Clear pathways to credentials and other intentional structures to support students 3.Intentional focus on improving teaching and learning 4.Consistent, systematic, & strategic use of data to improve practice 5.Integrated structures that link the college to the broader community for the benefit of students Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM 11

12 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Theme 1: Strong Leadership & Vision Exceptional colleges have strong executive leaders who: Communicate a clear vision focused explicitly on student success, and ensure that all the institution’s work and resources aim towards that goal Inspire and sustain a change in culture towards innovation, data-informed practice, and shared responsibility for student success Consistently act in ways that make clear that their central concern is student success, including by taking risks Develop strong external partnerships that support student success 12

13 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM West Kentucky Community and Technical College President Barbara Veazey implemented a standardized reading assessment across the college and used the discouraging results to build urgency. Engaged faculty in a college-wide dialog about they might improve reading skills, and thus student outcomes overall. Leveraged that dialog into:  A system where nearly every instructor in the college was part of a “learning circle” to develop, implement, and evaluate new college-wide strategies to teach reading  Development of defined learning outcomes, common course rubrics, and common final test questions used by multiple professors  A sustained, collaborative focus on the discipline of teaching and learning, which remains a signature element of the college’s culture Result: Over 40% improvement in reading scores across the college. Theme 1: Strong Leadership & Vision (example) 13

14 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Lake Area Technical Institute Every action taken by President Deb Shephard is aligned to a single goal: rigorously preparing students for in-demand careers. Shephard sets high expectations for all programs to communicate with stakeholders and deliver exactly what both students and industry need. Through unusually close relationships with employers, faculty design and continuously update programs and instruction so that students develop the right skills for their future jobs. Students engage in high levels of hands-on learning from the beginning of every class, so students are fully engaged in courses that closely simulate their future work environment. Result: 76% graduation rate and remarkably strong employment rates for graduates. Theme 1: Strong Leadership & Vision (example) 14

15 Theme 2: Clear pathways and structures for student support Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM The most effective of the Prize finalist colleges have built comprehensive student support systems crossing major functional or curricular divisions that historically did not work together. They have: Built new pathways to success that eliminated pitfalls for students, including narrowly defined course sequences, fully integrated learning communities, and block program structures. Embedded high-impact support services within the classroom to ensure that all students receive core non-academic supports (e.g., advising, registration, tutoring, note-taking guidance, career counseling). Redesigned systems from scratch (one-stop shops, new registration centers, etc.) and implemented them college-wide rather than in small pilots. 15

16 Theme 2: Clear pathways and structures for student support (example) Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Miami-Dade College Part of its work with Completion by Design addressed challenge of over 1,000 courses in hundreds of pathways with no clear direction for students Engaged faculty and advisors in the design of structured course sequences Established clear expectation for fundamental change, using data and leadership to create urgency Created time and space for faculty to learn from students and advisors, ensuring deep understanding of challenges of existing program structure Result: New default curricula for five degree pathways, that, together, serve 60 percent of all new students 16

17 Theme 2: Clear pathways and structures for student support (example) Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Santa Fe College Created My Academic Plan, an online program that guides students through their entire academic program based on their degree goals and schedules— a structure that builds academic planning around students’ lives. MAP configures class schedules for students to select from based on their real-life schedules and degree goals. If they choose a course off their degree path, a warning alerts them. After two semesters, the MAP system insists that undecided students declare a program of study. Students can see at any point if the courses they are registering for will count toward transfer to dozens of four-year colleges, removing reliance on advising and helping students chart out a clear path to transfer. Result: very high rates of four-year transfer and bachelor’s degree attainment. 17

18 Theme 3: Intentional focus on teaching & learning Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Exceptional colleges set the expectation that faculty and staff will continually improve their own practices. They take seriously the scholarship of teaching and learning and make intentional efforts to improve the quality of instruction. This focus is demonstrated by: Faculty engaged in self-assessment and eager to improve their instruction to better serve students. Explicit connections between individual student learning and larger measures of course, program, and institution success. A systematic use of evidence of students’ learning outcomes to drive improvements in instruction. Tenure and promotion models supported by systematic collection and discussion of data on student learning outcomes. 18

19 Theme 3: Intentional focus on teaching & learning (example) Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Santa Barbara City College Driven by a strong, shared focus on transfer preparation and equitable outcomes, the college has established strong tutoring centers to deliver the rigorous education students need to succeed at the college and in later bachelor’s programs. Exceptional writing center is staffed by trained faculty and is aimed not just at improving a given assignment but at teaching writing skills that are applicable for all future work. Well-staffed and planned math tutoring center experiences exceptional levels of student participation. Peer tutors embedded in courses provide a crucial link between professors and struggling students. Results: Very strong four-year transfer and bachelor’s completion rates, including for Hispanic students. 19

20 Theme 3: Intentional focus on teaching & learning (example) Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Valencia College Throughout the college, faculty consistently invent new approaches to teaching and measure whether they improve student learning. Two-thirds of tenured faculty came through the new tenure process, which requires “action research projects”: Candidates take a new approach to teaching, measure student outcomes, and present results to colleagues. Faculty built and implemented the Teaching & Learning Academy, a high- quality center for professional development tied to both tenure and continuous improvement. The college is working to improve the post-tenure review process and engage adjuncts in Teaching and Learning Academy practices. Result: Graduation rates nearly double those of peer institutions; strong transfer and bachelor’s completion rates. 20

21 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Theme 4: Consistent and strategic use of data Colleges that achieve exceptional outcomes for students go beyond data-driven practice; they have cultures of inquiry and action evident in the use of varied forms of data and information to systematically diagnose, assess, benchmark, and make decisions. Data are distributed consistently throughout the institution that reflect the focus on student success. Data beyond internal measures are collected to help understand students’ longer-term success—such as labor market outcomes and post-transfer academic success including bachelor’s degree completion. Faculty and staff are given structured time and space to meet, analyze, and discuss data on student outcomes. 21

22 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Valencia College Data are consistently used to focus everyone on common student success challenges that drive reform plans and answer questions about which interventions work. Examples of effective data use include: At the outset of strategic planning process, reports are presented to faculty and staff about gaps in student success that are relevant across departments and programs. Enrollment reports were replaced with course outcome reports to signal shift from emphasis on student enrollment to student success. Tenure-track faculty are required to implement new approaches to teaching and learning, measure their results for students, and make presentations on their effectiveness. Theme 4: Consistent and strategic use of data (example) 22

23 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Walla Walla Community College Data on labor market trends and completion drive consistent, iterative changes in programs and communications with students. Examples of effective data practice include: Helping undecided students choose a program of study based on projected jobs and earnings data. Closing and opening programs based on rigorous assessment of future labor market needs and analysis of graduates’ employment outcomes and earnings. Targeting retention and counseling efforts on predictive analytics (e.g., using early alert system to intervene early in semester when students showed signs of failing). Theme 4: Consistent and strategic use of data (example) 23

24 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Theme 5: Integrated structures with external partners for the benefit of students Exceptional colleges understand their role in improving students’ lives as one segment of a longer trajectory—from high schools, work, military, or unemployment, and on to jobs or four-year institutions. They build new structures—not just partnerships—to link the college to its community and create seamless experiences for students. For example, they: Build strong ties with regional industries to help students get jobs, anticipate growing industries, and design curricula for the jobs that exist. Work with K-12 districts to align academic requirements and implement early-warning and college-prep systems to reduce the need for remedial education. Work with four-year colleges to develop collaborative programs, guaranteed transfer, and aligned academic requirements for transfer. Make the college a vital community asset, building brand recognition and attracting new resources that benefit students. 24

25 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Walla Walla Community College The college ties its workforce credentials, general education degrees, and assets to specific community needs, building programs that ensure that the college effectively serves multiple parts of the community. The college created a very large academic program for prisoners with high rates of success and low rates of post-graduation recidivism. Cutting-edge programs in wind energy, water management, and hybrid vehicles reflect a strong commitment to developing a sustainable economy. A new center for watershed issues provides learning opportunities to students while helping to resolve longstanding water rights issues and restore local waterways in partnership with local Native American tribes. Result: Deep community support and ever-expanding opportunity for a diverse student population and the region at large. Theme 5: Integrated structures with external partners for the benefit of students (example) 25

26 Lessons from the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara has developed a model relationship with its primary K-12 feeder system to ensure broad access, prepare students for the rigors of college, and help them develop a plan to complete college. The college president and deans meet regularly with the superintendent and principals from the local K-12 school district. The college helps deliver and regularly refines a mandatory college-prep curriculum for high school students designed together by high school instructors and college faculty. Result: Very strong student success rates, including for the large number of Hispanic students it enrolls from the local K-12 system. Theme 5: Integrated structures with external partners for the benefit of students (example) 26

27 COLLEGE EXCELLENCE PROGRAM For more information, contact: Josh Wyner The Aspen Institute One DuPont Circle NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC (202) 736 –


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