Planning Assumptions – Internal and External Scan 2011-2015
- The goals of the college are driven by our mission, vision, strategic priorities, goals, and student and stakeholder needs and preferences while guided by our core values and eight expectations.
- Recommendations and decisions will be made based upon the best available data, recognizing the importance of continuously improving student success.
- Moraine Valley will strive to be learner-centered and innovative in programs and services, and efficient and responsible in utilizing resources.
- Moraine Valley will be a leader in providing cutting edge technology for students and staff. The college will focus on using technology to improve student persistence and success.
- The college faces insufficient state-level funding at the same time that it has growing student enrollment, increases in facility maintenance costs, high levels of remedial education, and increased calls for accountability. The college may have to shift funds to sustain both timely programs and essential college functions, and develop plans for utilizing resources more efficiently.
- Both population growth and an increase in the percent of students who continue on to college after high school have led to rising college enrollments.
- Nationally, the number of students requiring remediation in communications, math, and reading is growing.
- The number of recent high school graduates in the district will decrease in 2011 and 2012, increase slightly in 2013, and remain flat in 2014. Overall, there will be about 150 fewer graduates in 2014 than in 2010. Modest increases in public high school enrollment will continue, while private high school enrollments will decline.
- The ethnicity of the district population will become more diverse with increasing numbers of Arab-Americans and a high concentration of African-Americans and Hispanics in the southeast and northwest regions.
- While the diversity in the district is expected to increase, the overall district population was predicted to grow at a slower rate than between 1990 and 2000, with a 4 percent increase from 2000 to 2010 and an average annual growth of less than one percent. A comparison of these predictions to actual figures, and updated district population trends will be made when the 2010 census data becomes available.
- As the student enrollment becomes more diverse, the college faces numerous challenges: expanding educational opportunities for diverse populations, providing developmental and English as a second language (ESL/IEL) programs, offering programs and services to meet the needs of adult learners, and hiring and training a more diverse faculty and staff.
- Nationally, the economy is pushing more students to choose community colleges. The college may see an increase in dislocated workers, students in need of retraining, veterans, traditional-age and adult students seeking an economical education opportunity, and students who have traditionally attended four-year institutions.
- Traditional-age students come to school with very different educational experiences than those of 15 or 25 years ago, and they think and work differently, as well. Colleges need to adapt to current student needs and identify learning models that are engaging to younger generations.
- Moraine Valley enrollments have exceeded district growth, increasing by as much as 49 percent since 2000. The pace of enrollment growth may slow in the next several years.
- Since the number of recent high school graduates in the district is declining, the college will need to continue to develop initiatives to recruit and retain a greater percentage of these students.
- To help the community and to maintain high enrollment levels, the college needs to identify and develop curriculum for new and emerging professions.
- The college will also attempt to recruit and retain more adult students, including veterans, dislocated workers, and students transitioning from Adult Basic Education, and will develop programs and services to meet the needs of these students.
- As more baby boomers retire, they may provide opportunities to increase enrollments; the college will attempt to recruit and retain retirees by offering programs for lifelong learning.
- Moraine Valley faces minor competition from other colleges’ online classes along with proprietary schools and the private sector. Our major competitors will continue to be four-year public colleges, while at the same time four-year public and private colleges are showing increasing interest in partnering with us.
- Younger students still prefer face-to-face instruction, and the college’s favorable faculty-to-student ratio will continue to be attractive to students. And younger students expect faculty to use technology to engage them in the classroom because that has been their high school experience.
- But many “traditional” students are coming to prefer a mix of face-to-face, online, and online hybrid classes.
- Conservation practices and being “green” have become one of the factors students consider in choosing a college. The college will continue its commitment to develop sustainability initiatives.
- Bad economic times have historically led to higher enrollments. Two factors have changed this trend at least somewhat. One is the potential student’s difficulty in securing funding to pay for college. The other is lack of confidence that a college degree will lead to successful employment at higher pay.
- With the increasing number of students requiring remediation, there will be a continuing need for the college to be engaged in developmental education. The college will face pressure to increase the success rate of these students and to document that success.
- As technology skills are increasingly important, developmental education may also need to include training/experience in this area.
- Colleges also are expected to do more to close the educational gaps for students of color and low-income students. One likely reason for some achievement gaps is the growing share of the school-age population that is learning English for the first time.
- The college continues to face increasing pressure to reduce the amount of remediation needed. With the focus on college and career readiness, the college will need to continue partnering with district high schools to educate high school students and their parents on the importance of a rigorous high school experience, align curriculum through faculty-to-faculty exchanges, and provide programs and services to high school juniors and seniors to prepare them for college-level coursework.
Continuous Improvement and Accountability
- The number and cost of federal, state, and accrediting bodies’ regulations has increased as public funding for higher education has decreased.
- Graduation and retention have become a focus of government attention. The college has launched several initiatives focused on promoting degree/certificate completion.
- Initiatives to increase student retention include additional, more intrusive, instruction, programs and services than have been provided in the past. These initiatives also require close collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Development.
- Colleges are expected to measure and document through formal assessment that our students are learning.
- The AQIP Systems Appraisal has identified a need for Moraine Valley to improve its measurement of the effectiveness of programs and services and to use these measurement results to make improvements.
- The college will continue to use available benchmarking data (e.g., Community College Survey of Student Engagement, National Community College Benchmarking Project) for continuous improvement and seek additional sources of benchmarking data.
- New technologies – and a future where everyone has easy access to networked mobile devices – will continue to change the nature of the way we access information, communicate, and connect with students and colleagues.
- Colleges face a growing expectation to make use of and to deliver services, content, and media to mobile devices.
- Wireless connectivity is essential for students. A recent survey indicated that the availability of Wi-Fi influences their choice of college. Now that wireless is available throughout the campus, we need to determine how to leverage it to benefit students.
- Faculty need to be able to teach classes that include both retired baby boomers and the “net” generation students with significantly different technology skills and learning styles.
- Keeping smart classrooms up to date, training faculty, and encouraging faculty use of the technology is a significant issue in helping faculty keep pace with their students.
- Training in technologies, like Colleague, has become more important to ensure we can maximize the benefits of the new and existing tools available for students and staff.
Funding and Resources
- There appears to be little consensus on when we will see an economic recovery. Signs of improvement often appear simultaneously with signs of continued recession.
- The “new normal” may be a permanent reduction in state funding. Tuition is now the college’s main source of funding.
- The costs of a college education, including transportation, tuition, fees, and textbooks, limits student access and the number of students who can attend full-time.
- Energy costs likely will continue to push colleges to find ways to be more sustainable. Conservation; sustainability; and partnerships with federal, state, and local communities are necessary for the economic health of the college.
- Health care costs will continue to rise, causing the college to explore options such as wellness, increased employee contributions, and other cost-containment measures.
- The college will need to balance student and staff demands with available resources.
- The college will need to provide short- and long-term funding support for new and replacement of old technology systems and services for students, faculty, and staff.
- Funding support is also needed for maintaining and upgrading facilities according to the college’s Master Facilities Plan.
- To help promote educational links to economic development and to attract more industry to the region, the college will strengthen its regional leadership role through partnerships with the State of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Southwest Conference of Mayors, etc.