ICC develops new strategic plan

Strategic plan for 2014-2016 was approved by college trustees in November.
Dec. 01, 2013 @ 05:22 AM

Officials at Isothermal Community College (ICC) plan to engage students in leadership conferences and activities, ensure that students understand the requirements to receive and remain eligible for financial aid and begin development of an equine continuing education program based in Polk County within the next three years.

These items are each part of the college's recently developed strategic plan for 2014-2016. The plan was presented and approved by the college's board of trustees in November and faculty and staff will begin to pursue the goals outlined in the plan in January.

"We always have a plan in place. It's one of those things that is a constantly evolving document," Mike Gavin, director of marketing and community relations for ICC said. "It sets forth the way we measure our progress toward our mission."

The college's mission is to improve life through learning. According to Anne Oxenreider, director of institutional assessment and accreditation, officials began working on this strategic plan to ensure that mission is met in 2012. They began a discussion with faculty and staff about the college's current mission and surveyed members of the community to get their input.

"Mike did surveying in the community and hundreds of high school students gave us information about their perception of us. He was at community fairs and events surveying the community," Oxenreider said. "There really was an attempt to get out there and see what the community's perception is and to see what they need from us."

From the surveys and meetings, officials developed four main goals for the plan: Educational Planning, Student Motivation, Community Partnerships and Innovation and Efficiency. Within each of the four goals, the plan outlines what the college will do to accomplish them.

"The sections about how we are to accomplish each goal are actually program goals our directors have written. They have an assessment plan in place, so they are going to check in with us in a year and see if they are where they wanted to be," Oxenreider said. "It's not people making grand statements, it's people trying to narrow down what they do and make sure it's on track for what the institution is trying to do for the community."

Under the Educational Planning goal the college will strive to make sure its students are job or transfer ready. For the Student Motivation goal they want to remove barriers to college and career success by engaging in more active learning strategies to increase student motivation and critical thinking. For the Community Partnerships goal the college hopes to get Rutherford and Polk county residents back to work by maximizing current partnerships and initiating new partnerships in all sectors to attract employers and accommodate workforce needs. And for the Innovation and Efficiency goal the college will prepare future opportunities.

The plan also includes sections on how the college determined its strategic goals, a fact book comparing student performance measures to other community colleges and a list of the school's current community partners.

"This is a time for us to look at ourself and think about our direction, but it's also a time to look externally at serving the community," Dr. Kimberly Gold, vice president of academic and student services and institutional assessment said. "We look at how we are comparing on state performance measures and we are looking outside the institution and finding benchmarks to compare ourselves to. Those make sure we are on track with the community and with the state."

For more information about the strategic plan call the college at 828-286-3636.