Ensuring institutional effectiveness

Defining and measuring Institutional Effectiveness is multi-faceted.

The Higher Learning Commission describes institutional effectiveness in HLC Criterion Five: Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness:

The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

Access, Affordability, Accountability, and Transparency have been identified as the areas by which the U.S. Department of Education measures and reports institutional effectiveness.[38] Discussions have begun in the State of Michigan to tie community college appropriations to performance in certain similar key metrics.[39]

What the Evidence Tells Us

Access incorporates the College’s open admission policies but also speaks to the importance of making sure that the College is within reach of the various sub-populations within our communities (e.g., location, gender, ethnicity, first-generation, etc.).[40]

Mid’s heavy reliance on student tuition and fees requires it to be very attentive to shifts in enrollment and pricing models. The College is committed to open access, affordability, and accountability. Nowhere is the tension between these three competing goals seen more clearly than in college costs.

Affordability incorporates the College’s cost of attendance, financial aid accessibility, loan and loan default rates, and return on investment, both for students and for our communities. The cost of higher education has shifted from public investment to private responsibility in the last fifteen years. State appropriations to higher education declined in the first decade of this century while costs continued to rise. In 2014, MMCC’s state appropriation is only nearing what it was in 2001.[41] Today, Michigan spends 9 times more per prisoner than it does per college student. Spending in corrections increased 10% more than spending in higher education between 2004 and 2014.[42]

This shift in funding has placed a burden on students and their families. College costs in Michigan in 2014 averaged 35.6% of family income.[43] Tuition and fees account for approximately one-third of college costs while housing, food, transportation, books, and other expenses make up two-thirds of the cost calculation. The rising cost of textbooks and course materials has placed an additional burden on students. According to the College Board, the average student spends $1,774 each year on books and supplies.[44]

Accountability incorporates the effective use of College resources to attract, retain, and graduate our students so they will be successful in their careers and future studies. It also includes maintaining College resources in order to serve our local communities. Resources for Mid Michigan Community College come from three primary sources: property tax revenue (8%), state appropriations (20%), and tuition and fees (72%).[45]

Mid faces additional challenges in an aging infrastructure on the Harrison campus, which has a dated look and feel. The recent Campus Master Plan[46] identifies an estimated $12,000,000 in infrastructure repairs and $13,350,000 in site and facilities renovations in the next five years for the Harrison campus. In contrast, infrastructure estimates for the Mt. Pleasant campus total $250,000 with an additional $2,050,000 in recommended improvements.

Accountability is also maintained through compliance with Federal and State requirements in a variety of areas related to a Student’s Right to Know.[47] This includes the deployment of resources for student success. It is not sufficient to provide access to education without the likelihood that students will be able to complete a skill-based certificate or degree.

Not all aspects of accountability are within the College’s immediate control. Mid students report that they feel the campus is safe and secure. However, the all-too-frequent incidents of campus violence across the nation warn us to be assertive and vigilant in maintaining campus safety and security.[48] Considerable work has been done in the last year but vigilance is required in this important area.

Transparency refers to the ability of internal and external stakeholders to know about the College, particularly about its effectiveness in fulfilling its core mission.

[38] U.S. Department of Education, “Education Department Releases College Scorecard to Help Students Choose Best College for Them,” http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-de... (accessed November 18, 2015).

[39] Marilyn Peterson, “Community Colleges: Background Briefing,” House Fiscal Agency http://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDF/Briefings/Communit... (accessed November 18, 2015).

[40] National Center for Educational Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/institutionpr... (accessed November, 18, 2015).

[41] Marilyn Peterson, “Community Colleges: Background Briefing,” House Fiscal Agency http://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDF/Briefings/Communit... (accessed November 18, 2015).

[42] Business Leaders of Michigan Report, 2015. Http://www.businessleadersformichigan.com/research-and-reports/business-leaders-insights-how-higher-education-can-help-mich.html

[43] Ibid.

[44] The College Board, “Trends in Higher Education.” http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/fig...

[45] Mid Michigan Community College Audit. 2015. https://www.midmich.edu/files/35/Annual_Financial_...

[46] Mid Michigan Community College Campus Master Plan. https://www.midmich.edu/application/files/5114/4614/8502/Attachment_A_MMCC_2016_Master_Plan.pdf

[47] Mid Michigan Community College. Student Right to Know.

[48] Mid Michigan Community College Security Report. 2013. https://www.midmich.edu/files/56/MMCC%20Security%20Report%202013.pdf

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