The institution offers high-quality instructional programs, student support services, and library and learning support services that facilitate and demonstrate the achievement of stated student learning outcomes. The institution provides an environment that supports learning, enhances student understanding and appreciation of diversity, and encourages personal and civic responsibility as well as intellectual, aesthetic, and personal development for all of its students.
The institution offers high-quality instructional programs in recognized and emerging fields of study that culminate in identified student outcomes leading to degrees, certificates, employment, or transfer to other higher education institutions or programs consistent with its mission. Instructional programs are systematically assessed in order to assure currency, improve teaching and learning strategies, and achieve stated student learning outcomes. The provisions of this standard are broadly applicable to all instructional activities offered in the name of the institution.
The Mission Statement for Gavilan College commits to providing a high-quality learning experience to prepare students for transfer, technical and public service careers, life-long learning, and participation in a diverse global society (2A.1). The Vision Statement for the college is in keeping with the Mission Statement and pinpoints in a more specific way how the college proposes to carry out its mission. The Vision Statement, which is contained in the Direction of Education, focuses on two main goals:
More specifically, the Vision Statement commits the institution to being the college of choice for the students in its district, to providing a safe and hate-free learning environment, and to enhancing its many programs through community and contract education, among other objectives. The four values listed in the Direction of Education and the strategies to implement them are directly linked to the Mission Statement (2A.3). The program learning outcomes (2A.4) and unit plans (2A.5) for all instructional programs are clearly framed in terms of the Mission Statement, delivering coherence at all levels of strategic planning documents. For example, Gavilan has created a cultural diversity requirement for its general education courses and a first-year experience instructional cluster, both of which contribute to the stated mission.
The college Mission Statement is also well within the scope of the stated mission of community colleges in the state of California. Most instructional programs have stated program learning outcomes framed by the Mission Statement of the college.
The college is receptive to suggestions from the community it serves at different administrative and instructional levels through the Board of Trustees, advisory boards for vocational programs, and the recommendations of contracted surveys and studies. All existing and future programs and offerings are determined through a combination of factors: some are driven by the mission of the college, some are initiated through ideas and conversations at a program or department level, some are begun to improve the numbers of students obtaining certificates or transferring. The creation of the noncredit program, the first-year experience program, and the on-going work on a bioscience program are examples of these factors.
The State of California is increasing funding for noncredit programs that fall into the basic skills area. These noncredit courses are intended to complement credit courses and provide additional options for students.
Quality of teaching and achievement of student learning outcomes are assessed through periodic instructor evaluations done on a rotating basis for full-time faculty. These include:
Faculty also participate in conferences and professional activities. The currency of each course is evaluated every four years through course revisions done by the Curriculum Committee (2A.6). Additionally, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) reviews programs on a three to five-year cycle.
All new course proposals are rigorously scrutinized by the Curriculum Committee and evaluated for their purpose, academic soundness, and appropriateness of delivery method. The committee decides whether to accept or reject a course or send it back for revision. Course locations and delivery methods are evaluated each semester at the department and division levels. Each year deans complete an internal and external needs assessment of programs and forward recommendations for program review if such is needed.
Instructional programs are periodically evaluated by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee using standards of effectiveness derived from the Mission Statement of the college. The IEC reviews instructional programs every three to five years for many of the criteria in this standard, often recommending changes such as the addition or deletion of classes or modifications in purpose and methods (2A.7). The IEC recommends a list of programs to be reviewed, provides models to help programs conduct self-studies, oversees the program review process in order to ensure consistency, and submits the recommendations and action plans to the President's Council, where they are reviewed. In addition, the president of the college is charged by Board Policy 4020 (2A.8) with ensuring that there are procedures for the development and review of all curricular offerings. New programs and program deletions must be approved by the Board.
IEC reviews are based both on data about student success, retention, and persistence, and upon narrative reports which respond to the data and raise issues and concerns. In addition, IEC evaluates each program's plan for improvement. The IEC has worked since 2003 to update its instrument, correlate questions asked with the objectives in the Educational Master Plan, and simplify the reporting of data to and from departments under review.
Vocational/technical programs such as cosmetology, aviation, and allied health are, in addition, aided by advisory boards consisting of members of the community with relevant knowledge and experience. In order to ensure that the delivery of instructional programs is high quality and appropriate to the institution's mission, the deans evaluate full-time tenured faculty on a three-year cycle while non-tenured full-time faculty are evaluated each semester (2A.9). Adjunct faculty are evaluated during their first semester at the college and thereafter only when problems come to the attention of deans or department chairs.
Faculty involvement is demonstrated in the fall 2005 survey, where 82 percent of faculty who responded indicated that they had participated in the development of programs or courses (2A.10, question 54). In the fall 2005 staff survey, 45 percent felt they had significant influence, 37 percent of faculty felt they did not have significant influence on these decisions, and 18 percent were neutral (2A.10, question F2). Furthermore, 55 percent felt that decisions at the college are made using the principles of shared governance, while 23 percent did not feel this was so, and 23 percent were neutral (2A.10, question 70). Sixty-two percent agreed that the faculty receives essential information about institutional efforts to achieve college goals and improve learning; 23 percent did not feel this way, and 16 percent were neutral (2A.10, question 16). When asked whether Gavilan maintains an "ongoing, collegial, self-reflective dialogue" about continuous improvement of student learning and institutional processes, 58 percent agreed that it does and 20 percent were neutral (2A.10, question 17).
The college meets this standard. The institution has articulated its mission clearly on the website and in the catalog. Seventy-four percent of survey respondents strongly or somewhat agree that "the college has a clear and publicized Mission Statement which identifies our educational objectives" (2A.10, question 12).
All planning documents support the mission of the college, and values such as "a high quality educational experience for students" are generally internalized by staff throughout the college. Twenty-two percent of surveyed staff strongly agree that "the college engages in systematic and integrated planning to allocate resources for education, finances, facilities, staffing, and technology" while 38 percent agreed somewhat (2A.10, question 11). Forty-six percent of surveyed staff feel strongly that "Gavilan serves the community by providing a high quality learning experience," while an additional 34 percent somewhat agree with the statement (2A.10, question 3).
The instructional program has recently developed a noncredit program that has successfully served 1,000 older adults, resulting in 25 FTES in the 2005-2006 academic year. The planned expansion of noncredit into basic skills and the place of this program in the college's mission is still under discussion, given that some of the existing credit programs also address basic skills instructional areas. Needs for different programs vary. For example, the Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) program was developed as noncredit but the English as a Second Language Department is concerned about the potential loss of credit courses. Mathematics has identified one course that might be offered as noncredit but is unsure that changing other successful pre-college level courses to noncredit is a wise plan. English has a cohort of students now placed in its most basic classes that the department believes could be well served by a noncredit option. It is not clear to all stakeholders how an emerging noncredit program will enhance the stated mission of the college or whether certain developmental students are better served by credit or noncredit instruction.
The IEC does a diligent job evaluating reports. While the committee was understaffed for a period, action has been taken to bring it into compliance with Board policy. The committee has not asked for follow up reports, but as a result of this accreditation process, has become aware that status reports may be required in subsequent semesters. The committee could be strengthened by additional assistance with deadline compliance. Other than changes that each program may want to undertake as a result of the IEC review, the impact of IEC evaluation on the college as a whole has often been negligible. In the fall 2005 accreditation survey, this history is reflected in mixed reviews of the IEC process: 39 percent agree, 34 percent are neutral, and 27 percent disagree that program reviews have helped their department or program improve (2A.10, question 52).
Deans evaluate full-time tenured faculty on a three-year cycle while non-tenured full-time faculty are evaluated each semester (2A.9). Evaluation consists of an administrative evaluation, student evaluations in each of the classes taught by the instructor, peer evaluation, and a self-evaluation. Adjunct faculty are evaluated during their first semester at the college and thereafter when problems come to the attention of deans or department chairs. After the adjunct instructor's first semester at the college, the instructor may not be evaluated again.
Gavilan's full-time to part-time faculty ratio is now close to 60/40, and the college is committed to hiring an additional ten full-time instructors. Since the full-time faculty number includes librarians and counselors who are primarily non-teaching, more than half the classes at the college are still taught by part-time instructors. Evaluation of adjunct instructors is particularly important as programs grow and delivery moves to off-campus and virtual locations.
The advisory boards for vocational programs function effectively, meeting at least annually and providing program input and guidance on industry standards and curriculum.
The process for proposing and developing new courses, programs, and initiatives follows shared governance principles and is discussed in different committees to give time and opportunity for staff to ask questions and contribute opinions. Shared governance principles are particularly important in determining how the institution ensures that offerings are appropriate. Fifty-five percent of surveyed staff in fall 2005 felt that "decisions at this college are made using the principles of participatory governance", while 23 percent did not agree, 23 percent were neutral (2A.10, question 70).
The president initiated the establishment of a noncredit program at a time of stagnant enrollment in the credit program, and when $400,000 was available in growth funds from the state (2A.11). The college had been receiving feedback that some community members desired classes specifically targeted to the interests and needs of older adults. The president reassigned an administrator, who was already working to develop community programs, to devote part of her time towards developing noncredit instruction for the community. To increase understanding of the program, and allay fears of competition with credit courses, the administrator of the noncredit program arranged for an open forum discussion with a panel of experts from the Chancellor's Office. Program leads from the noncredit division of San Francisco City College, one of the largest noncredit programs in the state, participated as well. The forum gave all concerned the opportunity to have questions answered regarding the impact of noncredit instruction.
The program was presented to the Board of Trustees for information and approval over the course of a month, however the request for input from faculty provided only a few days for faculty review and comment. With such a short time frame, there was no opportunity for department meetings, Academic Senate discussion, or any other shared governance feedback (2A.12).
All classes offered through the noncredit program have gone through the Curriculum Committee process. The initial emphasis of the noncredit program has been classes for older adults and the program is now exploring the addition of basic skills and English as a Second Language. Faculty members in the credit programs which may be affected desire more conversation about the ways in which noncredit programs would articulate with credit programs to avoid competition for the same students.
The Curriculum Committee has been effective in providing clear direction and forms for programs to revise and update their courses (2A.13) and has overseen the establishment of student learning outcomes. A subcommittee has undertaken the technical revision of course proposals and/or modifications, ensuring that committee meetings focus on the important issues.
- The institution identifies and seeks to meet the varied educational needs of its students through programs consistent with their educational preparation and the diversity, demographics, and economy of its communities. The institution relies upon research and analysis to identify student learning needs and to assess progress toward achieving stated learning outcomes.
Research for student learning needs includes Enrollment Monitor Reports (2A.14), Student Profiles by semester (2A.15), studies in such areas as English, math, Puente and learning communities for success, retention, and persistence, and college performance indicators (2A.16). The student assessment instrument is the CTEP/MDTP (2A.17). In meetings with counselors, multiple measures (high school transcripts, work/career experience) are used for student placement although much emphasis is given to the assessment test.
Deans and department chairs regularly use enrollment monitor reports, final enrollment numbers, industry trends, and community input to plan for an upcoming semester. Research documents showing enrollment trends as well as the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) process recommendations (2A.18), input from advisory boards (2A.19), community surveys, labor market information, and industry trends are all used for longer term planning. Deans and the vice president of instruction use the same information to decide where additions, deletions, and program changes should take place. The IEC process is both quantitative and qualitative.
Program learning outcomes (2A.4) for almost every discipline and department were written in the 2004-05 school year; the development of assessment methods is underway and will be completed during the 2006-07 school year. Some of the same research documents used to plan programs are also used to evaluate them, such as research documents evaluating success, retention, persistence, and transfer rates.
Many of the procedures already in place for assessing student placement are working well. Assessment mechanisms for program learning outcomes, which have been completed for a number of programs, need to be completed for the rest.
- Complete assessment techniques for all program learning outcomes.
- The institution utilizes delivery systems and modes of instruction compatible with the objectives of the curriculum and appropriate to the current and future needs of its students.
The Educational Master Plan states: "New learning and teaching paradigms as well as delivery strategies should be developed to meet the needs of a changing student population. This will require an internal evaluation and a reassessment/re-engineering of the delivery strategies that are presently being used" (2A.20 Chapter 4). Since the time this was written in 2000, Gavilan College has expanded the delivery systems and modes of instruction to include online instruction, telecourses, technology mediated learning, technology enhanced instruction, service learning, and learning communities, in addition to the traditional lecture, laboratory, and independent study formats. Hybrid courses, which combine distance learning and classroom instruction, are presently being designed and offered as well. By fall 2005, 62 distance education courses had been approved and there were 22 distance education classes offered, serving 503 students.
The 16-week calendar initiative has also sparked a great deal of discussion about quality education, particularly among members of the English as a Second Language and natural sciences departments. Discussion also centers on implementing new prerequisites for English, math, and social science classes.
When non-traditional delivery systems and modes of instruction are proposed for a course, the course outline, created by department faculty and approved by departments and area deans, moves to the Curriculum Committee for consideration. New course proposals and modifications to existing courses must provide a detailed listing of course objectives and content. The Curriculum Committee considers all aspects of the proposal including the appropriateness of the delivery system and modes of instruction. A link to the California Community Colleges Distance Education Regulations and Guidelines exists on the Curriculum Committee web page to provide guidance to faculty constructing new or revised course outlines (2A.13). The college Distance Learning Course Outline Addendum was recently updated and is currently used by faculty and the Curriculum Committee to identify specific components included in each distance education course (2A.21).
College course outlines are updated on a regular basis. The college has established a schedule of updates occurring every four years and the current status of each course is displayed on the Curriculum website (2A.6). At the time of a course update, department faculty evaluate the effectiveness of the delivery methods of their courses and make modifications as necessary. Delivery methods for courses are indirectly evaluated during the instructor evaluation process (2A.9). A voluntary survey, "Evaluating Your Online Class" is provided to students taking online classes (2A.22). This survey addresses technical aspects of the class, specific aspects of the class, and online format vs. face-to-face classes. In addition, students in learning communities complete satisfaction surveys (2A.23).
Area deans and department faculty have frequent dialogues about delivery systems and modes of instruction, particularly about the suitability of courses for distance learning. The social science department has had extensive dialogue about the suitability of the social sciences for distance education, and about research methods (2A.25). Fine arts is looking at the impact of online courses on programs such as art, music, and theater. For departments favoring the use of distance education as a delivery method, discussions occur at the Curriculum Committee as part of the approval process. Similarly, discussions related to self-paced computer-assisted instruction in basic mathematics have occurred (2A.25). While these dialogues are department-driven, the dialogues related to learning communities have usually involved faculty from two or more departments before coming to the Curriculum Committee (2A.25). According to the recent faculty survey, 58 percent of the respondents agreed that "the institution maintains an on-going, collegial, self-reflective dialogue about the continuous improvement of student learning and institutional processes" (2A.10, question 17).
The college has conducted some research about the effectiveness of delivery systems and modes of instruction. One study presented in August 2004 examined success rates in one semester versus two semester Math 205 courses. Another in January 2000 evaluated the effectiveness of computer assisted instruction in ESL (2A.26). The college researcher also conducted a study to compare the effectiveness of a math-English learning community with traditional delivery in 2003. In the recent survey of student attitudes, 76 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement "My instructors use teaching methods that I respond to positively" (2A.24, question 31). Sixty-nine percent of the students surveyed agreed that the use of PowerPoint and multimedia tools in the classroom enhances their learning (2A.24, question 36). More than 50 percent of the students surveyed agreed that online classes helped them fit coursework into their personal schedules (2A.24, question 39). About 48 percent agreed with the statement that the college helped them learn how to access their online course (2A.24, question 40); 41 percent agreed that the college offers enough online courses to meet their needs (2A.24, question 41).
Courses and programs are evaluated on a rotating basis by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee, as noted above.
While some departments have engaged in discussions about delivery systems and modes of instruction, not all have done so. Although a current trend in education is to offer classes online, departments need to engage in discussions and determine if the distance education format is compatible with the objectives of their curriculum and appropriate in meeting the educational needs of current or prospective Gavilan students. Department faculty need to acquire and share information with each other about successful results or difficulties encountered when new delivery systems and modes of instruction have been introduced.
The efforts of the faculty and the Curriculum Committee to create and evaluate delivery systems, particularly with respect to distance education, have varied over time. Initial efforts to create online classes were treated very carefully and thoughtfully. During the 2004-2005 academic year, the Curriculum Committee tended to approve requests for distance education courses with more relaxed scrutiny, as the proposed courses were frequently placed on the consent agenda. This practice has changed with the more recent course proposals and the Curriculum Committee now schedules a full discussion on distance education proposals (2A.27).
- Initiate dialogue about delivery systems at department chairs and other appropriate department and college-wide forums.
- Use program learning outcomes and/or perform comparative studies so that faculty can evaluate the effectiveness of various delivery systems.
- The institution identifies student learning outcomes for courses, programs, certificates, and degrees; assesses student achievement of those outcomes; and uses assessment results to make improvements.
Program learning outcomes have been written and printed in the catalog for all programs, certificates of completion, degrees, and general education. In addition, the student services division developed learning outcomes that are listed in the catalog (2A.28, p. 13). Gavilan College has identified student learning outcomes in 489 out of 550 of its active courses (2A.6). Outcomes for courses have been reproduced in course syllabi (2A.29). Area deans review course syllabi at the beginning of each semester to verify these critical elements are included.
Student learning outcomes and the strategies for achieving them have been created by discipline members in each department and approved by the Curriculum Committee. Each discipline has also constructed unit plans (2A.5), which are department instructional goals, as well as program learning outcomes. The college has also developed institutional learning outcomes (2A.30), to which student learning outcomes, unit plans, and program learning outcomes must be connected.
Student learning outcomes were created by instructional staff and taken through a rigorous approval process first by academic deans, then by the Curriculum Committee chair, then by the vice president of instruction, and finally by the Curriculum Committee to ensure that they were appropriate to the college level. Assessment mechanisms are included as part of the curriculum and include written and oral exams, oral reports, role-playing, projects, performances, demonstrations, etc. Successful completion of assessment measures ensures that students have achieved the intended learning objective. These results are validated by studies on student success, retention, and persistence (2A.16).
Discussions about assessment have occurred in the Deans Council, in Department Chairs, and in individual department meetings in preparation for developing assessment tools for the larger learning outcomes (unit plans and program learning outcomes).
Gavilan College completed learning outcome training and in-services from 2001 to 2003. It completed the majority of its learning outcomes by 2005. Assessment devices will be developed in the academic year 2006-2007 for program learning outcomes, which will allow the college to better assess its programs. In addition, discussion and evaluation of assessment tools need to take place at the department level along with training for department members.
- Complete the program learning outcome assessment devices.
- Train departments on evaluating learning outcome assessments.
- The institution assures the quality and improvement of all instructional courses and programs offered in the name of the institution, including collegiate, developmental, and pre-collegiate courses and programs, continuing and community education, study abroad, short-term training courses and programs, programs for international students, and contract or other special programs, regardless of type of credit awarded, delivery mode, or location.
The Mission Statement provides the overall framework for the programs and courses (2A.1). New needs and directions for programs are identified by individual instructors, committee members, administrators, advisory boards, and community members expressed via the Board of Trustees. The college may also propose programs or courses in order to stay competitive with other colleges and to generate additional revenue. Recommendations are discussed institutionally through different committees, particularly the Academic Senate and the Curriculum Committee.
The college does not offer courses specifically for international students. Its international offerings are in Zacatecas, Mexico and Málaga, Spain. These courses are intended for Gavilan students or others who wish to enhance their language instruction in two Spanish-speaking countries. Instructors travel with the students and organize cultural events for them. Gavilan College offers these programs through a partnership with other community colleges and language institutions in Zacatecas and Málaga.
Noncredit courses are offered in the disciplines of physical education, music, film, theater, English, library, and allied health. All these courses serve older adults and disabled students, fulfilling two of the areas allowed by the state for noncredit programs (2A.31, p. 38-39). The noncredit program is beginning to expand offerings into the basic skills area. Gavilan College already offers credit courses in basic skills in the areas of English as a Second Language, English, and math. Developmental and pre-collegiate courses are offered in English (ENG 438, 439, 420, 440, 250, 260), math (MATH 400, 402, 404, 205, 233), social sciences (SOC SC 270A, 270B), and English as a second language (ESL 501, 501A, 501B, 502, 502A, 502B, 503, 503A, 503B, 510A, 501B, 521, 522, 523, 531, 532, 533, 541, 542, 543, 546, 552, 553, 555, 556, 561, 562, 563).
Community Education offers a variety of courses with flexible formats that focus on students not served by credit/noncredit programs (2A.32). For example, Community Education offers classes in real estate and estate planning, sign language, motorcycle driving, and a variety of online classes for computer skills. Students can enroll in programs for continuing education purposes that refresh or enhance skills for the workplace or for personal enrichment. Community Education offers online courses and has worked carefully to fill specialized niches that do not overlap with credit instruction. Contract education offered about $75,000 worth of training in ESL for corporate customers last year.
Credit courses are developed by teaching faculty, who have expertise in their specific areas. Faculty investigate similar courses at other two-year and four-year colleges. After consultation with their department chairs and area deans, they assess where similar courses fit into Associate of Arts, General Education, major and/or transfer patterns. There is ongoing discussion at the department level to develop courses that support the needs of the students and strengthen the departments as whole entities. New courses and modifications to existing courses are evaluated and approved by department chairs and area deans, then sent to the Curriculum Committee for evaluation.
Gavilan's Curriculum Committee works to ensure the highest standards in programs and course offerings. The Curriculum Committee chair and Curriculum Committee specialist attended the Curriculum Institute in July of 2002. As a result, both have been valuable as resource people to guide faculty in updating courses using current state curriculum guidelines. There are links on the Gavilan Curriculum Committee website (2A.13) to the State Academic Senate, Good Practices in Curriculum Development and the Curriculum Handbook. The Gavilan Curriculum Guide (2A.33), available on the curriculum website, outlines the process for obtaining approval for new courses and programs.
Appropriate credit type, delivery mode, and course location are determined by department members in consultation with departments, deans, the Curriculum Committee, and curriculum specialist. Delivery mode is also determined in consultation with the distance education coordinator. Course location is established by the deans and vice president of instruction based on research, student needs, and enrollment trends within the constraints of room availability.
Gavilan has an active and experienced articulation officer who has extensive contacts at state and private universities. Through articulation, the college not only meets local standards, but also the standards of other institutions of higher education. Courses that are accepted are deemed equivalent to courses offered at other community colleges, and at four-year institutions. They are also accepted by private universities. Gavilan College courses satisfy university transfer requirements for general education, "major" prerequisites, and electives. The articulation function at Gavilan College is an ongoing process designed to meet ever-changing standards.
Programs have gained acceptance through the Chancellor's Office. Most recently, Gavilan has developed and received approval for a digital media program and a noncredit program.
Instructional programs are periodically evaluated by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) using standards that derive from the Mission Statement of the college. The IEC reviews instructional programs every three to five years for many of the criteria in this standard, often recommending changes. IEC reviews are based both on data about student success, retention, and persistence, and on narrative reports which respond to the data and raise issues and concerns. One component of the process is a continual updating of each program's unit plan (2A.5). The IEC has worked since 2003 to update its instruments (2A.7), correlate questions asked with the objectives in the Educational Master Plan, and simplify the reporting of data to and from departments under review. Quality control is maintained through the instructor evaluation process (2A.9) and programs are evaluated through IEC.
Course outlines are on a four-year cycle for updates, ensuring that the course offerings are current and of high quality (2A.6). Course modifications are made using Curriculum Committee Form C (2A.34) and are recorded in the Curriculum Committee minutes (2A.35). The college also uses student and peer evaluations in an ongoing process (2A.36).
Overall, the institution has policies and procedures in place to assure the quality and improvement of all instructional courses and programs offered, although these may be stronger for traditional credit courses than for such relatively new innovations as noncredit instruction. It is expected that quality assurance processes for new programs will develop as part of the ongoing cycle of evaluation and improvement at Gavilan College.
Credit courses are developed by faculty with expertise in their specific areas, and are reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee. Modifications to existing courses must also be reviewed and approved by deans and the Curriculum Committee. Articulation with other colleges and universities ensures that Gavilan College meets not only internal standards, but also the standards of other institutions of higher education. Gavilan has courses articulated with California State University, University of California, and many private universities. Student reviews and the faculty evaluation process serve to ensure quality on an ongoing basis. The Institutional Effectiveness Committee also periodically evaluates instructional programs.
Noncredit classes are also reviewed and approved through the Curriculum Committee and curriculum development process. As the program is very new, these classes and the program itself have not yet been evaluated by students or reviewed by the IEC. Noncredit faculty meet the appropriate minimum qualifications.
Community and contract education are evaluated on the basis of student enjoyment and enrollment, as well as written evaluation instruments for every class, every semester. If the evaluation or any other feedback shows a need, the instructor is observed as well.
The two study-abroad programs to Zacatecas, Mexico and Málaga, Spain involve instruction delivered by the selected language institute in each country and supervised by Gavilan College Spanish faculty. In order to validate quality of instruction that is offered via these two programs, students who enroll in these classes should be surveyed by the office of instruction as part of the experience before credit is assigned.
The college has made a renewed commitment to the principle of shared governance for all instructional initiatives.
- Initiate a college-wide discussion and research into best practices regarding online, hybrid, enhanced, and telecourse methods of delivery.
- The institution uses established procedures to design, identify learning outcomes for, approve, administer, deliver and evaluate courses and programs. The institution recognizes the central role of its faculty for establishing quality and improving instructional courses and programs.
The Gavilan College Board of Trustees Policies and Procedures (2A.8, Board Policy 4020) clearly establishes the central role of the faculty in the design, approval, delivery, and evaluation of the courses and programs offered by the college. The policy identifies the Curriculum Committee as the standing committee of the Academic Senate whose primary responsibility is "to oversee curriculum to sustain quality instruction and standards". Accordingly, the Academic Senate By-Laws (2A.37) include the following among their areas of responsibility:
- 1.1.2.Curriculum, including establishing prerequisites and placing courses within disciplines.
- 1.1.3. Degree and certificate requirements.
As a standing committee of the Academic Senate, the Curriculum Committee has also established by-laws governing its membership and activities (2A.38).
According to the Faculty Handbook (2A.39, Section C-15) and longtime practice, all full-time faculty members are responsible for the development of new courses and programs, as well as the regular updating of courses and programs in their areas. Faculty members on the Curriculum Committee are responsible for the evaluation and approval of new and revised course and program proposals. The college provides financial support for the efforts of the Curriculum Committee through funds for support staff. The Academic Senate provided funds for the curriculum chair and the curriculum specialist to attend the Academic Senate Curriculum Institute in July, 2002 where they were able to obtain useful information for the development and evaluation of courses and programs.
In fall 2002, the Curriculum Committee began to update all course outlines that were four or more years old. Faculty members in all departments became involved in a major effort to assess the quality of their course outlines and to make appropriate improvements (2A.6). Subsequently, course outline forms were revised to include measurable student learning outcomes for each course (2A.40). Course learning outcomes are linked to institutional learning outcomes (2A.30) as part of this process.
Department faculty and area deans initially identify appropriate student learning outcomes. As part of the Curriculum Committee approval process, student learning outcomes for each course are discussed and either approved as submitted or modified. As of spring 2006, 89 percent of active Gavilan courses have been updated to include measurable student learning outcomes. According to the 2005 Faculty Survey, 82 percent of faculty have participated in development of courses and programs (2A.10, question 54) and 72 percent have participated in creation of student learning outcomes (2A.10, question 53). Student learning outcomes are reviewed and approved by department faculty, area deans, Curriculum Committee members, and by the vice presidents of instruction and of student services.
Program learning outcomes have been established at the department level for most programs offering a degree or certificate. These learning outcomes are printed in the 2005-2007 catalog (2A.28, p. 51-126) under the appropriate program. The program learning outcomes have been reviewed and approved by department faculty, area deans, and by the vice presidents of instruction and of student services.
Faculty members are responsible for the design of new courses and the regular updating of existing courses in their departments. Dialogue and consensus among faculty within a given discipline generally occurs prior to the development of a new course or a major revision to an existing course. Faculty consult with their deans and other members of the college community (articulation officer, librarian, etc.) as necessary, to determine the suitability of the proposed course/revision. Many faculty research similar classes at other colleges as well.
The Curriculum Guide serves as an aid to faculty members who create and/or revise existing curriculum (2A.33). The Curriculum Guide is available in the Faculty Handbook (2A.39, Section D-44) and as a link on the Curriculum Committee web page (2A.13). Faculty members designing curriculum are encouraged to use the online links to the State Academic Senate Good Practices in Curriculum Development and Curriculum Handbook.
Curriculum meeting dates and due dates are posted on the curriculum web page along with notices for time sensitive materials. All curriculum proposals – for courses and/or programs – are submitted both electronically and in hard copy with appropriate signatures to the curriculum specialist. A technical review is conducted to assure that all the required information has been provided the Curriculum Committee before the proposed material is considered. Once approved, a proposal is forwarded to the vice president of instruction and to the Board of Trustees.
Department faculty and chairs, area deans, and other administrators work together to develop the semester, summer, and winter intersession schedules. Administrative teams use college research and other indicators to plan and administer college courses and programs. The administrative process is reasonably effective. The Institutional Effectiveness Committee reviews instructional programs every three to five years, as noted above.
The college meets this standard. The college faculty and the Curriculum Committee have done an outstanding job over the past few years in a massive effort to update courses and programs and to include measurable student learning outcomes that have been linked to the institutional learning outcomes. In addition, learning outcomes have been developed for general education areas. These are published in the college catalog (2A.28, p. 37) and available online. In the 2005 Student Accreditation Survey, 73 percent of the respondents agreed that learning outcomes for their courses are clearly stated (2A.24, question 51).
As of February 2006, 89 percent of Gavilan's courses have been rewritten to include measurable student learning outcomes with links to institutional learning outcomes. A list of courses that need to be updated is posted on the curriculum website under 'Progress Reports' at the beginning of every semester (2A.6). The course outlines for the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) program courses: Joint Law Enforcement (JLE) and Joint Fire Technology (JFT), are currently being rewritten to include student learning outcomes.
Program learning outcomes have been completed for most of the programs. A list of the programs still missing learning outcomes has been posted on the curriculum website under 'Progress Reports' (2A.6). The presentation of program learning outcomes in the college catalog is inconsistent and some listings are difficult to find (2A.28). A few instructional areas, such as ESL, do not offer degrees or certificates but should nonetheless have learning outcomes printed in the catalog.
The curriculum approval process is regularly and continuously evaluated and improved by members of the Curriculum Committee. However, conversations at the department and dean levels regarding new curriculum ideas could be more rigorous. Without effective discussion at these levels, the Curriculum Committee cannot optimally foresee and handle issues that new curriculum might raise. Staff development opportunities for disseminating curriculum information to the faculty at large should be utilized more frequently, especially for new faculty.
The IEC diligently evaluates reports when they are submitted on time. While the committee was understaffed for a period, action has been taken to bring it into compliance with Board policy. The committee has not asked for follow up reports, but as a result of this accreditation report, has become aware that status reports may be required for future semesters. The committee could be strengthened by additional help with deadline compliance. Other than changes that each program may want to undertake as a result of the IEC review, the impact of IEC evaluation on the college as a whole has often been negligible except when the committee has been enlisted to eliminate or restructure underperforming programs. In the fall 2005 accreditation survey, this history is reflected in mixed reviews of the IEC process: 39 percent agree, 34 percent are neutral, and 27 percent disagree that program reviews have helped their department or program improve. (2A.10, question 52).
- The institution relies on faculty expertise and the assistance of advisory committees when appropriate to identify competency levels and measurable student learning outcomes for courses, certificates, programs including general and vocational education, and degrees. The institution regularly assesses student progress towards achieving those outcomes.
There has been a concerted effort by the teaching faculty to update all Gavilan courses to include student learning outcomes. Out of 550 active courses, 489 have been rewritten to include course learning outcomes (2A.6). The course learning outcomes are linked to the seven institutional learning outcomes (2A.30) that Gavilan College has determined to be supportive of the college's mission. Specific student learning outcomes are measured by quizzes, exams, presentations, demonstrations, projects, and homework. A list of the measures for each course learning outcome has been included in the outline of record. All course outlines are scrutinized first by a technical review committee and then by the Curriculum Committee. Both committees use a strict set of standards for approval.
The primary purpose of advisory committees is to ensure that the college is offering instructional programs that meet the needs of industry. Advisory committees exist for all vocational programs. Advisory committees meet with faculty once or twice a year to discuss industry trends and requirements. Faculty make changes in courses and programs based on recommendations from these advisory committees.
Program learning outcomes have been developed by
- reviewing the student learning outcomes for each of the courses specified in the program and/or certificate, and by
- including them in a broad set of goals for each program.
The program learning outcomes are included in the 2005-2007 college catalog (2A.28). The faculty has been advised to include the student learning outcomes for each course in the syllabi provided to the students.
In 2003, the Academic Senate prepared a draft position paper on improving the quality of education at the college (2A.41) which specified issue/solution pairs: 1) under preparedness of students, to be addressed by bridge classes, learning communities, testing, and tutoring improvements, a college-wide discussion of prerequisites, and better connections to high schools in the area; and 2) large class size and unattractive classroom environment, to be addressed by refurbishing classrooms, capping class sizes at lower levels, and investing in multimedia tools.
Assessment mechanisms are listed in the student learning outcomes in each course outline of record (2A.40). Student success is determined by meeting the student learning outcomes. Courses are linked from one level to the next by sequencing and prerequisites. Advisory and prerequisite validations have been written indicating the correlation between the concepts, skills, and kinds of knowledge contained in the advisory and/or prerequisite course to probable success in the designated course. Students are encouraged to see a counselor in order to develop an education plan.
In the college schedule (2A.31, p. 69, 71, 81), several departments using sequential courses have developed visually-organized "ladders" so students can understand how to progress. These ladders are used extensively by counselors when discussing educational plans with students.
The faculty at Gavilan College, with the support of the Curriculum Committee, has done an outstanding job ensuring all course outlines have been updated with student learning outcomes. The college relies upon faculty to ensure that students have met the student learning outcomes through the successful completion of quizzes, exams, and presentations.
The college is in the process of including the student learning outcomes in the syllabi so that the students have a clear understanding of the goals for each course (2A.29). Approximately 40 percent of course syllabi include the student learning outcomes. Adjunct faculty, in particular, need orientation on this matter.
Program learning outcomes have been written for the majority of programs and certificates, and have been included in the 2005-2007 catalog (2A.28). Assessment tools to measure the program learning outcomes will be developed in 2006-2007.
- Develop assessment tools for the program learning outcomes.
- High-quality instruction and appropriate breadth, depth, rigor, sequencing, time to completion, and synthesis of learning characterize all programs.
Quality of instruction ultimately may be evaluated best by the staff and students at the college. A survey done in fall 2005 found that 74 percent of the staff surveyed believe that Gavilan provides an environment that nurtures creativity and intellectual curiosity (2A.10, question 1). Additionally, 80 percent believe that the college provides a high quality learning experience to prepare students for transfer, technical and public service careers, lifelong learning, and participation in a diverse global society. Students were also positive about their experiences at Gavilan: 75 percent would encourage others to attend Gavilan, according to the survey, while only 6 percent would not, and 19 percent were neutral on the question (2A.24, question 52).
Gavilan College uses several means of ensuring and demonstrating the quality of its instruction. Two tracks intersect: the improvement of instruction through faculty development, and the improvement of curriculum and program offerings through various dialogues, reviews, and planning procedures.
Faculty development: new full-time faculty are:
- Given orientations that involve meetings with senior faculty and other staff on a variety of topics, including instruction.
- Assigned faculty mentors to help them informally with teaching issues and problems.
- Evaluated each semester under a process designed to give practical, nonjudgmental help with teaching issues. The process includes both peer evaluators and faculty mentors who are able to quietly address problems with quality of instruction, and to support innovative teaching.
The tenure review process involves evaluation each semester by peers, students, administrator, and the new faculty person herself or himself (2A.42, p. 44-45). A committee of peers and deans meets to look over the evaluations each semester, and committee members also make visits to the new faculty's classroom for observation. Suggestions for improvement are funneled through the faculty member's dean and are followed up in subsequent semesters.
Full-time faculty are encouraged to keep up to date in their fields with generous awards of flex and co-curricular activity credit. Staff development days, held near the start of each semester sometimes feature outside experts who suggest methods to improve teaching skills. According to the fall 2005 survey (2A.10, question 34), 71 percent of faculty engage in professional activities supported by the college. Additionally,76 percent have engaged in professional development activities in the past three years, and 89 percent have attended the on-campus staff development activities (2A.10, question 36). The college provides $250 per year for conference travel, $500 over two years may be banked, and up to $750 may be obtained in special cases. Relatively few full-time faculty use this funding.
All full-time tenured faculty are evaluated every three years; quality of teaching is one among several evaluation criteria (2A.42, p. 38-41). According to the fall 2005 survey, 72 percent feel the evaluations have been accurate, while only 11 percent feel they have not (17 percent were neutral) (2A.10, question 41). Additionally, 69 percent believed that the evaluations have encouraged relevant improvements, while 13 percent have not found this to be the case (2A.10, question 42). And 69 percent are satisfied with the evaluation process, while 13 percent have not been satisfied (2A.10, question 43).
Gavilan's full-time to part-time faculty ratio is now close to 60/40, and the college is committed to implementing the five year full-time faculty hiring plan begun in 2005. Since the full-time faculty number includes librarians and counselors who are primarily non-teaching, more than half the classes at the college are still taught by part-time instructors in a given semester (2A.31). Orientation and mentoring are currently quite limited for adjunct faculty, though some departments work to involve their adjuncts in such activities, and some are able to participate. Unfortunately, many adjunct faculty are unable to take advantage of such overtures, due to financial or time constraints (according to interviews with adjunct faculty). Adjunct faculty are evaluated by deans during their first semester, and thereafter if there is cause for concern (2A.39, Section B-5). Few adjunct faculty attend staff development days, for which they can receive flex credit. Many are unable to do so because of commitments elsewhere. Conference travel funds for adjunct faculty were cut two years ago due to budgetary constraints.
The English and math departments have experimented with lead teachers who work to ensure that all teachers of key courses teach to the course outlines and meet departmental standards of excellence.
About 20 faculty, both adjunct and full-time, attended a Teaching Institute in April 2005, and were able to discuss and apply some recent research about learning and teaching objectives. A dozen faculty and many more staff and students took advantage of free basic mediation training on campus in 2004 and 2005, and many report that the skills are useful in defusing uncomfortable classroom situations and encouraging positive dialogue with students inside and outside the classroom. Gavilan sends an instructor each year to the state Great Teachers seminar. For a number of years, faculty attended technology in higher education conferences as well.
Many instructors and departments, most notably in allied health, English as a Second Language, communications, and math, have also enhanced their courses and the quality of their instruction with use of electronic technology and class homepages; about thirty homepages are currently available linked to the college website (2A.43). Many faculty have websites, some extensive, and many more use the internet for assignments and presentations.
Besides a focus on faculty skill-building and evaluation, the college has several departments that have strengthened their teaching through informal and formal discussion of priorities and approaches, and through collaborative efforts. The English department has developed an exit exam (2A.44) for English 250, the developmental class, which is normed by dual grading in one big session. The social science department has brought consistency to its teaching of research methods by its standards for research assignments, and has opened discussion with the English department to achieve consistency in how academic style is taught.
Use of the library is a key component to assist student learning. The fall 2005 survey indicates that 68 percent of Gavilan students agree that they receive at least one assignment per term that requires library use, while only 9 percent disagree and 22 percent were neutral on the question (2A.24, question 17). By the same token, faculty reported that 77 percent give at least one assignment per term requiring library use, while 20 percent did not and 4 percent were neutral (2A.10, question F8).
Gavilan's vocational students receive employable skills as evidenced by the number of students employed at local and regional businesses and by those gaining licensure and certification in cosmetology, aviation, law enforcement, and nursing.
On an institutional level, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) reviews instructional programs every three to five years for many of the criteria in this standard, often recommending changes such as the addition or deletion of classes or modifications in purpose and methods. The primary purposes of the IEC is to assure the quality of educational programs at Gavilan so they reflect student needs, encourage student success, and are economically viable. IEC reviews are based both on data about student success, retention, and persistence, and upon narrative reports which respond to the data and raise issues and concerns. A major outcome of the process is a continual updating of each program's unit plan for improvement. The IEC has worked since 2003 to update its instrument (2A.7), correlate questions asked with objectives in the Educational Master Plan, and simplify the reporting of data to and from departments under review. The IEC review instrument looks at:
- Breadth and depth—The IEC instrument specifically examines state, local, and federal requirements and articulation with four-year colleges. It also examines how degrees and certificates are constituted, validated, and kept updated.
- Rigor—The IEC reviews grade distribution within a discipline or program, as well as retention and success data, including transfer and success after transfer. The IEC also asks how each program maintains the integrity of academic standards, including writing and critical thinking standards, and how it achieves consistency. The Faculty Handbook also addresses this issue (2A.39, Section C-4).
- Sequencing—Faculty within each discipline suggest, and may later amend, appropriate sequencing based upon their expertise and common college practices. In addition, there is often considerable discussion at the Curriculum Committee regarding sequencing.
- Time to completion—The IEC examines success and completion data as part of its process. In addition, the Curriculum Committee examines time to completion when programs or degrees are proposed or modified.
- Synthesis of learning— The IEC specifically assesses inter-relationships between programs. The ESL, English, and math departments have best addressed these issues with frequent and careful discussion of intra-departmental collaboration and standardization.
Finally, the Direction of Education (2A.3) addresses the synthesis of learning and related issues in pledging to encourage innovative instruction by developing interdisciplinary courses and programs that help students recognize connections between disciplines; creating college/community partnerships that offer students opportunities to investigate and conduct research within their communities; encouraging academic risk-taking and collaboration among members of the campus learning community; and developing resources to support campus programs through grants and the Gavilan College Educational Foundation.
Instructional issues are discussed every two weeks at the Curriculum Committee, and less frequently at the Academic Senate, the President's Council, the Administrative Council, and the Board levels. Departments also are in frequent discussion and debate about best practices on a variety of topical teaching subjects, and administrative retreats have included quality of education as a topic.
Three new Associate of Arts (AA) programs—in English, film studies, and digital media—have been proposed since 2001. The biotechnology program offered its first class in fall 2006, and the social science department is reconfiguring its AA degree into dual degrees in global studies and community studies. A number of certificates, including one in communication studies, have been added to the curriculum. Each program was thoroughly debated at the Curriculum Committee before being submitted for further discussion at the Academic Senate, President's Council, Administrative Council, and Board of Trustees. Quality of offerings and level of the AA and certificate degrees are the central questions addressed in the process for approval of new programs and degrees.
Distance education has also been discussed at the Curriculum Committee, though online classes were launched at Gavilan before all issues relating to instructor qualification and competence, quality control, and evaluation were worked out. More than 60 classes have been approved for distance formats. There has been discussion about the relatively high rate of drop-outs in distance education classes, which may be due to students' lack of technology skills or unrealistic expectations. A technology skills class as a prerequisite has been written as a noncredit class and was offered for the first time in the summer of 2006. An evaluation instrument specifically for distance education classes has not been developed. Specific research about Gavilan's students' needs in online classes, and their feelings about the quality of the technological and pedagogical value of the classes were addressed in a fall 2005 survey (2A.24, question 41). In that survey, 41 percent of students felt that the college offers enough online or hybrid courses to meet student needs; 40 percent were neutral and 19 percent felt more classes of this type were warranted. Forty-one percent of the students also indicated that they felt there are adequate online support services at present; 47 percent were neutral and 11 percent thought that the college needs to do more (2A.24, question 42).
A proposal to add noncredit classes in seven state-approved areas has been discussed several times at the Curriculum Committee and Academic Senate. Concerns from the English, ESL, and math departments about potential overlap in basic skills course offerings coexist with widespread recognition that the college could do more to serve the community of basic skills learners who need help with the fundamentals. Course proposals in basic skills subjects are eliciting concerns, so there must be careful discussion to ensure that noncredit courses focus on basic skills rather than developmental or college level content.
At the initiative of faculty, the Curriculum Committee often discusses and approves changes to update and modernize existing Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degree programs. Since 2002, the committee has been involved in a massive effort to write and implement measurable learning outcomes as part of course outlines and AA and AS programs. More than 480 course outlines have been updated. The Academic Senate and Curriculum Committee have also discussed instructional policies, grading policies (2A.45), which classes are appropriate and can be delivered adequately during 2-3 week intersessions, students wishing to challenge courses, the appropriateness of English 260 as an AA degree requirement, and what position to take on the statewide proposal that would make English 1A required for the AA degree (2A.46).
In 2000, supported by a Partnership for Excellence grant, Gavilan began a series of Learning Communities (LC) experiments. The first LCs at Gavilan linked courses in history, English, and reading. There was also a partially team-taught course infusing history curricula in an advanced ESL course. In addition, there were two Math and English LCs. One linked Elementary Algebra and the pre-transfer English course, English 250. The other linked Intermediate Algebra with the transfer level English, English 1A. These efforts continued in 2001 with the support of a Packard Grant and participation in the Regional Learning Communities Consortium, which provided a forum for faculty from twelve local community colleges to receive training and share knowledge about meeting the needs of under-prepared students. A core group has met over the past four years to plan LCs, develop assessment instruments, assess and modify offerings, and publicize LCs to students and the community. Gavilan faculty continue to offer a range of LC offerings, and have now added a First-Year Experience program, which includes a community-service component. The emphasis of the First-Year Experience program is to give under-prepared students an intellectually engaging academic experience combined with active counseling support, and encouragement to become involved in campus activities. Resistance to Learning Communities by some college staff has retarded their development to a degree, as some staff feel that LCs cut access to classes at a small college for students who need or want to take only one of a set of linked classes. In addition, students wishing to drop one class must drop the entire LC.
In 2005, the college launched a Transfer Institute program to encourage students to pursue guaranteed transfer agreements and to give them a sense of community with peers as they progress through Gavilan. The program is aimed at high school seniors, who are given early registration privileges. Students and their parents are also invited to enrichment programs and are given additional support and monitoring by the counseling staff.
After a staff development program, some individuals at the college gathered periodically in 2005 to discuss directions for developmental improvement at the college. A number of possibilities have been discussed, and a developmental level social science survey class was created. The proposed Matriculation/College Success Committee includes basic skills as part of its purview.
The 16-week calendar discussion has also sparked a great deal of discussion about the best means for delivery of quality education, particularly among members of the ESL and natural sciences departments (mathematics), as has a discussion about implementing new prerequisites for English and social science classes.
The deans used a consortium partnership with other colleges in the California State University Monterey Bay area to call together subject area teachers for discussion about teaching in their disciplines. Social science and fine arts instructors have met to discuss teaching and learning issues. Adjunct faculty are rarely involved in academic discussions due to time constraints and lack of connection to the campus.
The college relies heavily, but not exclusively, upon faculty and administrative recommendation in deciding breadth and depth of various curriculum areas; faculty in the field are best equipped to suggest appropriate breadth and depth of offerings. Many are bolstered and updated by advisory committees or by professional or academic contacts outside the college. Seventy-two percent of the faculty surveyed in fall 2005 (2A.10, question 14) felt that the college relies on faculty for recommendations about student learning programs and services.
Rigor is carefully considered at the curriculum level. Typically, classes are considered according to their transferability, with factors such as reading, writing, critical thinking, research, and computational skills taken into account. Faculty research sequencing and time-to-completion at other colleges in proposing modifications or new programs. Student feedback is also an important factor.
Synthesis of learning is frequently discussed at the department level. Some attempts have been made to synthesize across disciplines; for example, the social science and English departments have begun a discussion on teaching research methods. Student demand and feedback, and job market information are also used in some instances.
The Curriculum Committee is key in many of these decisions, and the IEC in many others. The Educational Master Plan (2A.20) was drafted with extensive faculty input. The plan pledges that Gavilan is dedicated to encouraging innovative instruction, developing interdisciplinary courses and programs that help students recognize the connection between the disciplines, and supporting alternative learning strategies such as service learning, learning communities, and enhanced tutoring support. The plan also pledges to develop learning opportunities at business and industry sites. The plan calls for innovative instructional delivery and academic risk-taking to be encouraged, recognized, and rewarded. To support these goals, funding is sought through grants and Gavilan College Educational Foundation resources. Gavilan has been awarded two TRIO grants totaling more than $2 million; $1.9 million in Title 5 monies, a federal department of Housing and Urban Development Hispanic Serving Institutions Assisting Communities (HSIAC) grant for $600,000, and various smaller grants for nursing, library, multi-media and labs.
Full-time faculty play key roles on the IEC Committee, and are the principal voices on the Curriculum Committee. Department chairs also have strong voices on related issues when they are included in the decision-making process. The Academic Senate is responsible for many issues relating to programs and quality of instruction. According to the fall 2005 survey, 82 percent of faculty have participated in the development of programs or courses (2A.10, question 54). Perceptions about how much influence faculty have upon senior administrators varies. In the fall 2005 staff survey, 45 percent felt they had significant influence, 37 percent of faculty felt they did not have significant influence on these decisions, and 18 percent were neutral (2A.10, question F2). Fifty-five percent felt that decisions at the college are made using the principles of shared governance, 23 percent did not feel this was so, and 23 percent were neutral on the question (2A.10, question 70). Sixty-two percent agreed that the faculty receives essential information about institutional efforts to achieve college goals and improve learning; 23 percent did not feel this way, and 16 percent were neutral (2A.10, question 16). When asked whether Gavilan maintains an "ongoing, collegial, self-reflective dialogue" about continuous improvement of student learning and institutional processes, 58 percent agreed that it does while 21 percent were neutral and 20 percent demurred (2A.10, question 17). When asked whether faculty has an effective college-wide communication structure that is available to all, 63 percent believed it does, while 25 percent disagreed and 13 percent were neutral (2A.10, question 15).
Many faculty lack the technological skills to develop and maintain websites or use electronic resources, and adjunct faculty in particular must be self-motivated to improve their skills. Some faculty have found hybrid classes to be the most accessible form of distance education, and increasing numbers of hybrid classes have been offered in recent semesters. The lead teacher concept has worked well and provided some consistency of approaches within the English and natural sciences departments.
The Educational Master Plan's instructional goals are as yet only partially realized. Interdisciplinary programs and courses have not been a major focus at Gavilan and in some cases have been discouraged due to concerns about low enrollment. Academic risk-taking is difficult in a tight budget environment as the college works to manage enrollment.
College/community partnerships include vocational education, communications classes, noncredit instruction, community and contract education, and HSIAC programs, such as the computer and ESL classes offered at South Valley Junior High School. In addition, a successful experiment with an English learning community generated considerable interest. In the last year, the High Step program was launched, which offers Gavilan College transfer-level classes at local high schools in the late afternoons. A new partnership with San Benito High School is making it possible for high school students to earn Gavilan College credit online, while getting classroom support from high school faculty. Discussions with the Gilroy Unified School District are underway to develop an Early College High School funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gavilan College grants program has done an excellent job winning grants for some important initiatives. The Gavilan Educational Foundation has had growing success in supporting instruction. In recent years, it has supported the Puente program and numerous scholarships for students.
Distance education has a dedicated and skilled coordinator for the program. The program was implemented rapidly, before support services were fully in place. This has led to a number of problems, most important of which is a high student attrition rate. In addition, faculty interest has varied.
By some measures, developmental students constitute a majority of Gavilan students. A committee has been meeting under the auspices of the office of instruction to grapple with this issue. In recent years, MESA, TRIO, EOPS, the Summer Bridge program, and the First Year Experience have targeted this population.
Vocational programs that have federal or state mandated licensure exams include cosmetology, aviation, and the allied health programs. Gavilan obtains reports from these governmental agencies which include the success rate of graduates passing the licensure exams. As an example, presently the pass rates are 92 percent for Licensed Vocational Nurses and 100 percent for Registered Nurses (2A.47).
Unit plans are of varying quality and significance, and some instructional programs have yet to submit either program learning outcomes or unit plans. The Institutional Effectiveness Committee prepares a schedule of program evaluations as discussed above. The college has done an uneven job communicating its mission, goals, priorities, and initiatives to its adjunct staff. Without the participation of adjunct faculty in planning and implementing changes in instruction, such changes will be partial and incomplete. Many adjunct faculty are simply too busy to participate actively. Others choose not to participate.
Learning Communities (LC's) have afforded many students a sense of academic community they would not otherwise have. Quantitative assessment shows that some LC's show higher levels of student retention, success and persistence, than others. (2A.16). Faculty participants in LC's report improvements in instruction, higher levels of engagement, and increased satisfaction. However, the college should conduct impartial reviews so a clear picture of its effectiveness is available.
The college does a good job in setting depth, breadth, rigor, sequencing, time-to-completion, and synthesis of learning criteria and holding programs to them.
Adjunct faculty are not systematically included in events, planning, or dialogue. Those who are able to participate do so on their own time, resulting in uneven and sporadic participation.
- Encourage widespread faculty discussion on how to adjust teaching to the new 16-week calendar in order to maintain high-quality instruction.
- Evaluate the block schedule and the 16-week calendar for impacts on student achievement.
- The institution uses delivery modes and teaching methodologies that reflect the diverse needs and learning styles of its students.
Assessment of student learning styles occurs in the Disability Resource Center and in such disciplines as Allied Health, Guidance, ESL, and Child Development as well as in individual courses across disciplines.
Instructors utilize a variety of different presentation modes such as lecture accompanied by a visual presentation, oral presentation, and small group work. Staff knowledge of learning needs varies but survey results from fall 2005 (2A.10, question F9) indicate that 73 percent of faculty strongly agree that they use a variety of techniques to accommodate various learning styles, while another 18 percent agree somewhat with the statement. Only 5 percent disagreed, and 5 percent were neutral. Some faculty report that they actually teach the concepts relating to learning styles, some are familiar with the concepts and incorporate them into their instruction, and some have not encountered them at all. Most courses employ a variety of assessment methods, including written tests and quizzes, oral presentations, demonstrations, and group work. Instructors determine delivery modes either individually or through their departments; information gathered from professional conferences influences these decisions.
Common teaching methodologies are lecture, discussion, PowerPoint presentation, group work, dyads, video/DVD, and computers. Instructors use their judgment to effectively transmit course content. Some departments discuss methodologies and student performance. When cohorts of students have specific learning needs, such as those in DRC and ESL, the needs of students are matched with methodologies. In other programs, instructors work to include a variety of learning methodologies as an ongoing part of the instructional process.
The college has not done a direct study of delivery modes, but it does monitor student success, persistence, and retention, which indicate that students are having learning success (2A.16).
The college meets this standard. Learning styles are addressed with varying degrees of completeness, understanding, and intentionality; a comprehensive assessment of their application and success might benefit the institution. In the recent faculty survey, 91 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement "I use a variety of techniques to accommodate various learning styles" (2A.10, question 31). In the survey of student attitudes, 76 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement "My instructors use teaching methods that I respond to positively". Seventy-six percent of the students surveyed agreed that the use of Powerpoint and multimedia tools in the classroom enhances their learning (2A.24, question 36). Dialogue with students related to the delivery modes used in the classroom and ways to improve the learning experience would help inform faculty choices for instruction.
- The institution evaluates all courses and programs through an on-going systematic review of their relevance, appropriateness, achievement of learning outcomes, currency, and future needs and plans.
On an institutional level, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee reviews instructional programs every three to five years for many of the criteria in this standard.
The Curriculum Committee requires a course be updated throughout its outline before any small or particular change can be made in its hours, title, units, etc. This ensures that courses are looked at frequently. In addition, departments informally discuss and evaluate their courses and programs.
The Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) does a diligent job of evaluating reports but could be strengthened by institutional help with deadline compliance. The committee has been concerned about follow up reports, and as a result of this accreditation report has become aware that status reports may be required in subsequent semesters. The Curriculum Committee practice of requiring updates is effective.
The institution has not undertaken an evaluation of all learning outcomes. The concrete ways in which an outcome will be measured are listed, but it is not yet possible to know if current learning outcomes are being met since faculty haven't created instruments to test specific outcomes. There have been many administrative staff changes since learning outcomes work was begun, and administrators and faculty need to understand the scope of the directive to set new directions for a second phase of the work.
- Review degrees and certificates to ensure that they are up to date as part of the Curriculum Committee process and in addition to the IEC process.
- Work to develop measures for the learning outcomes at the course level.
- The institution engages in ongoing, systematic evaluation and integrated planning to assure currency and measure achievement of its stated student learning outcomes for courses, certificates, programs including general and vocational education, and degrees. The institution systematically strives to improve those outcomes and makes the results available to appropriate constituencies.
Gavilan College recognizes that creating a long-term vision is key to meeting the needs of its student community and allocating resources appropriate for that task. At the same time, the college recognizes that it must be aware of and responsive to changing conditions in its geographic area.
The college revisits its Strategic, Education, Facilities, and Technology Plans approximately every three years. The IEC reviews programs on a rotating basis.
Grant writing follows needs identified through the planning process. College budget allocations are tied directly to unit plans.
The addition of a researcher to the college staff has meant that the institution has numerous studies and data to guide it in the planning process. The researcher often attends meetings and work sessions to present data or to aid in data interpretation. The research website makes available results from many studies conducted since fall 2001.
Gavilan has a comprehensive, ongoing planning process in place. Data is regularly consulted as part of the decision-making process. Follow up to determine if recommendations have been implemented is an area for development.
- Review compliance with IEC recommendations using quantitative and qualitative evaluation.
- If an institution uses departmental course and/or program examinations, it validates their effectiveness in measuring student learning and minimizes test biases.
The institution has completed course outline updates through the work of the Curriculum Committee. These updates were done principally to include student learning outcomes that were measurable using Bloom's taxonomy directives. Student learning outcomes state what students will learn in the course and how each outcome will be measured. The majority of instructional programs prepared program learning outcomes (2A.4) that stipulate a series of outcomes for its students which must be measurable in a concrete manner.
The English department has been using a holistically-scored writing final exam for all students in ESL 563, ENG 440, and ENG 250 (2A.44) to address disparity of student outcomes due in great part to the large number of instructors teaching the English courses. However, the exam hasn't been validated.
Student learning outcomes now exist in the updated course outlines (2A.40), but the institution has not yet begun the task of addressing whether or not these learning outcomes are real outcomes in the classroom measured in concrete ways. Program learning outcomes do not yet exist for all instructional programs. Programs with program learning outcomes must create assessment mechanisms before the efficacy of the outcomes can be evaluated.
As one example of program assessment, the English department has been using its holistically-scored final exam with success for the last six years. Several changes have been made to the writing prompt in order to address cultural and linguistic diversity of the students taking the test—for example, the department scrutinizes scores that are inconsistent with other indicators before a course grade can be assigned, and the exam is one-quarter of a student's final grade. The exam needs to be validated.
- Validate the English department exams.
- The institution awards credit based on student achievement of the course's stated learning outcomes. Units of credit awarded are consistent with institutional policies that reflect generally accepted norms or equivalencies in higher education.
Units of credit are based upon a Carnegie Unit, which requires an average of three (3) hours of course-related work per unit of credit, each week throughout a semester. A typical 3-unit lecture class will meet three hours per week for classroom instruction and require an additional six hours per week for outside work (reading, library research, problem-solving, projects, term papers, etc.) for a total of nine hours of course-related work per week. Units of credit earned in laboratory/activity classes are also based upon the three hours per week per unit ratio (2A.28, p. 31).
Student learning outcomes are the basis for credit awarded in courses, and credits awarded are consistent with accepted norms throughout higher education. Articulation of courses with institutions of higher education ensures that credits follow accepted norms.
The college meets this standard. Through articulation, the college not only meets its own standard, but also meets the standards of other institutions of higher education. Courses that are accepted for transfer are deemed equivalent to courses offered at other community colleges, four-year academic institutions and private universities. Gavilan College courses satisfy university transfer requirements for general education, prerequisites for the major, and electives.
- The institution awards degrees and certificates based on student achievement of a program's stated learning outcomes.
Most awards and certificates were developed at Gavilan to meet specific "learning objectives" that were the standard at the time they were developed. The degrees and certificates are now being updated to meet the current standard of learning outcomes.
In response to the Accreditation Evaluation Report of 2001 (2A.48, p. 6-7) the college Curriculum Committee and Academic Senate have determined that a "D" grade does not represent degree-level competence and cannot be used to achieve a program's learning outcomes or to earn a degree. The Curriculum Committee has formalized that concept for all classes and degrees (2A.46).
The college meets this standard. For the most part, program learning outcomes are consistent with current programs. A clearer process for linking these outcomes to final student assessment instruments and evaluation is needed.
- The institution requires of all academic and vocational degree programs a component of general education based on a carefully considered philosophy that is clearly stated in its catalog. The institution, relying on the expertise of its faculty, determines the appropriateness of each course for inclusion in the general education curriculum by examining the stated learning outcomes for the course.
Gavilan College prints the following description of general education in the College Catalog: "Gavilan's general education (GE) requirements introduce students to a variety of means through which they comprehend and interact with the modern world. The GE requirements are central both to the college's mission and to its associates' degrees" (2A.28, p. 37). The catalog explains what completion of the general education requirements will mean to a student and provides a list of general education learning outcomes. This information can also be found on the college website homepage under "Catalog: General Education and Transfer Programs". In fall 2001, cultural diversity was added as a new category to the Gavilan College general education pattern. Gavilan's general education pattern is articulated with four-year institutions paralleling lower division requirements and is reviewed regularly by the college's articulation officer.
Student learning outcomes for general education courses are created by faculty within each discipline. Student learning outcomes are constructed to promote understanding of basic content and methodology, and to require students to demonstrate critical thinking skills appropriate to an area of study.
All course outlines, including those for general education courses, require a detailed description of the course content, student performance objectives, and out-of-class assignments designed to reinforce classroom instruction (2A.40). After technical screening by the curriculum specialist and the Technical Screening Committee, course outlines are reviewed, discussed, and approved or rejected by the Curriculum Committee. The Gavilan Articulation Officer is a regular member of the Curriculum Committee and carefully scrutinizes and researches both new course proposals and course outline revisions that pertain to general education courses. He advises the committee on the merits and suitability of the materials presented.
The GE requirement philosophy is apparent in degree requirements, which require a balance of general education classes in six areas, mirroring but not replicating the California State University and University of California General Education requirements. Each class fulfills the philosophical requirements set forth in the catalog.
Gavilan College is in compliance with Board Policy AP 4025 (2A.8) Philosophy and Criteria for Associate Degree and General Education which references Title 5, Section 55805; Accreditation Standards 4.A and C (2A.48).
Gavilan has done a good job ensuring general education requirements are complete and balanced; the inclusion in 2001 of a multi-cultural requirement added an important dimension to the degree. However, since student learning outcomes are so new, a curriculum committee guideline hasn't yet been established to examine them when approving a course for a GE requirement.
- Evaluate the use of student learning outcomes as guides for qualifying courses for GE credit.
- Examine all programs and degrees regularly to ensure that they include up-to-date GE requirements.
General education has comprehensive learning outcomes for the students who complete it, including the following:
- An understanding of the basic content and methodology of the major areas of knowledge: areas include the humanities and fine arts, the natural sciences, and the social sciences.
These defined areas of knowledge have been in place for some time. Change in these areas of knowledge is usually influenced by a number of factors: discussion at the Curriculum Committee, reference to practices at other community and four-year colleges, assessment of educational needs in a changing society, and professional contacts faculty have at other institutions, especially taking into account the articulation officer's contacts. Learning outcomes are used to ensure that all GE courses meet basic criteria under their appropriate categories.
The general education courses (2A.28, p. 37-38) that fulfill either the UC/CSU Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or CSU GE (Breadth) Requirements clearly demonstrate student achievement of comprehensive student learning outcomes. Gavilan courses listed in IGETC Areas 1-5 and CSU Breadth Areas A-D span the traditional major areas of knowledge including the humanities, fine arts, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. Despite Gavilan College's small size, students have a wealth of course choices in each of these areas and are able to obtain a well-rounded general education experience. The General Education Learning Outcomes were developed in spring 2005 based on Course Learning Outcomes for courses in the various GE areas. The GE Learning Outcomes are included in the college catalogue for 2005-2007 (2A.28, p. 37-38).
The college has done a very good job of identifying general education courses and the specific student learning outcomes associated with the courses in the GE areas. Since the GE learning outcomes have only been recently formalized, some effort to communicate these more directly to the college community may be required.
Because the GE learning outcomes have only been developed recently, it would be beneficial to incorporate these outcomes in the curriculum process so that specific GE learning outcomes can be identified with appropriate GE courses.
- In modifying and developing curriculum, include the GE learning outcomes and identify the specific content and methodology associated with each GE area.
- Update existing GE course outlines and require proposed GE courses to include appropriate GE learning outcomes, area content, and methodology.
General education has comprehensive learning outcomes for the students who complete it, including the following:
- A capability to be a productive individual and life-long learner: skills include oral and written communication, information competency, computer literacy, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis/logical thinking, and the ability to acquire knowledge through a variety of means.
Gavilan's general education (GE) requirements introduce students to a variety of means through which they comprehend and interact with the modern world. The GE requirements are central both to the college's mission and to its associate's degrees. Completion of the GE requirements will develop students' abilities to think and communicate clearly, both orally and in writing; to use mathematics and employ the scientific method; to understand the modes of inquiry in major disciplines; to be aware of other cultures and other eras; to apply critical thinking to ethical and social issues; and to develop the capacity for self understanding and improvement. The student will also develop a depth of knowledge in a specific field of interest. In completing the requirements, students will come to understand basic principles, concepts, and methodologies that may be unique to a specific discipline or universal in the quest for knowledge (2A.28, p. 37).
Goals and objectives are reflected in the measures established for each course (2A.33). Successful completion of exams, quizzes, projects, class demonstrations, class performance, projects, and homework ensure that the goals and objectives have been met. There is ongoing research into the college's performance indicators and goals: course success rates, course retention rates, persistence rates, award rates, transfer rates, and student progression (2A.49).
Skill levels are determined by discipline instructors who are knowledgeable about requirements in their subject area. Review and approval by deans, the articulation officer, Curriculum Committee, and the vice president of instruction ensure that those requirements are met. Pre-college level courses teach skills appropriate to the level of instruction. Exams, reports, projects, performance, and demonstrations are the means by which the college tests for skill levels; those who do not achieve the requisite skills are not passed in a course. Skill requirements are outlined in the Student Learning Outcomes.
The college meets this standard. The institutional researcher has created a data warehouse and has performed studies that have helped in the decision-making process. Over the past four years, the college has had a clearer view of student success. The college needs to continue to educate students in the expectations of the course and how each of those goals will be measured.
Course learning outcomes have been written and are disseminated to students via course syllabi. The college is beginning discussions at the department level to establish the appropriate assessment of the student learning outcomes.
General education has comprehensive learning outcomes for the students who complete it, including the following:
- A recognition of what it means to be an ethical human being and effective citizen. Qualities include an appreciation of ethical principles; civility and interpersonal skills; respect for cultural diversity; historical and aesthetic sensitivity; and the willingness to assume civic, political and social responsibilities locally, nationally, and globally.
Gavilan's learning outcomes encompass these important goals. Naturally, some departments are more likely homes for such content than others. Gavilan's philosophy department and various communications, social science, and fine arts classes instill appreciation for ethical principles and teach students how to reason their own ethical frameworks. The communications department has added a number of classes and is planning an AA degree to promote the study of civility and interpersonal skills. The college added a cultural diversity requirement for the AA degree in 2001 and a selection of classes can be used to fulfill this requirement. For an AA degree or for transfer, students must take at least one history class and may take more; students are also required to take at least one class in the fine or performing arts. Finally, the social science department has emphasized the development of a sense of civic, political, and social responsibilities on local, national, and global levels in many course learning outcomes and in the department learning outcomes. The department is in the process of redesigning its AA degree so it can offer two relevant new AA degrees, one in community studies and one in global studies. The department has pioneered a course in conflict resolution that is cross-listed and required in various AA major programs at the college, and which can lead to a Santa Clara County certificate in mediation.
The cultural diversity category that was added to Gavilan's general education pattern (2A.28, p. 37) fulfills Board Policy AP 4025 (2A.8) which references Title 5, Section 55805; and Accreditation Standards 4.A and C recommendations (2A.48). The policy states: "The programs of the district are consistent with the institutional mission, purposes, demographics and economics of its community" and further states "The philosophy and criteria regarding the associate degree references the policy of the Board of Governors that the associate degree symbolizes a successful attempt to lead students through patterns of learning experiences designed to develop certain capabilities and insight, including: be aware of other cultures and times".
The communications and social science departments do an excellent job addressing what it means to be an ethical human being. Development of a Global Studies program is under discussion. There is a need through more frequent evaluations to monitor the teaching of ethics, citizenship, respect for cultural diversity, and civic responsibility by part-time faculty.
- Integrate ethics, citizenship, cultural diversity, and civil responsibility values into program learning outcomes.
- All degree programs include focused study in at least one area of inquiry or in an established interdisciplinary core.
All degree programs include at least one area of focused study or interdisciplinary core and are listed in the catalog. Vocational and occupational programs which award degrees and certificates have established advisory committees as outlined by the Chancellor's Office of California Community Colleges. Advisory committee members and faculty meet at least once per year to discuss curriculum, industry standards, and workforce skills. Their input is important in shaping curriculum and program design. Additionally, information is often collected from boards and/or external agencies that regulate identified programs or make available licensure passing rates. Limited feedback is gained from graduates who report back to faculty.
The college meets this standard.
- Students completing vocational and occupational certificates and degrees demonstrate technical and professional competencies that meet employment and other applicable standards and are prepared for external licensure and certification.
Gavilan's vocational students receive employable skills as evidenced by the number of students employed at local and regional businesses and by those gaining licensure and certification in cosmetology, aviation, and nursing.
The college meets this standard. Gavilan obtains reports which include the student success rates for vocational programs that have federal or state mandated licensure exams including cosmetology, aviation, and the allied health programs. As an example, presently the pass rates are 92 percent for Licensed Vocational Nurses and 100 percent for Registered Nurses (2A.47).
- The institution assures that students and prospective students receive clear and accurate information about educational courses and programs and transfer policies. The institution describes its degrees and certificates in terms of their purpose, content, course requirements, and expected student learning outcomes. In every class section students receive a course syllabus that specifies learning objectives consistent with those in the institution's officially approved course outline.
The visual formatting of degrees and certificates in the college catalog is reviewed by the catalog production committee, made up of a cross section of all areas on campus: admissions and records, management information systems, counseling, liberal arts, technical and public services, noncredit, community education, disability resources, curriculum, and enrollment management. A format is agreed upon and used consistently throughout the catalog.
The enrollment management specialist reviews board summaries to identify curriculum changes and updates the catalog. In addition, all degree and certificate descriptions are distributed and reviewed every two years by deans and department chairs before each catalog is printed. Beginning with the 2005-2007 college catalog (2A.28) program learning outcomes have been included with most degrees and certificates.
Student course learning outcomes are currently in a section of the course outline in the master course file. They are kept up-to-date by the curriculum specialist.
Students in all courses receive a copy of the syllabus and the deans are now verifying that each syllabus contains the learning objectives for the course. About 40 percent of course syllabi now include course learning outcomes (2A.29).
The college's deans give course outlines to all new faculty with instructions to design classes that adhere to the basic requirements and content. The college deans collect instructors' syllabi but do not closely monitor content.
A brochure containing the AA/AS degree pattern, the IGETC transfer pattern and the CSU GE-Breadth transfer pattern is published at the start of fall semester each year by the Gavilan College Articulation Office and is also printed in each class schedule (2A.50). The brochure is available to students at the counseling secretary's office and in the schedule of classes each semester. It is also used by the outreach office and by the counselors in visits to area high schools. Counselors distribute the brochure to students during individual counseling.
Programs not associated with an AA or AS degree, such as English as a Second Language, have not submitted program learning outcomes for inclusion in the present (2005-2007) college catalog.
According to student survey results, Gavilan College has done a good job in communicating student learning outcomes. Results show that 73 percent of students surveyed find that learning outcomes for classes are clearly stated. Only 6 percent disagree (2A.24, question 51).
Improvements are continually being made. Course outlines are not available on the web, though many faculty display their syllabi on course web pages. Faculty are updating syllabi to include course learning outcomes.
Though the importance of course outlines is widely recognized, deans cannot monitor adherence to course outlines without taking significant time from other tasks, and department chairs are not charged with this duty. Some department chairs more actively monitor course outline usage than others. In math and English, any teacher wishing to instruct certain key classes must meet with a lead teacher to coordinate content and methodology. Online classes are not systematically monitored for adherence to course outlines; many online instructors teach similar classes at other colleges and may not understand the importance of modifying their courses to fit Gavilan's outlines. Problems sometimes come to deans' attention through student and staff reports. Particularly with adjunct faculty, this method may not be reliable enough to ensure that course outlines are followed. Infrequent evaluation of adjunct faculty contributes to a lack of information about how closely faculty adhere to the outlines' content.
Student course learning outcomes are now required to be printed on all course syllabi as of Fall, 2006. With the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation, course outlines will be available on the web. This upgrade will be implemented within two years.
In the future, the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system will provide a degree audit feature. This will give students the capability of comparing degree or certificate requirements with their education plan.
- Include all program learning outcomes in the next catalog (2007-09).
- Provide training for faculty to ensure all syllabi have the appropriate course learning objectives that follow the approved course outline.
- The institution makes available to its students clearly stated transfer-of-credit policies in order to facilitate the mobility of students without penalty. In accepting transfer credits to fulfill degree requirements, the institution certifies that the expected learning outcomes for transferred courses are comparable to the learning outcomes of its own courses. Where patterns of student enrollment between institutions are identified, the institution develops articulation agreements as appropriate to its mission.
Transfer of credit policies with patterns of classes are clearly available in the college schedules (2A.31), catalog (2A.28), and through the counseling department in counseling sessions. Counselors frequently direct students to the ASSIST computer program available on the web (2A.51). If courses are transferred from other colleges, they receive scrutiny from counselors and the admissions and records office.
Gavilan has at least fifteen articulation agreements with private colleges, twenty-three with California State University (CSU) campuses, and ten with University of California (UC) schools. More are being developed as the college articulation officer constantly updates current agreements and seeks new ones. As new courses are developed, they are articulated as a priority with UC and CSU systems, then agreements with other schools are updated after considerable research. The articulation officer also keeps track of changes at four-year colleges such as the addition of more stringent prerequisites, so they can be communicated through the Curriculum Committee to Gavilan faculty. The articulation officer scrutinizes all curricula to be sure they will meet four-year requirements, and researches changing GE patterns at four-year institutions.
In the student survey (2A.24, comment 201), a student reported that the transfer process online is not clearly defined. Gavilan has improved the college website since the survey. The transfer center website (2A.52) provides a section listing transfer services.
The natural sciences department (mathematics) has developed a flow chart (2A.31, p. 15) for high school students based on math courses completed and grades earned, so incoming students can get an idea of what courses they should take. There are also articulation agreements between the large high schools in the district and the math department for many basic skills courses.
Gavilan's articulation officer does a great deal with a 40 percent assignment, but the work is constant, urgent, and increasing. An online matrix that shows students and staff how a given class articulates elsewhere would be an important addition to articulation work at the college. In addition, the general counseling secretary is unable to attend to many articulation needs because of an already heavy workload.
- Evaluate articulation staffing and workload to fulfill student transfer needs.
- Develop a website that lists all Gavilan classes in an easy-to-use format, and clearly communicates the articulation status for each class.
- When programs are eliminated or program requirements are significantly changed, the institution makes appropriate arrangements so that enrolled students may complete their education in a timely manner with a minimum of disruption.
The Institutional Effectiveness Committee reviews all programs and services at Gavilan on a rotational basis (2A.7). The IEC makes recommendations for improvements, changes, and reviews instructional programs every three to five years. The IEC considers program data related to student success, retention, and persistence to assure that the programs reflect student needs, encourage student success, and are economically viable. In addition, program faculty members provide narrative reports that respond to the data and raise issues and concerns. A major outcome of the process is a continual updating of each program's unit plan for improvement. The decision to eliminate programs and/or implement new ones is guided by the Mission Statement (2A.1) and Educational Master Plan (2A.20).
A student at Gavilan College follows the current program outlined in the Gavilan College Catalog (2A.28) beginning with the year the student first enrolled at the college. The policy provides students with "catalog rights", meaning that even when changes occur, students can be assured that the requirements that were in effect the first year they enrolled at the college will be the requirements they will be held to.
Students can also complete waiver forms to request a course substitution in a department that has made a change (2A.28). Area departments generally work with the student to come up with a solution that will meet their needs. Reasonable accommodations are made with the idea of following the intent of the original catalog requirements.
When programs are eliminated, the counselors, division dean, department chair, and instructors inform students of any modifications that have or will take place and assist students in continuing their studies.
The Institutional Effectiveness Committee arranges a schedule of program evaluations on a rotational basis. Although the college makes a strong attempt to inform the student of any changes that take place within programs, the students do not always get the information in a timely manner.
- Notify students via letter, email, through instructors in person, and by phone if other methods fail when course changes are made by the department in order to inform students in a timely manner.
- Inform counselors early in the process about any course, certificate, or degree changes within any department.
- The institution represents itself clearly, accurately, and consistently to prospective and current students, the public, and its personnel through its catalogs, statements, and publications, including those presented in electronic formats. It regularly reviews institutional policies, procedures, and publications to assure integrity in all representations about its mission, programs, and services.
All aspects of the catalog (2A.28) and class schedule (2A.31) are regularly reviewed for clarity, accuracy, and consistency prior to the publication of each new volume or edition. Institutional policies and procedures, student services sections, the college profile, etc., are distributed to appropriate departments on campus during each production cycle. The curriculum specialist submits curriculum changes approved by the Curriculum Committee. The entire process is overseen through a Schedule Production Committee and a Catalog Committee, both with broad-based membership and chaired by the vice president of student services. Changes to the electronic files are made by the enrollment management specialist, who also coordinates print production and production of the online versions. The director of public information, who also sits on the publications committees, oversees the look, feel, usability, and marketing messages. Prior to publication, a draft of each document is posted on the intranet
The catalog is posted on the Gavilan College homepage website. The website is updated by the webmaster on a regular basis. Addendums to the college catalog and schedule of classes are also sent as needed via email to the appropriate constituencies on campus (counselors, admissions and records, deans, etc.) as well as to local area high school counseling departments.
In the past, the college has published a printed Student Handbook that was casual in tone and focused on student services, student life, and student activities. It was not heavily used and quickly became out of date. It will be replaced in the coming year with a new publication, the handbook of Policies and Procedures, which will serve students by collecting vital information in one place.
The catalog and schedule are provided upon request in alternate formats through the Disability Resource Center and the vice president of student services. The college makes every possible effort to ensure that the electronic versions of the catalog and schedule of classes are accessible for individuals requiring assistive technologies.
The following institutional policies, practices, and publications regarding the college's mission, programs, and services are regularly evaluated and revised. The Mission Statement is revised every five years while the college catalog is revised every two years. The Strategic Plan and the Educational Master Plan are evaluated and revised every five years though they are amended more frequently. The Faculty Handbook is revised every year. The following are evaluated and revised on an ongoing basis or as needed: the College Safety Manual, the Schedule of Classes, the Curriculum Committee Guidelines, the Athletic Handbook, Board Policies, the Sexual Harassment Policy, the Hiring Policy, and Academic Senate and its committees' bylaws.
In April 2000, Gavilan College subscribed to the Community College League of California's Policy and Administrative Procedure Service. In 2001 the college reviewed and updated the Board Policy Manual. Twice a year the Community College League's Board Policy and Administrative Procedure Service provides updates to districts, developed by the League's partner, Liebert, Cassidy, and Whitmore. The updates address changes resulting from new laws and regulations and subscriber requests. The policies are updated on a regular basis although the updates themselves occur throughout the year. Using the college's shared governance process, the Board of Trustees evaluates each recommended policy change and adjusts policies to meet the specific needs of the college (2A.8, Board Policy 2410). No administrative procedure has been developed.
Gavilan College launched a newly designed website in January 2006 (2A.53). Designed by a committee with broad participation, it is accessible, comprehensive, and user friendly. In addition to all of the information in Gavilan's regular print documents, such as the catalog and class schedule, the website includes podcasts, news, and events using RSS feeds, a "Visitors and Community" drop down menu with many useful links and a virtual tour. All publications are downloadable.
Gavilan College has made the webmaster a full-time position. The accuracy and integrity of the Gavilan College website is the responsibility of the District Technology Committee. This committee is responsible for the content and design of the homepage and the next two levels connected to the homepage. The committee is comprised of a cross-section of Gavilan College employees, including administrators representing student services and instruction, deans, managers, faculty, classified, an Associated Student Body representative, and the public information officer. Individual divisions (i.e., department of student services, instruction, etc.) are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of their sites.
The accuracy of all Gavilan College publications rests with the public information officer (PIO). The PIO reviews all publications before they are printed. Documents must adhere to standards set by the PIO. All documents must use the accepted Gavilan logo downloadable from the intranet. Publications promoting events must include an accommodation statement with the contact information of the event coordinator.
Gavilan provides public access to data on student achievement through the research website and public presentations. Data is also readily available by request and continuously reviewed for accuracy. Inaccuracies are reported to data analyzers, data entry staff, and managers to improve accuracy. Reports and tables provide both current and longitudinal information. The research site is accessible from the Gavilan College homepage linked from the "About Gavilan" drop-down menu.
In addition, research data is available in the Education Master Plan, Section III, Background Research and Data Collection (2A.20). This document is posted on the Gavilan College intranet and is accessible by staff.
Information on student achievement is also included in the "Report to the Community" (2A.54), which is published annually each July by the public information office and is widely disseminated and accessed by selecting the "More News and Events" link on the Gavilan College homepage. Gavilan College promotes stories of student achievement by publishing student, staff, and alumni profiles in the schedule of classes each semester. GavTV 18 is another powerful media for publicity.
Channel 18 airs telecourses and original programming about news and events at Gavilan College. There is also a channel 18 program in English and Spanish covering financial aid topics.
GavTV content is overseen by a comprehensive committee including the GavTV Executive producer, Gavilan College PIO, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a representative from the Community Media Access Partnership (CMAP), Gavilan's Distance Education Coordinator, faculty members, a staff/student professional expert, the studio Media Technician, and the Gavilan Multi Media Technician.
All Gavilan College planning documents are well articulated with the mission of the college and many campus publications include the mission statement.
The Gavilan College Mission Statement (2A.1) is available in the office of instruction and is posted on the college intranet. In addition, Section I of the Education Master Plan (2A.20) includes the mission statement. It is also printed on the inside cover of Gavilan's Report to the Community 2004-2005 (2A.54), and in many other Gavilan College publications.
Gavilan College has improved its catalog development process, which was fragmented and involved outsourcing in the past. The process has been taken over by a competent, well-organized specialist. The college has done an excellent job with the resources available in ensuring that all policy and procedure changes are included in each new edition of the college catalog and schedule of classes. The Schedule Production Committee maintains a check-off list to ensure that all departments have responded with either an "OK to print as is" or with changes prior to each publication. Gavilan College recently purchased a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integrated system that will give the college a more expedient method of compiling information for the catalog and schedule. Department program specialists will enter narratives specific to particular class sections directly into the system, extending the time available for proofing. Classes thus will be posted on the intranet for department chairs and deans to review, weeks before the publication is ready to print. This function will be implemented within two years.
Student survey results (2A.24, question 3) indicate that 79 percent of respondents agree that the class schedule is well organized and easy to read with 52 percent strongly agreeing. Results also show that 78 percent of students find the information in the class schedule to be current and accurate and 45 percent strongly agree (2A.24, question 12).
The student survey also reports that 83 percent agree that the college catalog is well organized and readable with 51 percent strongly agreeing (2A.24, question 4). This survey also indicates that 73 percent agree that the information in the catalog is current and accurate and 43 percent strongly agree (2A.24, question 11). The survey further finds that 80 percent find that the college catalog, class schedule, and website are easily accessible with only 5 percent in disagreement (2A.24, question 35).
The public information office informs the public about Gavilan College through annual Reports to the Community, participation in catalog and schedule production committees, advertising, media relations, and public notices.
PDF and HTML versions of the catalog are on the webpage for easy access to visually impaired viewers.
Public access to data on the college has increased greatly in the past five years. Community members have access to data on the web and can make data requests directly to the college with dedicated personnel to respond. This increased scrutiny has helped improve accuracy as errors are detected and corrected.
The college has been successful in publicizing statistics regarding student success (included in the Report to the Community (2A.54)), and in profiling alumni in the class schedule in recent semesters. More promotion of this kind in community media would be beneficial.
- Update and expand information on the research website.
- Complete a comprehensive booklet outlining student conduct, academic freedom, and rights and responsibilities.
- In order to assure the academic integrity of the teaching-learning process, the institution uses and makes public governing board-adopted policies on academic freedom and responsibility, student academic honesty, and specific institutional beliefs or worldviews. These policies make clear the institution's commitment to the free pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.
Gavilan has an excellent, strong policy (2A.8, Board Policy 4030) outlining broad freedoms for classroom instructors and in-class speech. The policy is on the web with other Board policies, in the college catalog (2A.28, p. 247), and in the faculty contract (2A.42, article VII). Seventy-six percent of the staff surveyed in fall 2005 (2A.10, question 63) felt that the college supports academic freedom, while only 8 percent disagreed and 15 percent were neutral.
The college has an approved policy on academic honesty (2A.28, p. 11, 242). It is included in college publications including the catalog and some instructors refer to it on their syllabi or in their classes.
The college meets this standard.
- Faculty distinguish between personal conviction and professionally accepted views in a discipline. They present data and information fairly and objectively.
The expectation is communicated through instructional administrators when it comes into question; such times sometimes include during the evaluation process when reviewing student evaluations. Discussions occasionally arise in Staff Development Committee, Academic Senate, Department Chairs, or in individual departments. For the most part, faculty make the distinction; only occasionally are college administrators or the union called upon to adjudicate. Student and administrative evaluations are the only formal instruments in place to identify any issues in this area.
District policies are clear, and faculty demonstrate that they understand the difference between personal conviction and professionally accepted views in a discipline. The relevant documents could be made available to new staff upon hire. Orientation for adjunct faculty has not been the recent practice, which limits opportunities for disseminating information.
- Disseminate district policies about personal conviction and professionally accepted views in a discipline during the orientation for new faculty, both full-time and adjunct.
- The institution establishes and publishes clear expectations concerning student academic honesty and the consequences for dishonesty.
Gavilan College is committed to preserving the integrity of its educational processes. The college strives to disseminate information on academic responsibility so that all students, faculty, and staff understand relevant policies and procedures. The college utilizes resources such as the Board Policy (2A.8, Board Policy 5500) and Gavilan College Catalog (2A.28, p. 11, 242). Faculty remind students of the policy at the beginning of each semester when course syllabi are handed out. This information is also posted on the Gavilan College website (2A.53).
For first-time students, the policies of the college are also reviewed at each of the new student orientations. Guidelines are also reviewed in detail in specialized orientation meetings for groups such as Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, Athletics, and TRIO.
The Academic Honesty Policy is publicized in the catalog and the student handbook and often distributed or articulated by instructors at the beginning of classes. Some students, however, are unaware of the Gavilan policy, and those who are aware are not necessarily deterred. Instructors have wide leeway in deciding how to respond to cheating, so responses differ and students may perceive wide variations in sanctions. Some instructors, especially adjunct instructors, are uncertain how to proceed and what kind of support they can expect because they don't understand the range of options outlined in the policy.
- Train full-time and adjunct faculty and appropriate support staff to prevent, recognize, and respond to cheating.
- Distribute the Academic Honesty Policy widely and frequently to students, and enforce it fairly throughout the college.
- Institutions that require conformity to specific codes of conduct of staff, faculty, administrators, or students, or that seek to instill specific beliefs or worldviews, give clear prior notice of such policies, including statements in the catalog and/or appropriate faculty or student handbooks.
Gavilan College publishes Board policies and procedures regarding codes of conduct such as academic honesty, catalog rights, mediation, standards of student conduct, student discipline procedures, and the student problem resolution process in the college catalog (2A.28) and are posted in both languages on the homepage (2A.53).
The Gavilan College Catalog chapter titled "Policies and Procedures", the "Appendix", and the Spanish translation (2A.28) is linked to the Gavilan College homepage (2A.53). Included are Nondiscrimination, Prohibition of Harassment and Hate Crimes, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance, Title VI, and Title IX.
Handouts addressing Standards of Conduct (2A.8, Board Policy 5500), the Student Problem Resolution Process, and Guidelines for Addressing Disruptive Student Behavior are available from the offices of the vice president of instruction and the vice president of student services (2A.55).
The Gavilan College Faculty Handbook includes a section on Faculty Responsibilities, Procedures (2A.39). It is posted on the college intranet under employee information.
Clear prior notice of policies are communicated through emails to staff and announced at staff development day presentations (two per year).
Expectations regarding conduct are communicated directly through a variety of resources. The college uses Board policy (2A.8), the Faculty Handbook (2A.39), and the Student Code of Conduct (2A.27, p. 11 and appendix) to publicize the expectations of the college. Sexual Harassment, Drug-Free Environment, and a host of other policies are frequently discussed in staff meetings. The college has provided sexual harassment training for its staff and faculty as mandated by state government.
The college meets this standard. There may be room for improvement on the college's use of its codes of professional ethics and conduct. In the fall 2005 accreditation survey (2A.10, question 62), 50 percent of those surveyed agreed that employees are held to a code of professional ethics, while 25 percent were neutral on the question and 25 percent disagreed.
To improve student knowledge of policies and procedures and expectations regarding honesty and academic freedom, the Student Handbook publication, which was primarily about student activities and support services, will be replaced with a handbook of Policies and Procedures. The new publication will include disciplinary and grievance procedures and all student policies including Academic Honesty.
Gavilan College is updating the Standards of Student Conduct (2A.8, Board Policy 5500) and the Rules of Student Conduct. They are under review by the vice president of student services and will be included in the new handbook when it is published.
Penalties for Misconduct and Student Disciplinary Procedures brochures will be updated after Standards of Conduct is approved. A comprehensive booklet outlining all aspects of student conduct, rights and responsibilities, is in the planning stages. This booklet should also include the Academic Freedom Policy.
- Institutions offering curricula in foreign locations to students other than U.S. nationals operate in conformity with standards and applicable Commission policies.
Not applicable—Gavilan does not have such offerings.