Excerpts from the 1999 Visit Report
Dr. Dale Gibson - Evaluation Chairperson
V. Advice and Suggestions, Strengths and Concerns
A. Advice and Suggestions
- A systematically proactive involvement of faculty in library acquisition is essential to building a full-service Learning Resources Center.
- Given the disjointed nature of the present facilities, adequate signage is essential to identify locations on the main campus.
- A locator map to identify all city sites of the College should be placed in the Student Handbook.
- The institution of mandatory library orientation for first-time, full-time students would be helpful.
- Concerted efforts need to be made to improve the basic trust and confidence of administration, faculty, and staff.
- A more frequent winnowing of the catalog of untaught courses should be pursued.
- In a community with several identifiable institutions of higher learning, HCC needs to emphasize the uniqueness of its educational offerings.
- Thought might be given to having the library being more autonomous within the academic support division.
- Expand the assessment of developmental education courses to include a measure of student success in subsequent courses.
- Expand the analysis of full-time to part-time faculty ratios to include an analysis by instructional division.
- Student Services is expanding and might need its own organization within the structure.
- All student policies and procedures should be in both the handbook and catalog.
B. Institutional Strengths
- The Board of Trustees is to be commended for their leadership and perseverance in their decision not to remain in the leased facilities but to seek funding to complete the new campus.
- The institution is fortunate to have employed a young and visionary chief executive officer and administrative team that in seven years has provided leadership in bringing ideas to fruition with the new campus to be opened in the fall of 2000.
- The Board and Administration, along with the faculty and staff of Heartland, as well as citizens of the community, should be commended in working closely with the architects in the design of the new facilities to be occupied in the fall of 2000.
- A well-qualified faculty, staff and administration whose dedication to the success of the institution and to its students is commendable.
- The academic support staff of Heartland is exceptionally student oriented and professional.
- The thoroughness and the organization of the master syllabi were exceptional.
- The institution is to be commended for their faculty generated course level assessment of student academic achievement.
- The dynamic, intrusive, and developmental academic advisement services have resulted in a greater retention, graduation, and student satisfaction.
- The planning processes are comprehensive and thorough.
- A diversity plan born in 1994 has resulted in an increased focus on the special populations of the campus.
- Heartland Community College is to be commended for its effective use of shared relationships with other institutions, which helped the new institution in its development.
- Student Services has expanded since 1994-95 to a developing cadre of exceptional services, programs and professionals, meeting the needs and concerns of students as evidenced in the annual student survey results.
- Students are very complimentary about the quality of instruction and services that they receive at Heartland.
C. Institutional Challenges (Concerns)
- The reference to the NCA accreditation in the 1998/1999 Catalog is not in compliance with the required NCA disclosure format (i.e. Commission name with address and phone number must be included).
- The span of control of the Vice President of Instruction appears to be too broad in relation to other administrative staff and functions.
- The College has been through a period of rapid growth in which many decisions have been made, often by necessity, quickly. However, with growth slowed to a manageable level and with the anticipated move to a new campus, decisions should be made more slowly and deliberately.
- The assessment of student academic achievement program at Heartland is undergoing change and appears to have created a dichotomous approach to the collection of data. It is not clearly understood as to how these measures will integrate towards an effective evaluation of mission and institutional effectiveness.
I. Recommendations and Rationale, SAS
A. Recommendations and Rationale
The team's unanimous recommendation for action is to grant accreditation to Heartland Community College, as stated in the attached Statement of Affiliation Status (SAS) form.
The team's rationale includes:
- The College meets the General Institutional Requirements (GIR's) and the five criteria for accreditation.
- Heartland Community College will be moving to the new 220,000 square foot campus in August of 2000 from the facilities that have been located in various sites throughout Bloomington-Normal communities. The team viewed this as a four or five-year transition, and with the institution's proven ability in planning and accomplishing their goals, as well as adequate financing, it is felt they will be able to remedy much of the previous team's concerns.
- The institution has a very competent and stable Board of Trustees. The Administration, faculty, and staff are well qualified and competent to carry forward the transitional plans, including the quality of the educational and institutional programs at Heartland.
- The College has implemented an approved plan for assessment of student academic achievement and is making progress toward carrying out its objectives and goals. The learning curve is increasing for members of the College faculty and staff with experience and the success of the outcomes of the plan.
- The team is satisfied with the evidence that the institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen the educational effect. The College is making progress toward implementing plans for evaluating institutional effectiveness and tying those plans to the mission of the institution. Student support for the quality education they are receiving at HCC, as well as the placement data, indicates that the instructional program is strong.