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The institution offers high-quality instructional programs, student support services and library and learning support services that facilitates 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.
Ventura College 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 college.
The study of each of the eight sections of Standard IIA will fall into three areas: (1) Descriptive Summary (2) Self Evaluation (3) Planning Agenda.
In order to begin the self study of instructional programs at Ventura College , a series of dialogues began in September 2003, with a Steering Committee of eight co-chairs representing four large instructional divisions of the college. Initial Steering Committee dialogues focused on developing a strategy to expand the scope and breadth of dialogue among a wide representation of stakeholders throughout the instructional programs. This process speaks to the theme of institutional integrity threaded throughout the self study dialogues. The serious, careful consideration of the self study process of instructional programs weighed heavily on the committee members. After a number of discussions, the Steering Committee decided on a two-pronged approach to dialogue in the study of Accreditation Standard IIA:
From October 2003 through March 2004, a series of interdivisional dialogues with representatives from nearly all instructional areas were conducted. These dialogues are documented by minutes, included with evidence of self study for Standard IIA.
Additional dialogues were conducted among smaller constituencies to study individual instructional units on campus. Deans, faculty, and supervisors who met with their departments for the purpose of detailed dialogue relative to their instructional areas facilitated these meetings. These minutes are also on file. Outcomes of the department dialogues were brought back to the larger group to enhance knowledge about the diverse areas of the instructional program.
The following descriptive summaries emerged from the compilation of large and small group dialogues over a four-month period in which the institution focused on what it has learned, or knows, about what it does. Accompanying evidence is on file. Six themes are threaded and noted throughout the summary: (1) institutional commitment; (2) evaluation/planning; (3) student learning outcomes; (4) organization; (5) dialogue; (6) institutional integrity.
1. The institution demonstrates that all instructional programs, regardless of location or means of delivery, address and meet the mission of the institution and uphold its integrity.
The college offers high quality programs and services appropriate to an institution of higher learning, including an Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) for students planning to transfer to either a California State University or a University of California campus. IGETC certification, completed in its entirety and certified by the college prior to transfer, waives the general education requirements at most of the University of California campuses and at all the campuses of the California State University and at California independent universities as well. This articulation agreement with baccalaureate institutions illustrates the college's commitment to student learning outcomes and its mission to provide an outstanding transfer curriculum (IIA-1).
To document transfers to universities, the College Office of Institutional Research obtains transfer data from public university systems, some private colleges, as well as the State Chancellor's Office and the California Postsecondary Education Commission ( CPEC).
According to a report developed by the Ventura College Transfer Counselor in the "most recent statistics cited in the 2002-2003 annual report by the California State University Chancellor's Office and the University of California Office of the President, Ventura College continues its success rate in transferring students to the CSU and UC university systems.
According to the statewide transfer rate methodology, Ventura College 's expected transfer rate is in the 32 percent to 35 percent range. However, Ventura College 's actual transfer rate is 41.49 percent, which exceeds anticipated transfer rate. This does not include independent or out-of state transfers (IIA-2).
Faculty generally initiate new courses to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body, changing technologies, and a changing labor market-illustrating the theme of ongoing evaluation, planning and improvement. Examples include the online college orientation and career guidance courses designed to meet the needs of working students, individuals with disabilities, and others who may have difficulty attending traditional classroom programs. Others include new curricula in biotechnology; a new paramedic training program; new, short-term business classes; new classes at the East Campus Center in Santa Paula; hybrid science and math classes taught online and in the classroom; television courses; and a growing number of entirely online courses (IIA-3).
Several of the new short-term job-training programs have been developed over the last six years in response to the College's CalWORKs program. Initially designed to respond to the CalWORKs grant, these short-term training programs have become popular among adults in the community who want to obtain timely job skills in a short period of time. Short-term job-training programs include Professional Reception Skills Training, Administrative Assistant Training, Multi-Skilled Medical Assistant Training, and Certified Nursing Assistant Training. A series of courses addressing new technology include the Oracle and Cisco training programs. The Sheriff's Academy and the Paramedic Program are designed in direct response to local labor market needs. The manner in which faculty identifies community needs and then designs and approves curricula to meet those needs illustrates several themes in the self study, including organization, planning/improvement and institutional integrity (IIA-4).
Student achievement outcomes in instructional programs are documented by grades, course completion rates, certificates, degrees, and transfer data. The Office of Institutional Research keeps the management team abreast of these traditional measures at the conclusion of each semester (IIA-5). Management shares outcomes with instructional staff who analyze the data and make modifications where appropriate. For example, the outcome data in pre-algebra for students with learning disabilities demonstrated that this group was either failing or dropping the course in disparate proportion to the general student population. To address this problem, the Educational Assistance Center staff worked with math department faculty to redesign pre-algebra from a one-semester to a two-semester course as an alternative for students with learning disabilities. This change resulted in positive learning outcomes for this group of students and others who need more time to learn the material.
The Teacher's Exchange Group also sponsored a workshop in which a learning disabilities instructor informed faculty how to address varying learning styles, abilities, and disabilities.
Instructors assess student learning outcomes on a daily basis in the creative and performing arts programs; they also document in the traditional formats at the end of each semester. Two and three-dimensional art projects often displayed in the College Gallery are occasionally critiqued by the Los Angeles Times art critic. The Los Angeles Times and Ventura County Star also critique theater productions and opera workshops. Students and teachers are gratified to read the overwhelmingly positive reviews of their work (IIA-6).
In addition, the student newspaper, the VC Press, has won numerous journalism awards over the last six years; and the Athletic Department is the recipient of the Western States Supremacy Award. These awards provide further evidence of student learning outcomes (IIA-7).
Instructors and professional medical staff critique student learning outcomes daily at clinical sites for the nursing, certified nursing assistant, and paramedic classes.
The college receives feedback from Toyota dealers who hire graduates from the automotive technology program. The Ventura College Toyota T-Ten program is rated in the top five out of 51 programs across the country (IIA-8). The Medical Assisting instructor receives feedback on student learning outcomes from local physicians who regularly hire graduates from Medical Assistant program. Over the past several years, the County of Ventura has hired graduates from various technology programs as well as business programs, demonstrating that the county is satisfied with student learning outcomes from these instructional areas.
These placement examples provide additional evidence of positive student learning outcomes and the commitment to high quality education congruent with the college's mission. Clearly, institutional integrity drives the college to remain accessible and honest with its internal and external stakeholders.
Faculty members initiate and develop new programs in their fields, writing course outlines in accordance with the specific guidelines set forth in the Curriculum Handbook. All vocational courses must meet the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) requirements; they must also document the teaching strategies that they employ (IIA-9).
Over the last three years, an enthusiastic faculty-driven movement on the study of teaching and learning has grown. In department meetings, staff development meetings, and Flex Week symposia, faculty are discussing, studying, researching and practicing different types of teaching strategies. One faculty member, a Carnegie Scholar, conducted a project in which a drama and history class combined into a learning community for the purpose of enhancing the learning outcomes for both sets of students. Another faculty member attended specialized training on group process through the Ojai Foundation and used this knowledge in his political science classes (IIA-10). A sociology professor is currently conducting focus group research on student perceptions of how they can best succeed in college (IIA-11).
In addition, the college is in the third year of a federal Title 5 Grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions. This grant has funded two Symposia for Teaching and Learning during which faculty shared teaching strategies and how to improve student learning outcomes. Held for the past two years during Flex Week, each day-long event attracted more than 50 faculty. Evaluations of the symposia suggest that faculty are motivated to continue learning about teaching, and remain actively engaged in facilitating the best possible learning outcomes for their students (IIA-12).
One outcome of federal Title 5 activities includes the Biology Department's plan to improve Hispanic students' completion rates, which were 10 percent lower than non-Hispanic students. Toward this end, the department has separated its General Education Biology V01 course into two courses, giving students more time to complete the basic education requirement. This illustrates the theme of student learning outcomes.
To further enhance student learning outcomes, the Ventura College Teachers Exchange Group meets each month to share teaching tips and techniques. This informal group of faculty from across the campus has been meeting once a month over the last seven years. Originated and moderated by a sociology instructor and an English instructor, this group provides professional support and resources as new strategies and techniques are implemented, assessed, and modified for use in the classroom. Topics and issues have included student assessment, classroom assessment, learning disabilities, collaborative learning strategies, classroom management, group formation and evaluation, best practices in various fields, as well as presentations from student services, such as the Educational Assistance Center .
In the beginning of each semester, the Teachers' Exchange Group hosts a Flex Day Workshop (IIA-13). Over the past six years, workshops have included featuring participants of the Great Teacher's Seminar; partnering with federal Title 5 and the Staff Development Committee; and presenting two Symposia on Teaching and Learning (IIA-14). Faculty assessed each Flex Day workshop (IIA-13). These evaluations, along with an Interest Assessment, serve as data to ascertain the varied issues to address at the Teachers' Exchange Group each semester.
Over the past few years, documents from the groups have been distributed to the entire campus in an effort to provide new strategies for faculty who are unable to attend the monthly meetings.
Thus, in addition to illustrating the theme of student learning outcomes, the growing excitement over the study and practice of teaching and learning illustrates the themes of dialogue, institutional commitments, planning and improvement and organization.
1a. 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.
Over the last several years the Ventura College Institute for Community and Professional Development (ICPD) conducted a number of educational needs assessments among employers in the community. In 2000, the ICPD contracted with the Ventura County Workforce Development Department to design an Employee Performance Feedback System for the countywide system of Job and Career [One-Stop] Centers. Also, a needs assessment with HAAS Automation, one of the largest manufacturers of Computerized Numerical Control machines in the world, led to a training contract for management staff in supervision. Conducted directly at HAAS, this academic program provides lower division baccalaureate transferable college credits for HAAS staff (IIA-15).
As a partner in the Ventura Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Workforce Roundtable, the Ventura College Institute for Community and Professional Development recently took the lead to conduct a survey of training needs among local healthcare providers. Data yielded from those survey results are being collected by the Office of Institutional Research and will be shared and studied among Roundtable members, resulting in potential customized contract training opportunities for the Institute (IIA-16). In addition, the Institute for Community and Professional Development is evaluating data from another survey that it conducted for the South Coast Regional Consortium regarding training needs of a wide variety of employers throughout the region. The Institute staff will follow through with phone calls, mailings and employer visits to develop cost-effective, customized training programs for employers throughout the community. This kind of ongoing needs evaluation and contract training illustrates the themes of evaluation, planning and improvement while ensuring appropriate student learning outcomes for a rapidly changing global labor market (IIA-17).
The Central Coast Biotechnology Center is a direct result of faculty-initiated collaboration with both the biotechnology employers along the Highway 101 Technology Corridor and with scientists and faculty at the newly-opened California State University , Channel Islands . Funded by a grant from the EdNet Initiative of the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges, the Center's instructional programs provide state-of-the-art training in biotechnology, preparing students for lucrative careers in this field (IIA-18). It is interesting to note that individuals with advanced degrees often enroll in this program to update their skills. The Ventura College Biotechnology Program is one of six college programs in their service area. As a result of this partnership, the college has received equipment and valuable advice from the Center. The college also participates in the Center's annual advisory committee meetings
Additionally, the college identifies and seeks to meet the varied educational needs of its students through the Educational Assistance Center (EAC), which provides assessments for various types of learning disabilities. With a student's consent, the Center informs the student's instructors about the disability and advises faculty about how best to provide the student with accommodations to "level the playing field" with other students (IIA-19). In the last 18 months, the EAC worked with faculty in the math department to develop two new elementary algebra courses as an alternative to the one-semester course. The English department also divided a writing skills course into two semesters to give students more opportunity to achieve competencies. Covering the same material in twice the time, this course accommodates individuals with learning disabilities and others who need more time for completion (IIA-20).
When the college was awarded a federal Title 5 Grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions, the Office of Institutional Research began to collect outcome data for Hispanic students and others who are enrolled in "Gateway Classes." These are degree or certificate required courses that are historically more difficult for students to pass. In an effort to improve outcomes, the grant funds faculty projects to encourage development and employment of alternative teaching strategies such as technology-infused instruction, hands-on learning modules, community service instruction, and learning communities, which are among the best practices in helping English language learners and others achieve successful learning outcomes. Each semester, the college office of Institutional Research collects and documents outcome data on Gateway classes. The data are cited in an annual report to the Department of Education (IIA-21).
The Nursing Department teaches an exceptionally rigorous curriculum, prescribed and regulated by the California State Board of Registered Nursing. In order to meet the varied educational needs of its students, the department requires all nursing students to evaluate their learning styles, and faculty are trained to address those styles in classroom instruction. In addition, the Nursing Department conducts a series of workshops designed to teach study skills, note-taking skills and other learning strategies. The department notes that students who participate in workshops have more positive student learning outcomes than those who do not (IIA-22).
The Sociology Department is also actively involved in assessing learning styles and addressing them in classroom instruction. A sociology professor recently conducted a series of focus groups among sociology students to determine the students' self-perceived barriers to success, asking them questions in a safe, confidential setting (IIA-23). The preliminary data were shared and addressed at the Sociology Forums, with social science faculty at division meetings, with faculty participants of the Teachers' Exchange Group, and with participants of the Teaching and Learning Symposium. The data will also be used to enhance the collaboration of Student Services and classroom instructors.
The Sociology Department has also conducted a series of faculty forums to discuss student retention in Introduction to Sociology, identified as a "Gateway" course for purposes of the federal Title 5 grant. Each Faculty Forum discussed strategies for assisting students (Latino/Latina students particularly) in successfully completing Sociology V01 and continuing to achieve their educational goals. Strategies and exercises stimulated dialogue and discussions among sociology faculty (IIA-24). Surveys were developed and distributed in an effort to assess the students' barriers to success (IIA-25). During the semester, each instructor used the data during the semester on a student-to-faculty basis. For future applications, quantitative and qualitative data will be studied to assess the effect of the Forums.
In addition, the Educational Opportunities, Programs and Services (EOPS) Department offers its members a series of workshops in study skills. EOPS matches students with a mentor on campus to provide additional support and motivation (IIA-26).
Additional research has been conducted by the English Department to validate its assessment/placement instruments and their relationship to the reading and composition sequences. The research outcomes suggest that the assessments are valid, accurate placement indicators that help students select appropriate programs. Accurate placement saves students time and money in completing required English courses for graduation and/or transfer. This illustrates the theme of evaluation, planning and improvement as well as student learning outcomes (IIA-27).
1b. 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 college determines that delivery of instruction fits the objectives and content of its courses through careful review and scrutiny of curriculum by the Curriculum Committee. In addition, in many areas student learning outcomes are evaluated in relation to delivery methods. For instance, experiential learning techniques employed by vocational training faculty result in students performing tasks required in the workplace. This is different from a theoretical approach in which students might read about how to operate a Computerized Numerical Control machine rather than actually operating one.
The biotechnology program has developed strong connections with ten local biotechnology companies. Their experts teach specific skills in its capstone course, Introduction to Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Methods.
To provide realistic, hands-on learning opportunities, the college operates a number of labs that approximate worksite environments. Medical students extend their learning environment to hospitals and clinics throughout the community. These kinds of learning environments give both students and faculty the opportunity for authentic assessment of competencies, addressing the themes of student learning outcomes, organization, and evaluation, planning and improvement (IIA-28).
In spring 2002, the California Council for Humanities invited all Californians to read John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. This project, according to the Council, was "designed to strengthen California communities by bringing people together to read John Steinbeck's classic novel and share their experiences as Californians." In support of the One Book/One State Program, an English Department faculty member and a library staff member worked with faculty, staff and managers to develop One Book/One Campus, an innovative six-week cross-discipline collaboration that included teaching and learning about Grapes of Wrath and the topics surrounding it. The program made the novel accessible to all students on campus, regardless of skill level, learning style or language sophistication. This unique learning opportunity continued in 2003, when One Book/One Campus featured The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien. (IIA-29)
Teachers in disciplines as diverse as Political Science, History, Learning Skills, Economics, English and Sociology met and discussed strategies for using The Things They Carried in their classes. Art, Photography, E.S.L., Biology, Child Development, Anthropology, and Creative Writing instructors developed classroom activities. Cross-discipline collaborations included panel discussions on the social, historical and political context of the novel with faculty from Economics, American History, Chicano History, English, and Sociology; the Art, Photography, and History departments developing a presentation on events from the era; Art and English faculty creating an exhibit of war posters from the Congressional Library; English and Photography instructors collaborating with library staff to create library exhibits on the author, The Vietnam War and war poetry. In addition, Art and English instructors created hands-on activities for their students through field trips and exhibits.
Because student accessibility was key, the college library and the Re-entry and Women's Center ordered copies of the book for check out. The college bookstore discounted the novel. During the campus-wide marathon reading, students heard The Things They Carried in English and in Spanish; sections were read from Braille, and interpreted into American Sign Language. Faculty from many disciplines and programs-including Physical Education, ESL, English, Sociology, and EOPS-as well as managers and staff participated in the marathon reading. Classes were invited to view three films recounting the events of the Vietnam War era: one a documentary on 60s radicals, one about key historical events, and another about the soldier's experience as told through letters and performed by veterans.
Information about the novel and issues surrounding it were also available to students through four guest lecture programs: a community Vietnam veterans panel, a Vietnam era scholar, a history professor's first-hand account of the Democratic convention of 1968, and an illustrated lecture from a retired professor on the era and its effect on Ventura College . Additionally, the Theater Department featured a performance that chronicled college life during this period.
Finally, students utilized the speakers and films as research for the Ventura College Library Oral History Project. Students recorded their families' Vietnam era experiences and presented their research projects during classes held in the library. Faculty, students and staff also participated in an emotional poetry reading, reciting poems from the Vietnam War and other wartime poetry.
In all, thousands of students participated in the One Book/One Campus program with cross-discipline materials, events and classroom activities designed for students enrolled in ESL, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, Language Arts, Reading , Spanish Language, Sciences, and Learning Skills programs. Ventura College evaluated the One Book program through a survey of students and found the program to be very effective in creating a community of learners.
The President's Office funded this year's program and has committed to future programs. Faculty, staff and managers have decided to institutionalize the program and will create an annual One Book/One Campus program addressing the variety of ways students learn by creating a college wide, cross-discipline learning community.
By providing a wide variety of learning opportunities throughout the campus community, One Book/One Campus illustrates fastidious attention to student learning outcomes.
In order to document student learning outcomes, the college conducted a student survey upon completion of the last One Book project. Notable outcomes include the following:
More than 46 percent (N=308) indicated the One Book experience helped them better understand what they were learning in their classes.
Nearly 40 percent noted that the experience helped them to "somewhat" better understand what they were learning in their classes.
More than 65 percent indicated that attendance at one of the One Book events helped them better understand the 1960s and/or the Vietnam War or related issues.
Research from the second year of the One Book/One Campus suggests that students who participated in this multi-modality learning experience had the perception of enhanced learning outcomes in their classes, as well as improved understanding of an important period in history.
The biotechnology program has recognized for many years that the greatest learning outcomes are realized through partnerships with the biotechnology industry; thus, students in BIO V31 (methods class) train in ten different labs at six different companies over the course of one semester (IIA-30). Because the program is expensive to operate, the department chairperson has been responsible for acquiring more than $3 million in grant funds since 1995 (IIA-31).
The new Geographical Information System (GIS) Agriculture program, funded in part by the United States Department of Agriculture, is another example of successful partnership. The program is directly linked with Soil Moisture, a field sensor industry company in Santa Barbara that provides internships for the students in the program (IIA-32).
The English as a Second Language Department offers a practical curriculum that provides students with everyday language skills to facilitate communication among family and community members. Funded by federal Title 5, an ESL faculty member recently produced an educational pilot program for public access television to extend the classroom into the community. The ESL instructional programs serve the immediate communication needs of students while supporting their endeavor to enroll in college level courses (IIA-33).
In still another area, the Peace Officers Standards and Training through the Sheriff's Academy requires state testing and certification, which serve to verify student learning outcomes (IIA-34).
Dialogue within and among departments-including the Teachers Exchange Group and the Sociology Faculty Forums-further illustrates how faculty share best practices to facilitate student learning.
In August, 2003, the college hosted a nationally renowned educator/researcher for a day to meet with faculty and share his expertise in the area of teaching and learning (IIA-35). His participation in last August's Flex Week activities motivated faculty to continue their dialogues about delivery systems and modes of instruction. Student learning outcomes are also discussed in meetings of the Academic Senate, Curriculum Committee, and the Student Success Team (IIA-36).
1c. 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.
Student learning outcomes are developed by expert faculty and identified in course outlines that are reviewed and corroborated within a department and then by the interdepartmental Curriculum Committee. In addition, programs with external review boards, such as the Nursing Program, Paramedic Program, and Sheriff's Academy, must also satisfy the student learning outcomes required by their boards . Student learning outcomes are also identified in course syllabi for student review and discussion (IIA-37).
Student learning outcomes are further identified by business partners and other external funding sources, e.g., the Ventura County Workforce Investment Board and County of Ventura , with whom the Institute for Community and Professional Development (ICPD) contracts for training. The Institute often conducts "front end" assessments with potential business partners to better understand the needs of the business and to customize training curricula. Examples of instructional programs designed to meet the learning outcomes identified in collaboration with community partners include the Customer Service Academy, the Human Services Certificate Program, the Agricultural Supervisory Training Program, the Caregiver Program, the Human Services Training Consortium, the Home Builders Project and the staff training programs at Casa Pacifica, a residential institution for abused children. The work of the faculty and staff who provide specialized training through the ICPD illustrates the themes of institutional commitment, organization, and dialogue, which guide the ongoing, ever changing instructional programs offered through the Institute (IIA-38).
Examples of classes designed to meet the needs of community partners include Supervisory Skills, Cultural Competency, Business Communications, basic computer classes, and many others. Please see the Institute for Community and Professional Development Catalogue of Courses, which is included as evidence for this standard (IIA-39).
In 1999 and 2000, the college conducted external scans of the business community by hosting day-long symposia with community business leaders to listen to and then discuss their training needs. At both events, college faculty and community leaders sat together for the purpose of learning and sharing their mutual concerns and needs relative to student learning outcomes in a rapidly changing labor market. The external scans illustrate Ventura College 's integrity and commitment to providing the highest quality education to its constituents (IIA-40).
Community advisory boards identify student learning outcomes by meeting with instructional staff to ensure that educational programs offered by the college meet standards of the workforce. The nursing program, for example, has regular advisory board meetings with medical personnel from throughout the community who update faculty on the needs and expectations of the medical field.
Other vocational programs also employ community advisory boards on student learning outcomes. The Biotechnology Program holds annual advisory council meetings to ascertain the needs of the industry. Applied Microbiology for Laboratory Technicians (BIO V34) and Bioscience Communication Skills (BIO V35) were developed as a direct result of industry input. Student learning outcomes in biotechnology are documented on the college Web site: www.venturacollege.edu . (Follow the links to "academic programs," to "biology" and then to "biotechnology graduates.") The site provides photos and stories about some of the graduates of this nationally recognized program. In addition, since its inception in 1996, the Biotechnology program has placed more than 100 graduates in the industry. (Documentation is on the Ventura College Web site, noted above.)
One example of curriculum designed to meet the needs of the local labor market will include new, modular agriculture classes; these classes will be conducted in the new Agriculture/Biotechnology complex to be built with funding from the Department of Commerce later this year.
Thus, as labor market needs continue to change, course outlines are created or modified by faculty accordingly (IIA-41).
With regard to the academic programs, the college's assessment results, as documented in official student transcripts, are accepted by baccalaureate institutions that recognize student transcripts as verifiable proof of an accurate assessment of collegiate level work.
The assessments in place to measure student learning outcomes are as varied as the instructional programs themselves. The self study dialogue among stakeholders indicates that students are assessed with a variety of measures, including: standardized, written examinations, faculty-designed written examinations, verbal assessments (as in foreign language classes), manual performance (as in sign language), physical performance (as in physical education, theater, and music performance classes), portfolio development (as in art classes), and practical performance (as in medical classes, business classes and other vocational training programs). The constantly changing assessment activities illustrate the theme of evaluation, planning and improvement (IIA-42).
In addition, students evaluate instruction with district-designed faculty evaluations and instructor-designed class evaluations used to ascertain student perceptions regarding the effectiveness of their classes. Further, during fall 2000, the district office of Institutional Research conducted a Student Satisfaction Survey that gave students the opportunity to further evaluate instructional programs as well as student services. Copies of the survey are included with evidence for this Standard. The following is an excerpt from the survey section, "Satisfaction with Instruction."
Students were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with the overall quality of instruction at Ventura College as well as with several specific areas on a scale ranging from very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, to dissatisfied.
The overwhelming majority of students (79%) were satisfied to very satisfied with the overall quality of instruction at the college. Almost three-fourths of the students indicated that they were satisfied to very satisfied with the encouragement they received from instructors for their participation and sharing of different viewpoints (71%). Approximately two-thirds of all students were satisfied to very satisfied with the encouragement and motivation from instructors for their success (67%) and the availability of instructors for assistance during office hours (63%)
Satisfaction was also high when rating the variety of course offerings: 77% were satisfied to very satisfied with the variety of courses offered. There were somewhat lesser degrees of satisfaction when rating the hours/times and the availability of courses. While 61% of the students were satisfied to very satisfied with the hours and times of courses offered, 11% of the respondents were dissatisfied. Fifty-seven percent were satisfied to very satisfied with the availability of courses offered; 12% were dissatisfied. Only about one-half of the students were satisfied to very satisfied with the classroom facilities and equipment (53%) ; 16% were dissatisfied . (Spring, 2000 "Ventura College Survey of Student Perceptions,") (IIA-43)
Ventura College is fulfilling both the letter and the intent of Section I of Standard IIA. The college fulfills its mission and upholds its integrity by providing the community with a wide variety of instructional programs, offering students the opportunity to obtain associate degrees, transfer to a university, earn certificates of achievement or of completion, enhance employment skills, and participate in a wide variety of programs for self-fulfillment and lifelong learning.
The college is a dynamic organization, proud of its ability to respond quickly to changing needs in the community. Examples include the development of short-term job training programs, the accommodation of the academic needs of individuals with disabilities, the development of online and other distance education courses, the partnerships with employers through advisory councils and through contract education, the Student Satisfaction Surveys, the development of the Central Coast Biotechnology Center, the Institute for Community and Professional Development, the One-Book/One Campus projects, the federal Title 5 Symposia, the Teachers Exchange Group, and other initiatives that illustrate the vibrant nature of the college's instructional programs and the dedication and integrity of the faculty, administration and staff.
The college needs to hire an institutional researcher. The current position is categorically funded and limited to serving the research needs of the grants that fund the position. As the college continues to grow and change, it must be able to assess new processes and outcomes as part of its continuous improvement cycle. Ongoing quantitative and qualitative analysis will also provide the information necessary to apply for external funding, an increasingly important part of the college's growth, especially in times of fluctuating fiscal circumstances.
The Institute for Community and Professional Development will diversify its contract base, providing training opportunities to a wider variety of employers throughout the community.
The college has hired a coordinator for distance education who will organize the many distance education programs throughout campus and provide training to faculty who want to expand their programs through distance education formats.
The college will continue to conduct student and employee satisfaction surveys, as well as employer surveys, in order to monitor the pulse of its stakeholders, students, faculty, staff and community-and then take appropriate action.
1. 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.
Ventura College offers a wide range of developmental, pre-collegiate, community education, and contract education courses.
The college conducts a comprehensive program of developmental education courses through the Learning Skills program. Examples of these courses, which are not applicable for degree credit, include Techniques of Problem Solving, Assessment of Learning Skills, Study Skills: Notetaking/Time Management, Fundamentals of Math, and Spelling Improvement. These courses provide vital developmental education for students who need additional preparation for college level courses. In addition, the Learning Assessment courses are especially important in helping students understand why they may have difficulty in academic classes. Upon completion of the assessment class, students learn how to accommodate for their learning disabilities in order to realize successful student learning outcomes.
Pre-collegiate curricula consist of courses offered through the English as a Second Language Department and the Reading Department. Both programs are designed to enhance quality of life for students who are English language learners as well as those who want to enhance their English literacy skills. These programs also prepare students for success in college level programs. The college ensures that these programs are high quality because the student learning outcomes are consistent with those in the course outlines approved by the Curriculum Committee. Since the courses were developed in response to faculty evaluations of student work that suggested the need for more instruction in this area, the infusion of reading classes into the college curriculum addresses the theme of evaluation, planning and improvement (IIA-44).
The Community Education and Contract Education programs are administered under the umbrella of the Institute for Community and Professional Development. Grants and contracts total approximately $3 million per year and result in a number of creative, instructional programs targeted toward specific student learning outcomes, as designated by the funding source. Recent examples include grants to train in-home caregivers, customer service personnel, and home construction workers. While some of the training programs are not for credit, such as the Customer Service Academy, others are integrated into the credit program, like the Caregivers Grant in which students enroll in existing courses to become Certified Nursing Assistants. Because the students obtain employment and/or advance in their careers upon completion, the college is confident that these programs are high quality, with appropriate student learning outcomes (IIA-45).
While the location of the contract education is often at the Institute for Community and Professional Development located on the eastern perimeter of the college campus, some courses are conducted at an employer's location or at one of the county-operated Job and Career Centers. Location is determined by classroom availability, special laboratory needs, and employee/student convenience. For instance, the contract training program for Casa Pacifica is conducted at the Casa Pacifica campus, providing their employees with the ultimate in on-site, targeted, continuing education.
The Community Education Program is enjoying both rapid growth and remarkable support. The program offers three sessions a year in a wide variety of short-term classes, seminars and workshops, ranging from African Drumming to Cooking with Tofu to Everyday Italian. Students may also take classes to learn to fly a plane, sail a boat, or dance a salsa. While most classes are for personal growth, a number of professional development and business classes have recently been added to the curriculum. They include Supervisor Training, Professional Mediator Skills, Preventing Sexual Harassment, Project Management, and others.
Most of the Community Education classes are conducted on the college campus, but some are held in businesses throughout the community. Once again, classroom availability, specialized classroom needs and student convenience are considered when selecting a location. Examples of off-site locations include a hotel restaurant where a four-star chef conducts gourmet cooking classes; a 3200 square foot dance studio for ballroom dancing and salsa classes; the Ventura Harbor for sailing classes; and the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology for bird watching. As the opportunities for lifelong learning continue to grow through community education, the community is often the classroom, illustrating the theme of institutional commitment to student learning, regardless of the credit type or venue (IIA-46).
Through the Ventura College Business and Workforce Performance Improvement Center of Excellence (COE), the college works with other colleges in the region to help assess the needs of local businesses and provide targeted training in their own service delivery areas. The Institute for Community and Professional Development recently conducted a survey of employers throughout the region to determine their training needs. Results were compiled by the Office of Institutional Research and presented to the Southcoast Consortium of community colleges comprising Region VI. The outcome will be targeted, training opportunities for employers throughout the region through cost-effective, cutting-edge contract training at their local community colleges (see IIA-17).
Faculty often determine the delivery mode of classes as stated in the course outline and approved by the division dean, Curriculum Committee and District Governing Board. However, statewide governing boards determine some delivery modes. For instance, the nursing program conducts clinical instruction at local, acute-care hospitals, and the certified nursing assistant program conducts its clinical instruction at long-term care facilities (IIA-47).
Additionally, some courses in the Human Services Certificate program are conducted at "one-stop" centers to accommodate the schedules of full-time county workers enrolled in a "Job to Career Program." This program represents a partnership between Ventura College and the County of Ventura that provides special accommodations, including fee reimbursement for employees who enroll in the Human Services program through the college. This new certificate program is often the first step leading county workers to a bachelor's degree in social work. Illustrating the themes of dialogue and organization, this program began with discussions between county and college administrators and resulted in a mobilization of instructional resources to provide educational opportunities to full-time county employees (IIA-38).
The criminal justice program delivers the Peace Officers Standards and Training curriculum. While some of the coursework is completed at the main campus, other courses, such as Breath Alcohol Testing and Reserve Officer Training, are conducted at the Sheriff's Academy located at the Camarillo Airport and at a local shooting range. As stated earlier, biotechnology classes are often conducted at industry laboratories throughout the county.
2a. 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 Ventura College faculty drive the process of design, approval, and implementation of instruction. For instance, the biology and biotechnology faculty regularly meet with faculty from the University of California, Santa Barbara to articulate curricula, ensuring appropriate student learning outcomes for community college students to continue their upper division coursework at the university. The biotechnology program has twice received the Student Success Award (1997, 2000) from the State Chancellor's Office;the National Biology Teachers Award in 1996; and, with its industry partner, Amgen, the EdNet Partnership Award in 1998. (IIA-48)
Faculty play an integral role in establishing student learning outcomes through new course proposals; these proposals are reviewed by departments and deans, and approved by the Curriculum Committee. The newly redesigned Course Outline of Record and Curriculum Handbook guide faculty through the process of course development. The Course Outline of Record meets all legal requirements and embraces good practices guidelines; the production of a Curriculum Handbook augments the state's Program and Course Approval Handbook and assists faculty in completing the course outlines.
The content of some courses, however, is prescribed by a governing board, as in the Nursing Program, the Certified Nursing Assistant Program and in the Reserve Officer Training Program.
Faculty are an integral part of the campus community decision-making process. Through the Academic Senate, the Council for Institutional Development, the Curriculum Committee, the Student Success Team, and other department-based committees, faculty drive the direction of instruction , the credit type and mode of delivery. Faculty also contribute to the course evaluation process through student evaluations and peer review (IIA-49).
2b. 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 toward achieving those outcomes.
The faculty are responsible for determining competency levels and student learning outcomes, which are clearly stated on course outlines and on syllabi. Requirements for certificates and degrees are also clearly stated in the Ventura College Catalog, which is reviewed and updated yearly.
Advisory councils are most active in the vocational training areas, such as the Nursing Program, the Medical Assistant Program, the Paramedic Training Program, the Toyota Technical Education Network T-Ten Automotive Technician Training Program, and the biotechnology program. The CalWORKs grant and Institutional federal Title 5 Grant also convene regular Advisory Councils. In these areas, local employers meet with faculty to discuss course competencies and labor market demands (IIA-50). Faculty review their curricula and modify as needed, ensuring that their students receive state-of-the-art instruction, once again illustrating the theme of student learning outcomes.
In the self study dialogue involving the integration of academic and student services, it became clear that the college is working exceptionally hard to build a "clear path to success" for all students regardless of their educational goals-a single course, a program, a degree or certificate.
This commitment to student success is exemplified in the Mathematics, Science, Engineering Achievement Program (MESA), established at Ventura College by a grant from the State Chancellor's Office in 2000. MESA is designed to encourage educationally disadvantaged community college students to excel in math, engineering and science so they can transfer to a four-year institution and major in these fields. The grant funds a bilingual outreach coordinator who also serves as part of the student support system to encourage and advise students about courses, student services and transfer opportunities (IIA-51).
Providing outreach to the largely Hispanic community in the Santa Clara River Valley, the Engaging Latino Communities for Education (ENLACE) program works to "clear a path" and raise the number of Latinos in higher education. The program funds a bilingual counseling assistant to work with high school seniors in applying for college, obtaining financial aid, and selecting coursework. Since most of the ENLACE participants are first-generation students, the staff also help students' parents through the transitional stages of their children's education, especially when transitioning from secondary school to college. Funded by the Kellogg Foundation, the program is a partnership between the Institution and the University of California at Santa Barbara, along with a number of public school districts (IIA-52).
The CalWORKs Program, established in 1998, helps "clear the path" for welfare recipients to learn marketable skills in order to support their families and exit the social services system. Each semester, the college enrolls 200-250 CalWORKs participants, assisting them with child care at the Ventura College Child Development Center, work study opportunities, academic counseling, assistance in applying for financial aid, and coordination between college student services and county social services (IIA-53).
The Ventura College East Campus offers an extensive English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) program to help students whose first language is not English acquire the speaking, reading and writing skills needed to function at work, in college, and in the community. Language acquisition is paramount to success at the community college (IIA-54).
A number of other services are available to help students succeed in their instructional programs. The Math Center, staffed by instructors and tutors, provides individual tutoring and opportunities for small group study. The Tutoring Center also provides drop-in, group, and individual tutorial services for a wide variety of courses at Ventura College (IIA-55).
The Educational Assistance Center (EAC) promotes the educational and vocational potential of students with disabilities through their integration into mainstream college life. Services include academic, vocational, disability-related and personal counseling, assessment of learning skills, distribution of handicapped parking permits, mobility assistance, and early one-stop registration at the EAC. Accommodations in mainstream classes include alternative testing, tutoring, note-takers, sign language interpreters, alternative media, assistive devices, mobility assistance, assistive technology, college and classroom materials in alternate formats, and other accommodations based on the functional limitations caused by the student's disability (IIA-19).
The Assistive Technology Training Center for Students with Disabilities is designed to teach students how to access the latest in computer access devices and instructional software, including speech synthesizers, screen enlargers, adapted keyboards, voice-input systems, Braille printers, and adapted word processing programs. Assistive technology removes barriers for individuals with disabilities, giving them the opportunity to achieve the same academic competencies as other students.
Additional student services that help "clear the path" for student success include: the Child Development Center; Counseling Services; Educational Opportunities, Programs and Services (EOPS); the CARE Program; Student Health Services; the library; the Foreign Language Lab; the Learning Center; the Internet Café, and the Crisis Intervention Team. The latter, a new addition to Ventura College, is facilitated by the Physician's Assistant who supervises the Student Health Center. The Crisis Intervention Team assists students and staff who experience sudden emotional crises on campus. After initial intake and crisis intervention, the Team may refer the person to professionals in the community. The Student Health Center and Women's Re-entry Center also have mental health professionals on staff for long-term counseling. Student services staff make presentations in classrooms and at department meetings; academic faculty refer students to such services (IIA-56).
The new Learning Resource Center (LRC) at the East Campus Center is also helps "clear the path" to higher education. Funded by a federal Title 5 grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions, the LRC provides vital learning support services to students in the Santa Clara River Valley, for whom transportation to the main campus is difficult or impossible. The LRC provides tutoring and library resources, including assistive software (IIA-57).
The integration of instructional and student services illustrates the college's tireless efforts to produce and support student learning, demonstrates the themes of institutional commitment, evaluation, planning and improvement, and ongoing dialogue among all stakeholders.
2c. High quality instruction and appropriate breadth, depth, rigor, sequencing, time to completion, and synthesis of learning characterize all programs.
The faculty, in partnership with the Curriculum Committee, play the key role in determining the breadth, depth, rigor, sequencing, and time to completion for all programs. Adjustments to elementary algebra and writing skills courses demonstrate this involvement: Faculty from the Educational Assistance Center collaborated with faculty from the Math and English Departments to redesign these into two-semester courses, giving students the opportunity to achieve positive outcomes over a longer period of time. This interdepartmental collaboration illustrates the cooperative spirit of faculty who take the responsibility for ensuring appropriate sequencing of learning outcomes.
The college further demonstrates the quality and rigor of its instruction through articulation agreements with four-year universities that enroll Ventura College graduates.
The Curriculum Handbook outlines and explains the required elements of Completeness, Rigor, Currency, and Effectiveness with which all courses must comply. The college articulation officer reviews each new course outline for compliance.
2d. The institution uses delivery modes and teaching methodologies that reflect the diverse needs and learning styles of its students.
As described earlier, the nursing program teaches all incoming students how to identify their learning styles. Further, the department instructs its faculty how to teach toward a variety of learning styles to help students achieve positive learning outcomes in this rigorous program. One of the nursing professors recently conducted a workshop for 50 Ventura College faculty at the Spring 2004 Symposium for Teaching and Learning sponsored by the Institutional Title 5 Grant, the Teachers Exchange Group, the Staff Development Committee and the Co-Curricular Fund. Thus, attention to varying learning styles-routine in the Nursing Program-has been disseminated to faculty throughout the college in a variety of disciplines.
The need for CalWORKs participants to obtain job training in a short period of time inspired the development of a number of short-term business courses, including Professional Reception Skills, Administrative Assistant Training, and Multi-Skilled Medical Assistant Training. Faculty developed these courses and others to assist welfare recipients in obtaining marketable skills quickly in order to exit the welfare system. Over the last several years, hundreds of CalWORKs participants have taken classes, obtained employment, and no longer rely on public social services. Many have returned to the college to enhance their job skills, earn degrees, and transfer to universities (IIA-58).
The Emeritus Institute is designed to encourage lifelong learning among all members of the community. In an approved Emeritus course, a number of seats are set aside for emeritus students. These students pay no enrollment fees, take no tests and do no homework; nor are courses available to them for transferable credit or applicable toward any degree or certificate. Emeritus students enroll for the pure love of learning. Instructors report that their presence enriches classroom discussions and enhances the learning experience for all students (IIA-59).
In another example of how the college responds to students' diverse needs and learning styles, between 1998 and 2002 the college participated in the Multicultural Collaborative Learning Communities (MCLC) Project sponsored by the Center for the Study of Diversity in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. In 2001, College President Larry Calderon was selected by the Center as the recipient of the Administrative Leadership Award in Recognition of his support for multicultural activities (IIA-60).
Thus, the attention to learning styles in the Nursing Program, Political Science, Sociology, Reading and other areas, along with attention to special populations such as the CalWORKs and Emeritus students, demonstrates Ventura College's unwavering commitment to positive student learning outcomes for all students, regardless of their level of preparation and regardless of their goals.