5D: Internal and External Constituencies Value Services
Internal and external constituencies value the services Sauk Valley Community College provides.
5D.1: Evaluation of Services Involves Students
Sauk has several mechanisms by which students may participate in various evaluation processes:
Student Evaluation of Courses:
Sauk has an established system of classroom course evaluations, asking students to complete a two-page rating survey with space for comments. Protocol requires that the teacher be absent from the room, that inter-office mailing of the surveys to the Vice President of Academics be handled by a student, and that the forms be held in that office until after the posting of final semester grades. The surveys are then returned to faculty so they can make any necessary instructional changes. No use is made of questions regarding technology, classroom environment, or curriculum relevance. At the time of the self-study, there is no similar mechanism in place for any online courses except for those in the NIOIN program; however, a task force of faculty has begun the process of developing an evaluation process for online courses.
Sauk periodically conducts institution-level surveys for the purposes of gathering data from students or graduates:
Graduate Follow-up Survey: For over 20 years, Sauk has regularly surveyed transfer-degree graduates, asking them to rate their perceptions of the quality of the institution and report whether they have transferred or entered the workforce. The survey, which consistently revealed graduates’ high level of satisfaction with Sauk, had little impact on operations and was discontinued in 2008.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Survey: The ICCB requires colleges to survey graduates from specified CTE programs each spring. The ICCB compiles the submitted data and provides comparison data to Sauk to use in the related program reviews. The number of graduates from any particular program has generally been too low to make these results an effective measure.
Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI): During the spring 2010 semester, nearly 300 students from high enrollment classes, such as English and Psychology, completed the SSI inventory. Although students rated Sauk positively in numerous categories, attention is being given to the areas that need to be improved, with some action plans specifically identified in Operational Plans. Ideally, the SSI should be administered every two to three years, but due to budget constraints, it is planned to be repeated in four years.
Scheduling survey: In January 2007, the college conducted a student survey designed to determine the types of class schedules that were most preferred by students and to answer questions about a number of other scheduling-related issues. A key finding was that students preferred a class schedule where they could attend Monday through Thursday and eliminate coming to campus on Fridays. This change was phased in as discipline-specific teaching and learning issues were addressed and resolved and was fully implemented in FY11.
At the time of a program review or in association with special projects, student surveys may be conducted to gather qualitative or quantitative data. Other types of student feedback are regularly collected in association with campus activities. Here is a sampling:
Classroom: When asked to identify the classroom evaluations they conduct, about a half-dozen instructors reported that they survey their students about specific units or classroom issues. These range from formative assessments to gauge comprehension of material to formal evaluations of course content or practices.
Activity feedback: The Student Services staff regularly survey participants in department programs, including students involved in Orientation (PSY 100), loan counseling, and special needs. All student athletes are surveyed regarding their expectations and goals for coming to Sauk at entry and again at exit to determine if their goals and expectations were met.
Outreach programs: Student surveys provide the primary feedback from participants for the outreach units of the college. PPD course participants complete surveys to evaluate presenters and provide ideas for new classes. High school students participating in any of the events sponsored by the High School Relations Office, such as Discover Sauk visits, are asked for feedback to guide program improvement. Adult Education has recently added a student evaluation form to its array of student interactions.
5D.2: Service to the Community
Sauk is engaged with a variety of activities designed to serve the local community. In some cases, service activities are a vital part of the purpose of an organization; in others, they simply arise from a desire by a group of college community members to make a difference in the lives of others. Below is a partial list of volunteer activities that the college undertakes for the benefit of the community:
Blood Drive: An annual service project sponsored by SGA for the American Red Cross. As of 2009, the project has been expanded to one each semester. In fall 2010, 51 pints of blood were collected from 52 donors.
Job Fair: This community event is co-sponsored with Sauk Valley Newspapers and allows area employers to set up booths and provide employment information to job seekers. There are commonly more than 25 employers and military representatives, meeting with approximately 500 job seekers.
Child Fair: This annual spring event attracts over 45 vendors and 1500 participants who care about and for the community’s children. For 25 years, this annual event has brought families together to learn and play while area merchants, social service agencies, health-care organizations, and community groups share information on child health, welfare, learning, and advocacy.
5D.3: Evaluation of Services Involves the Community
Sauk maintains a "Community Correspondence" file in the President's office for communication from constituents and community leaders. The President routinely shares the positive comments with appropriate staff and faculty. Negative communications receive a personal response from the President or his designee. The file contains hundreds of letters, notes, emails, and letters to the editors providing testimony to the positive impact the college, its staff, and its programs have on the community. It is clear from the constituent correspondence that Sauk is considered a community asset.
Other types of evaluation from the community are elicited in response to specific programs and activities:
Internships: Internships which place students with community employers have value to the business constituents as well as the student participants. Although individual academic programs have consistently tracked employer evaluation, the college has not collected or analyzed this data at an institutional level. As of spring 2011, the use of a standardized internship contract and the alignment of program objectives for career programs will allow employer evaluations to provide institution-wide data that can be used to improve externship opportunities both for students and for business partners.
Personal and Professional Development (PPD) courses: The office asks all PPD students to evaluate the classes in which they participate. These are reviewed by the Coordinator and shared with the instructor. The evaluation survey provides qualitative as well as quantitative data, plus an opportunity for students to request additional programs. When they make requests, students commonly request more or advanced classes in the topics they have just completed. PPD attempts to honor such requests whenever possible.
Program review: Program review teams are encouraged to involve a community member or industry expert to provide an outside perspective (Appendix). A survey of FY10 Program Reviews showed that about half involved an outside participant on the team.
5D.4: Community Values Services
Sauk maintains significant, positive relationships with local, state, and federal representatives from the district. The representatives have demonstrated their support during campus visits and in a variety of ways:
In 2008 US Representative Don Manzullo and in 2009 State Representative Jerry Mitchell were the keynote speakers at Commencement. Both testified to the importance of Sauk to the community.
On January 30, 2010, US Congressman Bill Foster was on campus for a "thank you" reception for his help in securing funding for nursing equipment and to tour the science labs and nursing instructional area.
In recognition of community colleges and specifically Sauk’s service to the district, the Mayors of Dixon, Sterling, and Rock Falls proclaimed April 2011 as National Community College and Sauk Valley Community College Month.
A quick scan of co-sponsors and participants in college outreach efforts reveals the respect that local community leaders have for the college, expressed through their tangible support of myriad projects and partnerships. Examples include Sauk Valley Newspapers’ sponsorship of an annual job fair and the 45 participants in the annual Child Fair.
5D.5: Workforce Development Activities Are Valued
Sauk has a long history of economic development initiatives, consistently supporting training, small business development, and regional economic development. Corporate Training remains a vital outreach, despite the departure of many of the district's major manufacturers. Training is handled by the PPD staff, which facilitates customized training and enrollment in credit courses for area employers. After providing business counseling to entrepreneurs and small businesses for more than 20 years, Sauk’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) was closed in FY09 due to a change in grant funding requirements.
Over the years, Sauk’s involvement in regional economic development efforts has shifted from industrial development toward an emphasis on workforce readiness. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) combines federally-funded job training programs in Illinois into a workforce development system coordinated by Workforce Investment Boards (WIB). Sauk has two WIBs within its district, which have approved 61 of Sauk’s programs for WIA funding. During FY10, when four local employers announced closings, eliminating 750 jobs, WIA funds have been available to assist in retraining. Annually, well over 100 individuals from the district receive training and re-training through these WIA programs (see Figure 5xi). In addition, on average, $150,000 from the WIA partners is provided for training dislocated workers, low income constituents, and youth (see Figure 5xii).
5D.6: Programs Meet Continuing Education Needs
Sauk meets the continuing educational needs of licensed professionals primarily through its Coordinator of Business and Community Education. The college currently offers programs for the following:
Food Sanitation (recertification)
Teachers (continuing personal development classes)
OSHA training (certificate classes)
Nursing Home Administrators (continuing personal development classes)
Child Care Providers (continuing personal development classes).
In addition, Sauk has partnered with other providers:
University of Illinois to conduct Childcare University for childcare workers
Ed2Go and Gatlin Education to offer an array of online courses
Health Educators of the Rock River Valley, a consortium of regional health-care providers, to provide about 9 continuing education credits per year for nurses.
Sauk continues to explore opportunities and will provide the following new continuing education opportunities during the fall 2011 semester:
real estate brokers licensure for real estate agents
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) human resource certification courses
a boot camp for board members of not-for-profit agencies.