Sauk has practiced sound fiscal management by controlling expenses and operating within revenues received. Effective use of adjuncts, multi-disciplinary faculty, and overload has prevented large-scale faculty reductions. Our diligence in monitoring the budget and projecting multi-year revenues and expenses has helped us respond to the recent economic downturn and the State’s deteriorating financial situation. The existence of a cash surplus provides flexibility and security for the institution.
We are proud of our accomplishment in creating a planning system where feedback loops exist within and between the various evaluation processes year to year. There is a clear closing of the loops in regard to student assessment, operational planning, program review and the budget. The system of links among processes has created a culture of continuous improvement that we hope has reached the Vision of being a benchmark for other institutions. In addition, the forms and procedures are well defined. The housing of most of our data and plans on the campus intranet, provides effective centralization and ready access to the participants in the system.
Our planning activities and documents demonstrate that we are paying attention to emerging factors that will affect the college. The environmental scan that was conducted for the FY11 Strategic Plan considered numerous factors, and the new Strategic Plan addresses those that are most prominent.
While Sauk has demonstrated many institution-level innovations, these tend not to be reported in either Operational Plans or in program reviews. The self-study committee recommends that both OPIC and the Program Review Committee review the need for identifying mid-year innovations on the forms used for documenting both operational planning and program review work.
The self-study found that turnover among administrative and professional/technical positions has resulted in some specific tasks are being overlooked and dropped. The self-study committee recommends that the college put procedures in place to avoid discontinuing necessary activities when there is staff turnover.
Sauk has increased its reliance on part-time employees in every job classification. The self-study committee recommends that the college examine whether sufficient support systems are in place to safeguard the quality and continuity of the tasks they undertake for students and the institution.
In addition to collecting information about the class, student course evaluations also collect feedback on facilities and technology. However, that information is shared only with faculty and is not shared with Buildings and Grounds or IT. The self-study committee recommends that the student evaluation system be revised to allow selected pertinent institutional data to be shared with appropriate offices.
Opportunities for Growth
The self-study recognizes that the planning system has only recently identified KPI’s as a measurement of improvement. However, the self-study committee recommends that benchmarking be given high priority by OPIC as its next step in developing the college’s institutional improvement system.
The current planning process involves staff and the Board, but input from students and external constituents is still somewhat limited. The self-study committee recommends that these two groups be included.
The self-study found that as operational planning has been expanded into the whole campus community, some of the faculty and staff are only comfortable including activities on the Operational Plan that they are confident they will be able to complete successfully. The self-study committee recommends more professional development be provided to the college community on this aspect of planning.
Although routine data collection has been coordinated into processes that allow results to be communicated into the planning system, the data from periodic surveys appears to be isolated. The self-study committee recommends the development of a more systematic link for student feedback from periodic surveys, such as Noel Levitz or the scheduling survey, into the planning system and broader communication to the campus community.
Although Sauk has invested heavily in administrative technology, the self-study found examples where the available technology has not yet been integrated into work processes. The self-study committee recommends that Sauk examine its processes to ensure that technology is effectively used to streamline operations and reduce routine staff tasks.
Over the years, financial support of professional development and training for support, professional/technical staff, and administration has been reduced. The self-study committee recommends an increase in funding for professional development for the non-faculty positions, especially for job-specific needs.
Professional development is primarily voluntary and the selection of topics generally left to the individual. The self-study committee recommends that Sauk create a system that encourages professional development in identified topics of importance to the college, while also continuing to be responsive to personal growth needs.
Nontraditional occupations mini-conferences have successfully attracted potential students to Sauk. However, a review of the data suggests that high school students who attend the programs do not always enroll at Sauk. The self-study committee recommends that Sauk proceed with its plans to review and revise the programs during FY12 to address these issues.