IMPERIAL – Imperial Valley College is preparing to address changes in student population and staff over the next several years, anticipating numbers of incoming students to level off and a majority of staff members to retire. The changes are part of a laborious, sweeping Strategic Educational Master Plan for 2015-2021 that was approved unanimously in mid-November by the IVC Board of Trustees.
“This is the document that identifies the direction Imperial Valley College is committed to take for the next six years and beyond,” said IVC Distance Education Coordinator Gaylla Finnell, who worked on the plan with the Strategic Educational Master Planning Committee Taskforce. “We are a community college and must be responsible to the community we serve. One of the critical roles we play is that of workforce development.”
“This Strategic Plan helps us better understand where adjustments can be made to better meet our students’ needs and provide them with the tools they need to get their certificates and degrees,” said Imperial Valley College President Victor Jaime. “We want to be proactive in providing the opportunities for our students to meet their goals in a timely fashion.”
The committee looked at trend analysis and conducted community surveys and visioning sessions to determine how best to meet the community’s needs in a constantly changing job market and economic environment, Finnell said.
“The most crucial point is that over the next 10 to 20 years, the necessity of having a higher educational degree, whether associate’s degree, bachelor’s or higher, is going to be more essential and critical in getting jobs,” she added. “We see a growing trend nationwide that for employment, people need to have higher education.
“How can IVC be responsive to that need? It’s critical to our job force and citizens in our district to have skills to get those jobs. There’s an essential need for us to be providing higher educational pathways for residents in our community for job attainment.”
With only minor growth expected in student population throughout the state, the college must turn its attention from facilities expansion to programming to help students more quickly meet their goals.
“What we’re focusing on,” Finnell said, “is, how can we insure that classes and programs are there to help facilitate our students in completing their goals as quickly as possible?’ We want our students to be able to obtain an associate’s degree within two years, and complete certificate programs as quickly as possible. We need to put our focus on making sure we have the courses, programs, and services in place to help facilitate the completion of programs as soon as possible so that our students are ready for their next step, whether employment or continuing education.
“This information helps us plan,” she said. “Now we need to do what we can so students can get in college and complete their programs as quickly as possible.”
A second, equally concerning trend, is that many of the college’s faculty, staff and leaders are among the Baby Boomer generation that will be entering retirement within the next decade.
“We have a large population that will be retiring,” Finnell said. “It’s critical for us to groom new leaders. We have to be aware of this issue and be prepared to mentor and identify qualified replacements for the vacated positions.”
The multifaceted plan addresses enrollment management, technology, facilities, staffing, marketing, professional development, student success and support, student equity and basic skills.
The demand for results continues to grow, with the Obama administration calling for 5 million more community college graduates by 2020 and California’s Campaign for College Opportunity campaigning for 1 million more college graduates by 2025.
“While accountability certainly is now a new trend, the rate at which it is intensifying is significant,” the plan states. “It is clear that the call for accountability is only going to grow.”
The development of the Strategic Plan involved all community stakeholders including students, faculty and faculty groups, community surveys, and the Board of Trustees.