On October 24 and 25, a seven-person team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will visit CCA to evaluate the college for continued accreditation. The HLC conducts comprehensive evaluations to confirm that higher education institutions meet the criteria for accreditation, are pursuing improvement, and comply with the U.S. Department of Education requirements. During the visit, the team of peer reviewers will review CCA’s documents and talk with faculty, staff, and students.
Leading the effort to ensure that CCA has a successful re-accreditation is Dr. Chris Ward, vice president of Institutional Effectiveness. We talked with him about the process and what we can do to ensure the HLC visit is a success.
Q. Why is the evaluation and visit so important?
A. A successful evaluation is vital to maintaining CCA’s accreditation and to our students’ access to approximately $30 million annually in federal financial aid. The visit provides us with an analysis of how we are doing and suggestions for improvement by leaders from our community college peers.
Q. What happens before and during the visit?
A. Prior to the visit, the team will have electronic access to documents about how we meet the HLC’s criteria for accreditation; assessment of student learning and strategic planning; our federal compliance review; public comments about the college; results of an opinion survey sent to all CCA students in April; and past CCA and HLC reports and correspondence.
Dr. Benjamin F. Young, the HLC team chair, is working with us on a schedule of meetings, forums, and discussions. Topics will include the criteria for accreditation, monitoring reports, federal compliance, and areas for CCA improvement. While on campus, the team is likely to request additional documents, data, and clarifications.
HLC team members spend time outside of meetings reviewing materials, discussing findings, and beginning their report. They are unlikely to drop into offices or classes. The team leader typically conducts a short exit meeting to discuss preliminary team findings; anyone can attend this meeting.
Q. What happens after the team leaves?
A. The evaluation team submits its report to the HLC four to six weeks following the visit. CCA has an opportunity to review the report and the team’s recommendations for errors and submit a response to the report if we wish. The team’s report and our response are then sent to the HLC’s Institutional Actions Council for review and action. Official notification to CCA may then take several months.
Five Things You Can Do to Make the HLC Visit a Success
Remember, this is our opportunity to really show all of the good work that everyone at CCA does, to take pride in our college, and to demonstrate our commitment to our students.
If you have any questions about the HLC visit, please contact Chris Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two summers ago approximately 50 faculty and staff read the book Redesigning America’s Community Colleges. The book, along with information from Complete College America, provided us with research on college completion and success. The combination of research and information on best practices gave us concrete strategies for increasing student success at scale. Since our vision is to be the college where every student succeeds, finding ways to scale up those practices that increase student success made good sense. Included in this guided pathways work is:
*Creating structured, sequenced academic pathways.
*Requiring math and English in the first semester.
*Making sure that every student has a goal and an academic plan that leads them to that goal.
*Encouraging continuous enrollment, including summer session.
*Providing more proactive academic advising and intervention, including advising for students on probation or in danger of losing their financial aid.
*Providing co-requisite remediation and giving more students access to college-level instruction.
*Aligning math to programs of study.
We are off to a great start and we are doing many wonderful things — sometimes individually, sometimes within departments. Our challenge is that we don’t always connect these efforts in a systematic way across the college. I suspect that while this is not always easy, most of us would agree that it is helpful to our students if we can explain how things work here with one voice.
For two years we have been talking about how we can provide an educational experience to our students that provides clear structures and supports. We’re chipping away at it but the most powerful changes will come when we are better able to connect the dots. We are one college with two campuses as well as online options (and a number of locations in our high schools) but our students view us as one college and they want their experience to be seamless.
To further the work that we are doing around guided pathways we have started a Completion Collaborative. The intent will be to broaden our completion conversation to guide the kinds of changes we need to make to impact student completion and success at scale. These conversations could include sharing information about completion initiatives at the college, sharing ideas about strategies other colleges are using, communicating progress to the greater college community, involving students (both in terms of sharing information with them and getting input from them), and whatever else the group believes would further our completion and student success work.
This cross-institutional group will assure that the conversation about student success and completion continues and that we are broadly monitoring and fine-tuning our initiatives so that we can begin to see impact at scale. A significant amount of good work has already occurred under the completion umbrella, but we have not yet found a way to be sure that we are communicating effectively with each other and with our students.
We will invite students to join us at our next conversation to share their experiences and perspectives. We are trying to make changes that will positively impact our students — and I suspect that they will have helpful information and suggestions for us if we ask. That next conversation will occur on Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Rotunda and everyone is welcome.
The Office of Institutional Research recently released its Graduate Report that surveys 2015 graduates about their experience at CCA and where they are now. Here are some of the highlights:
In the 2015 academic year, 1,141 students graduated from CCA, earning 1,304 certificates and associate degrees. Of those 1,141 students, 50.3 percent were first generation students.
More than 67 percent of CCA’s transfer graduates reported they will continue their education.
Ninety-four percent of 2015 CCA graduate respondents indicated that their CCA program met their education goals “well” or very “well.”
Eighty-nine percent of responding 2015 graduates are employed or continuing their education.
A survey of CCA’s Career and Technical Education program graduates found that their average wage was $17.59 an hour and 92 percent of CTE graduates reported CCA had met their educational goals “well” or “very well.” And more than 75 percent of 2015 CTE graduates reported they were employed.
Of the 2015 graduates who are continuing their education at a four-year school, 94 percent will continue within Colorado. Other states they will continue their education at are: Arizona, California, Idaho, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
There were 477 associate degrees awarded in 2015:
That is just a small sample of the success we have had at CCA – let’s keep encouraging and inspiring our students to increase these numbers! To further our goals, make sure to read President Betsy Oudenhoven’s President’s Report above about the Completion Collaborative.
CCA hosted events Aug. 22-25 to welcome back students to campus for the first week of classes. During Mixer Monday on Aug. 22, students, faculty, and staff gathered for food, entertainment, and more.
Caption: CCA’s mascot, the Red Fox, and CCA Music Director Michael Pickering having fun at Mixer Monday.
Job and Internship Fair
Nearly 50 employers attended CCA’s Fall Job and Internship Fair on Sept. 7 at the CentreTech campus. Students talked with employers, discovered more information about careers, and found out about internship and employment opportunities.
On Aug. 25, students, staff, and faculty met for Convocation during Welcome Week to recognize the start of the fall semester. Students who participated in Welcome Week events were entered into a drawing and some won three-credit hour scholarships during Convocation.
Caption: Student Government Association President Eaba Dechasa spoke during Convocation to assembled faculty, staff, and students.
Police Academy Graduation
CCA honored its second 2016 Police Academy graduates with a ceremony in the Forum in the Fine Arts Building on Aug. 23.
Caption: Police Academy graduates pose outside of the Forum after the ceremony.
Although our name has changed our mission hasn’t — the office formerly known as the Accessibility Services Office is now the Office of Disability and Equity.
The name change is part of our rebranding and to bring awareness to the disability movement. We believe this change is in the best interest of the Office and the students that we serve. The Office was created in order to provide accommodations to students with disabilities; and, by changing the name to include the word “disability” we can allow our students to take back the term and we can work on getting rid of the negative stigma. While we do work on providing access, that is only a part of what we do since creating access for all students is within our mission of equity. We also believe that our name change better aligns with the college’s goals, mission, and vision.
The Office of Disability and Equity, located on the second floor of the Student Centre Building, consists of three full-time and two part-time staff members. Steven Zeeh is the department director, Elisabeth Olson is the coordinator, Sheryl Broadnax is the administrative assistant, and Leah Meyer and Tanya Brown are alternative format specialists.
The staff is excited about the 2016-2017 academic year as we work towards achieving four main goals.
The first goal is to implement an advertising campaign, which will include a video and event for National Disability Employment Awareness Month on Monday, Oct. 17 from 12 to 1:30 p.m.
The second goal is to collaborate with faculty and staff to create inclusive classroom environments. Our job as disability educators is to collaborate with faculty and staff in order to create awareness and understanding that a disability is not a problem of the person but how society functions in relationship to people with disabilities. Inclusive classroom environments not only benefit students with disabilities but all students.
The third and fourth goals are to increase retention and graduation among specific student populations. In order to increase the retention and graduation rates of our students we rely on the collaboration of the entire CCA community.
It’s election season, which means you may be asked to support a particular political candidate or voice your opinion on a certain issue. The CCCS office has developed a list of "Do’s" and "Dont's" that CCA employees should follow if they encounter these situations. Below is a short list of what is and isn’t allowed for CCCS employees. You can also see CCA’s Human Resources Department for the full list.
The Activity: Class Presentations and Other Public Presentations
Do: During the work day, employees may respond to unsolicited questions with strictly factual answers regarding a campaign issue; those answers should not tend to urge toward a particular vote.
Do: Employees may make presentations that express a position on a ballot issue or candidate off campus and outside of employee work hours.
Don’t: It is a violation of state law to campaign or support a political candidate or ballot issue while “on the clock.” We ask faculty and staff to use your best judgment to avoid the perception that you are championing an election issue as a state employee. During work time, employees may not work to promote or defeat a candidate, ballot issue, or referred measure.
The Activity: Phone Calls
Do: Employees may give undisputed factual responses about a campaign issue on college phones in response to an unsolicited telephone inquiry.
Do: Employees may make phone calls stating their position on a candidate or ballot issue on their own time and on their own personal phone.
Don’t: Employees may not work to promote or defeat a candidate or ballot issue while using college phones or college-issued cell phones.
The Activity: Wearing of Campaign Buttons, Posting Literature, etc.
Don’t: Employees should not wear, display, or distribute campaign materials at the work site.
The Activity: Voting
Do: Employees may encourage citizens to register to vote and give them information on registration, absentee voting, and polling locations.
CCA students competed in teams to answer questions that are featured on the U.S. Citizenship exam in the Rotunda in the Student Centre Building on Sept. 15. CCA faculty Geoff Hunt and Dr. Bobby Pace, along with Kim Tenure, adjunct instructor, quizzed students during the event.
Caption: Dr. Bobby Pace, department chair, Social Sciences, speaks to students during the Citizenship Bowl.
Donation of J. Robert Allshouse Papers
On Sept. 14, Dan Allshouse, the son of former state Sen. J. Robert Allshouse, donated several boxes of old papers and documents of his father, who was influential in helping pass legislation to establish CCA. Included within the papers were documents such as an open house flyer from 1983 introducing the community to CCA as well as the first commencement program at CCA from May 1984.
Caption: From left to right, Library Services Coordinator Michelle Samuel, CCA History Faculty Geoff Hunt, and Dan Allshouse review some of the donated papers.
CCA participated in and had a booth at Global Fest on Aug. 20 at the Aurora Municipal Center on the Great Lawn. Global Fest showcases the traditions, food, dance, and more of the many diverse and different groups of people who live in Aurora.
Caption: A group of young people engage with one another during Global Fest.
On Sept. 9, CCA students attended an Honor Symposium Luncheon in the Rotunda in the Student Centre Building. Students presented their joint student-faculty projects as a way to engage further interest in their field of study.
Caption: CCA student Micaela Cruce, who did an Honors Project in Elizabeth Hirsh’s Biological Anthropology class, presenting during the Honor Symposium.
Voter Registration Day - Sept. 28, 9 to 11 a.m., CentreTech Public Speaking Zone (between the Administration and Student Centre buildings)
Phi Theta Kappa will provide information for anyone who wants to register to vote and explain how.
CCA Annual Health Fair - Oct. 4, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Student Centre Building, Room 100 (The Rotunda)
All CCA employees and their families are invited to attend and take advantage of the many free health screenings and services. Contact CCA Human Resources at 303-360-4750 or e-mail Human Resources at HR@ccaurora.edu to schedule a time for the blood screenings and/or flu shot.
Completion Collaborative – Oct. 5, 3 to 4 p.m., Student Centre Building, Room 100 (The Rotunda)
Faculty, staff, and students will discuss the challenges of completing college with students specifically sharing their unique perspectives and experiences. See the President’s Corner above.
National Coming Out Day – Oct. 11, 4 to 6 p.m., Student Centre Building, Room 100 (The Rotunda)
Every year on National Coming Out Day, we celebrate individuals who come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), or as an ally.
Disability Awareness Day – Oct. 17, noon to 1:30 p.m., Student Centre Building, Room 100 (The Rotunda)
Come explore the history of the Disability Movement and assistive technology. Learn about accommodations and resources available at CCA.
Diesel Power Mechanics Open House – Sept. 22 and 23, 4 to 7 p.m. Diesel Power Mechanics Building
Students interested in the program can meet with faculty, tour the facility, ask questions, and sign up for the program. During the open house an initial aptitude test will be given and staff will be available to discuss the steps to apply.
Pizza with the President – Sept. 27, noon to 1 p.m., West Quad Building, Room 112 (Todd Bergren Room)
During this event, students can stop by and grab free pizza and chat with CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven.
Voter Registration Day - Oct. 12, 4 to 6 p.m., West Quad Building Lobby
Phi Theta Kappa will provide information for anyone who wants to register to vote and explain how.
Habla – Oct. 13, 4 to 5:30 p.m., West Quad Building, Room 112 (Todd Bergren Room)
Hear funny, poignant, and truthful stories about being LatinX in the U.S.
Cindy Osborn, data specialist, Academic Affairs
David Tracy, structural trades, Facilities
Sarah Jiter is now the assistant director for Outreach and Recruitment
Tamara Conley is now the grant project manager for the U.S. Department of Labor Strengthening Working Families Initiative
If you could have any super power what would it be and why? Bonus points if you can explain how it would help you at CCA.
Chris Tombari, associate dean in the School of Liberal Arts: “Play guitar like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, AND Steve Lukather mixed together. I’m not sure how much it would help CCA, but I’d be fun to listen to, that’s for sure!”
Brandy Monckton, academic advisor in the School of Liberal Arts: “Time manipulation would be the most amazing and useful super power. Imagine how much you could get done if you could get a full eight-plus hours of sleep in less than a second! I could provide instant answers to students’ questions and solutions to all sorts of challenges at work here at CCA. I would never be late to anything; I could slow time and really savor the fun times, or speed it up to get through the painful times like when I stub my toe or go to the dentist. I could watch every movie on the AMC top 100 list guilt-free! And just think of all the pranks I could pull off!”