By Bill Gruelich
Public Information Officer
Victor Valley Community College, President’s Office
Victor Valley College is in its 52nd year of service to the students of the High Desert. Currently, the college is serving approximately 13,500 students. For apportionment purposes, these numbers equal about 8,895 full-time equivalent students. Each full-time equivalent student (FTES) represents one student taking 15 credit hours per semester or five students each taking a course that equals 3 credit hours per semester. The college is funded on these FTES at about $4,564. The total budget for the college is approximately $50 million. Currently, the college employs about 800 people. Due to the economy, the college stepped up and enrolled more students than it is being compensated for. The High Desert needs to increase the overall number of residents who have a college degree to raise the economic level of the area. This is a profound goal for the college. This pronouncement is based on data that was presented by an area economist during several economic summits hosted by the college.
The college is currently in the process of re-inventing itself to meet the standards for accreditation established by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). It has been a challenge to change the entire culture of the college. It is much like a group of overweight people trying to lose pounds. They know they love to eat, but are unwilling to change their lifestyle to accomplish the goal. At VVC, everyone is on a diet and is making lifestyle changes that will make it a continuous quality improvement institution. The college has made great strides as has been noted in an article recently appearing in an area newspaper.
“While we believe we were further along than the ACCJC was able to verify during their visit in October 2012, we recognize that more work in all three of these areas is needed and we have continued to focus on getting them done.
These three areas relate to assessments of student learning outcomes, program review, and elimination of a structural deficit.
Today we can report 100% of all Student Learning Outcomes have been identified and all 100% of active course outcomes will have been assessed by October 15, 2013. As not every class is offered each semester, some of what is required to assess Student Learning Outcomes in all courses is simply the passing of time, such that a course can be completed on its planned schedule. We also implemented a comprehensive tracking system, known as TracDat, for compiling this assessment data and are confident that the ACCJC will acknowledge our full compliance with this standard when they next visit.
The second reason for being retained on probation was that the ACCJC visiting team did not believe that the college had identified and reviewed all of its current programs, both instructional and non-instructional. Program review had been an on-going activity at the college for many years; however, the ACCJC review gave the college an opportunity to establish teams for both parts of program review, instructional and non-instructional. These teams have reviewed every program review report completed by all areas of the college. The ACCJC requires that there is “robust dialog” in the program review process which will move the college forward in closing the loop between planning, implementing, and correcting. The establishment of interdisciplinary program review teams has enabled that dialogue and we are confident that the ACCJC will acknowledge our full compliance with this standard.
The third issue that remains to be resolved is the assertion that Victor Valley College faces a “structural deficit.” The college has reduced spending sufficiently, and implemented cost saving measures, and accessed reserves to balance its budget. This cannot continue indefinitely and the college is examining options for restoring a structural balance to its budget. Some relief will come in the form of additional revenues from the State as our economy improves, but the college is taking other proactive steps to evaluate programs and expenditures.
There has been a significant culture change within the ranks at VVC and the college faculty and staff has embraced the benefits of proper planning and proper assessment. Future students of the high desert will be ultimate beneficiaries of this culture change.”
The next major project on the drawing boards for Victor Valley College is the construction of a new Science and Health Building. The 25,000 square foot building will feature several new labs and faculty areas dedicated to the study of Science and Health. The plan features highly specialized training labs for the Nursing program that include a simulation lab and fundamentals lab, a chemistry lab, additional Life and Physical Science lab (digital), an anatomy lab, a faculty suite, and dean’s office. The plan for this free standing building also includes an outdoor covered courtyard area for student and faculty interaction to promote a collaborative and technology driven learning environment. The college has selected Balfour Beatty Construction and NTD Architecture to construct this project. It will be a one-story structure located adjacent to and on the west side of the existing Science Building 31. Together Balfour Beatty and NTD have completed over 30 educational projects totaling over $600 million throughout Southern California. The team will contract with local consulting firms and contractors to provide training and jobs for the local community.