Goal 3 Report 2008

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 11:51 -- sewm02

Goal 3 Report 2008

Goal 3 - Expand and promote community education.
Image:GreenDot.gif = Progress at or above target

Image:YellowDot.gif = Progress below target

Image:RedDot.gif = Progress well below target

Image:WhiteDot.gif = Target not set

Implementation Committee Audit Committee
Report Author Name Schreffler, Paul Thelma Hutchins
Link to Narrative Report Goal Three, Year Two - Final Report

Post-Conference Implementation Response

August, 2008 Statistical Update for Year 2 Participation

Narrative Audit Report
Existing Timeline Proposed Year 3 Timeline Discussion of Proposed Year 3 Timeline
Overall Progress on Goal:

Year 2 - Overall


Year 2 - Overall


Year 2 - Overall

Action Step 1:

Establish a central contact for community education and outreach programs.

Progress: Year 2 - Overall Image:GreenDot.gif Image:YellowDot.gif Image:GreenDot.gif Image:GreenDot.gif
Summary of why level was chosen A contact list for Community Education providers is established and maintained. As Banner is the common institutional database, information on all students and instructors are captured in Banner.

The central point of contact for all Community Education programs is: Ron Weist, Director, Community Education
A direct link to the main contact phone (304.367.4913), as well as an email address for Ron Weist is listed on all publications, and is placed within the header of the Communty Education Home Page. This page also has a prominent link to the web event calendar.
Information on all programs provided through Community Education is published via brochure and website. Links to community partner organizations are included prominently on the web page as well. The implementation of an online institutional calendar (with a separate community education calendar section) has facilitated better coordination of programs with other activities on campus. The community can access current information on all activities at the Community and Continuing Education Calendar. Ron is also listed as the contact for postings on this master calendar.
Coordination of programs and services offered through community education has been severely hampered by lack of critical tools; especially the online registration function. A project to develop Banner-integrated online registration is on hold owing to other institutional priority projects and limited internal capacity. Online ticketing has been discussed and a projected system for the institution is forthcoming. However, because of funding and IT workload issues, this is far down on the list as of now. Other services have not yet been addressed because of the same issues.
The assessment criterion for this goal is to "Track Inquiries". Many inquiries come into the office daily, and we need a process similar to that of tracking and following up new students in the recruitment office. We could use this to track Community Education contacts. However, this would require the establishment of another IT project, and the portfolio of projects currently exceeds capacity.

With respect to the overarching Action Step 1, the Audit Committee defines the central contact as Ron Weist, Community Education Director, Director Gear UP. It would be helpful to list this contact and to include a direct link to the community education website within the report: .
Recommendations, concerns, and/or difficulties encountered Last year's audit committee report recommended "That permanent funding for the position of Community Education Director be obtained..." There has as yet been no discussion of funding commitments beyond the term of the current Gear-Up grant. As the full-time Director and a half-time secretary are funded entirely from this finite grant source, we must justify the activities of these staff members as focused at least in part on the targeted Gear-Up population. Fortunately, the programmatic offerings and course fees have been structured in a way that this has not been a problem to date. However, Community Education as currently structured cannot yet generate enough revenue, offering low-cost programs, to pay for all expenses. These departmental expenditures include salary packages for all department employees together with marketing and operational costs.

In addition, the audit committee recommended "That a contact list for all community education services and personnel be compiled and made available on the Fairmont State University website and in print for distribution." Community education programs are offered in a fee-for-service format. These activities must generate all revenue for departmental budget projections. This makes it in reality an entrepreneurial enterprise, with its "stock in trade" the contacts and contracts that it has generated with certain programmatic providers. Programmatic offerings are already publicized as noted above. However, a public listing all of providers could greatly hamper the department’s ability to compete in the marketplace. This has already happened in some instances and some of the most profitable community education programs have begun to be offered by other entities.

  • Resources were provided in last year’s strategic planning budget to hire a full-time staff member, Deborah Woods, who splits her time between coordinating and working with Community Education programs (this goal) and working on developing and coordinating internal staff development programs (goal seven). Her efforts have been extremely positive in moving both goals’ outcomes forward, and continued support in the funding of her position is essential for continued progress toward both of these goals.
For FY08, the Audit Committee recommended that permanent funding for the position of Community Education Director be obtained. The Audit Committee again recommends that the institutions review funding commitments, since the Gear UP grant, which currently covers the Community Education Director’s salary, will expire as of June 30, 2009.
Action Step 2:

Identify new offerings to meet community needs and interests.

Progress: Year 2 - Overall Image:GreenDot.gifImage:YellowDot.gif Image:GreenDot.gifImage:YellowDot.gif
Summary of why level was chosen The number and variety of programs have grown in the last two years, from approximately 10 (ten) programs in FY ‘06 to approximately 250 (two hundred fifty) programs in FY ‘08. Data on all program listings, student enrollment numbers, etc. are contained in the Banner database.

An online 'Suggest a Course' email link is prominently displayed on the web page, in catalogs, and solicited verbally by our instructors. Both customers and potential instructors are using the function to initiate courses. We receive about a dozen such suggestions every year and follow up when action seems appropriate. Several new course offerings have been indentified in this manner to date.
We have published articles, conducted surveys and highlighted specific class offerings through the Gear-Up newsletter. Community Education events have been featured in writeups numerous times in the local newspapers.

  • On 6 occasions the Times West Virginian has featured 500+ word articles, including banner headlines. On one occasion a full page spread highlighted both individual course offerings as well as general interest articles.
  • The Times West Virginian also produced shorter articles almost every month, featuring upcoming courses.
  • Public Service Announcements were developed internally and sent out to local news media.
  • The Dominion Post has featured our programs in articles four times in the last year.
  • Channel 5 News has broadcast interviews with the director and/or community education instructors 3 times in FY08.

Community education has received approximately 120 completed surveys concerning CE offerings. These are used to help to determine community interest in developing future course offerings and also for the scheduling of courses.

  • The most popular courses identified in the surveys have been used to create multiple course offerings.
  • 2/3 of respondents indicated that they would not be likely to attend a class that was more than a 20 minute commute from their home. This varied by age, with more younger respondents displaying a willingness to travel for a course in which they were very interested.
  • Slightly more than 2/3 indicated that they would prefer a class format consisting of sessions over multiple weeks, although single-day sessions was a close second. Many also said that their duration preference was dependent upon the course being offered.
  • There appears to be a similar interest for courses offered during weekday mornings/afternoons, weekday evenings, and weekend mornings/afternoons; with little interest in weekend evening programs. These results also tended to vary depending on the age of the respondent.
  • Most respondents would prefer to be notified of offerings via the mail; at approximately 3 to 4 weeks prior to courses being offered.
  • Approximately 2/3 indicated they would be interested in Online Community Education courses offered via the internet.
  • Overwhelmingly (approximately 75%), respondents stated that the most important factor in determining their interest in participating in Community Education program was the topic being presented. This factor was followed by cost, then closely by location, with the presenter being a distant fourth.

We have not yet, however, been able to conduct large-scale surveys of the general public.
Although classes were offered at principal Pierpont satellite centers (Lewis, Braxton, Harrison counties), only the classes offered at the Caperton Center had enough registrants to run.
In an effort to create an alternative course delivery methodology, instructor-facilitated, online community education classes are now available through a contract that has been established with a leading third-party provider, Ed2Go.

The Audit Committee recognizes the tremendous effort put forth by the Community Education Director and his support staff, and realizes the that there are many issues yet to be resolved. The Audit Committee commends the Community Education Program on doing a really great job, but feels that the report does not reflect many of the positive results of their efforts.

There was tremendous growth in the number of programs offered from FY06 (ten programs) to FY07 (two hundred fifty programs). The majority of the programs were offered either at Fairmont State University in Fairmont or in Marion County, with a few courses having sufficient enrollment to be offered at the Caperton Center in Clarksburg.

The Implementation Committee indicates that articles had been published about the Community Education program. It would be useful to know where and why the articles were being published. Were they designed to get attention, were the articles published in newspapers, were they for publicity only, or was the Community Education program soliciting input?

The “Suggest a Course” form is available on the web page. It is assumed that this information is being used to develop new course offerings.

The Implementation Committee indicates that articles have been published, surveys have been conducted, and that some courses have been highlighted in the Gear UP Newsletter. Results of any surveys and suggestions are not listed in the report.

Recommendations, concerns, and/or difficulties encountered Community Education managers, and other managers across the organization, need more effective tools to extract critical data from Banner. We need a method to create reports that are required to analyze the data identified by the audit committee. We have made some progress in this area, and the financial analysis and budgetary status of funds under managers' control is now much easier to use. This needs to be expanded for other types of data in the system as well. It is our understanding that additional reporting tools are being developed, and if so, training on the use of these tools should be made available to managers across the organization.

We see expanding Community Education offerings into the 12-county region as the single most difficult goal in this plan, and we will require creative solutions and additional resources to do so. The very nature of communities and the people that inhabit them suggests that community activities are local, and the interests that generate them are also locally driven. In Marion County, where almost all of our programs have been offered to date, Fairmont State is an integral part of the community. Making programmatic inroads into rural, outlying counties will require a more local approach to programs. This approach to expanding community education programs will require strategic partnerships be established with existing community groups. A major challenge in this approach is the profitability of such programs, given the increased costs for long-distance delivery, coordination and marketing of such programs.
Community Education has also found significant challenges in working with some internal departments, who have their own budgetary expectations. In an attempt to collaborate and offer coordinated programs, Community Education is sometimes seen as a cost rather than a benefit. Some other departments do not want to pay additional money for value-added services like registration management or marketing. For other departments (Fine Arts are an example of this) Community Education provides very little value-added potential, but lists classes and events at no charge in its brochure.
Committee members do not have the expertise or capacity to conduct a formal market study. A budgetary request submitted during Year 2 for funds to implement a market analysis and marketing plan development has not been granted to date. The time frame for this market study is dependent upon completion of an institutional marketing plan. A plan developed specifically for Community Education must incorporate and project the ‘image’ that will be identified for the institution as a whole.

The Audit Committee would have found any needs analysis that was done and information about the results derived from the “Suggest a Course” website helpful in its review of the progress made.

The Audit Committee recommends that the Community Education Program target the underserved more aggressively and that efforts to include other geographical sites be continued.

The Audit Committee recommends that the “Suggest a Course” form be publicized more and that the overall results gathered from the form be included in future reports.

Action Step 3:

Support community education providers.

Progress: Year 2 - Overall Image:GreenDot.gifImage:GreenDot.gif Image:GreenDot.gifImage:GreenDot.gif
Summary of why level was chosen We have developed a printed orientation packet for course instructors that is distributed prior to the class start date.

We have also developed an end-of-course survey which is distributed to instructors.
We held a social registration event at the beginning of the spring '08 semester, at which time we hosted a special recognition of instructors. 116 registrations resulted from this special reception.
Although members of the committee have met with leadership of GearUp, Falcon Center, Fine Arts, Folklife, Culinary Arts, Lifelong Learners, Alumni Affairs and other off-campus constituents to identify, define and develop further partnerships, and to coordinate and cooperate on activities that these groups offer to the community, a formal consortium of providers has not been established, either internally or externally.

The Audit Committee judged that this Action Step for FY08 was met in three of the four steps, and chose progress at or above target on that basis.

A printed orientation packet was made available prior to the class start date. An online version of that packet would be helpful.

An end-of-course survey was developed and distributed to instructors. It would have been useful to have included information on the contents and results of the survey.

The Community Education Director met with the leadership of a large number of groups to identify, define and develop more partnerships. However, there is no formal consortium of providers, either internally or externally.

Recommendations, concerns, and/or difficulties encountered A customer relations management function and a method to manage and analyze participant feedback are important to include in any business system. Feedback on the quality of service is needed from both participants as well as training providers. The functions of customer relations management (identifying, tracking, targeting, communicating and marketing to potential and existing customers) was requested for inclusion in the online registration project, mentioned previously. This was not included in the charter for stage one of this project, as it was not deemed a critical function. This may be included in a future stage of this project, or within other future Banner Self-Service functionality.

Sub-action step three lists: ensure providers access to facilities, resources and contact with the institution. Community Education programs often do not have priority for use of facilities, must pay full price for program space, and often cannot find institutional space in geographic areas (ex. Clarksburg) that are targeted for the next expansion of Community Education programs.

The Audit Committee recommends that the Community Education program develop, administer, and analyze the results of a survey of community education provider and participant satisfaction. It is a top priority to have this kind of information to build a stronger and more viable Community Education program. The institutions should make this a priority along with the registration project.
Action Step 4:

Increase participation in community education throughout our service region.

Progress: Year 2 - Overall Image:GreenDot.gifImage:YellowDot.gif Image:GreenDot.gifImage:YellowDot.gif
Summary of why level was chosen We have developed and distributed a comprehensive, professional, attractive catalogue of offerings three times a year for the last two years.

We have not yet developed a comprehensive marketing plan based on the demographics of the service region.
A user-friendly web site about community education offerings is up and current for all scheduled classes.
The quality of community education courses, providers, and activities are judged though feedback given by participants.
The Director has collaborated with many community organizations to foster awareness. As evidence of this, he has provided information sessions to Leadership Marion, Rotary, Gear-Up parents and other groups to develop recognition of the Community Education mission and programs.
Community education programs increased enrollment in FY 07 by more than 50% over the previous year. This year, the enrollment is projected to increase another 35% over last year.

The Audit Committee commends the Community Education personnel on the attractive and comprehensive catalog of offerings that has been developed.

The Committee believes that the Community Education program is making progress on these action steps, with approximately 2.5 of 4 steps achieved.

Recommendations, concerns, and/or difficulties encountered Increased involvement in Community Education is related to the networking, relationship development and analysis referenced in action steps one, two and three above. It is essential that we have improved Banner data analysis tools to track and analyze the results of programs offered.

The Audit Committee affirmed last year that a marketing plan must be developed by the institution as a whole and implemented so that community education programs may be extended to the greater service area of the institution. It is not clear to the committee what progress has been made on this front so that its members can begin this task.

The Audit Committee is aware that most of the community education efforts have been focused on a portion of Marion County near Fairmont. The Committee recommends that the Community Education program extend continuing education opportunities to the entire service region of the institution. The Committee further recommends that the Community Education personnel collaborate more throughout the entire service region, not just in Marion County. The Committee realizes that expansion is expensive, but believes that it is part of the institutions’ missions to serve the region.

The Audit Committee reaffirms the need for a comprehensive marketing plan, for the institutions, and for the community education programs.

Action Step 5:

Institute a regular rotation of community education offerings.

Progress: Year 2 - Overall Image:GreenDot.gifImage:GreenDot.gif Image:YellowDot.gifImage:YellowDot.gif
Summary of why level was chosen A regular rotation of community education offerings has been established. However, the department lacks the specific tools required to effectively track and monitor trends in community interest, as well as to monitor trends in enrollment apart from raw numbers. The rotation of offerings is in place. The Audit Committee confirms that the Community Education program does not have the tools to track and monitor community interest, trends, etc. If the institutions value community education and support the two steps outlined in the Timeline for Goal 3, Action Step 5, then there must be support to put those resources in place that will allow them to be accomplished.
Recommendations, concerns, and/or difficulties encountered As stated above, we need improved tools, both for data gathering and analysis, to move this program in the direction of a market-responsive program. The current methods for measuring and assessing program outcomes are cumbersome and labor-intensive. Since Banner is our database, any such tool must be developed within or integrated into the Banner system. The Audit Committee recommends that the institutions provide the staffing for the continuance of the Community Education program beyond the end of the Gear UP grant funding cycle. The Committee further recommends that the institutions provide those tools and resources required to gather and analyze data and to assess both the participants’ perceptions of the offerings and the ability to track inquiries and to determine strengths and weaknesses of the programs offered.

The success indicator for Year Two can not be accomplished without the tools that provide the baseline data. At this point, the Committee has not really seen this kind of information. If it requires the addition of one or two additional staff members to work on Banner programming in IT, the Committee strongly supports that move.