OCTOBER 10, 2006
A strategic conversation was scheduled to be held at 4:00 p.m. in the Rio Conference Center at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Scott Crowley, President
Don Campbell, Member
Linda Rosenthal, Member
Jerry Walker, Member
ABSENT: Ed Contreras, Secretary
Mary Kay Kickels
Attendance: Approximately 50
STRATEGIC CONVERSATION (4:10 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.)
Vice Chancellor Debbie Thompson welcomed everyone present to the evening’s strategic conversation entitled Continuous Quality Improvement. She explained that many years Maricopa stated its own unique efforts to embrace Continuous Quality Improvement or Total Quality processes, tools and practices to improve the quality of operations and service. Early efforts were known as the District’s Quantum Quality Initiative. She stated that currently Maricopa continues to build on these efforts through:
- Strengthening strategic and operational planning processes at individual colleges and integration and coordination of planning throughout the district;
- Periodic re-evaluation of our mission, vision, values and strategic directions;
- Special initiatives such as the MIRA and ethics projects;
- Improvements in monitoring reports and efforts to move towards a balances scorecard. This will include a dashboard indicator to be shared at this year’s annual Governing Board Monitoring Retreat.
Ms. Thompson then explained that in an effort to consider ways to improve operations and services, Dr. Steven Mittlestet, President of Richland Community College, one of the Dallas Community College District colleges, would present their college’s experiences with quality improvement, Baldrige criteria and how this disciplined approach has benefited the college and the community it serves. Afterwards, Laura Helminski would facilitate discussion on these two topics.
Chancellor Glasper came forward next to offer welcoming remarks and indicated he was pleased to introduce Dr. Mittlestet as he continued the journey begun during the Leadership Breakfast. Biographical information was provided on Dr. Mittlestet prior to his coming forward to speak.
Dr. Mittlestet approached the podium and commented that he was pleased to be in Tempe and would be conducting a wrap up of the day’s activities although he was aware that not everyone present this evening were in attendance for the morning presentation. He explained that he had been asked to spend time talking about Richland College’s Baldrige journey and also answer questions from the morning session. He explained that the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award has been around since the mid-80’s when the Department of Commerce became involved in a quality initiative as a result of productivity lagging behind Japan. Deming was the first to initiate quality efforts in the manufacturing and service industries. Education was the last to catch on. All categories are now part of this competition and it is intended that winners/recipients are expected to continue to grow and improve and be an example to other organizations. Although there are all kinds of models, the Baldrige has the backing of the government.
Dr. Mittlestet explained that Dallas is in a large metropolitan area and the community is aware of the community colleges. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings does not cut education any slack and wants to whip it into place. One size fits all and there is standardized testing, accountability. This did not come naturally for Dr. Mittlestet since he is a story person. He now is very systematic in answering how they know that students are learning and that their needs are being met. He also wants to ensure that employees’ needs are being met.
Socratic teachers supply good questions and the Baldrige also keeps asking questions. It asks who is doing the work and if it just a small group of people and what has the organization learned in terms of productivity. Descriptors need to be looked at. When results are evaluated, they are now going where they want them to go. There are eight generic steps (see card) to starting a Baldrige journey and these are:
1. Identify and assemble a small cross-functional tem to draft the strategic plan.
2. Identify at least three strategic planning priority goals.
3. Identify indicators of performance for each strategic planning priority goal.
4. Identify at least one institutional measure for each key performance indicator.
5. Establish targets for each measure (both long and short term).
6. Create multi-level actions that deploy the plan.
7. Track results monthly.
8. Evaluate the plan at the conclusion of the academic year.
Dr. Mittlestet explained that they struggled in the early years and there was no one to turn to. It was hard to communicate. They looked at others work and then adapted. From leadership point of view seven categories and values are embedded. Examiners put seven factors in line and then each is evaluated. They now have four Baldrige applications and results show organization is getting better. He stated that Baldrige is not just data but the culture and the whole person. Employees need to feel safe. Not everyone has had a good work experience. Some leave their soul at home and then you get a soul-less organization. There should be joy in celebrating their place at work. A few years ago they added love and kindness.
Dr. Mittlestet addressed some of the questions that had been given to him in the morning session. These were his responses:
- 138 countries are represented at Richland College with 79 first languages and all are honored. They are close to the Dallas Central Mosque and they have wonderful relationships with many diverse organizations. Accommodations are made for people’s faiths and they have sessions on intercultural communications
- Momentum in tight budget times reveals that it is easier to make decisions when data is there and it is easier to make decisions during times of budget cuts. State has cut funding from 70% to 30%. Had Richland College not been doing what they were doing, they would not be able to accomplish all that they are doing.
- Regarding accommodating professional development for employees, some took advantage and some never did. They decided to benchmark against St. Louis Community College District. There was a lot of grumbling about it. They had a committee that came up with a program and attempted to implement. Unless people are involved in this process they suffer backlash. First year Richland College found out what people were doing and turning it into professional development. Plans were implemented so that money spent was for something worthwhile.
- 60% of faculty are adjunct. Number of classes taught by adjuncts. 60% of classes taught by adjunct faculty. Focus is on outcomes and on student learning. They have fulltime faculty who mentor adjuncts to carry out programs. Right number is not prescriptive but measured by what is accomplished.
Dr. Mittlestet concluded his remarks and the conversation then broke up into small discussion groups that brainstormed the following questions:
- How could a disciplined Baldrige approach to performance excellence improve Maricopa’s organizational performance?
- What are your Observations/Reactions to the Richland College Continuous Quality Improvement Journey, particularly focusing on Leadership and Process Management?
- What could this mean to me in my role at Maricopa
- How might Maricopa follow up on what we have learned from the Richland College Journey?
Discussions were following by these report outs by each table:
• Define and promote student success and student success measures.
|• Focus on FTSE compromises student success. |
• Lack of college support at early stages for under prepared students.
• We are separately accredited and that could cause some friction.
• District accreditation.
• Reluctant to change.
• Very process driven across multiple years.
• A college went down this path independent of the other colleges.
• Leaders help to make a difference.
• It was a work in progress.
• Dedicated efforts in acculturating new employees.
• Have courage.
• Can be done.
• Need to be patient, persistent and disciplined.
• No connection back to the system.
• Duh! Need consistency of leadership minimum, 28 years.
• Need to be patient, flexible and see the learning.
• Lead by example.
• We could share what we do with new employee orientation. We reinvent wheels.
• We should allow ourselves to have longer term goals and strategies than just the academic year.
• We will have to have an improved collaboration and improve sharing to accomplish these things.
(What do you plan to do in response to what you have learned?)
• Borrow extensively from Richland College.
• Listen carefully and be willing to learn.
• Build trust.
It was observed that there were commonalities among the tables. All campuses should have key performances that can be measured. Certain things will be in common but their will also be some things each does different.
Closing Comments: Dr. Mittlestet stated that if Baldrige had not come up, they would be looking at things and doing pockets of excellence but no energy to keep things going. Baldrige is comprehensive and has the advantage that is supported by this nation. It has highly determined people to do this. By simply filling out that application, a feedback report will be sent. Feedback would be a good thing. Richland College received one from the state and one from the federal government. They were overwhelmed with things that needed to be improved. Two awards in one year. They dealt with opportunities by trying to validate which were more important for one year. It is important to link to things that are important and evaluate to se if it is worth it. Same cycle as accreditation and same questions. This is how Richland College does their preparation and they are always ready for accreditation.
The meeting concluded at 7:00 p.m.
Governing Board Secretary