Graduation requirements changed for 2011

MCCC’s Board of Trustees approved a change from course-based graduation requirements to competency-based at its meeting Monday night.

The change for the general education requirements for graduation will go into effect for students who will be starting classes in the 2011-2012 school year.

“The focus will be put on student learning instead of teaching,” Vice President of Instruction Grace Yackee said.

MCCC will focus on providing students with a learning competency goal and a learning outcome.  Less focus will be put on specific courses required for graduation, Yackee said.

Critical thinking is one of the competencies students are expected to learn and demonstrate.

MCCC’s faculty and staff reviewed and approved this curriculum model during a two-year process, Yackee said.

The trustees praised the involvement by the faculty and staff in determining the new curriculum.

“You people out there teaching should figure it out and we should approve it,” Trustee Joe Bellino said.

Exactly how students will demonstrate that they’ve met the new competency standards is yet to be worked out, Yackee said.

Faculty members will bring their ideas to the Curriculum Committee for review, she said.  Instructors will have to demonstrate what competencies they can provide in each of their courses.

“Assessing these learning outcomes is really the big challenge,” Trustee Linda Lauer said.

To provide a road map for obtaining goals at MCCC, the Board of Trustees also approved the adoption of a Strategic Plan for 2010-2013.

At the board meeting, Yackee said the revision to MCCC’s curriculum and the adoption of the Strategic Plan are examples of shared governance, something the college is trying to strengthen.

In the past, MCCC had sometimes been faced with a lack of vision and planning, but the Strategic Plan will show exactly where the college is going for the next three years, Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Services, said.

Daniels said the plan will be re-developed every three years, but that the document is a work in progress.

“The work will not conclude at this point,” he said.

The decision-making model touched every group and several committees at MCCC, Daniels said.

“We will still talking about how we – in each area – will achieve these goals,” he said.

The Strategic Plan includes a planning process for the college and explains how the plan was determined and how it will be followed over the next three years.  It also includes the college’s philosophy and educational objectives, as well as priorities within the planning process.

The priorities include educational excellence, a culture supported by evidence, management of resources, shared communication, and connections within the community.

The purpose of the plan is to work toward accomplishing these priorities.

“We commend all of the individuals who worked on this,” Board Chairman Bill Bacarella said.

The Strategic Planning Committee met numerous times over the past two years to develop the plan, Daniels said.

“It’s an amazing document,” Trustee Mary Kay Thayer said.

The committee will continue to meet frequently to assess the plan, but it will not meet as often as during the process of preparing the plan, Daniels said.