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Chaparral 2015-2016: 24.4 Speaking of the Senate

Speaking of The Senate (March 2016)

Speaking of the Senate
The Three Legs of Our Institutional Foundation: Mission, Vision and ILOs

by Andrew Young

Academic Senate President

senate

If you have been around the college for a while, then you have certainly heard of the three “statements” which, at a very high level, guide our institution:

  1. Our Mission Statement
  2. Our Vision Statement, and
  3. Our Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs)


Everything we do at the college is supposed to address one or more of the principles contained in these statements.  For instance, when you submit a request for resources through Program Review, one part of the form can be satisfied by linking the request to some aspect of the Mission Statement, or to one of the defined Learning Outcomes.  In addition, many of the ACCJC accreditation standards directly address the need for a Mission Statement and Learning Outcomes.

It is good for each of us to get a periodic update on the current state of these documents.  This happens to be an excellent time to do this, because each of these documents have been reviewed and/or revised in the last year. In fact, a newly revised Mission Statement should be approved at the March Board of Trustees meeting.

Let’s start with the Institutional Learning Outcomes.  The ILOs were revised last year, and were officially adopted by the Board of Trustees at their meeting on August 18, 2015.  There are six ILOs:

Institutional Learning Outcomes

1. Communication
communicate clearly, demonstrate critical thinking, and apply knowledge utilizing writing, speaking, presenting and other modes of communication;

2. Mathematical Competency/Quantitative Reasoning
apply, interpret, and understand mathematical and quantitative concepts;

3. Information Competency (literacy)
recognize an information need, or define a research topic using library and other resources to locate, evaluate, and use information or data in an ethical and legal manner;

4. Critical Thinking
 analyze problems and apply knowledge; collect, synthesize, and evaluate ideas, information and data to develop arguments and derive conclusions;

5. Global Awareness and Appreciation
recognize and analyze the interconnectedness of global, national, and local concerns, analyzing cultural, political, social and environmental issues from multiple perspectives, and to appreciate similarities and differences among cultures;

6. Personal Responsibility
demonstrate and apply decision making skills and develop the capacity for self-understanding and recognize lifestyles that promote physical and mental well-being.

This version of our ILOs differed from the previous version in two main ways: 

  • The new version is significantly less verbose, which makes it easier to read and understand, while at the same time, making each ILO broader and more easily applicable.
  • One ILO was deleted.  It was “Application of Knowledge”.  The Learning Outcomes Committee proposed this change because it was deemed not to be a separate area of learning, but instead it was a subset of each of the other ILOs.  In each ILO, part of the educational process was learning how to apply the new knowledge which was imparted.

This change to our ILOs led to a need to update our Mission Statement, because it contained direct references to each of the ILOs.  The new version of our Mission Statement, which should be approved by the Board of Trustees at their March meeting, is:

Mission Statement

Glendale Community College serves a diverse population of students by providing the opportunities and support to achieve their educational and career goals. We are committed to student learning and success through transfer preparation, certificates, associate degrees, career development, technical training, continuing education, and basic skills instruction. The college is dedicated to the importance of higher education in the evolving urban environment of Glendale and the Greater Los Angeles area. Faculty and staff engage students in rigorous and innovative learning experiences that enhance and sustain the cultural, intellectual, and economic vitality of the community.

As part of its mission, Glendale Community College is committed to student success by promoting:

  • communication, critical thinking, information competency, quantitative reasoning, global awareness, and personal responsibility;
  • collaboration among disciplines and openness to the diversity of the human experience;
  • student services, learning support, and state of the art technology, including distance education modalities, that enable students to reach their educational goals in an efficient and timely manner.

 

The Mission Statement provides a very high-level description of what we do and who we serve.  It is intended to be a general statement that paints our activities with a pretty broad brush. 

Whereas the Mission Statement is factual, our Vision Statement is aspirational.  It describes what we, as an institution, want to be.  Our Vision Statement is:

VISION

Glendale Community College is the Greater Los Angeles Region’s premier learning community where all students achieve their informed educational goals through outstanding instructional and student services, a comprehensive community college curriculum, and educational opportunities found in few community colleges.

One could reasonably argue that we might not yet live up to this statement, but it provides an goal for us to continue to work toward.  We are not entirely meeting that goal at this time, but it is not so far out of reach as to be unrealistic.  It may be that we are trying to reach a castle at the top of a hill, but it is not a hill far off in the distance; we are on the correct hill now and we have already climbed part way to the summit.

The GCC Mission and Vision Statements are codified in our Administrative Regulation AR 1200, if you want to know where to find them.  There is currently an effort underway to create 11 by 17 inch flyers containing these statements.  These will be posted all over campus this Spring in an effort to get faculty, students, and other constituent groups to read these statements and become familiar with them.  If you see these posters on campus, don’t steal them for your own area, or to decorate your home.  If you want some in your area of campus, just let me know and we will get you some.

 

Visit us on the web: www.glendale.edu/senate

 

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