|Edison State College Response Report to the Visiting Committee|
|Core Requirement 2.7.2: Undergraduate Program Content|
Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends the institution demonstrate that all degree programs embody a coherent course of study as appropriate to the designated field.
Edison State College Response:
Edison State College acknowledges that corrective actions implemented in Summer 2011 lacked sufficient maturity to assure the On-site Committee of consistent implementation and enforcement. Edison State College is confident that the additional evidence provided herein will validate the sustained commitment to rectify identified problems. Edison State College’s long-standing record of impeccable adherence to accreditation standards, and its reputation within the community have been jeopardized. The College strives to ensure that every graduate, both past and present, leaves Edison with the skills, knowledge and competencies needed to be successful. The On-site Committee cited three areas for consideration within Core Requirement 2.7.2:
1. While there are new practices that have been put into place, there is concern as to whether there will be consistent implementation and enforcement;
Consistent Implementation and Enforcement of Course Substitution Policies
Maintaining consistent and fair practices regarding course substitutions is an on-going priority of the College. The committee composed of academic administrators, faculty and staff charged with reviewing course substitutions continues to meet monthly, or more frequently as needed [ 1 ]. The committee convened for the first time under the leadership of the interim VPAA on Nov. 4, 2011. Each month, course substitution reports are generated
[ 2 ]. The VPAA cross-references all course substitutions presented to the committee against the report. This ensures that rogue course substitutions cannot be processed, providing a check and balance between the Office of the VPAA and the Office of the Registrar [ 3 ].
2. Although the institution claims to have made efforts to correct the questionable courses for students, interviews with students indicated that they had not been contacted nor had the institution been pro-active in making restitution;
Student Communication and Advisement
Follow-up with graduates
As was noted in the findings of the On-site Reaffirmation Committee, students who graduated in a limited number of associate in science degree areas were provided with course substitutions unrelated to program level outcomes. In an effort to ensure graduates have not been harmed by these previous allowances, a letter was sent to all graduates dating back to Fall 2007 who had been granted any course substitutions prior to graduating from an Associate in Science program in Business Administration and Management, Accounting Technology or Drafting and Design Technology [ 4 ]. The letter asked graduates to respond to a survey [ 5 ] to note any academic or professional challenges they have encountered and to offer service to meet their needs. As of March 26, 2012, some 16 students who graduated from ESC between May 2009 and August 2011 have responded. Eleven graduates noted that they are currently employed. All respondents indicated that they have not experienced any professional or academic deficiencies related to a course substitution they received. Additionally, eight graduates have continued on to a higher level academic program.
Advisement of continuing students who requested course substitutions
Students with 45 hours or more were notified in September 2011 to make an appointment with an advisor. Open advising sessions were held in January 2012, and a record details all advising sessions held since then[ 6 ]. An email has been sent to every student currently enrolled in the AS degree programs, offering them advising sessions [ 7 ]. This practice will continue to ensure that any students seeking course substitutions are advised on the adopted policies, allowances, and graduation requirements for their program of study. In the event the expectation of a course substitution results in a financial burden to the student, Foundation funds have been encumbered to assist with enrollment fees [ 8 ].
3. That appropriate measures are being taken to ensure program relevance and integrity.
Program Relevance and Integrity
Undergraduate Program Review
A Response Team consisting of faculty, staff and academic department chairs was formed to review all academic programs. (Core Requirement 2.7.2) [ 9 ]. This Team provided additional, independent review of program requirements, curriculum changes, College Catalog language, advising resources and degree audit systems [ 10 ][ 11 ].
With the guidance the Dean of Professional and Technical Studies and Edison Online, undergraduate requirements of the associate in science and baccalaureate programs in health, business and public safety underwent program review and revision (Comprehensive Standard 3.5.3). These program areas represented the highest number of egregious course substitutions. During the review process, it became evident that the curriculum was not aligned to the current State Frameworks. The faculty within each of the associated degree programs completed necessary curriculum changes [ 12 ]. These changes have been reviewed and approved through Edison State College’s Curriculum Committee process [ 13 ].
In addition to a comprehensive review of all academic programs, the Response Team cross- referenced the advising resources, College Catalog and degree audit system. Discrepancies were found between the College Catalog and the degree audit system. These discrepancies have been corrected and further errors of this sort will be flagged as a result of the new process.
A team of academic administrators and staff analyzed a sample of course substitutions over the past five academic years, scrutinized the existing College Operating Procedures and processes, and reviewed the Course Substitution Form, in collaboration with the Response Team. As past practice ceased and students were no longer eligible to receive course substitutions unrelated to specific program content and outcomes, a proactive advising strategy was implemented [ 14 ]. Students who had earned 45 or more credit hours, who had been previously notified of approval for course substitutions by former academic administrators, were advised and supported in the academic planning process [ 15 ].
Computer-based Compliance Audits
Students, faculty, and staff rely on degree compliance audits to provide accurate advisement and tracking. ESC has purchased DegreeWorks, a comprehensive degree audit tool, with a planned implementation in Fall 2012. In response to the SACS On-site review team’s findings, ESC secured a consultant, Sungard Higher Education, to review all academic program compliance audits, compare them to the College Catalog requirements (dating back to 2007-2008) and provide programming assistance to resolve any non-compliant areas. The consultants have been working with ESC staff since February 2012 and have prepared summary reports noting progress, recommendations and solutions [ 16 ][ 17 ]. The compliance audits of all academic programs have been reviewed for accuracy and improved as necessary.
The Registrar’s Office has prepared spreadsheets for use when comparing degree requirements by academic year (from 2007-2008 through 2011-2012) [ 18 ]. These documents track curriculum actions, changes, and improvements by program area.The revisions and adoptions of curriculum within the undergraduate academic programs, verification of accuracy of computer-based compliance audits, and implemented changes relating to the substitution of course requirements address this recommendation to ensure academic programs embody a coherent course of study and that students fulfill the necessary program requirements.
| Substitution Committee||Sign-In Sheets|
|Cross Reference Report|
| Graduate Letter||Letter to AS degree program graduates|
| Graduate Survey||Summary of Responses|
| Advising Sessions||Summary of advising sessions held|
| Student Email||Email to students offering advising assistance|
| Foundation Memo||Assistance with Tuition|
| Response Team||2.7.2 Response Team Members|
| Program Content Checklist||Checklist Form for All Programs|
| Response Team Meeting||Meeting Agenda|
| Curriculum Revisions||AS Degree Program Curriculum Alignment|
| Curriculum Committee Approval||Approved Curriculum Actions|
| Advising Strategies||Strategy; Advising Meeting Minutes|
| Student List||Students Advising Summary|
| CAPP Reports||Summary of Consulting Visits by Sungard Vendor 2/10|
| CAPP Reports||Summary of Consulting Visits by Sungard Vendor 2/17|
| Degree Requirements||Summary Created in Registrar’s Office for Use in Tracking Curriculum Updates|