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SACS Facts

July 2012

Greetings PCC Family and Friends,

As we continue down the road to reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (COC), we can take comfort in the knowledge that Pitt Community College has experienced individuals working hard behind the scenes to make our journey smooth.

Just this month, Dr. Pamela Hilbert, Vice President of Academic Affairs, announced that Andrew Walker will now serve as the college’s new Career and Academic Planning (CAP) Director. Walker’s task will be to oversee implementation of PCC’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which plays an integral role in our pursuit of reaccreditation.

Identifying and Creating Our QEP …

Pitt’s QEP focus is to improve career planning and academic advising for Associate in Applied Science (AAS) students and to increase student use of those services.

According to Hilbert, the QEP topic was determined by an identification team that examined information gathered from students, alumni, employees, trustees and others in the community through focus groups and surveys. In one particular survey conducted by Noel-Levitz two years ago, PCC students reported dissatisfaction with career and academic planning, compared to a national cohort of public community college students.

Once the QEP topic was identified in the summer of 2010, a development team—led by Arts and Sciences Dean Stephanie Rook and comprised of representatives from each academic division, Student Development Services, and Academic Affairs—began working on a draft of our quality enhancement plan. “CAP” was eventually selected as an acronym to help people remember our QEP goals, and PCC's Marketing Department has created "CAP" logos to coincide with that effort.

After receiving valuable feedback from COC Vice President Barry Goldstein during his campus visit in February, the QEP Development Committee bolstered our plan before delivering a comprehensive draft of the document to the SACS Leadership Team in May 2012.

When a COC team visits the college Sept. 18-20, its members will examine data and conduct interviews to evaluate the soundness of our QEP.

Watch video of Dr. Pamela Hilbert discussing our QEP ...

Efforts to Reach Our QEP goals …

As CAP director, Walker will work with faculty and staff in the weeks leading up to the COC team’s visit to establish improved processes for career development and academic advising. When the visitors have left campus, he will strive to incorporate their suggestions into our QEP efforts.

Hilbert says a budget plan is in place to purchase supplies and support professional development for employees involved in implementing the QEP. She noted that there are four major interventions planned to help us achieve our QEP goals:

  1. Establishment of a CAP steering team and academic advising team;
  2. Integration of career planning into pre-enrollment processes for AAS students;
  3. Creation of two additional advising centers for AAS students; and
  4. Redesign of ACA 111 (College Student Success), a required course for AAS degree-seeking students.

Barriers We Must Overcome …

To accomplish the objectives outlined in the QEP, Hilbert says PCC will need additional career services staff. At present, there is one full-time employee, Arwen Parris, working in this area.

Hilbert went on to say that improvements to the career planning portion of ACA 111 classes are forthcoming. She added that students would take the course at the beginning of their academic journeys to gain a better understanding of the educational requirements of their future careers and to plan accordingly.

Measuring Our QEP Success …

Hilbert says PCC will assess its QEP efforts and ensure they are making a difference by surveying AAS students and through quantifiable measurements that include retention rates, course success and graduation rates. She said the college would collect data on student use of career and academic advising services as well as outcomes of professional development for faculty and staff involved with career and academic planning.

So, Where Do We Stand Right Now?

According to Hilbert, PCC has put the final touches on its quality enhancement plan and is preparing to submit the document to the Commission on Colleges. When the COC visiting team comes to campus in September, she says members will offer input on how the plan can be improved.

The actual implementation phase of the QEP will not begin until mid- fall semester, Hilbert said, adding that the college has five years to carry out the plan.

The Road Ahead …

PCC must submit its quality enhancement plan along with a focus report to COC by July 30.

Before the on-site COC visiting team comes to campus in September, its chair, Dr. Linda K. Thomas-Glover, will visit PCC. Dr. Thomas-Glover, who is president of Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa, Va., will visit the college on Aug. 23.