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PR #14 August 29, 2007

RVCC BOARD APPROVES FIVE-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN

The Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Board of Trustees has approved a five-year strategic plan that focuses on five key areas: increasing College responsiveness to the changing needs in our communities; providing the highest quality educational experience for students regardless of their educational preparation; ensuring programs and services are built around a student-centered philosophy; ensuring that programs are fully accessible; and maintaining a prudent approach to College financial planning.

The strategic plan was the result of a year of study and analysis by the College community, including the Board of Trustees, and involved input from students, educators, government officials and business and community leaders. The process enabled the College to identify its major challenges and opportunities and to develop strategies to better serve students and the community.

As part of the process, RVCC President Dr. Casey Crabill held six community listening sessions that offered people the opportunity to share their views about RVCC and offer suggestions on how the College can grow and improve in order to better serve the community. The results of these sessions provided valuable insight for RVCC?s planning committee members as they charted the College?s course for the next five years.

?During the strategic planning process, I had an opportunity to meet with hundreds of people. Community leaders, business executives, students, parents, educators and government officials shared their opinions about RVCC and their thoughts about how we can improve our services to the community,? said Dr. Crabill. ?The process was extremely insightful and rewarding. Throughout all these listening sessions one common theme emerged: RVCC is highly regarded in the community for providing an excellent education at affordable prices. The strategic plan will build on our successes and provide a roadmap to meet the needs of students as the College grows,? Dr. Crabill continued.

Two guiding principals have driven the strategic planning process. First, the strength of the College?s future and the ability of the College to grow its diversity, in all respects, are intimately intertwined. Second, the College?s success in measuring and documenting its outcomes is central to its ability to maintain the confidence of the public it serves.

Five key factors were identified as driving the future direction of the College:

1. Changing Demographics

During the next several years, RVCC can expect to see some major changes in the demographic makeup of Somerset and Hunterdon counties that will have significant impact on the College?s enrollment and programming. These factors include:

  • a significant increase in high school graduates through 2013

  • an increase in minority, immigrant and first-generation college students seeking access to higher education

  • a growing population of adults who are retired or are approaching retirement age

  • a decline in the population of adults between the ages of 25 and 40

Major initiatives to respond to the changing demographics include:

  • Expanding recruitment efforts to encourage more high school students to start their college education at RVCC

  • Establishing a Lifetime Learning Institute to address the needs of adult learners

  • Expanding academic programs to support regional economic opportunities

  • Increasing diversity-related programming for staff and faculty

2. Highest Quality Education

Students who enter RVCC vary greatly on levels of college-preparedness. Some of our students are under-prepared for college, and therefore need a great amount of remediation before they are ready for college-level work. Other students are well prepared for the rigors of college.

Major initiatives aimed at providing the highest quality educational experience for all students, regardless of their educational preparedness, include:

  • Reaching out to K-12 school districts to develop college readiness programs for minority and first-generation college students and their families

  • Providing sufficient counseling, advising, testing and tutoring services for students in order to meet the anticipated increase in demand

  • Increasing the number of transfer agreements with top four-year institutions

  • Expanding the number of baccalaureate and master?s degree courses on the RVCC campus through the College?s partnerships with four-year institutions

  • Offering advanced programming through an Honors College for high-achieving students

3. Student Centeredness

Research shows that there is a correlation between effective programming and the success of students. As the student population at RVCC changes, the College needs to make adjustments in its programs and services to students.

Major initiatives to ensure programs and services are built around a student-centered philosophy include:

  • Expanding extracurricular activities for students, including athletics, in order to enrich their college experience

  • Enhancing opportunities for students to participate in service learning, a program that enables them to do volunteer service in the community as part of their classroom experience

  • Enhancing internship and co-op experiences in order to enrich and broaden their academic experience

  • Constructing a Student Center to support student activities

4. Accessibility

RVCC is committed to providing open access to higher education. A number of factors can contribute to accessibility to higher education, including cost, lack of student preparedness for college-level courses, availability of public transportation and support for students with disabilities.

Major initiatives to ensure that programs and services are fully accessible include:

  • Enhancing the Franklin Center site so more varied academic programs are available to serve the community

  • Developing new, creative strategies to deliver academic instruction to the residents of Hunterdon County

  • Working in collaboration with K-12 districts to improve the college readiness skills of students

  • Enhancing the College?s Foundation support for scholarships and programs

5. Financial Planning

State assistance can vary from year to year, and additional costs have been shouldered by Somerset and Hunterdon counties, as well as our students. In addition, operational and capital needs have risen in response to an increase in enrollment.

Major initiatives aimed at ensuring a prudent approach to the College?s financial planning include:

  • Accelerating development of the main campus including construction of a new student center, an arts facility, a first responder facility, additional classrooms and expanded parking

  • Augmenting efforts to secure grants from public agencies and foundations

  • Enhancing fundraising efforts by the College Foundation

  • Enhancing academic partnerships with the Somerset County Technology Institute and the Hunterdon County Polytech Career Academy in order to draw on the strengths of these institutions to better serve the needs of the community

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 40 years, offers more than 80 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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