SOCCCD develops strategic plan

Four goals include fostering the environment, student success, economic and workforce development and strengthening financial health.

Kaylee Johnston

A strategic planning workshop to draft the objectives of the South Orange County Community College District’s (SOCCCD) six-year strategic plan that was approved by the District-wide Planning Council (DWPC) took place Sept. 20.

“I think the organization of [the workshop] has probably been driven by the time constraints that we have, and so it has been an efficient way to move forward,” Barbara Cox said. “I was delighted to see so many people turn up, that is very impressive, it shows us that our faculty, staff and administration all really care about the future of the college and want to participate in planning a better future, making the best possible for our students, our community and our college.”

During this workshop, members of the new strategic planning groups for each goal were selected, along with strategic planning group co-chairs. Tables were set out based on the four goals, giving people the opportunity to become involved with the goal of their choice.

“If you give people the choice to select what they’re interested in, they’re more likely to continue and have that sustain commitment,” Caroline Durdella, director of research, planning and accreditation, said. “Because we have content area expertise and they should be given the opportunity to let the entire college benefit from their expertise.

Once seated, the groups were asked to determine the chair members for their designated goal.

Goal one, “foster[ing] an environment characterized by creativity, innovation, respectful interactions, and collaboration,” chose chair Jennie McCue, director of public information and marketing. By May 2017, the Committee on Committees will develop a decision-making structure that incorporates each member and “standards of meeting behavior.” Also by May 2017, Saddleback is to build a “culture of philanthropy” with a 25 percent increase in donations.

Goal two, “promot[ing] students’ success by enhancing the teaching and learning environment,” chose co-chairs Penny Skaff and Bruce Gilman. The drafted objectives focused on improving retention, persistence and completion rates through learning environments that encourage support services, an increase in professional development and “foster student engagement through faculty and staff involvement.”

Goal three, “advanc[ing] economic and workforce development through regional partnerships with educational institutions and industry and by strengthening career technical education,” chose co-chairs Barbara Cox and Anthony Teng. The drafted objectives focus mainly on following the aftermath of the district’s programs in economic success for students.

Goal four, “strengthen[ing] long-term financial health and institutional effectiveness through integrated planning and resource allocation,” chose chair Carol Hilton, Vice President for College Administrative Services.

This new strategic plan, although similar to the goals and objectives of the 2010-13 plan, encompasses all of SOCCCD instead of simply focusing on the student success at Saddleback College.

“Strategic planning is an evolution,” President Tod Burnett said. “It gets stronger and better and more effective every time that you go through it, so we’re stronger and better this process even more than we were last time — four or five years ago — and it was successful then. The most important thing is helping our students to succeed, and that’s the main purpose, that’s our mission.”

Alterations to the drafted objectives are to be taken up with Durdella up until October 2, then sent to the Planning and Budget Steering Committee (PBSC) on October 3. The list will be given to the Consultation Council on October 8, then finalized for the second review by the PBSC on October 17, before being sent back to the Consultation Council on October 22.

The final draft will be reviewed by the DWPC at the next meeting on November 1 to compile district-wide objectives that must be approved by Chancellor Gary Poertner.