HLC Self Study
Chapter 1 Graphic

Institutional Self-Study Process

Planning, both formal and informal, has always been an integral part of institutional development at Estrella Mountain. These efforts laid the groundwork for the initial Institutional Self-Study process in 1996 and the 2002 self-study.

The 2011 self-study process began in March 2009 when Self-Study Coordinators were appointed and the Executive Team was formed. The purpose of Estrella Mountain Community College’s self-study is to demonstrate that Estrella Mountain Community College meets all criteria for continued accreditation and make clear any opportunities for continuous improvement. The goals of the self-study process consist of the following:

  • Analyzing, evaluating and documenting institutional strengths, concerns, opportunities, and challenges in order to continually improve all aspects of Estrella Mountain Community College and effectively prepare for the future
  • Cultivating an organizational culture that embraces collaboration, fosters community and creates learning opportunities for employees
  • Supporting a culture of evaluation and authentic assessment as a priority for all areas of the Institution
  • Developing and implementing a process for communication that will continue to support institutional improvement

The Vice President of Academic Affairs and a residential counseling faculty member serve as the Institutional Self-Study Coordinators. Led by the coordinators, the Self-Study Executive Team consists of the following:

  • President
  • Vice Presidents
  • Director of Information Technology
  • Dean of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness
  • Executive Assistant to the College President
  • Self-Study Project Writer, a residential English faculty member

The faculty coordinator and writer were nominated by Faculty Senate and then appointed by the College President. Once the Executive Team identified the Criterion and the Resource Team leaders, the Steering Team was formed. What followed was a two-year intensive self-evaluation process.  In October 2009, an All-Employee Kick-Off began the formal self-study process, and all employees were encouraged to join one of the Criterion Teams. An awareness campaign was launched that included a self-study Web page, movie-themed posters situated throughout the College, trivia contests, and humorous yet informative videos about accreditation. The videos and contests were easily accessible through Estrella Mountain’s website. More than 120 College and SouthWest Skill Center employees participated in Estrella Mountain’s self-study efforts. 

In the semesters that followed, the Executive Team, the Steering Team and the Criterion/Resource Teams met regularly. College-wide employee meetings and student forums were conducted to increase awareness of the importance of the self-study process and findings. The College began sharing the findings with the community in spring 2011. Copies of the Institutional Self-Study Report as well as the Executive Summary are posted to the College website so they are available to all employees, the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board members and the general public. Hard copies are available upon request.

Figure 1