HLC Self Study
Chapter 5 Graphic

Summary

Estrella Mountain Community College has a strong history of planning. Estrella Mountain’s planning efforts focus on building a Learning College, while the Financial Resource Plan provides the College with the stability it needs to support learning while navigating a challenging economic environment. Institutional plans enable Estrella Mountain to strategically and continuously improve the services it provides to the West Valley community.

The following Strengths, Challenges and Recommendations deomonstrate that Estrella Mountain Community College’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

Strengths

  • Estrella Mountain Community College effectively allocates its resources and through its planning processes demonstrates its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of learning and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
  • The Maricopa County Community College District and Estrella Mountain environmental scans illustrate that planning documents have input from diverse employee, community and student populations.
  • The College’s planning documents continue to account for enrollment growth and a steadily increasing diverse student population.
  • Estrella Mountain’s planning processes reflect an ongoing strategic planning process that is reviewed, analyzed, supported, and exhibited through the College’s vision, mission and core values.
  • Estrella Mountain’s facilities development is guided by a Master Plan.
  • Estrella Mountain maintains and operates its facilities ($4.97 per square foot) below the national average ($5.09 per square foot), demonstrating efficient use its resources.
  • There is a strong link between Estrella Mountain’s Strategic and Financial Resource Plans.
  • Estrella Mountain’s Budget Development Steering Team (BDST) was established and later reorganized into a more efficient and effective structure.
  • Financial stability measures for the College have been developed and implemented successfully through the creation of a five-year Financial Resource Plan.
  • The College has implemented multiple budget cuts that have had a minimal impact on student support.
  • Through use of the Enrollment Growth Fund, there has been consistent financial support for new initiatives, particularly those that are related to student success and Learning College Principles.

Challenges

  • Continued improvement is needed to demonstrate alignment of the College’s planning documents
  • As enrollment continues to grow, Estrella Mountain has limited budget for staff and operational needs.
  • Planning for the end of available capital funding from the 2004 bond for major emergency and preventive maintenance for future and existing facilities.
  • Dependency on short-term employees (i.e., adjunct faculty, one-year-only, one-semester-only, specially-funded, and temporary staff).
  • Funding from the District for operational commitments for new college facilities was trimmed from $15 per square foot to $10 per square foot, making it difficult to maintain the facilities at the same standards as before.

Recommendations

  • Estrella Mountain Community College needs to continue to be creative in the allocation of its resources and its processes for evaluation and planning in order to demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of education and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
  • The College should establish a visual tool (concept map) and workflow illustrating how planning documents support each other, how components are incorporated into each document and how stakeholders are represented.
  • Estrella Mountain needs to expand alternative funding sources through federal and state grants as well as private grants, such as the Gates Foundation, to address the limited budget for staff and operational needs.
  • Estrella Mountain needs to continue the development and implementation of the annual Technology Purchase Plan and the Financial Resource Plan.
  • The College needs to consider the state of technology and learning in consideration of life without the bond.
  • Estrella Mountain needs to start planning for the next General Obligation Bond in support of the Master Plan and the Learning and Technology Plan.