HLC Self Study
Chapter 5 Graphic

Collecting, Analyzing and Using Organizational Information

Estrella Mountain Community College maintains effective systems for collecting, analyzing and using organizational information.

The Community College Survey of Student Engagement

The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) assesses the extent to which students are engaged in good educational practices at community and technical colleges. Student engagement is defined as the amount of time and energy that students invest in meaningful educational practices. The CCSSE instrument was adapted from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), with permission from Indiana University. Estrella Mountain participated in the fourth full distribution of the national CCSSE survey in the spring of 2011. 

Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory

The purpose of the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) is to evaluate Estrella Mountain’s academic and student support services from the student perspective. The results of the Student Satisfaction Inventory are used to improve the services offered to Estrella Mountain students.  The last two administrations of the survey were in spring 2007 and spring 2010. In general, Estrella Mountain exceeds the Maricopa District for spring 2010 in most areas, but comparisons to the national cohort were mixed.

Estrella Mountain Graduate and Certificate Follow-Up Surveys

These surveys are part of a process to obtain feedback from all graduates and certificate completers. This survey is part of a semi-annual effort to track occupational certificate completers one year after the completion of a certificate program. Graduates from the spring terms are surveyed one year after completing. This survey is used to support the core indicators of effectiveness for workforce development. Custom breakdowns of the data are also used to provide evaluative data for Program Review. Surveying graduates represents a significant investment in time because three mailed surveys are sent to each completer, and phone calls are made to non-responders. Generally, more than 85 percent of completers are satisfied and would recommend Estrella Mountain to a friend.

Program Review

Appropriate data and feedback loops are available and used throughout the College to support continuous improvement. Periodic reviews of academic and administrative subunits contribute to the overall improvement of the Institution. Estrella Mountain has a formal Program Review process for academic, occupational, student services, and administrative divisions to review their program or service area in relation to the institutional mission, strategic directions, assessment, and other various planning documents. Participatory and cross-functional teams are representative of all stakeholders.  Program Review results are evaluated and discussed at the annual August Leadership Retreat. Findings are then identified and prioritized as action items for college-wide planning and the Budget Development Process.  For example, during the fall 2010 Leadership Retreat, evaluation of program reviews determined the following items as action items:

  • Expand Adjunct Faculty Support
  • Focus on Developmental Education                                                                                                                 
  • Coordinating and Expanding Student Internships
  • Improving Transfer and Career Pathways
  • Enhancing Services for Evening Students

Institutional Data

Estrella Mountain benefits from the existence of two major data warehouses: the Arizona State System for Information on Student Transfer (ASSIST) and the Institutional Research Information System (IRIS). These tools allow for an extensive analysis of student success and the efficient update of many core indicators of effectiveness. The amount and availability of institutional outcome data is significant and continues to grow. Estrella Mountain has leveraged District environmental scanning efforts to provide a significant resource that is updated annually, and the College was a lead participant in the District’s collaborative environmental scanning initiative. The College produces a scan and fact book that includes the following: environmental scanning information (gleaned from a collaborative District project), service area data, economic and job outlook, and community college facts.


Estrella Mountain Community College provides support for its evaluation and assessment processes through the following resources:

  • Highly-skilled Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness team
  • Substantial release time for two faculty co-chairs to ensure continual focus on the assessment of student learning and curriculum improvement
  • Student academic assessment process that serves to promote continued excellence in teaching and learning by assessing the effectiveness of instruction and services and determining the scope of competence for student learning outcomes (abilities)
  • Financial resources and significant staff time to support student learning and success initiatives via college planning and institution-wide assessment processes  (e.g., CCSSE, Noel-Levitz, Program Review, strategic directions, Learning College grants, and course evaluation)
  • Consistent funding in the instructional budget for adjunct and classroom needs
  • Assessment discussion opportunities (e.g., monthly Student Academic Achievement Committee Meetings, Assessment Newsletter, Day of Learning, All Employee Meetings, Five Minutes of Fame, Learning at Lunch, and Pedagogy Workshops)