HLC Self Study
Chapter 4 Graphic

Core Component 1C

Understanding of and support for the mission to pervade Estrella Mountain Community College.

A Learning College Culture

The Maricopa County Community College Governing Board, as well as Estrella Mountain Community College’s administration, faculty, staff, and students, understand and support the institutional mission. In early 2008, Estrella Mountain commissioned the League for Innovation in the Community College to conduct an assessment of the College’s perceptions of itself as a Learning College. The intention was to use the findings to determine strategies for strengthening and intensifying the focus on learning across the Institution.

Results from Estrella Mountain’s Learning College Assessment Report indicate that the following elements of a Learning College are already in place:

  • Leadership and support at many levels, including commitment from the college leaders to advance this effort
  • Many services available to support student success
  • Many opportunities for employee professional development
  • A major assessment initiative underway
  • Technology infrastructure and physical space to support learning

While the Learning College Assessment identified many strengths, leadership recognized that the word “learning” needed to be more clearly reflected in the vision, mission and core values of the College. In order to strengthen the institutional focus, Estrella Mountain began an exhaustive effort to review and revise its vision, mission and core values to accurately reflect its commitment to learning.

The College reviewed its statements to determine if they clearly articulated an institutional commitment to learning, while remaining closely aligned with the District’s vision, mission and values. Participation from multiple constituency groups provided a greater understanding of the mission and its value to the community. During the review, it was determined that civic responsibility and global engagement needed to be added to align with the District’s mission and local community needs.

Mission Integration

Estrella Mountain Community College articulates the mission in a consistent manner. The mission statement is found in publications such as the Academic Catalog, course schedules, student handbook, and website. It is also posted in various high traffic locations across the College. During the spring 2010 All-Employee Celebration, attendees were offered their choice of a coffee mug or sustainable tumbler, both of which feature the mission statement. The intent is that employees, students and the community understand the mission of Estrella Mountain Community College and that the documents provide a visible reminder of the core values and purposes that guide daily operations.

Strategic Decisions

At Estrella Mountain Community College, strategic decisions are mission-driven. The institutional strategic planning model and Strategic Plan 2010-2013 demonstrate that the mission and purposes are a driving force in the planning and budgeting strategies of the College. As Chapter 5: Criterion 2 will detail, the Strategic Plan is developed to facilitate the achievement of Estrella Mountain’s mission and mission goals.


Estrella Mountain Community College’s planning and budgeting priorities flow from and directly support the institutional mission. As outlined in great detail in the following chapters, Estrella Mountain engages in participatory and comprehensive budget planning. These planning and budgeting strategies closely align with the District process and provide direction in identifying institutional challenges/priorities.