Strategic Planning is an on-going, participatory process that engages both the internal and external college community in identifying and prioritizing college goals, and determining the means to achieve them. It provides the college with the opportunity to envision the future and chart a course for achieving it while at the same time shaping the budget development and distribution processes which are based on institutional priorities. Strategic planning defines our vision and mission, who we will serve, our role in the community, the kinds of programming and services we provide, and the resources needed to succeed.
Tunxis is committed to strategic planning as a vital part of the planning process that allows us to define our effectiveness as an institution.
Since the Fall of 2005, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee has been responsibile for coordinating and overseeing the implementation of a Comprehensive Assessment System. Integral parts of the Comprehensive Assessment System are the Ability Based Education Project , Strategic and Tactical Planning Process, and Evaluation/Institutional Effectiveness.
Ability Based Education (ABE) Project
Tunxis has adopted a campus-wide commitment to ability-based learning and assessment based on an approach which emerged from a close look at the model provided by award winning Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The complex model that Tunxis has developed embraces the notion of a shared responsibility on the part of all faculty and staff for student learning. It has several ongoing efforts at its core. Central to the success of this effort, is a commitment to be explicit at all times. Based on that simple yet important notion, the College has adopted clear statements that define what students are expected to gain, achieve, demonstrate, and know by the time they complete their academic programs.
Ten general education abilities have been established, and rubrics that define levels of mastery of each ability have been defined and finalized. The faculty has identified courses in which each ability is assessed, and all course syllabi indicate which abilities are assessed in the course as well as course and program outcomes. A “curriculum map” has been compiled showing in which courses each ability is assessed and the total number of times each ability is assessed in each degree program.
In the Fall of 2009, 49 of 56 full-time and 48 of 245 part-time faculty conducted ability assessments in their courses and submitted data on those assessments to the Office of Institutional Research. An analysis of the data provided comparative information on score distributions and means among faculty and courses assessing each ability for use in ongoing work to ensure consistency in the assessments. The data also revealed that there is a very close correlation between grades and ability assessments, providing some support for the validity of the assessments and that students most often struggle with the World Cultures and Critical Thinking abilities. All full-time faculty are expected to record ability assessments by Fall 2010; all adjuncts, Fall 2011.
A new software system, Digication, has been implemented that includes a module for compiling ePortfolios and a database system to collect ability scores/assessments. Twenty-two faculty members were actively using Digication in their classes in the Fall of 2009, and explicit plans to expand that group have been formulated. Currently, there are a variety of entry points for students to begin compiling an ePortfolio: First Year Experience, Composition, Integrated Reading and Writing II, Introduction to Computers, and various introductory courses. Business Office Technology, Computer Information Systems, Early Childhood Education, and Dental Hygiene have adopted ePortfolio as a graduation requirement, and other programs are