Thursday, September 8, 2011

Public forum set for college district's educational master plan

Want to have a voice in the future of East County’s community colleges?
The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is in the midst of a yearlong effort to craft its educational master plan and wants to hear from the public it serves.
A community forum is set for 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in room I-207 of the Cuyamaca College Student Center to provide the public an opportunity to contribute to the long-range blueprint for the future of Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, which together serve almost 30,000 students each year. The topics and ideas that crop up during the discussion will help shape the future of higher education in the East County in the next 15 to 20 years.
“The educational master plan will help set priorities and will guide decisions about growth, development and the allocation of resources,” said Cindy L. Miles, district chancellor. “We are especially eager to hear from the business community -- learning what jobs and skills employers anticipate needing is critical to our meeting community needs. What are the workforce needs and emerging occupations that we should be training people for?”
While the colleges have developed their own master plans in the past,  in this approach the district has created a coordinated educational master planning process with the two campuses. The districtwide process allows more integrated planning, with better communication and coordination between the colleges and district services, said Jerry Buckley, senior dean of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness for the district.
As the first step in the planning process, stakeholders throughout the college community -- employees, students and community members -- were invited to electronically submit relevant resources from research publications, books, magazines, or newspaper articles relating to trends in society, technology, economy, environment, politics, and education.
About 3,000 submissions were reviewed by volunteer teams of employees and students who identified trends that could impact Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, such as a student population that is older, more diverse and likely to be more self-directed and proactive. In the technology realm, the review teams found a continued growth and demand for online learning and an increasing demand for mobile access to learning resources.
In addition to soliciting online submissions, the college district also posted information about the master plan process on online news sites, receiving thousands of hits, Buckley said.
The data from a comprehensive range of sources –student and institutional outcomes; internal and external trend analysis, and feedback from institutional and community focus groups -- will be used to set long-term goals, objectives and priorities. In addition to the education and industry partners expected to attend the Sept. 22 forum, input is also being solicited from the East County Economic Development Council, area chambers of commerce, school districts, and other community groups.
The educational master plan committee has targeted December for completion of the document, which will then be posted at www.gcccd.edu/research/EMP/EMP.asp
“Completion of the district’s 15-to-20-year educational master plan ensures that Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges will continue to effectively serve the higher education needs of our community and future generations of students,” Governing Board President Bill Garrett said.
To confirm attendance at the Sept. 22 public forum, RSVP to jennifer.danks@gcccd.edu
Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego. Parking will be available in the student lots.
For more information about Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu