Edmonds Community College has a new mission statement: “Edmonds Community College strengthens our diverse community by helping students access educational and career opportunities in a supportive environment that encourages success, innovation, service, and lifelong learning.”
The new statement replaces the mission the college has had for the past 15 years. Employees across the college contributed to the adoption of the mission, which was approved by the college’s Board of Trustees at its June meeting.
“We’re not changing what we do, which is provide opportunities for students to take classes and earn degrees, certificates, and diplomas, but what’s important about the new wording is that it reflects strategic and data-informed work aimed at increasing student success and retention,” said Edmonds CC President Jean Hernandez.
The college also has new core themes that are tied to specific, quantitative performance measures. Making sure that the college’s stated mission aligns with these goals is an accreditation requirement of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The college’s core themes:
“The benefits of attending Edmonds Community College include the quality of our programs and our accreditation," said Hernandez. "Our students know that the college they are attending strives for excellence. We’re measuring our work so that we can show our students, community, and employers the value they are getting. Just like our students, we’re motivated to constantly better ourselves.”
In addition to regional accreditation for the college, many of the college’s programs seek additional accreditation from their professional associations. For example the college’s: Construction Management program is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education; Project Management program is a registered provider with the Project Management Institute; Paralegal program is American Bar Association-approved; and Center for Families Childcare and Head Start programs are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
And, in addition to the work the college does with local employers on advisory boards to ensure its programs are current, these accreditations show that the college’s training and programs meet industry-recognized standards.
"We are the only nationally accredited Construction Management Associates Degree program in the Northwestern United States,” said Construction Management instructor Ed van der Bogert. “This really sets us apart from other local construction programs. Building a well-respected and nationally recognized program helps our students move on to their next steps at universities or in careers and signals to employers that our graduates will have the skills they need. That makes it worth the work to prove to our accreditors that we meet their standards.”
As part of its strategic efforts the college has joined Achieving the Dream, a national initiative that helps more community college students succeed; worked closely with local area colleges (the Five Star Consortium of Cascadia, Edmonds, Everett, and Shoreline community colleges and Lake Washington Institute of Technology) to align and improve services for students; revised and published learning outcomes in the college catalog as a guide for students; and started a new internal strategic planning process.
Strategic planning helps the college focus on refining college services and supporting students.
“This is especially helpful in the current budget climate. Between 2009 and 2012 we have had our state-funding cut by more than $10 million. Our core themes helped us decide where we could make cuts with the least impact to students,” said Hernandez. “For the most part, we were able to do things like increase class sizes, reduce energy consumption, and secure grants rather than having to cut programs, services, and staffing significantly.”
The college’s previous mission statement: “Edmonds Community College is a leader in providing quality opportunities for learning and service, responding to the dynamic needs of our diverse community.”
As a next step, in 2013 the college will seek community input on a five-year vision plan.