State Board Approves Policy to Maintain VCCS Accessibility, Effectiveness, and Efficiency
RICHMOND – The Virginia State Board for Community Colleges approved a process, at its regular July meeting, to examine the sustainability of VCCS institutions. The measure, which focuses on accessibility, effectiveness, and efficiency within the VCCS, is a response to a recommendation from a recent Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) study that identified the lack of any process in VCCS Policy Manual for considering college consolidations and closings.
“Everyone on this Board is here to support our colleges in their urgent mission to serve people,” said Robin Sullenberger, chair of the State Board for Community Colleges. “And it makes sense to have the tools necessary to examine our own efficiency and ensure that we are being responsible both to the students we serve and the taxpayers who support us.”
A task force consisting of three former members of the State Board and three retired presidents wrote the Policy to Maintain Accessibility, Effectiveness, and Efficiency with the VCCS. All six of those individuals live in rural Virginia, and the presidents had all worked at small colleges. They were selected to ensure the nuances and unique considerations of the communities most likely to be touched by this policy were priority considerations in its creations.
“The VCCS is home to some of the very biggest and some of the very smallest higher education institutions in Virginia,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “I commend the committee for their work. They found a fair balance between our mission of affordability and access and our fiscal responsibility.”
Under the new policy, each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges will be evaluated annually, based on factors including effective delivery of programs to students, and recognizing the role the college plays in its local community. Detailed assessments will be conducted for colleges that fall below certain thresholds, including number of students served, population of service area, and cost of programs relative to the rest of the community college system.
“Should a college undergo a detailed assessment, there are requirements to gather information and perspectives from community stakeholders, and that’s important,” said Sullenberger. “Everyone knows that a community college is more than just some numbers on a spreadsheet.”
The annual evaluations required by the new policy will begin before the end of the calendar year. Should the findings necessitate a detailed assessment; the results of it will go to the chancellor, who would make a recommendation for Board consideration.
About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.
Asst. Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications