The Role of Academic Senates in

Enrollment Management

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adopted Fall 1999

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1999 - 00 Educational Policies Committee

Hoke Simpson, Chair, Grossmont College

Lacy Barnes-Mileham, Reedley College

Elton Hall, Moorpark College

Kate Clark, Irvine Valley College

Mary Rider, Grossmont College

Ian Walton, Mission College

Robert Porter, Saddleback College, Student Representative

 

1998 - 99 Educational Policies Committee

Janis Perry, Chair, Santiago Canyon College

Linda Collins, Los Medanos College

Eva Conrad, Moorpark College, CIO Representative

Elton Hall, Moorpark College

Mary Rider, Grossmont College

Hoke Simpson, Grossmont College

Kathy Sproles, Hartnell College

Ian Walton, Mission College

 


Table of Contents

 

Abstract           1

 

Introduction      2

 

Background and Scope            3

 

Current Regulation and Statute  4

 

Enrollment Management and Emerging Themes in Higher Education       4

 

Enrollment Trends in California  6

 

Enrollment Management Considerations            7

 

Enrollment Management Strategies        9

 

Role of the Local Academic Senate       15

 

Recommendations for Developing and Evaluating Enrollment Management Plans            16

 

Summary          17

 

Glossary of Enrollment Management Key Terms           18

 

Bibliography     20

 

 

 


ABSTRACT

 

This position paper of the Academic Senate provides the background and scope of enrollment management as it is defined and practiced by educational institutions. Emerging themes in higher education, and enrollment trends in California, are used to frame enrollment management considerations. A variety of strategies for managing over- and under-enrollment are presented. The paper concludes with the role of the academic senate in developing and evaluating enrollment management plans. A glossary of enrollment management key terms is included at the end.

 

 

 


INTRODUCTION

 

Whether in times of scarcity or abundance of student demand for courses, faculty must become involved in the development of enrollment management decisions that protect students’ access and nurture their success in the learning environment. An expanding student population that is increasingly diverse must be assured access to college and opportunities for success.  This paper will focus on academic implications of enrollment management. The paper seeks to equip faculty with essential terms and concepts and to clarify the role of academic senates in enrollment management decision-making.

 

The paper reviews relevant regulation and statute, and provides the background and scope of enrollment management as it is portrayed and practiced by educational institutions. Enrollment management considerations are framed by discussions of emerging themes in higher education and enrollment trends in California. A variety of strategies for managing over- and under-enrollment are presented. The paper concludes with observations on the role of the academic senate in developing and evaluating enrollment management plans. A glossary of enrollment management key terms is included at the end that will assist local academic senates in consulting collegially in enrollment management issues at the campus and district levels.

 

Faculty have long seen the need to shape the critical discussions that inform enrollment management decisions. In Spring 1998, the Academic Senate passed the following resolution:

 

            S98 17.02 Enrollment Management

 

Whereas there are many community colleges that are currently unable to meet their growth targets for enrollment, and

 

Whereas enrollment management and establishment of floors for class sizes have a serious impact on student success, and

 

Whereas the administration of many community colleges are developing plans to control enrollment by such activities as creating contingency plans for using 4000 and 5000 accounts to pay for enrollment shortfalls, creating mega-divisions that temporarily generate increased enrollments and freezing block grants and new hires,

 

Therefore be it resolved that the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges direct the Executive Committee to write a position paper that contains guidelines for local academic senates to assure that they are thoroughly involved in decision-making involving enrollment management.

 

 

 


BACKGROUND AND SCOPE

 

Two papers recently adopted by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges provide valuable information and recommendations that can be applied to the development of effective enrollment management plans at the local level. In fact, Program Review: Developing a Faculty Driven Process, adopted in April 1996, and Program Discontinuance: A Faculty Perspective, adopted in April 1998, are essential resources for informing the discussion about enrollment strategies. A central theme of both papers is the need to develop a local academic senate position regarding issues that are intrinsically curricular, involving student access and success. While some faculty may not always recognize it, enrollment management is also such an issue.

 

In A Guide to Enrollment Growth Management in the California Community Colleges (1992), the Community College League of California (CCLC) defined enrollment growth management as “strategies used to address the problems created by the enrollment or potential enrollment of too many students to be served by the available resources.”  While CCLC focused on over enrollment, currently enrollment management also is used to address declining enrollment. For colleges that are actively seeking additional students, the term “enrollment management” is synonymous with marketing, recruitment, and retention efforts. Michael G. Dolence, in his book, A Primer for Campus Administrators (1996), describes the term as follows:

 

Strategic Enrollment Management is a comprehensive process designed to help an institution achieve and maintain the optimum recruitment, retention and graduation rates of students, where optimum is defined within the academic context of the institution. As such, SEM is an institution-wide process that embraces virtually every aspect of an institution’s function and culture.

 

The public universities in California have historically managed over- and under-enrollment by raising or lowering the academic standards for admission. Since community colleges are committed to open access, scheduling and course offerings have been used as the principal mechanisms for controlling or enhancing growth.  It is clear that enrollment management increasingly is being utilized to address a broad range of college policy and processes including matriculation, curriculum development, instructional delivery and style, and student services. All of these must be placed within the proper institutional context.

 

Local academic senates are in a position to frame and articulate the philosophical context of enrollment management from a faculty perspective. As such, this paper defines the term as follows:

 

Enrollment management is a process by which students enrolled and class sections offered are coordinated to achieve maximum access and success for students. All enrollment management decisions must be made in the context of the local college mission and educational master plan in addition to fiscal and physical considerations.

 


CURRENT REGULATION AND STATUTE

 

When seeking to make recommendations on or revise local policy, it is important for local academic senates to refer to established Education Code statutes and Title 5 Regulations. While there are no regulations that address enrollment management per se, the following statutes and regulations that govern matriculation, admissions and priority registration can be informative:

 

Education Code §76000, §§78031-32, Admission to College refers to who can be admitted to community college in and outside of the established district and how inter-district recruitment can take place.

 

Title 5 §55520 ff: Describes matriculation regulations which preclude using “any assessment instrument, method or procedure to exclude any person from admission to a community college.”

 

Title 5 §56232 ff: Provides for priority registration for Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP&S) students.

 

Title 5 §58106 identifies factors that justify limiting enrollment. These include:  prerequisites, health and safety considerations, facility limitations, faculty workload, availability of faculty, funding limitations, constraints of regional planning and statutory or contractual requirements.

 

Title 5 §58108 permits enrollment priorities based on “special registration assistance” for disabled and disadvantaged to provide equal educational opportunity, and a priority system for student enrollment that is established pursuant to legal authority of the local board of trustees. Further, the regulations identify that no registration procedures shall be used that result in restricting enrollment to a specialized clientele. Enrollment priorities may be established pursuant to legal authority by the local board.

 

Local academic senates need to be mindful of the potential impact of enrollment priorities on different segments of the community and on students with differing educational needs and priorities.

 

 

ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT AND EMERGING THEMES IN HIGHER EDUCATION

 

The appearance of enrollment management as an administrative technique in California community colleges coincides with an extended period of educational under-funding. The low level of per student funding, which became characteristic of the California community colleges in the last two decades, negatively impacted the participation rate of California adults in community colleges and has set in motion difficult choices relative to educational offerings. The removal of requirements for district residency in the early 1980s created a free flow system in which neighboring districts compete for enrollment. State mandated caps on enrollment have functioned to regulate the flow of students through the institutions, while funding for growth and cost of living increases have not kept pace with the increasing needs being experienced at the local level. Enrollment management should be placed in this context: a set of strategies to address how to apply often inadequate resources toward realizing the multiple missions of California community colleges.

 

While state funding of California community colleges began to rise again in the mid 1990’s, reflecting the improved state economy, the chronic under-funding of the California system has left a legacy of institutional inadequacies. The techniques of enrollment management have been honed as methods not only to modulate enrollment but also to manage institutional priorities.

 

Two themes emerge in current California higher education literature: (1) the continuing importance of student access and success and (2) the newer mantra, productivity and efficiency. Faculty must provide a definition of these terms as they relate to enrollment management. The mission of the community college system is to provide an “open door” to anyone who can benefit from a college education. To assure that the door is open wide enough to accommodate and support everyone, community colleges provide a comprehensive curriculum of transfer, vocational, general education and basic skills courses.

 

Recent demographic projections of a coming “tidal wave” of new students (estimated by the California Postsecondary Education Commission at nearly one-half a million in the next decade) have led to predictions that California institutions will be overwhelmed. According to this argument, the state simply will not be able to accommodate all of these students with the same traditional approaches. Faculty (both in California and nationally) have been encouraged to modify programs and offerings in order to compete effectively with private proprietary schools or distance education consortia which are cited as threats to the continued survival of community colleges. Fears of a “market share war” are sparked as a means to convince faculty that their future is uncertain unless they are more “market driven.”

 

These contradictory injunctions—we will be overwhelmed by demand as the new tidal wave hits, versus we are losing students and will be left in history’s dustbin—are both cited in support of turning to increasingly business-minded approaches for the management and rationing of educational opportunities. The concern for compressed calendars, year-round schooling, increased reliance on technology mediated instruction to reduce the need for “bricks and mortar,” are all examples. While these can be critical and appropriate strategies for ensuring that working students and their families are accommodated, faculty must raise the essential question of the educational needs of students and communities and not be stampeded into hasty reforms for the sake of productivity and market share.

 

Faculty have been increasingly told they must become more concerned with expanding the capacity of their colleges and the number of students “produced.” This is most evident in the output approach utilized by the Partnership for Excellence originated by the Chancellor of  California Community Colleges. The Partnership measures are largely capacity measures (numbers of students completing degrees and certificates, or the number or rate of students successfully completing courses and persisting term-to-term). These speak to the numbers of students moving through our institutions, rather than the quality of the education they experience while there.


Similarly, we are told that private proprietary institutions are more “flexible” and able to “deliver” education more efficiently. They cater to student “demand” to get through faster and with a minimum of “extra” requirements. Here the pressure to move students through—as contrasted with making the most of their opportunities while there—is based on a posited competitive shortage rather than an overabundance of students.

 

Faculty should be cautious in responding to such generalized injunctions toward increased productivity and capacity in the name of enrollment. While access must be safeguarded, indeed enlarged, for it to be meaningful, faculty must insist that it be access to quality educational experiences.

 

Curricular decisions need to be made on the basis of the best educational interests of the students and communities we serve. While economics of enrollment and productivity are central to access, without a grounding in a core commitment to excellence, promises of access are potentially bankrupt.

 

 

ENROLLMENT TRENDS IN CALIFORNIA

 

Enrollment in California community colleges is affected by the state’s economic cycles. During good economic times (such as 1979-82, 1987-1992, and 1995-98), the colleges received additional funding and were able to increase enrollments. However, during the most recent recession (1992-95) the community colleges’ systemwide cut over 9,000 course sections and reduced enrollments by about 160,000 students. As Thomas J. Nussbaum, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, stated in Important Historical Data, Trends, and Analysis Relevant to Full-time/Part-time Issues—A Working Paper (1999), “…The overall historical context depicts a significantly underfunded system that has been forced to reduce access during times of economic downturn.”  In Chapter One of The Challenge of the Century (CPEC 1998), Recommendation 1.8 indicates that the Governor, Legislature, and respective governing boards should prioritize access if rationing is required in the future because “…the State does not provide sufficient resources to support access for all who could benefit from postsecondary education.”

 

According to The Higher Education Update (98-5) the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) “estimates that demand for higher education is expected to increase by nearly one-half million students by the year 2005—a figure that appears to be beyond the capacity of our higher education institutions to accommodate through traditional means.”

 

 


There is no argument that the centrality of educationparticularly beyond high school—is the essential component that will guarantee California’s future success. There is also no question that faculty have played the key role in the delivery of the skills and knowledge that are required. What faculty do in the classroom has always had a powerful impact on the making or breaking of students’ college experience. In the future, what faculty decide outside the classroom may be as important for students who otherwise would be denied access.  Community college faculty, like members of other professions, must take on expanded decision-making roles and responsibilities to ensure enrollment opportunities are available to all of California’s citizens. It will be the decisions made at the local community college level that will determine whether the unsettling recommendations made by CPEC are ever necessary.

 

 

ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

 

Other enrollment management considerations include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following items:

 

Enrollment Cap, Growth and FTES Goals

Enrollment is also influenced by the state establishment of an enrollment cap and the funding mechanisms affected by the cap. An annual cap for community college growth is set during the state budget development process. When enrollment caps limit funded enrollment, enrollment management is practiced whether or not an enrollment management policy is in place.

 

Each college locally sets a growth target, or FTES goal, usually on an annual basis. This target (and actual local growth from previous years) is often used in multi-college districts to allocate annual funds from the district to each college. Within the college, the desired FTES for a given year will form the backdrop or parameter for expected course and section offerings. While faculty have generally not participated in discussions of growth or FTES goals, these goals are critical to the level of access at the college. These agreed upon goals are integral to curriculum and program planning, as well as tied to budget decisions. As such, local academic senates should work with local administrations to establish the process and criteria by which these larger parameters for enrollment management are set. This can occur both at the district and the college level.

 

Full-time and Part-time Faculty

Local academic senates and collective bargaining agents should note that enrollment management generally has profound implications for faculty employment. The reform bill AB1725 noted that the use of part-time faculty in the community colleges should not be primarily to effect cost savings, but rather should be for programmatic reasons, to enhance or bring special and current expertise to programs which might otherwise not be available. This tends to be particularly important in occupational programs which need to incorporate current business techniques or technologies on a regular basis.

 


 

However, despite AB1725’s legislative intent that 75% of course offerings should be taught by full-time faculty, California community colleges have come to rely on increasing numbers of part-time faculty. Part-time faculty generally are the most vulnerable to contraction and expansion of course sections, as full-time faculty generally retain rights to “bump” their part-time colleagues in case of contraction. Part-time faculty lost due to layoffs may not return to the college when opportunities again appear due to expanded enrollment. Retention of quality faculty cannot be maintained when poor decision-making related to enrollment creates continued unpredictability in program offerings over time. Thus, poor enrollment management undermines program quality and adversely impacts part-time faculty in particular. It is in the interest of all concerned—faculty, administrators, staff, but most especially students—to strive for the most accurate projections and scheduling practices possible.

 

Administrative Productivity

Efficient and effective administrative structures are critical to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are directed to meet the educational needs of the community. While enrollment management techniques historically have focused on faculty productivity, local academic senates also need to raise issues of management and classified productivity. Containment of administrative costs is a critical component of enrollment management, as the relative funds available for instruction, library and counseling services for students are inversely related to administrative costs. Faculty are encouraged to work collegially with administrators to define and effect appropriate measures of administrative productivity and outcomes to parallel those for faculty. Just as instructional cost considerations must be weighed in educational planning and budget processes, so must the allocation and effectiveness of administrative and staff FTE. Without such consideration, enrollment management approaches lack the comprehensiveness that allows for a sustainable college economy.

 

The state stipulates that a minimum of 50% of apportionment funds in a given district must be devoted to direct instructional costs (including instructors’ salary, benefits, and instructional aides). While this minimum acknowledges that indirect costs (such as registration, administrative overhead, and plant maintenance) are a necessary component of college budgets, the Academic Senate has consistently held that 50% is a low standard. A well-functioning college would devote proportionately more to instruction.

 

Alternative Revenue Resources

It is also critical to note that enrollment management techniques historically have been focused on managing existing resources. Both administrators and faculty need to consider additional revenue sources, and academic senates must assume their responsibility for developing the processes by which such funds will be allocated (Title 5, §53200.c.10). In addition to expected general and categorical funds, colleges increasingly need to seek bond measures, grants, partnerships and endowments in order to expand access and maintain institutional and educational integrity. Administrators are most well positioned to seek and provide institutional support to pursue such outside funding. Given the workloads of faculty, administrative support is essential if grants and other funding sources are to be available for faculty initiated projects to improve student success.

 

Collective Bargaining Issues

Enrollment management plans should include the input of the two faculty entities that best represent the interests of all faculty—the local academic senate and the local bargaining agent. While academic senates are to be the keepers of the academic missions of their colleges, unions can protect both the integrity of the faculty governance system and protect working conditions of faculty so that quality education can occur. When unions negotiate working conditions/due process rights, the welfare issues of the faculty, they create protections for academic freedom, curricular improvement, and a quality learning environment.

 

To delineate the functions of unions and academic senates as they relate to enrollment management, it is useful to think about the connection between process (union) and standards/criteria (local academic senate). For example, consider the arena of class cancellation during times of financial exigency. The process for notifying affected faculty of the class cancellation or for establishing bumping rights in cases of faculty reassignment is often the purview of the union, but developing criteria to determine which classes will be cut is often the purview of the local academic senate.

 

The following subjects inherent in enrollment management are generally considered within the scope of collective bargaining and can have a significant impact on working conditions:           

 


·        Timelines for notification of faculty that classes will be cancelled.

·        Class changes that affect right of assignment.

·        Changes that involve seniority in assignment and bumping rights in cases of class  cancellation.

·        Rights of refusal to faculty reassignment.

·        Retraining of faculty in cases of program discontinuance or reduction in classes of a certain kind or in a certain area.

·        Class-loads/work-load.

·        Class size.

·        Hours of work during the instructional day.

           

Clearly, any enrollment management policy and its process for implementation may have an impact on working conditions. A close partnership between local academic senates and bargaining agents as they help to develop an enrollment management plan will assure that faculty working conditions are neither violated nor undermined, and unions can continue to underpin the local academic senates’ efforts to preserve quality instruction.

 

 

ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

 

Decision-making in the area of enrollment management must involve an agreed-upon process, with a clear set of principles and criteria, and include regular communication, to avoid unfair enrollment management practices. The academic senate needs to play a key role in defining the philosophy, process, and criteria for enrollment management decisions.


If faculty are to participate effectively in enrollment management decision-making, it is necessary that they recognize the strategies employed in controlling enrollments. These are manifold, as the following discussion will indicate. Faculty want to be particularly sensitive, of course, to those strategies with curricular implications.


Recruitment

Clearly, every college has the option of actively recruiting students, or of simply sitting back and letting them come. In recent years, growth has been the name of the game; however, this has not always been the case, and the anticipated influx of Tidal Wave II suggests that it may not be in the near future. Strategies to note in particular here are:

 

·        High school articulation: The college is actively engaged with area high schools, keeping counselors abreast of degree and certificate requirements and seeking to develop cohorts of students who will enter the community college upon graduation.

·        High school matriculation: The college provides on-site assessment and orientation at feeder high school sites.

·        Feedback to high schools on student performance: The college provides feedback to the high schools on the college performance of its graduates and work with the high schools to develop programs in areas where performance is weak.     

·        Faculty in various disciplines engage in outreach to the high schools.

·        The college sponsors campus events for the community and feeder schools.

·        The college offers a college-within-a-college, such as a middle college, allowing juniors and seniors to complete their last two years on the college campus.

·        The college offers summer bridge programs, financial aid, counseling and other support services to enable a broader range of students to attend the college.

 

Registration Priorities

A college will sometimes recognize cohorts of students in its registration process and grant registration priority on this basis. Such registration incentives need to be carefully scrutinized to ensure that they do not violate principles of student equity. Some typically recognized cohorts are:

 

·        Honors students.

·        Project for Adult College Education (PACE) students.

·        Students meeting degree and certificate prerequisites.

·        Students who are either new or continuing.

·        Students who are either full- or part-time.

 

Registration Process

A college can be more or less inclusive through its use, or lack thereof, of a variety of registration procedures:


 

·        Walk-in registration.

·        Telephone registration.

·        Online Web-based registration.

·        Class waiting lists: The college can place students on wait lists for closed classes and automatically enroll and notify them as space becomes available during the registration period. The wait lists can then be used by instructors to determine priority for crashers.


·        Bulleted courses: Offer key courses in high-demand areas as bulleted in the schedule, indicating to students that, when enrollment exceeds a certain level, another section of the course will be opened at the same day and time.

 

Numbers of Sections Offered

Points to be considered here are:

 

·        The number of sections of a course offered should conform to the Educational Master Plan.

·        Sufficient sections are offered at an appropriate frequency (especially for sequenced courses) to facilitate program completion.

·        There are enough sections to meet demand in high-demand areas, such as ESL and basic skills.

 

Uses of the Budget

Faculty need to be alert to spending patterns in the area of enrollment and to attend to the following points:

 

·        The marginal cost of adding another section of a class needs to be regularly recognized.

·        The college should maintain a “Basic Skills Fund” from which to draw when expanded offerings are called for.

·        Matriculation monies should be used to facilitate enrollments. Local academic senate presidents have sign-off authority on matriculation plans, and should use this to assure a full discussion of the college matriculation plan to ensure that it supports the Educational Master Plan and sound academic policy.

 

Class Size

One of the most obvious enrollment management strategies is the setting of class minimum and maximum enrollments, where a low minimum and a high maximum reflect an effort to increase enrollments, and a high minimum/low maximum, an effort to decrease them. Issues for faculty to consider here are:

 

·        The academic optimum versus the facilities maximum: Since funding for community colleges is based on FTES, it will always be financially desirable to maximize the use of facilities (within the enrollment cap). This need, however, must be balanced against considerations of educational soundness. Even when the facilities permit, it is clearly folly, for instance, to permit, much less insist on, high per-section enrollments in classes such as ESL, foreign languages, and basic skills, where student learning depends on high levels of student participation and individual attention from the instructor. The standard should be that class size is determined by discipline faculty based on the academic needs of students in each course.

·        Load factors: This is an area in which local academic senates need to confer with union representatives to ensure that loads reflect an “academic optimum,” and, in reference to class size, that maximums and minimums reflect the nature of the work being done from discipline to discipline. For example, many colleges acknowledge the work load for composition courses by reducing faculty work load factors for those courses.

 

·        Lecture/lab ratio: Another area for senate/union collaboration is the determination of appropriate areas for the support of large lecture/small lab configurations and the variations thereon.

·        Curriculum approval: Local academic senates need to establish the principle that large classes require instructional aides and other instructional support strategies, and to withhold curriculum approval where this has not been accounted for in advance. Local academic senates and unions can collaborate in this area as well, to negotiate appropriate enrollment triggers that will automatically entail the use of support mechanisms.

·        Productivity goals: Almost all colleges engage in the practice of setting so-called “productivity goals,” which are measured in terms of Weekly Student Contact Hours per Full Time Equivalent Faculty (WSCH/FTEF). A productivity goal of 500, for example, requires that an instructor teaching 15 hours per week have an average of 33.3 students present for each hour of instruction on the roster on census day. A goal of 600 requires that 40 students be present for each of the 15 hours. In short, higher productivity goals require larger class sizes and attention to first-day-to-census-day retention strategies. Faculty need to insist that the setting of such goals occurs only in the larger context of an enrollment management plan (a) that takes into account the need to offer all classes necessary for program completion, even when the more advanced sections will be persistently low-enrolled, and (b) which involves clear strategies for teaching those classes whose content and/or instructional methodology require smaller class sizes than the average as mandated by the “productivity goal.”

 

Compressed Scheduling

Faculty need to be sensitive to the academic implications of various approaches to compressed scheduling and to ensure that practices in this area are academically sound. Some typical “compression” techniques and the issues they raise are:

 

·        Short-term classes: Do the subject matter and the instructional methods fit the term, such that there is adequate opportunity for learning to occur?

·        Block scheduling: Is teaching a class in a 3-hour block on one day a sound alternative to one hour on each of three days, given the subject and optimal instructional methodology?

·        Weekend courses: This ultimate form of “course truncation” requires special vigilance to ensure that there is genuine opportunity for learning given the subject and instructional methodology.

·        Open entry/open exit classes and labs: The critical issue here is whether staffing is adequate to ensure that instruction and learning take place. Is an open entry/open exit Physical Education class, for example, truly a “class,” or simply an effort to build FTES by offering a low-cost alternative to a health club or fitness center?

 



Effective institutional enrollment decisions must include the faculty perspective on the factors that influence students’ decision to enroll and stay in college. The current preoccupation with scheduling in accelerated, nontraditional course patterns should not be allowed to short circuit essential consideration of the quality or soundness of the educational experience for students. While courses may be offered in condensed formats, not all subjects lend themselves to such “anytime, anywhere” approaches. The opportunity to fully cover material, to allow for student development and content learning, as well as extended time on task and student-faculty interaction are all keys to student success. Faculty, through their local academic senate and departments, have a responsibility to raise and consider the appropriateness of course delivery formats for given disciplines and for differing student clientele. Student needs and best interests should be the determining factors—rather than efficiency alone.

 

Scheduling of Class Hours

Times when classes are offered can make a significant difference in student enrollment, as well as contribute to student success and program completion. Important considerations here are:

 

·        Courses should be scheduled so as to avoid conflict with other courses in the same pattern.

·        High-demand classes should be scheduled in non-prime-time, or “off,” hours.

 

The various aspects of class scheduling are examples of enrollment management decisions that can unduly influence the curriculum, as preferences for highly productive courses and short-term profitability can disfigure a college’s offerings if such considerations result in compromises to sound pedagogy. Faculty must question and assert the right of students to have time to learn and synthesize knowledge. They must insist that the Carnegie Unit be considered in the construction of any college schedule.

 

Calendar Issues

The changes to the 175-day rule (Title 5 §§55700-55732 and §58120) have opened the door to the institution of alternative academic calendars, which in turn has raised issues of both access and academic integrity:

 

·        Start date of the semester: This should be established as part of a matriculation plan that is coordinated (or deliberately uncoordinated) with the schedules of surrounding high schools and two- and four-year colleges.

·        Late-start courses: The college should schedule a percentage of late-start basic skills classes to accommodate students who find themselves in need of developmental work in the first weeks of the semester, both at the home college and/or in surrounding insitutions.

·        Short semesters and intersession courses: A calendar with shortened semesters, which in turn allows for a longer winter intersession, needs to strike an appropriate academic balance, such that more substantive classes can be offered in intersession without damage to the content of classes offered in the regular semester.

 


Class Cancellation

This, of course, is the area which faculty most readily identify with “enrollment management.” Faculty need to seek to influence their college’s class cancellation policies to be sure that they are conducive to both access and success. Among the issues:

 

·        Low enrollment classes are often those needed for program completion and should be protected from blanket cancellation policies.

·        Budgeting should be sufficiently flexible that money from cancelled classes can be shifted to other areas where it is needed. It might be used, for example, to salvage a low-enrolled class in another division that is needed for program completion.

·        When a section must be cancelled, students should be helped to enroll in other sections that fit within their schedules.

·        There needs to be clearly defined strategies to teach consistently low-enrolled classes.

·        Class cancellation policies should be written and clearly stated as part of a comprehensive enrollment management plan that comprises a rational scheduling plan, maximizing student access and success as well as facility use.

 

Course Repetition Policy

Title 5 is very clear on course repetition policy:

 

·        The attendance of students repeating a course for substandard work may be claimed only once for state apportionment. (See §58161.b.3.)

·        The attendance of students repeating a course for the development of skills (such as art, music, or physical education) may be claimed for state apportionment for not more than three semesters or five quarters. (See §58161.c.3.)

 

Faculty should work with administration to see that the Title 5 Regulations are strictly applied and that, where regulations allow for exceptions, the district has clearly written policies identifying the conditions under which these may be granted.

 

Retention Strategies

Because state funding for community colleges is based on FTES measured at the first census, colleges and instructors will engage in a variety of strategies to ensure that students, once enrolled, remain so. These include:

 

·        Imposition of course prerequisites.

·        Assessment and placement.

·        Counseling.

·        Maintaining a supportive class climate.

·        Offering resources such as reading and writing centers to which students can be referred for course-specific assistance when they encounter “sticking points” in their progress.

 


Persistence Strategies

Colleges and instructors may also engage in a number of strategies aimed at increasing term-to-term enrollment. These include:

 

·        Schedule alignment, wherein sequenced courses are taught at the same times in successive semesters.

·        Informing students in an earlier class in a series of sequenced courses about the next class in the sequence.

·        Organizing students into cohorts based on similar academic goals (such as UC transfer) so that they might advise and support one another as they progress.

·        Offering a full complement of support services—tutoring, mentoring, sports and career counseling, etc.—designed to encourage and facilitate student success.

 

In stressing the need for faculty vigilance regarding the employment of enrollment management strategies, the Academic Senate by no means intends to suggest that faculty will necessarily be locked in a perpetual struggle with administration. To the contrary, the ideal envisioned by the Academic Senate is one in which administration and faculty work as a team to produce a plan that meets both the fiscal needs of the institution as well as the academic needs of the students. For this to occur, faculty need to become more aware of the need for enrollment management and of the techniques available to achieve it. Department chairs scheduling for the coming year often find themselves under pressure from members of the department wanting to teach their “pet schedules.” For faculty to become aware of and vigilant regarding matters of enrollment management is for them to become aware of the larger institutional issues involved in things like scheduling, and is thus for them to become more effective contributors to a plan that promotes both fiscal and academic integrity, and student access and success.

 

Colleges must be solvent and wisely utilize the public dollar. Enrollment management done well can be a partnership in effective college operations and vibrant educational offerings. Faculty must work closely with administration to ensure that the rationale for making decisions is indeed informed by a commitment to the best education possible within the limits of funding.  An effective enrollment plan is akin to a set of sustainable practices in a given ecological community—able to sustain operations without exhausting resources or compromising the basic tenets of sound education.

 

 

ROLE OF THE LOCAL ACADEMIC SENATE

 


It is essential that local academic senates determine the rationale, principles and processes for enrollment management at their colleges. They must be included in the research, planning, and decision-making process. Often enrollment management is referred to as merely an “operational” task, but as defined above, enrollment management encompasses many of the academic and professional areas listed in Title 5 Regulation §53200. Indeed, policies and processes for student success, educational program development and program review, and curriculum are integral components of enrollment management, and hence are inherently academic matters for collegial consultation. Similarly, enrollment management is inextricably connected to educational planning and budget development processes, and as such must be subject for consultation with local academic senates.

 

The same rationale given for involving local academic senates in the program discontinuance process necessarily applies to the development of an effective enrollment management plan.  The Academic Senate paper, Program Discontinuance: A Faculty Perspective (April 1998), stated:

 

Through an organized resolution process or the development of a position paper, the local academic senate needs to lead in developing a well-defined, educationally sound program discontinuance policy that can affect one of the most important processes for defining the balance of a college curriculum and the future of students’ educational pursuits.

 

Since enrollment management decisions have the potential to impact an even greater number of students than program discontinuance, it is imperative that local academic senates take a leading role in clarifying the philosophy and guidelines behind the enrollment management policies of their campuses, as well as systemwide.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DEVELOPING AND EVALUATING ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT PLANS

 

The criteria for the development and implementation of an enrollment management process should be at the local level, determined by the unique needs and characteristics of a college campus and its surrounding community. They should:

 

·        Ensure that student access and success are of first priority.

·        Utilize qualitative data—faculty’s commitment to a comprehensive and balanced curriculum must be acknowledged. Innovative courses are created when faculty recognize the need to address their subject in a new way and when they are supported in their efforts to improve their programs. Student experiences and outcomes are also important factors to consider.

·        Be dedicated to ensuring the best educational experiences possible within the context of available resources.

·        Relate to the college’s mission and goals.

·        Be based upon uniform measures.

·        Be based upon consistent principles and policies applied across the curriculum.

·        Be based upon trends over time, typically three to five years.

·        Utilize quantitative data–in making enrollment management decisions, the following quantitative factors need to be considered: consistently weak or high enrollments, course retention rates that are typically below expectations, term-to-term persistence rates for student achievement, over-enrollment and long waiting lists, limited scheduling options, averaging student enrollment by sections offered, and the variety of ways to provide instruction (on-line, telecourse, accelerated, weekend, semester length), the match or fit between pedagogical design and delivery modes and student profiles and learning styles.

 

 


SUMMARY

 

The mission and goals of California community colleges are to ensure that every student, regardless of financial and academic constraints, has access to an education, and has the opportunity to be successful in that endeavor. At the beginning of the Industrial Age, education was a luxury available primarily to the privileged upper-class. Then, because of institutions like the California Community College System, higher education became an option accessible to anyone who sought specific training or a college degree. Education is now recognized as both a right and a necessity for every citizen who wants to understand, enjoy and participate in a rapidly changing world. The challenges that California faces in the next century include rapid growth, population diversity, economic instability, job market shifts, and an expanded demand for higher education from an increasingly under-prepared student population. In the 1998 paper, The Challenge of the Century, The CPEC asserts that “we are not prisoners of that context,” as long as we make choices about how to address those challenges, “ … including the relative importance (assigned) to developing policies, programs, and practices that promote equitable opportunities for all our students in order that they can prepare, pursue, and succeed in postsecondary education.”

 

As the acknowledged leaders in the academic environment, faculty have the obligation to raise their collective voice when enrollment management decisions are made regarding the accessibility of a comprehensive college program that serves all of California’s citizens.

 

 

 


GLOSSARY OF ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT KEY TERMS

 

To be more proactive and effective in consultation, faculty must learn the vocabulary and understand the concepts that drive enrollment management in times of scarcity and abundance.

 

ADA          ADA = Average Daily Attendance

                  This formula for calculating state funding was replaced by FTES.

                  ADA is no longer a relevant term for community college funding.

 

 

Census      Census = the date enrollment is established in a class for funding

purposes. Census is the Monday closest to the point at which 20% of the     class has been completed (Title 5 §58003.1.b). For the primary terms, this date is typically the Monday of the fourth week of a semester based on 20% of 17.5 weeks = 3.5 weeks rounded to four weeks); the  number of students enrolled in a class on that date is the enrollment number used in the funding formula. For short term classes, the census date is calculated individually for each short term pattern.

 

FTE         FTE = full-time equivalent

                 This is used to refer to:

·        full-time equivalent faculty, which should more clearly be abbreviated as FTEF and/or to full-time faculty load, e.g., a 3-hour lecture class is listed as .20 FTE or 20% of a 100% load.

        

FTES     FTES = full-time equivalent students

·        For state accounting purposes, a full-time student who attends 15 hours per week for 35 weeks (two primary terms). The rule is: 15 hours x 35 weeks = 525 total WSCH = 1 FTES

·        Another common look at FTES on a semester basis is the number of students enrolled times the hours per week for 17.5 weeks divided by 525: 10 students x three hours per week x 17.5 weeks = 525. 525 divided by 525 = 1 FTES

·        There are four specific formulas for FTES depending on the characteristics of the course and scheduling pattern: (1) weekly (semester length), (2) daily (short term), (3) actual hours (also called positive attendance), or (4) independent study, work experience, distance learning methods. The amount of money paid by the state  for each FTES will differ among Districts.

 

Primary Term             The fall and spring semesters are primary terms.

The terms are between 16 to 18 weeks long including both  instructional and flex days. Courses within this average 17.5 week period may meet for the full 17.5 weeks (semester length courses; FTES calculated by weekly attendance accounting formula) or may meet for fewer that the full 17.5 weeks (see short term courses below). Summer is an intersession, not a primary term.

 


Short Term                Short term courses meet for less than the 17.5 weeks of a primary term. These courses may be scheduled within the primary term period (e.g., 6-week or 12-week classes) or during an intersession (e.g., summer). Funding for short-term classes may be calculated either by the daily attendance accounting method or by actual hours attendance accounting method.

 

WSCH                        WSCH = weekly student contact hours

As a generalization, the formulas for state funding are a function of weekly student contact hours (the amount of time faculty and students interact). This is simply a count of the number of scheduled hours per week students meet with faculty. This provides an estimate of the funding to be allocated during the coming year. However, if a college schedules a significant number of non-traditional classes, e.g., 12-week classes, one-day seminars, etc., an estimate based on WSCH will be a less accurate estimate.

 

 

 

 

 

 


BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, “Program Discontinuance: A Faculty Perspective,” Position Paper, adopted April 1998.

 

Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, “Program Review: Developing a Faculty Driven Process,” Position Paper, adopted April 1996.

 

Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, “The Future of the Community College: A Faculty Perspective,” Position Paper, adopted November 1998.

 

California Postsecondary Education Commission, “Toward a Greater Understanding of the State’s Educational Equity Policies, Programs, and Practices: The College Experience,” Higher Education Update, February 1998.

 

California Postsecondary Education Commission, “Toward a Greater Understanding of the State’s Educational Equity Policies, Programs, and Practices: The Commission’s Recommendations,” Higher Education Update, June 1998.

 

California Postsecondary Education Commission, “The Challenge of the Century,”

March 1998.

 

Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges, “Important Historical Data, Trends, and Analysis Relevant to Full-Time/Part-Time Issues—A Working Paper,” January 1999.

 

Community College League of California, “A Guide to Enrollment Growth Management in the California Community Colleges: A ‘How to Do It’ Guide,” Commission on Education Policy Task Force on Enrollment Growth Management, August 1992.

 

Dolence, Michael G., A Primer for Campus Administrators, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 1993, Revised 1996.

 

McFarland, John, “Speed-Freaking in Higher Education,” FAACTS: Journal of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, December 1998.