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The Institution as Learner Dr. Joyce C Romano Students In Transition Conference 2011. Valencia College. 65,000 students annual headcount 5 campuses in 2 counties in Central Florida (Orlando area) 87% of students are degree-seeking 58% Associate in Arts (traditional transfer to bachelors)

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The Institution as LearnerDr. Joyce C RomanoStudents In Transition Conference 2011

Valencia college l.jpg
Valencia College

  • 65,000 students annual headcount

  • 5 campuses in 2 counties in Central Florida (Orlando area)

  • 87% of students are degree-seeking

  • 58% Associate in Arts (traditional transfer to bachelors)

  • 42% Associate in Science (traditional workforce related)

  • 45% Full time enrollment

  • 72% age 24 or younger

  • 16% African-American, 28% Hispanic, 40% Caucasian

  • 50% students receive financial aid

Learning college improved results l.jpg
Learning College = Improved Results

  • Fall to Spring persistence of new students increased to 86.2%

  • Fall to Fall persistence of new students increased to 67%

  • Developmental education completion increased 20%

  • #1 community college in associate degrees awarded

  • Leah Meyer Austin Award for Achieving the Dream (1st recipient)

  • Recently named in Top Ten Community Colleges by Aspen Institute based on student outcomes.

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Valencia Learning-Centered Journey

National Initiatives:

Title III



of Exc.

Title III




Title III






Title V


Title III


Title III





Late 1980s 1994-1999 2000 2004 2009 Present

Valencia Innovations brought to Scale:

Student Success Course (SLS1122) ~ Learning-Centered Focus ~ LifeMap ~ Faculty Development Models ~ Strategic Learning Plan ~ Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) ~ Action Research ~ LinCs(Learning in Community)~ TVCA ~ College Prep Task Force ~ Teaching and Learning Academy ~ Scenarios ~ Atlas ~ Portfolios ~ Learning Evidence Team ~ Supplemental Learning ~ General Education Outcomes ~ Learning Assessment

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What are the right conditions for learning?

  • Learning environments

    • Learning spaces

    • Instructional variety(hybrid, online)

    • Flexible class schedules (Flex Start)

  • Academic support systems

    • LinC (Learning in Commmunity)

    • Supplemental Learning

    • Academic Labs

    • Advising and Counseling

  • Campus Climate

    • Welcoming, Safe, Supportive

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Big Idea #2 Start Right

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Start Right at Valencia

  • Strategic Goal in 2001-2004 Strategic Plan

  • “Ensure that students experience extraordinary learning success in their earliest encounters at the college…”

    • Students develop an educational plan in first term.

    • Provide learning experiences in a variety of methods, scheduling, approaches to address different learning styles.

    • Firmly establish assessment, placement, pre-requisite and progression policies to ensure students readiness to learn.

    • Align the college’s marketing and recruitment messages with its learning mission.

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“Start Right” in action (Degree seeking students)

  • Application deadline 2 weeks before classes start (added Flex Start parts of term)

  • New student orientation required prior to class registration

  • Entry testing, placement and course enrollment required in first term

  • Required SLS1122 for students with course requirements in all 3 developmental education areas

  • Students cannot add a class once it has met (all students)

  • All course pre-requisites strictly enforced

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Big Idea #3Connection and Direction

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Connection and DirectionStudents are more likely to persist if they:

  • Feel safe, welcome, respected, and acknowledged

    • make social as well as academic connections

    • hold and sense from others a belief in their potential

  • Are both challenged and supported academically

    • can link new learning to prior knowledge

    • engage actively in their learning

    • have multiple opportunities to give and receive constructive feedback

  • Have a plan for completion

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(Collegewide Engagement and Integration)










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LIFEMAP: Mission StatementA system of shared responsibilities between students and the college that results in social and academic integration, education and career plans, and the acquisition of study and life skills.

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LIFEMAPsm:Ideal Model of Student Progression

College Transition

Introduction to College

Progression to Degree

Graduation Transition

Life Long Learning

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Each LIFEMAPsm Stage


Performance Indicators

Guiding Principles


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Big Idea #4 The college is how the students experience us, not how we experience them.

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What the students experience(conceptual model/working theory)

  • Students will succeed if they:

    • Have a career goal.

    • Have relationships with others on campus (peers, faculty, advisors, mentors, etc.)

    • Experience high engagement at the college. (Clarify definition of engagement)

    • Are self-sufficient.

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Conceptual Model

Goal: Student Self-Sufficiency

A As AS aS S

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Innovation Management System

Level I

Level II

“Eye for


More rigorous

at each level.

Climateof Innovation

100 are


for support

as Phase I








as Phase II


“Venture Capital




(Limited Scale)

Level III

1000’s of



Maintain a

Research and



1 or 2

are brought up

to scale and



is in moving from

Level II to Level III.

Level II Innovations

must be scalable

and must show

potential to bring

systemic change

and “business-changing


Standard of evidence increases at each level.

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Systemic Change at Valencia 1995-2003

LifeMap Conceptual Model: 1995 – 1999

LifeMap system development: 1999 – 2002 (and continuing)

Atlas system design and development: 2000-2002 (and continuing)

Re-designed Student Services (Integrated Services Model) design and development: 2001-2003 (and continuing)

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Valencia’s Developmental Advising Model

The “brand name” that:

  • describes to students what they should do and when.

  • links all of the services/program/activities that form the developmental advising system.

  • describes to faculty and staff how they contribute and participate with students in developmental advising

  • presents to students visual cues in the physical college environment as to where they can obtain different forms of assistance towards their career/educational goals.

  • links together written publications that are designed to assist students in achieving their career/educational goals.

  • Promotional marketing campaign of LIFEMap

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LifeMap Student Handbook

  • Chapters follow O’Banion model (life, career, and educational goals, building a schedule, success tips, learning outcomes)

  • College services are listed in the chapter related to the goals they support.

  • Includes self-assessments and interpretations.

  • Calendar pages like “Day-Timer” include key college dates.

  • “To Do” cues are listed on each calendar page and are tied to Developmental Advising Stages with icons.

  • “Been There” quotes add advice from peers.

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From a Model to a System

“Gap” Analysis and Re-alignment


Faculty Alliances

Computer-Based Planning Tools: My Education Plan, My Career Planner, My Portfolio, My Job Prospects, My Profile

Faculty/Staff Development

Atlas: Learning Support System

Engagement Model: Re-engineer Delivery of Traditional Student Services

Measure and Evaluate Results

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Faculty Alliances

  • Career or Education Plans as part of Student Motivation

  • Inclusive classrooms

  • Engagement in learning strategies

  • Connection and Direction critical to student success

  • A “Competency” of Valencia Faculty

  • Included in Teaching and Learning Academy curriculum (tenure process)

  • Faculty LifeMap Groups

  • Faculty LifeMap Guidebook corollary to LifeMap Student Handbook

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Atlas: Learning Support System

Designed to support “Connection” and “Direction”

Integrated Portal: single sign-on to numerous separate applications

Enhance student planning (My LifeMap) and self-sufficiency

Encourage connection through on-line learning communities.

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LifeMap in Atlas


  • User: catlas Pin: ca1111

  • My LifeMap tab

    • LifeMap stages and resources

    • LifeMap tools

      • My Career Planner

      • My Educational Plan

      • My Portfolio

      • My Financial Plan

      • My Job Prospects

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Big Idea #6

Collaboration yields a dialog that drives improvement.

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Collaborative Technologies

  • Governance Structure (Learning Council, Planning Council, Operations Council, Faculty Council)

  • Big Meetings (high bandwidth discussion of progress and ideas, next steps)

  • Innovation Funnel (strategic initiatives process)

  • Campus Plans

  • Strategic Plan (expressed in meaningful “short hand”)

    • Build Pathways

    • Learning Assured

    • Invest in Each Other

    • Partner with the Community

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Re-Design of Student Service Delivery

With Student LEARNING as the design principle:

Emphasize level of assistance students are seeking rather than the content.

Create staff positions whose primary job is working directly with students and staff positions whose primary job is processing and verifying information .

Focus on students LEARNING process, not just getting answers to questions.

View technology as a tool to enhance learning, not to drive our processes

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Learning-Centered Student Services

  • Information Station

    – Directional Information

  • The Answer Center

    • General Information (End-to-End Process)

  • Student Services

    –More complex and specialized transactions

  • District Offices

    • Information processing

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Meaningful Data and Systematic Improvement

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Big Idea #5The purpose of assessment is to improve learning.

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Levels of Learning

  • Student Learning

  • Program Learning Outcomes

  • Institutional Learning

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Achieving the DreamData Team Insights

  • Composition of members

  • Development of Data Review Model

  • Term-based strategy level and overall strategy evaluation

  • From Snapshots to Trends

  • From “Data Driven” to “Data Informed”

  • From “Culture of Evidence” to “Culture of Inquiry”

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From Data to Meaningful Information

Identify Intended Outcomes

New / Revised Assessment Activity

Identify needed Changes based on reflection

Data Collection

Data Processing

Defining the Message

Information Sharing

Our Data Processing Model is part of an Institutional Effectiveness process

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Meaningful Improvement

  • Statistically significant improvement in target quantitative measures.

  • Significant improvement relative to a comparative group.

  • Economic efficiency in relationship to difficulty of improving the success of students.

  • Reflection on the human impact in terms of the goals of the initiative and the mission of the institution.

  • A consideration of faculty /staff perception of benefit versus cost.

  • A consideration of student perception of benefit.

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Strategic Indicators Report

  • Build Pathways – to, through and beyond Valencia

    • Student Growth

    • Diversity & Equity

    • Enrollment Patterns

    • Targeted Initiatives

  • Learning Assured

    • College Prep Completion

    • Graduation Rates

    • Graduation Rates Cohort Comparison

  • Partner with Community

    • AA Degree Transfers

    • Efficient Learning Environments

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Key Elements to Systemic Change

  • Focus on measurable results – what is the motivation for change?

  • Conceptual model for foundation (Big Ideas)

  • Look from the student perspective outward

  • Start with reality but design for ideal

  • The “whole” is more than the sum of the parts (system alignment)

  • How are we doing? (Feedback to stakeholders – Keep going deeper)

  • “Culture will trump strategy everytime.”

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  • Shugart, S., Romano, J., Phelps, J., Puyana, A., & Walter, K. (in press) “Valencia’s Big Ideas: Sustaining Authentic Organizational Change through Shared Purpose and Culture.” In Focus on Learning: A Learning College Reader, League for Innovation in Community Colleges

  • Shugart, S. and Romano, J.(2008) Focus on the front door of the college. In Schuetz, P. and Barr, J. (editors) Are Community Colleges Underprepared for Underprepared Students? New Directions for Community Colleges, no. 144, Wiley Periodicals.