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Strategic Plan 2002-05


In March, 2002, after seven months of assessing the college and the community, newly appointed president, Dr Robert R. Rose, presented a new framework for strategic planning to the college community.  This framework included a vision for planning... “a vital college engaged with our community and dedicated above all else to student success.”  Dr. Rose recruited volunteers to serve on specific strategic area committees. A college administrator and faculty member chaired each committee. The committee members were charged with identifying goals and objectives for the following critical areas.  
Over an eight month period the committees diligently reviewed best practices and current data.  They surveyed the community and determined the critical needs of students and the community at large. Each area has become a part of the final strategic plan.
In keeping with its educational mission, the college focuses on preparing students for college transfer and for career entry or advancement, on meeting the lifelong learning needs of individuals, and on meeting the human resource development needs of employers.  Mercer recognizes that students differ in the ways they learn and that learning should be a challenging and rewarding experience.  Furthermore, Mercer is a source of programs and services that address the current and emerging human resource needs of area employees and that meet the continuing education needs of a variety of community residents.

In fulfilling its mission, the college is a primary catalyst in the educational and economic development of the county and espouses values of excellence and integrity.  Its quality programs, collaborative partnerships, and state-of-the art technology promote student success in an energized environment.

The college community is committed to excellence in education.  The highest priority is to support students in their pursuit of educational and career goals. As public institution preparing students for their future in a changing world, it is a challenge to keep our programs and services attuned to emerging needs and to adapt intelligently with limited resources to changes and technology. This challenge obliges us to reflect upon our programs and services, to examine outcomes, and to initiate improvements. Furthermore, limited resources oblige us to make decisions that serve our internal and external communities well, and to sustain the trust that underlies our community’s financial support.  To that end, the college community is committed to the following:


Address a variety of emerging needs in ways that integrate the efforts of colleagues from throughout the college.

        A.    Managing Growth
  1. Examine the master schedule to ensure that it meets student needs and makes efficient use of classrooms/facilities.
  2. Increase course offerings in various formats i.e. Virtual Campus and courses with integrated “live” and online components
  3. Continue development of credit/noncredit bridge programs and shared program/course delivery options.
  4. Increase the annual total of FY05 credit semester hours taught by full time faculty from 49% to 60% of the total FY02 semester hours.
  5. Identify and address professional development issues related to growth in enrollment.
            B.    Academic Foundations
  1. Clarify leadership responsibilities for academic foundations overall and for its components.
  2. Re-establish annual assessment of the academic foundations program examining placement criteria, course content, course structure, and student outcome in subsequent courses.
  3. Explore options allowing for flexibility in course design, presentation and time on task.
        C.    Teaching and Learning Outcomes
  1. Conduct scheduled program reviews culminating with plans for improvement.
  2. Assess learning outcomes within the delivery and improvement of courses college-wide.
        D.    General Education
  1. Clarify leadership responsibilities for General Education overall and for its components.
  2. Assess General Education outcomes across the curriculum.
  3. Review and revise college General Education policy as scheduled during 2003-2004.
        E.    Professional Improvement
  1. Assess needs and implement opportunities for full-time and adjunct faculty and instructional staff members to develop as experts in their disciplines, to improve their teaching skills, and to participate as part of a vital and diverse learning community.
  2. Address specific professional improvement needs re assessment techniques, test construction, electronic library research, and use of instructional technology.
  3. Explore a formal mentoring program for adjuncts and new faculty.  Facilitate opportunities for faculty to connect with colleagues from other colleges.


Establish a comprehensive program for outcomes assessment focused on:

        A.  Determining the extent to which our students are successful in achieving stated goals,
        B.  Identify the factors that affect student success, and
        C.  Enhancing our efficiency in applying limited resources toward student needs.

[Objectives and action plan TBA.]


Strengthen collaborative efforts and activities among enrollment, orientation, academic advisement, counseling, transfer and career services, academic support services and student activities to ensure that all students succeed.

        A.    Student Enrollment/Registration
  1. Create a potential “one-stop” environment for credit and noncredit registration and payment with improved parking and signage at both campuses.
  2. Define service needs during peak periods vs. at other times.
  3. Increase web-based resources to support students and staff.
  4. Enhance services appropriate to a student body that reflects the diversity of the county’s population.
        B.    Student Retention
  1. Implement a “first-year experience” model program that increases student success rates through extended orientation, improved course placement criteria, procedures and assessment, academic support, coordinated advising and counseling, and student life experience.
  2. Link improved, technologically-supported career services with admissions, career program advisement, and student life outside the classroom.
  3. Redefine “student activities” comprehensively in terms of “student life” needs for all students outside the classroom.
  4. Assess and improve learning center services at each campus.
  5. Identify factors associated with student non-success and implement improved services.
  6. Create a deferred payment plan that meets identified student needs.
  7. Redesign Bookstore services to meet user needs, including online ordering.
  8. Survey students regarding childcare needs.
        C.    Student Advisement
  1. Implement a process for assigned, computer-coded faculty advisors for all students.
  2. Improve procedures for the advisor transition from admissions staff to faculty advisors.
  3. Redefine “advisement” to acknowledge
  4. The optimum interplay between student initiative/self-advisement responsibility and an advisor’s knowledge and perspective
  5. The multiple means now available for student-advisor communication.
  6. Implement “degree audit” technology and related modules that support advisement and self-advisement.
  7. Develop web-based reference resources for advisors and for student self-advisement.
  8. Initiate professional development priorities related to advisement.


Establish a comprehensive professional development program for faculty and staff that centers emphatically upon student success in the classroom and in the broader learning environment.
A.    Create a mechanism for ongoing assessment of training/development needs.
B.    Develop a core training curriculum.
C.    Explore need for a Teaching and Learning Resource Center.
D.    Create a catalog of professional development offerings
E.    Create a mechanism for identifying and delivering training to special work groups or individuals.
F.    Deliver ongoing training on timely topics.


Apply the world's ever-expanding information resources and communication technologies to enrich teaching and learning, to provide students and staff with knowledge and skills required to meet current needs while anticipating the necessity for future adaptation as technologies evolve. (For further details, refer to the Strategic Information Technology Plan at http://www.mccc.edu/itcouncil)
A.    Provide and support IT resources needed to make students, faculty, staff and other users optimally productive within their respective roles in the college environment.
  1. Upgrade classrooms to support multi-media delivery of learning material starting Fall 2002.
  2. Implement plans for email software, student email accounts, shared servers, distributed data access and a course management platform for The Virtual Campus for 2002-03.
  3. Implement a plan for ongoing upgrade of access to the Internet and distribution of multimedia Internet resources to all areas of the college by January 2003.
  4. Determine the college’s future direction for maintaining an institutional database and using that database to support college administrative operations and related student services by January 2003.
  5. Implement a major upgrade of website and related resources by January 2003.
  6. Implement a multi-year plan for the future development of The Virtual Campus by July 2003.
 B.    Organize and deliver information technology services that emphatically, efficiently and responsively support user-defined needs within clear and broadly shared policy guidelines and budgetary priorities.
  1. Establish a written charter for the organization of IT services by November 2002.
  2. Implement a plan for phasing in a more formal Help Desk environment by March 2003.
C.    Provide a flexible, efficient and supportable standard user IT operating environment for students, faculty and staff.
  1. Define and begin to implement an initial college-wide standard IT environment by July 2002.
  2. Develop a college-wide network of experienced users who can act as mentors by October 2002.
  3. Provide server-based help systems and support systems by January 2003.
D.    Provide and evolve flexible, efficient, expandable and supportable Internet resources that support instruction, student services, marketing and other college functions.
  1. Implement planned improvements to the front page of the Web site by April 2002.
  2. Continue to implement improvements to the current Web site until major renovation is completed.
  3. Secure personnel and/or consulting resources necessary to develop and maintain the Web resources by September 2002.
  4. Establish and disseminate policies and procedures for web resources by October 2002.
  5. Define needs and establish a plan which securely supports remote access and management of shared server facilities by January 2003.
E.    Ensure meaningful broad-based involvement in all key IT planning and policy decisions and in the continuing review of employed and emerging technology as it relates and may relate to the college's vision, educational program and/or administrative requirements.


Ensure that the college and its programs are more synergistically engaged with the forces of productive change within Mercer County. 
A.    Identify and implement programs designed for the county’s workforce.
B.    Provide county-wide leadership in addressing adult literacy needs.
C.    Review, update and expand programmatic collaborations with local high schools and senior institutions.
D.    Strengthen college relationships with advisory commissions and their members.
E.    Improve college outreach and community service via cable channel 23, WWFM and other avenues.
F.    Improve internal and external publicity of campus events and activities.
G.    Implement programs and services through the Conference Center that enhance the college’s relationships and partnerships with employers and organizations throughout the community.
H.    Develop a plan to identify and engage alumni in supporting the college mission


Provide facilities needed to enhance the quality of program and service delivery.
A.    Continue ongoing efforts to renovate and refurnish restrooms, classrooms, offices and public spaces and to improve custodial service at both campuses.
B.    Retrofit identified classroom spaces in AD, LA and ES.
C.    Establish multi-media classrooms and group study spaces.
D.    Expand WWC Library’s open computer lab.
E.    Conduct a comprehensive external review and develop plans to upgrade heating, cooling and ventilation requirements at both campuses
F.    Develop furniture and fixture replacement plan for both campuses.
G.    Conduct systematic classroom utilization review to manage enrollment growth.
H.    Review energy conservation alternatives to identify potential savings for reallocation of fiscal resources.
I.    Review parking needs and options at both campus.
J.    Address major JKC facility concerns, i.e. roof.


Strategic Area 
Responsible Administrator
Support Group

Teaching and Learning
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs
Teaching and Learning Committee
Outcomes Assessment
VPASA or designee
Outcomes Assessment Committee
Student Success 
Associate Dean for Student Academic Support Services and Dean for Enrollment Services
Student Success Committee
Information Technology 
Dean for Technology Services
Information Technology Council
Faculty/Staff Professional Development 
Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Director of Human Resources
Instruction and Professional Improvement Committee
Partnership and Community Outreach
Provost, JKC/ Dean for College Advancement/
Dean for Corporate/ Community Programs
Vice President for Administration/Finance
Facilities Committee