Professional Development and Training (2019-2020)
January 2019 - January 2020

Sponsor: Institutional Effectiveness Council

Project Background and Need (Why is the project necessary?)


American River College has embarked upon a holistic redesign intended to transform the student experience. This experience is highly dependent upon the expertise, abilities, and soft skills displayed by all employees of the college. Regardless of whether an employee is directly interacting with students (e.g., instructional faculty and front-line staff) or indirectly influencing those interactions (e.g., maintenance and back office staff), each employee contributes to the overall experience. In light of this reality, ARC Strategic Goal #3 calls for “comprehensive and integrated professional development” in order to “create the best conditions for teaching and learning.” The ARC Redesign is also resulting in new practices and technologies that necessitate both initial and ongoing training. Additionally, the institution is in the midst of developing its first institutional equity plan which is likely to surface professional development needs in support of the ARC commitment to social justice and equity.

This project is proposed to provide a venue for immediate professional development planning and as a means to document recommendations for inclusion in a future employee development and retention plan (as described in the draft version of the ARC Integrated Planning Guide). As a whole, this type of plan recognizes a college’s employee base as a valuable resource and is intended to determine how to best foster an environment that promotes employee development and retention in support of the college mission. Professional development is typically one of several components that it would address.

Project Purpose and Scope (What is the project expected to encompass? What are the boundaries?)


This project will consider professional development and training as a strategic mechanism to enable the college to achieve its strategic goals. The project team is expected to carefully consider how the college might best offer comprehensive, integrated, and intentionally sequenced training and development opportunities in support of the following goals:

  • Strategic Goal 1: Students First
  • Strategic Goal 2: Clear and Effective Paths
  • Strategic Goal 3: Exemplary Working and Learning Environment
  • Strategic Goal 4: Vibrancy and Resiliency

Underlying all of these goals is the institutional imperative: a commitment to social justice and equity that strives to uphold the dignity and humanity of every student and employee.

The project will wrestle with questions such as:

  • How can institutional professional development be structured to foster growth of employees in different locations, different career stages, different job functions, different constituencies, and who have different learning styles?
  • How can new employee training ensure that incoming hires are not only prepared for their individual job function, but also are prepared to effectively support ARC goals and participate effectively in the ARC college environment?
  • How can recommendations of the Institutional Equity Plan related to professional development be brought to life?
  • Which endeavors of the ARC Redesign, technology changes, or anticipated changes in the external environment are likely to prompt a need for professional development and/or basic training?
  • Which resources (internal and external) are available and needed to provide a comprehensive, integrated program of professional development?

The charge of the project team is limited to the planning process including steps such as assessment, analysis, strategy design, and developing recommendations. Actual implementation of training and professional development strategies are beyond the scope of work. 

Project Objectives (What is the project expected to achieve?)


Successful completion of this project is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Gather resources to inform the planning process such as initial insights from the institutional equity planning process, current professional development efforts and resources, data on current and future needs, promising practices from other institutions, and other relevant research
  2. Assess the current state of ARC professional development practices and efforts including barriers to participation
  3. Project the future needs considering the ARC Redesign and the rapidly changing environment
  4. Consider training and development from the perspective of various groups such as full-time faculty, part-time faculty, permanent classified staff, temporary staff, student workers, and administrators
  5. Identify clear priorities for institutional professional development
  6. Develop short-term recommendations that are actionable prior to adoption of the full employee development and retention plan (expected in 2021)
  7. Develop more extensive recommendations submitted as a working draft of the professional development section of the plan that covers the period 2021-2027*

*Timeline based on schedule proposed in draft integrated planning guide 

Project Deliverables (What items will be produced during the project?)


Deliverables to be completed and/or submitted for approval:

  1. Draft short-term recommendations for 2020-2021
  2. Draft section for the Employee Development and Retention Plan (2021-2027) which includes, but is not limited to, the following information:
  • Brief assessment of the current state of training and professional development
  • Clear priorities through 2027 that are aligned to the goals of the strategic plan
  • Training and professional development strategy that is designed to address these priorities
  • Recommended activities and timelines designed to work towards implementing the strategy
  • Anticipated costs and resource needs
  • Potential funding mechanisms, partnerships, or support recommendations

Success Indicators (How will success be measured or determined?)


The project will be considered successful when:

  1. An assessment of current training and professional development efforts has been completed
  2. A strategy for future institutional training and professional development is developed
  3. A draft set of short-term recommendations is considered through established governance channels
  4. A draft section specific to this topic is proposed for the Employee Development and Retention Plan (2021-2027) and considered through established governance channels
  5. The adopted recommendations are available to serve as a roadmap for institutional training and professional development efforts

All of these indicators can be thoroughly accomplished through completion of the stated project objectives. 

Project Assumptions (What conditions are believed to exist?)


The project team was authorized based on the following assumptions:

  • ARC’s mission, strategic goals, and commitment to social justice and equity are central to this work.
  • New training needs will accompany much of the anticipated work of the ARC Redesign.
  • The timeline for ARC’s Employee Development and Retention Plan has been aligned to accreditation cycles and is specified in the draft Integrated Planning Guide as 2021-2027. Future plans would follow a seven-year cycle. Professional development will be one of several components included in this plan.
  • The higher education environment and the world of work are both changing extremely rapidly. Reskilling and upskilling are likely to be necessary strands of community college professional development in the future.
  • Training and professional development expertise may need to be obtained through a variety of internal and external opportunities that have varying associated costs. While it is recognized that available resources are limited, the team’s focus should be placed on designing an effective model. The team is also encouraged to provide options and alternatives that may be aligned to future resource constraints.

In order to effectively realize the goals of ARC’s strategic plan, this project should consider initial training and ongoing professional development strategies appropriate for various types of employees based on:

Assignment

  • Full-time faculty, staff, and administrators
  • Part-time (adjunct) faculty and temporary (seasonal/substitute) staff
  • Student workers

Location

  • Employees primarily located at the main campus
  • Employees primary located at physical centers
  • Virtual/remote employees

Experience Level

  • New employees to Los Rios (inexperience in navigating Los Rios)
  • New employees to higher education (inexperience in governance, culture, and regulations)
  • Seasoned employees

Work Schedule

  • Traditional: Monday-Friday, 8-5
  • Non-traditional: evening and/or weekend
  • Varying: possibly requiring self-paced or other flexible training schedules

Recommendations should consider methodologies that build internal capacity (e.g., train the trainer) and provide just-in-time learning resources as well as ongoing development.

The proposed deliverables will be developed in a manner that supports the intent of accreditation standard III.A.14 which reads “The institution plans for and provides all personnel with appropriate opportunities for continued professional development, consistent with the institutional mission and based on evolving pedagogy, technology, and learning needs. The institution systematically evaluates professional development programs and uses the results of these evaluations as the basis for improvement.”

The content, style, and format of the plan should be concise and accessible to the average person (not written for an academic audience).

Project Risks, Constraints, or Dependencies (What factors might impact the project? How might the project intersect with the internal or external environment including other projects?)


The project team should be aware of the following known risks, constraints, and/or dependencies:

  • Priorities will need to be aligned to the overarching framework of the Institutional Equity Plan which is currently in progress and is expected to be completed by the end of Spring 2019.
  • Educational master planning is also expected to occur in Spring 2019-early Spring 2020. Planning for professional development should coordinate with this project to incorporate any relevant direction that surfaces from its long-range institutional planning.
  • The ARC Online 2.0 project and related work of the Virtual Education Center involves professional development in support of online education and Online Education Initiative (OEI) participation. Activities will be needed to support local peer online course review and the continuation of opportunities such as the OEI Rubric Academy.
  • Implementation of new practices and systems such as program pathways and SEL solutions are likely to require additional training for employees.
  • Regulatory and system-wide changes such as the new funding formula may also necessitate additional training.
  • The implementation of recommendations may be subject to resource constraints.

Other Considerations (What are the anticipated implications related to equity and inclusion; research and data; district policies and regulations; district and/or college-wide practices; college-wide cross-functional relationships; and resource needs such as staffing, workload, technology, and space/facilities?)


  • Various implications are likely related to equity and inclusion in response to alignment of professional development to the recommendations of the Institutional Equity Plan.
  • The level of specificity involved in this planning process could unintentionally exclude essential training that is highly specific to a department or individual role. If necessary, these types of training may be identified and considered through other processes such as annual unit planning.
  • It is likely that technology training will be a necessary topic for the plan due to the rapid pace of technological change.
  • There may be staffing, technology, and/or facility needs related to the provision of training and professional development.
  • Opportunities may exist to partner with ARC’s sister colleges to expand training and professional development offerings.
  • Data collection and analysis is likely to be needed to determine the effectiveness of the recommended program of professional development once implemented (in alignment with accreditation standard III.A.14).

Project Timeline/Key Milestones


Standard Description of Project Stages

Project Stages Description
Initiation Activities leading to the authorization and chartering of a project team
Preparation Activities which occur once a team is authorized and can be conducted independently to plan, schedule, and setup the project (project management steps)
Team-Based Work Activities which occur in a collaborative environment in which the project team works based on the scope of the charter
Formal Review Activities by which deliverables are submitted to the sponsoring council for formal approval; may involve a sequence of governance review including ELT and/or other entities; formal review may result in acceptance of the deliverables; request for the project team to revisit the design/refinement stages; or abandonment of the project
Closure Activities to celebrate the success of the project and archive the artifacts of the work completed

Planned Governance Flow of Deliverables


Project Stakeholders (Who has a vested interest in the project? Who will it impact?)


Communication Plan (How will information be shared with the stakeholders?)


Based on the previously stated stakeholder list, the general plan for sharing project information is as follows:

Conflict Resolution

Any matter of significance which cannot be resolved by the project leads may be referred to the appropriate administrator (typically the chair of the sponsoring council) or to the President's Executive Staff (PES). Any significant change in charter scope will require approval of a revised charter by the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).

Project Membership


Project Organization, Roles, and Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Project Leads
  • Prepares, leads, and follows up on meetings (see details of the Role of the Chair in the ARC Governance Framework)
  • Communicates the project to various stakeholders, and when appropriate, solicits feedback on dradt deliverables through informal review processes
  • Submits the final deliverables to the sponsoring council for approval
Project Steward
(may be one of the leads or a separate individual)
  • Manages the project on behalf of the sponsoring council
  • Drafts the charter in consultation with the sponsoring council's chairs
  • Conducts preliminary research to gather information on promising practices, product options, or other relevant materials to inform the project
  • Develops a work plan based on the charter to organize, sequence, and schedule the work of the project team within the available time frame
  • Reports progress to the sponsoring council
  • Maintains and archives project documentation at the conclusion of the project
  • Assists the project leads as needed
Team Members
  • Participates in all project meetings and activities
  • Supplies valuable knowledge and perspective (often based on the individual's responsibilities or role at ARC)
  • May be assigned specific project tasks to complete outside of project meetings
  • Assists with the "heavy lifting" that is required to accomplish the project deliverables
External Consultant
(optional)
  • Provides expertise and assistance from an external (non-ARC) perspective
Executive Sponsor
(optional)
Large, high-impact projects only:
  • Champions the project from the executive level to secure buy-in and ensure viability
  • Communicates project purpose and vision
  • Allocates appropriate resources to support effective development, execution, and institutionalization
  • Maintains awareness of project status and helps mitigate risk
  • Mediates conflicts and facilitates dialogue to resolve project issues
  • Assumes other responsibilities as appropriate based on the project scope

Student Participation

The student voice contributes a diverse perspective to ARC project teams and is highly valued. As project teams have widely varied meeting schedules which can require a substantial time commitment, a flexible set of options have been defined to ensure that project dialogue and deliverables are influenced by the student perspective.
Please check one or more boxes below that indicate the methods the project lead/co-lead intend to use to facilitate student participation during this project.
Method Description Compensated?
ASB Appointment Associated Student Body (ASB) appoints two students to serve on the project team and attend all meetings. This option is considered the standard method of representation. Yes
Student Resource Panel In consultation with ASB, create a student resource panel that is called upon by the project lead/co-lead to provide student input at key points during the project. The resource panel may be an existing group of students (e.g., Sages) or a temporarily formed group assigned to the project. Yes
ASB Direct Involvement Lead/co-leads work directly with ASB to be placed on an ASB agenda, present the project concept, and solicit input from students during a regularly scheduled ASB meeting. No
Student Survey or Focus Group Project conducts a student survey or focus group through the Institutional Research Office and uses the results to inform the work of the project team. No, but incentives may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Student Forum or Gallery Walk Project holds a student forum or gallery walk during which large groups of students can provide input in response to narrative or visual prompts. ASB would be asked to assist in publicizing the date/time of the event to the student constituency. No
Other (please specify intended methods) TBD – methods for collecting input from the college as a whole (including students) are yet to be determined