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SELF-STUDY REPORT PREPARED FOR The Higher Learning Commision of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools



TABLE OF CONTENTS SELF-STUDY COMMITTEES ABBREVIATIONS...................................................................................................4 ABBREVIATIONS..................................................................................................................................................................4 INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................................................... 7

Institutional Profile and Accreditation History.............................................................................................................................. 8 Key Events Since the 2002 Comprehensive Visit........................................................................................................................10 Self-Study Process and Goals..................................................................................................................................................... 13

CRITERION 1: MISSION.................................................................................................................................................... 15 The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publically; it guides the institution’s operations.

Core Component 1.A........................................................................................................................................................... 17

Core Component 1.B.......................................................................................................................................................... 24

Core Component 1.C...........................................................................................................................................................25

The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.

Core Component 1.D...........................................................................................................................................................32

The institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publically; it guides the institution’s operations. The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.


CRITERION 2: ETHICAL AND RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT............................................................................ 38

Core Component 2.A......................................................................................................................................................... 39

The institution establishes and follows fair and ethical policies and processes for its governing board, administration, faculty, . and staff in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions.

Core Component 2.B......................................................................................................................................................... 43

The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public with regard to its programs, requirments, costs to students, faculty and staff, control, and accreditation relationships.

Core Component 2.C......................................................................................................................................................... 46

Core Component 2.D......................................................................................................................................................... 47

Core Component 2.E......................................................................................................................................................... 50

The institution ensures that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly.



The governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity. The institution is committed to the freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.

CRITERION 3: TEACHING AND LEARNING—QUALITY, RESOURCES, AND SUPPORT......... 54 Core Component 3.A.................................................................................................................................................................55 The institution’s degree programs are appropriate to higher education.

Core Component 3.B................................................................................................................................................................ 62 The institution demonstrates that the exercise of intellectual inquiry and the acquisition, application, and integration of broad learning and skills are integral to its educational program.

Core Component 3.C................................................................................................................................................................ 66 The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.

Core Component 3.D................................................................................................................................................................. 71 The institution provides support for student learning and effective teaching.

Core Component 3.E................................................................................................................................................................. 78 The institution fulfills its claims for an enriched educational environment.

Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................................................. 85

CRITERION 4: TEACHING AND LEARNING—EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT................... 86 The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

Core Component 4.A................................................................................................................................................................ 88 The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs.

Core Component 4.B................................................................................................................................................................. 91 The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.

Core Component 4.C................................................................................................................................................................ 96 The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational improvement through ongoing attention to retention, persistence, and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.

Conclusion................................................................................................................................................................................. 103

CRITERION 5: RESOURCES, PLANNING, AND INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS...................104 The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future. Core Component 5.A............................................................................................................................................................... 105 The institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future. Core Component 5.B................................................................................................................................................................ 117 The institution’s governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes. Core Component 5.C............................................................................................................................................................... 120 The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning. Core Component 5.D............................................................................................................................................................... 124 The institution works systematically to improve its performance. Conclusion................................................................................................................................................................................. 127



SELF-STUDY COMMITTEES Self-Study Executive Committee

Mission Criterion Committee

BRIAN STOGNER (CHAIR) Executive Director Health and Behavioral Sciences Institute

SCOTT SAMUELS (CHAIR) Director of Admissions

JOHN BARTON Provost KATRINA VANDERWOUDE Vice Provost, Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives ANNE NICHOLS Associate Professor of English MARK MANRY Director of Assessment and Institutional Research

JOE BENTLEY Chair, Department of Music, Theatre and Visual Arts PAULA BONBRISCO ACE Director CATHIE PARKER Associate Professor of Theatre JIM RANDOLPH Board of Trustees

Self-Study Steering Committee

CHRIS SHIELDS Campus Minister


LARRY STEWART Director of Alumni Relations

BRIAN STOGNER Executive Director Health and Behavioral Sciences Institute

Ethical and Responsible Conduct Committee

KATRINA VANDERWOUDE Vice Provost, Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives

KLINT PLEASANT (CHAIR) Vice President of Admissions

ANNE NICHOLS Associate Professor of English MARK MANRY Director of Assessment and Institutional Research SCOTT SAMUELS Director of Admissions KLINT PLEASANT Vice President of Admissions MARK VanRHEENEN Vice President of Finance and Operations JAIME SINUTKO Director, School of Nursing DAVID KELLER Dean, School of Humanities RUBEL SHELLY President 4


JESSICA BRISTOW Director of Student Financial Services BRIAN COLE Dean of Students LINDSEY DUNFEE Human Resources Director LORA HUTSON Chair, Department of Mass Communication REBEKAH PINCHBACK Registrar LYNNE STEWART Teacher Certification Specialist BETH VanRHEENEN Director of Integrated Learning DENNIS VEARA Director of Estate Planning

Teaching and Learning – Quality, Resources, and Support Committee

Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness Committee

DAVID KELLER (CHAIR) Dean, School of Humanities

MARK VanRHEENEN (CHAIR) Vice President of Finance and Operations

MEL BLOHM Dean, School of Education

GARY CARSON 2nd Vice President, Board of Trustees

SCOTT CAGNET Director of Extended Learning Operations

LARRY NORMAN Assistant Professor of Business

KEITH HUEY Chair, Department of Religion and Bible ALLIE KELLER Director of Library Services GARTH PLEASANT Chair, Department of Physical Education

TOM RELLINGER Director of Development MARK JOHNSON Director of Operations DEBI RUTLEDGE Director of Residence Life

Teaching and Learning – Evaluation and Improvement Committee JAIME SINUTKO (CHAIR) Director, School of Nursing GARY TUCKER Dean of Online Learning ED ALEF Adjunct Faculty SARA BARTON Assistant Professor of English and Religion ESSIE BRYAN Director of Career Services DAVID GREER Associate Professor of History GORDON MACKINNON Chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences ASIA SMITH Student






Arab American Friendship Center


Academic Center for Excellence


Athletic Study Lounge


Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education


College of Extended Learning


Community Hub for Integrated Learning and Living


Center for Missional Leadership


First Year Experience


Global Educational Opportunities


Higher Learning Commission


Integrated Learning Community


Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System


Michigan Department of Education


Mission Engagement Consortium for Independent Colleges


Midwestern Psychological Association


Masters of Religious Education


National Survey of Student Engagement


Supplemental Instructor


School of Nursing


Student Satisfaction Index


Teacher Education Accreditation Council


Challenging Academics. Christian Community. 7




Rochester College is a mission-centered institution that takes pride in its commitment to challenging academics and Christian community. The college is emerging from financial crisis; in fact, just a few years ago, the institution’s future was uncertain. Today, however, teamwork and creative solutions have led the college to a much stronger position. Rochester College is not only surviving, but also thriving. We are proud of our story and our mission.

Our institutional culture encourages employees

Rochester College is an academic community. The institutional culture encourages employees and students to become personally invested in the institution and have a sense of ownership. Therefore, this self-study often refers to Rochester College in

and students to become

the first person, using the language of “our” and “we” rather than the more formal

personally invested in the

third person language of “it” and “the institution.” Our interest in community also

institution and have a sense

guides the type of information included in this report: in addition to hard data, this

of ownership.

self-study includes anecdotes from members of our community designed to show our mission at work. Located in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Rochester College is an independent, coeducational, faith based liberal arts college with historical affiliations to Churches of Christ. We benefit from the atmosphere and flavor of a small suburban town while having access to the cultural, educational, and leisure activities of the Detroit metroplex. The campus is situated on eighty-three acres. Ten major buildings cluster around two lakes, acres of wooded and landscaped areas, walking paths, and the Clinton River, providing an aesthetically pleasing setting for the campus. Rochester College operates on its main campus in Rochester Hills, Michigan, with approximately 203 men and women in residence halls and a total enrollment of 1065 students during the most recent complete academic year (2011-2012). The college also operates on three satellite locations at the Macomb Community College University Center, Mott Community College University Center, and Specs Howard School of Media Arts. These locations have been approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and agreements are in place with the cooperating institutions. Rochester College also recently received approval from the HLC to offer up to 20%



of its programs in a distance-delivery format and is currently developing RC Online, enhancing our online and hybrid offerings. Rochester College is incorporated under the non-profit laws of the State of Michigan and is approved to grant degrees and certificates. The college has undergone several name changes throughout its history, reflecting the changing nature of the institution. Michigan first chartered the college in 1955 as the North Central Christian College Foundation. The college opened its doors in 1959 as North Central Christian College and enrolled the first students in fall that year. In 1961, the college changed its name to Michigan Christian Junior College based on a recommendation from the state to avoid confusion with other institutions and agencies using the name North Central. In 1978, the college changed its name to Michigan Christian College to reflect our pursuit of the baccalaureate degree. In 1997, the Board of Trustees adopted the name Rochester College to reflect the four-year liberal arts status of the College, our expanding programs and constituency, and our increasing service to the surrounding community. The HLC granted candidacy status in 1969, followed by initial accreditation in 1974. Rochester College has enjoyed continued accreditation since 1974. Throughout the accreditation period, the college has offered associate degrees and has continually added baccalaureate programs. Rochester College added the first baccalaureate degree in 1980 after requesting approval from the State of Michigan and the HLC. The college requested approval for an additional baccalaureate degree in 1992 and received approval

Rochester College students Fall 2012

in 1993. During the 1995 Comprehensive Visit, the college requested and received removal of stipulations limiting baccalaureate degrees. Since the 2002 comprehensive visit, Rochester College has sought and received approval from both the State of Michigan and the HLC to offer a growing number of teacher certification programs, a masters degree in Religious Education, and pre-licensure RN programs. Rochester College now offers the Associate of Arts, the Associate of Science, the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Business Administration, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and the Masters of Religious Education.



Key Events Since the 2002 Comprehensive Visit Since the last comprehensive visit in 2002, the college has experienced both significant challenges and significant successes. Between 2004 and 2008, internal turmoil and deficit spending caused three interrelated challenges: upheaval among the faculty and administration with some key administrators leaving voluntarily and others being discharged, declining enrollments across all programs, and a precarious financial position. The financial situation has been documented in various reports to the HLC and is discussed in detail in Criterion Five of this report. When these factors combined with the severe blow to the national and Michigan economies in 2008, the Rochester College Board of Trustees was forced to consider closing the institution and temporarily pursued an application for a Change of Control that would have granted college ownership to a for-profit educational company. Since late spring of 2008, however, a number of major developments have greatly improved the institutional environment. A new administration, under the leadership of a new president (Rubel Shelly / Ph.D. Vanderbilt University), came into office at the end of the spring semester in 2008 and has helped facilitate a substantial turnaround for the institution. As things started to improve, the college received direct and helpful guidance from the HLC, and from Dr. Sylvia Manning herself, to abandon the application for change of control. The college’s financial situation remains a concern, but the college

Stepping Up strategic plan booklet

has now experienced four years of stabilizing finances and significant debt retirement. This has been achieved through improving systems and procedures, developing programs, expanding the student and constituent base, and increasing enrollments, including three straight years of the highest enrollments in the institution’s fifty-four year history. Student enrollment has increased 40% from 831 students in Spring 2009 to 1141 students in Fall 2012. This Self-Study will reflect various features of these remarkable developments. Recent years have also brought about significant and ongoing developments in institutional strategic initiatives. Examples include additions to and revisions of the membership and governance model of the Board of Trustees, the reviving of an Office



of Development under the guidance of a new Vice President of Development, the 2012 publication and mass distribution of strategic objectives in a booklet entitled Stepping Up, and a focused strategic research project in the spring of 2013 led by Dr. Gary Selby of Pepperdine University. All of these developments will be represented at various points throughout this report. ACADEMICALLY, THE COLLEGE HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT STRIDES IN RECENT YEARS.

The freshman class of 2012 had an average ACT score of 21.6, the highest ever recorded, and we awarded 12 Trustee Scholarships, which are reserved for students with an ACT of 30 or higher. This is up from 4 Trustee Scholarships in 2010, the year before we launched an Honors Program. Since 2008 the following initiatives have been launched and/or completed: A significant and community-

Student enrollment has increased 40% from 831

wide revision process of the institutional mission statement and other mission

students in Spring 2009 to

materials (some of which is still underway); a revision of the General Education

1141 students in Fall 2012.

curriculum; the adoption of an “integrated learning” academic model which resulted in the revisions of various programs such as the college’s chapel/ convocation program; the development of significant new academic programs such as an Honors Program, The Center for Missional Leadership, Early College Programs, and the Rochester College School of Nursing, the latter of which recently received state approval for granting pre-licensure degrees as well as the specialized accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); and, the current expansion of the college’s online offerings under the rubric of “RC Online.” Rochester College’s academic organizational structures have also been revised through the creation of six “schools.” Previously, the academic programs of the college were organized into two divisions: the Division of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Business and Professional Studies. Both divisions were comprised of departments and areas which offered specific programs and degrees. Department and area chairs reported to the division chairs, who in turn reported to Rochester College’s Academic Dean. A comprehensive assessment during the 2011-2012 academic year found that this structure could be improved. Too many layers of reporting and the reliance on a single Academic Dean led to confusion and inefficiency. In an attempt to simplify organization and reporting, enhance the oversight of individual programs, and turn 11


that oversight over to the faculty most directly involved, a new organizational structure was designed. In the 2012-2013 school year, the two academic “divisions” were reorganized into six “schools.” Each school has a dean or director to oversee the appropriate programs and departments. These changes have positioned Rochester College better academically and logistically. The six schools are The School of Business and Professional Studies (Dr. Larry Muller, Dean), The School of Education (Dr. Mel Blohm, Dean), The School of Humanities (Dr. David Keller, Dean), The School of Nursing (Jaime Sinutko, Director), The School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences (Dr. David Brackney, Dean), and The School of Theology and Ministry (Dr. Mark Love, Dean). The new organizational structures also allow Dr. Katrina VanderWoude, previously the sole Academic Dean, to have expanded responsibilities and a new title: Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives.  In addition, the new structure reframes the membership of the Academic Cabinet making it a smaller and more active group.  The Academic Cabinet consists of the leaders of the six schools and other appointees made by the Provost. This includes the Vice Provost, the Director of the Library, the Director of the Institute for Health and Behavioral Sciences, the Registrar, the Director of Assessment, and the Dean of Students.  Dr. John Barton, Provost, continues to chair the Cabinet. According to the 2011-2012 Faculty Handbook, the Academic Cabinet “meets regularly to establish, evaluate, and recommend academic policies defined in the College Handbook and the College Catalog. This committee is responsible for substantive curriculum changes, evaluation of academic programs, matters that Affect general education, and coordination of activities between academic departments/divisions.” Assessment of student learning continues to be a priority of the college which is reflected in a number of strategic initiatives. The 2002-2003 HLC comprehensive visit highlighted assessment as an area that needed more attention, and the administration in place at the time put some formal initiatives into motion to help the college begin to address the issues.  Between 2003 and 2006, progress was made in developing and 12


implementing plans to organize and improve a culture of assessment. In large part because of administrative turmoil and turnover during the crisis years, however, the initiatives did not progress as planned.  The new administration revived the priority for assessment. For example, despite significant financial challenges that keep the college from being able to hire many new and desired positions, Rochester College made an institutional commitment to this issue by creating a full-time position for a Director of Assessment and Institutional Research in 2010.  Under the director’s leadership, the college also applied for and was accepted into the HLC’s Academy for the Assessment of Student Learning in fall 2011. Membership in the Academy has helped prioritize and organize the campus-wide effort to successfully address the college’s desire to improve the assessment culture, which is discussed more fully in Criterion Four, and has also contributed to the processes of the self-study reflected in this report.

Self-Study Process and Goals This self-study report is the result of a campus-wide effort that informed and shaped ongoing processes and new initiatives. Thus, the purposes of this self-study report reflect institutional priorities and concerns and are as follows: 1.

To determine how well Rochester College is meeting its goals and accomplishing its mission.

2. To present an accurate, comprehensive, analytic description of Rochester College. 3. To demonstrate the progress Rochester College has made since the 2002 SelfStudy and various subsequent monitoring reports. 4. To provide an additional vehicle for the strategic planning process, leading to institutional improvement. 5. To support the request for continued accreditation of Rochester College with The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. 6. To provide Rochester College constituents with a macro view of the institution, identifying both strengths and areas needing improvement.

Rochester College campus

In order to help us attain these goals and purposes, an executive committee was formed during the summer of 2010. The executive committee selected campus 13


leaders to chair criterion committees. A self-study steering committee was formed comprising the executive committee and criterion chairs. Criterion chairs and their committees were each assigned one criterion for which they would be responsible to collect evidence and generate a report. The executive committee facilitated the campus-wide process by developing a sharepoint site to collect and share information; attending committee meetings when invited; providing templates to guide committee research and writing; and attending HLC-sponsored meetings to keep committees informed of the numerous revisions to the accreditation criteria. After the accreditation criteria were finalized in March 2012, each committee reviewed evidence collected and assigned writers to complete draft reports. These reports were then reviewed and edited by the executive team in conjunction with the steering committee.



Criterion One: Mission

Challenging Academics. Christian Community. 15



Introduction Rochester College is guided by our mission statement and the executive team uses it as the supreme benchmark for decision making. The mission not only

The mission not only guides

guides all decisions and activities, but also defines the passion of our people. President Rubel Shelly opened the 2011 academic year by reminding the entire

all decisions and activities,

college community that, “Faithfulness to the mission of Rochester College is the

but also defines the passion

justification for its existence.” He commissioned all college employees to live the

of our people.

mission “faithfully on a daily basis.”1 A clear demonstration of the college’s commitment to its mission occurred in January of 2009. When the college was experiencing severe financial stress and was searching for appropriate ways to ensure a future for the institution, President Shelly was contacted by a number of venture capitalist groups offering to transform it into a for-profit enterprise. One notable contact was made by Michael Clifford, acting on behalf of Significant Ventures. Despite the promises of financial stability, the administration ultimately felt that such arrangements would compromise the college’s academic and religious mission. Therefore, the administration turned down these offers in favor of a slower, more difficult, and more risky commitment to the historic mission. The subsequent years would prove difficult on many fronts and many challenges continue. In the past few years, however, the college has been blessed and has experienced a dramatic turnaround that reflects our commitment to mission, the hard work and sacrifice of the college community, and the guidance of Dr. Manning and the HLC.


Northstar, Fall 2009.




The Rochester College mission statement and supporting mission materials are widely known and broadly understood by the campus community, and they provide the framework through which the administration, faculty, and staff collaborate on institutional objectives and operations.

Development of Mission Statement The Mission Statement of Rochester College as published in catalogs since 2010-2011, on the institution’s official website, and in all its ancillary documents is as follows:

“Rochester College cultivates academic excellence, principled character, servant leadership, and global awareness through a rigorous educational experience that integrates liberal arts and professional studies within an inclusive Christian heritage.” 2 The current Mission Statement is a result of a recent revision. The revision was made in the spirit of the HLC’s “Criteria for Accreditation” (3.1) which encourages institutions to consider mission documents as “dynamic,” and to thus revisit the mission documents “frequently” so as to have them reflect the “current” situation of the College relevant

Candle Lighting Ceremony Fall 2010

to its target population. The institution’s previous Mission Statement (i.e., “The mission of Rochester College is to engage students in a vigorous liberal arts education within a Christian community for a life of study and service”) had been employed since 2000 and was reflected in the 2002 HLC Comprehensive Visit. In the fall of 2008, the college began a two-year process of revising and updating the statement in ways appropriate to both the college’s historic mission and current realities. This process was led by the Provost, Dr. John Barton, and began through the organization of a “Strategic Think Tank” comprised of key faculty members and campus leaders, who then made proposals to the Academic Cabinet. Eventually, a draft of the revised mission statement was presented for widespread input from the faculty in general.


Academic Cabinet, Institutional Learning Goals, 2010 Revision 17


The results of this collaborative process were then presented to and approved by the Board of Trustees, announced publically, and published in the spring of 2010.

Academic Programs and Student Support Services Consistent with Mission Rochester College’s mission provides the framework in which our academic programs, support services, and recruiting efforts are developed and implemented. The overall academic model that the college uses is

Students gather in the Community Hub for Integrated Learning (CHILL)

called an “Integrated Learning Community” (ILC). An integrated approach to life and study takes advantage of Rochester College’s smaller class sizes and co-curricular programs. This model was developed and launched in the fall of 2009 as part of broader initiatives to align academic programs with the institutional mission. In 2011, the college hired a full-time Director of Integrated Learning to coordinate integrated learning programs and develop new programs within the integrated learning framework.

An integrated approach to life and Integrated learning programs seek to help students make

study takes advantage of Rochester

interdisciplinary connections

College’s smaller class sizes and

and take learning outside of the

co-curricular programs.

classroom. Integrated learning initiatives include Academic Symposium, the First Year Experience program, Chapel and Convocation, team-taught and linked courses, and various other integrated learning initiatives throughout the academic year.



For all traditional and residential students, participation in Chapel/Convocation programs is tracked and encouraged through academic incentives. These programs, which include traditional chapel services as well as “Wellness Seminars” and cultural and community service opportunities, provide specific opportunities to focus on the holistic development of students within the college’s integrated learning model. While some students attend chapel simply for the academic incentives, many view it as an essential part of the Rochester College experience and a key reason for choosing our school. In Rochester College’s student newspaper, The Shield, one student writer described chapel as “a time where we can come together, slow down from our busy day and worship together. It works as a catalyst to foster the spiritual development on campus” (Shield 12.3, 15). Rochester College hosts Academic Symposium every spring. Designed like an academic conference, students attend academic presentations made by students completing the capstone course in their degree program, and the entire traditional student body attends a plenary session by a notable guest speaker. Musical and theatrical recitals and an Academic Awards Ceremony take place during evenings before and after symposium. Every year, between 55-70 students present their capstone projects to over 500 fellow students, faculty, parents and guests from our community. The recently launched First Year Experience (FYE) program integrates learning with the social aspect of the college experience and promotes mentoring opportunities. Freshman and transfer students are placed in small groups who are mentored by older students and a faculty member. FYE groups get together socially, attend special chapels together, and complete a service project. This program helps Rochester College promote servant leadership, another important component of the institutional mission, because many of the activities are planned and executed by students.

Academic Symposium 2012

Team-taught and linked courses allow professors to work together to present academic material in interdisciplinary ways. For example, in fall 2012, a psychology professor and a religion professor team-taught an Honors course called, “The Psychology and Theology of Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy,” and a professor of religion and a psychology professor co-taught a ministry class called “Religion, Media, and Youth Culture.” Similarly, a philosophy professor, a religion professor, and a visiting 19


professor of Islam from Wayne State University offered a philosophy class called “Diversity Seminar: Muslim and Christian Interactions.” When team-taught courses are impractical, linked courses allow classes with shared topics to meet together a few times to explore common ground from diverse perspectives. For example,

The college offers numerous

in the fall of 2009, an International Business course was linked with courses in

learning resources and

International Communication and Diversity in American Literature, giving students

support services to facilitate academic excellence among our students.

in all three courses the opportunity to share perspectives and learn from students and professors in other disciplines. A growing number of online courses and programs are also designed according to the integrated learning model. Hybrid programs such as the Masters of Religious Education (MRE) program use a cohort model that places all students in a learning community that experiences both online and on-ground components. A description of the MRE program is found at Rochester College’s General Education Program is also consistent with its mission. The General Education Program is the foundation of all associate and bachelor degrees at the college, and it contributes to fulfilling many important aspects of the mission, including academic excellence, principled character, and global awareness. The General Education Program was revised in 2009 and restructured to focus on Skill Development (for Reading Comprehension, Writing, Reasoning, and Communication) and Knowledge Enhancement (of Self, Others, and God). Currently, a team participating in the HLC Assessment Academy is developing a comprehensive assessment plan for the General Education program using Integrated Learning Portfolios. The Academy project will be discussed in detail in Criterion Four: Teaching and Learning – Evaluation and Improvement. General education, and its relationship to the mission, is discussed in detail in Criterion Three: Teaching and Learning-Quality, Resources, and Support. Academic programs and policies continue to develop to fulfill Rochester College’s


Academic Cabinet, Institutional Learning Goals, 2010 Revision 20

mission and achieve Institutional Learning Goals (ILGs). Rochester College’s five ILGs are inquiry, critical thinking, diversity, communication, and Christian faith. These


goals were revised following the revision of the college’s mission statement in 2010, and are currently under review as part of the institution’s work in the HLC Assessment Academy. A minimum of two or three of the ILGs are identified for each course and listed in the syllabi.2 Curriculum within the different majors offers numerous opportunities for personal, social, and civic development, and opportunities to cultivate life skills that complement professional attributes. Internships in areas such as Business, Social Work, and Religion provide such opportunities, as do student teaching requirements in the Teacher Education program. All of these opportunities and requirements are documented in detail in the academic catalog found at The college offers numerous learning resources and support services to facilitate academic excellence among its students. Career and testing services are available to all students, providing concrete assistance in selecting a course of study and career goal that relates to their personal interests, skills, and values. In addition to meeting with students one-on-one, career and testing services also provide workshops to help students link learning experiences with professional development, preparing them for life after graduation. In the fall of 2012, career services offered workshops in resume writing, social media, interview skills, dressing for success, and online applications. A total of 59 students attended these workshops. In addition, library services and resources are available to all students, whether traditional, non-traditional, residential, or online. (see Other services include an active tutoring lab called the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) which services many students every semester, a newly revised Academic Advising Department, an Accommodations Officer who addresses the specific needs of accommodation students, an Information Technology (IT) department and a department of Online Learning that support students’ technological needs. Rochester College fulfills its mission to cultivate principled character and servant leadership in part through the office of Student Development. The Student Development Office encourages and oversees all student-led organizations, including student government and social clubs. Student Development also includes Campus 21


Ministry and Residence Life. Campus Ministry organizes and oversees chapel services

and creates service, missions, and leadership opportunities for all students. The

Residence Life Office seeks to create a campus community that nurtures students

while encouraging independence. The spiritual and ethical components of the mission of Rochester College are reflected in student responses to various surveys. In course surveys administered to all classes during the past two years, 82.7% of students strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “This course and instructor exposed me to a Christian perspective and influenced me to approach my life and work though personal responsibility and service.� During the 2012 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the college joined the Mission Engagement Consortium for Independent Colleges (MECIC) to administer an additional survey. Rochester College students compared favorably to participating schools on several questions summarized in the table below.

TABLE 1.1. MISSION ENGAGEMENT CONSORTIUM SURVEY RESULTS Percentage of students indicating they strongly agree or agree with survey item.




First Year Students (FY)



Senior Students (SR)

The mission of this institution is widely understood by students.





Ethical and spiritual development of students is an important part of the mission at this institution.





The heritage of the founders/founding religious community of this institution is evident here.





At this institution, there are opportunities for students to strengthen their religious commitment.





The mission of this institution is reflected in its course offerings.





The faculty at this institution discuss the ethical implications of what is being studied.





As a result of my experience here, I am more aware of my own personal values.






Enrollment Profile is Consistent with Mission Recruiting efforts at Rochester College are driven by our commitment to developing the whole person – spiritually, academically, and socially. Future students are encouraged to consider Rochester College’s vigorous education and Christian environment as a means to achieve their goals and to be challenged in these areas.  In an effort to focus recruitment on students who embody the Rochester College mission, the admissions department allocates more attention and staff resources to prospective students who demonstrate spiritual, academic, and extracurricular commitments consistent with our mission. Special attention is given to academically-qualified prospective students from Churches of Christ. The college also awards a generous ambassador scholarship to prospects that specifically embody our mission in extraordinary ways.  A dedicated recruiter is assigned to visit churches throughout the region to build relationship with these faith communities and identify prospective students. Additionally, we also sponsor and participate in several church youth events throughout the Midwest.  The commitments and hard work of the college’s enrollment personnel correlate with increasing enrollments as reflected in the table below.

TABLE 1.2. TOTAL ENROLLMENT, FALL SEMESTER, 2003-2011 PROGRAM Traditional Undergrad Graduate CEL Total











482 520 1002

498 514 1012

542 0 513 1055

544 10 482 1036

490 6 467 963

481 13 423 917

509 18 369 896

618 20 427 1065

614 20 431 1065

744 19 398 1141

Planning and Budgeting Priorities Align with Mission As with academic programs and student support services, planning and budgeting efforts are developed and implemented within the framework of the college’s mission. The mission statement and supporting mission documents are used as the fundamental reference for institutional strategic planning and, therefore, strategic budgeting.



Rochester College has recently emerged from financial crisis, and resources continue to be limited and budgets are tight. Nonetheless, the administration has made

Campus-wide “Mission Boards”

intentional and proactive commitments to several mission critical areas. Assessment and integrated learning are two areas that are directly tied to the institution’s mission and have received strategic development.

Rochester College cultivates academic excellence, principled character, servant leadership, and global awareness through a rigorous educational experience that integrates liberal arts and professional studies within an inclusive Christian heritage. THROUGH OUR MISSION WE AFFIRM:


• A quality education stresses excellence and trains students to perform scholarly research, to think critically and creatively, and to communicate effectively.

Inquiry: Students will participate actively in an academic community that practices open investigation of truth and integrated learning.

• An educated person pursues truth through open investigation.

Critical Thinking: Students will develop the ability to use various research tools and interdisciplinary methods of study and problem-solving.

• An educated person possesses a lifelong desire to learn and grow. • An educated person views vocation as an opportunity for service and stewardship rather than a passport to privilege. • A Christian education integrates scripture with the wisdom of humanity embodied in the arts and sciences. • A Christian education demonstrates that faith in God engenders a life of virtue, justice, and social responsibility.

Diversity: Students will experience and develop an understanding of various cultures and belief systems. Communication: Students will be able to communicate effectively using a variety of written, verbal, and artistic forms. Christian Faith: Students will be challenged to embody a way of life that is shaped by Christian scripture and community.

More about the relationship between Rochester College’s mission and its planning and budgeting priorities can be found in Criterion 5.C.1. It is also important to note that commitments and initiatives for strategic planning are ongoing. In the spring of 2013, before the comprehensive visit occurs but after this report is submitted, the college will host Dr. Gary Selby of

This community upholds all of the above affirmations within a nonsectarian Christian context.

Pepperdine University who will be leading a campus-wide project entitled “Imagining the Future: A Strategic Planning Project for Rochester College.” Dr. Selby’s leadership of this project is also cited in Criteria 3 and 5.


The Rochester College mission statement and supporting mission materials are current and clearly address the various aspects of the college’s mission, programs, and services. This is more fully demonstrated above in core component 1.A. The mission statement and supporting mission materials are also articulated in a set of mission-related documents that are prominently displayed across campus, Rochester College cultivates academic excellence, principled character, servant leadership, and global awareness through a rigorous educational experience that integrates liberal arts and professional studies within an inclusive Christian heritage. THROUGH OUR MISSION WE AFFIRM:


• A quality education stresses excellence and trains students to perform scholarly research, to think critically and creatively, and to communicate effectively.

Inquiry: Students will participate actively in an academic community that practices open investigation of truth and integrated learning.

• An educated person pursues truth through open investigation.

Critical Thinking: Students will develop the ability to use various research tools and interdisciplinary methods of study and problem-solving.

• An educated person possesses a lifelong desire to learn and grow. • An educated person views vocation as an opportunity for service and stewardship rather than a passport to privilege. • A Christian education integrates scripture with the wisdom of humanity embodied in the arts and sciences. • A Christian education demonstrates that faith in God engenders a life of virtue, justice, and social responsibility. This community upholds all of the above affirmations within a nonsectarian Christian context.


Diversity: Students will experience and develop an understanding of various cultures and belief systems. Communication: Students will be able to communicate effectively using a variety of written, verbal, and artistic forms. Christian Faith: Students will be challenged to embody a way of life that is shaped by Christian scripture and community.

regularly referenced in public addresses by college leaders, and widely reflected in various college documents and promotional materials.


Public Documents The Rochester College mission is clearly articulated and presented in the following mission materials: The Mission Statement, The Mission Affirmations, and the Institutional Goals and Vision Statements. These items are displayed on large mounted plaques around campus including in classrooms, hallways, conference rooms, and offices. Various components also appear in the opening pages of the college catalog, and on the college website at The mission statement also appears in a number of published materials, including those designed for current and prospective students as well as supporters of the college and other constituents: •

The college’s primary publication to alumni and constituents: The North Star

The Rochester College Catalog

The Rochester College Student Handbook

Enrollment Office’s View Book used in recruiting

Annual Commencement and Dean’s Breakfast Programs

The Development Office’s donor piece: Salt & Light of the World


The Rochester College mission statement reflects our commitment to understanding, appreciating, and serving our diverse society. The mission states that

2012-13 Admissions Viewbook

the institution fosters “global awareness through a vigorous academic experience.” Likewise, “Diversity” and “Cultural Literacy” are institutional learning goals used to assess student learning. In course surveys administered to all classes during the past two years, 87.3% of students strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “This course helped me to understand different perspectives and beliefs and develop new ways of thinking about the topics covered in this course.”



The campus community and various programs have successfully promoted awareness and understanding of the diversity of society. Results from the MECIC survey of students in spring 2012 indicate that Rochester College students appreciate and engage the diversity of society.

TABLE 1.3. MISSION ENGAGEMENT CONSORTIUM SURVEY RESULTS Percentage of students indicating they strongly agree or agree with survey item.


SURVEY ITEM The faculty and staff here are respectful of people of different religions.





The students here are respectful of people of different religions.





Students at this institution feel free to express their individual spirituality.





The faculty and staff here are respectful of people of different races and cultures.





The students here are respectful of people of different races and cultures.





The environment here encourages students to develop an appreciation for diversity.





As a result of my experience here, I am more aware of social justice (fairness and equality) issues in the world.





Rochester College promotes an appreciation and engagement of the diversity of society through academic initiatives, campus activities, partnerships, and outreach. Our small student community offers great opportunities for providing students with creative, valuable learning experiences for understanding diverse cultures and belief systems. Furthermore, partnership and outreach initiatives allow the college to encourage diversity and understanding in our community and in society as a whole.

Academic Initiatives that Foster Diversity Academic initiatives that foster an understanding of diversity are part of our integrated learning approach. Students are encouraged to experience and develop an understanding of various cultures and belief systems through academic courses, and through educational travel offered through Global Educational Opportunities (GEO).



As part of Rochester College’s general education requirements, all students take at least one course that focuses on diversity. Courses that emphasize diversity include Teaching Across Cultures (a class for Teacher Education majors which includes a required field experience designed to immerse students in an unfamiliar culture), Intercultural Communication, Diversity in American Literature, World Regional Geography (an examination of the political, economic, cultural, and environmental dynamics that shape the major world regions), Globalization and the Developing World (a history course), World Music, Diversity Seminar (a series of philosophy courses that address issues such as Muslim/Christian interactions and racial reconciliation), Diversity and Cross-Cultural Psychology, and World Religions. The World Religions course features guest speakers from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, as well as a trip to Chicago to visit various houses of worship. Global Education Opportunities (GEO) provides students with multiple opportunities to gain diverse perspectives and a broader view of the world by studying abroad. In addition to the yearly semester-long study abroad opportunity in Europe, Rochester College offers several shorter GEO travel opportunities. The School of Business and Professional Studies has organized a three-week trip to China; the School of Theology and Ministry regularly takes students to participate in an archeological dig in Israel; students have had multiple opportunities to travel to Uganda and Rwanda; and in March of 2012, twenty students, faculty, board members, and administrators visited Turkey. Rochester College students recognize the value of these opportunities. An article in the student paper reporting on the Turkey trip stated that “Many of the students and professors were surprised and pleased to find how similar the American and Turkish people really are.” Furthermore, one student participant reflected on her decision to dedicate her spring break to the trip, saying “I’d rather spend a



week gaining an understanding of another culture than a week on a beach being lazy any day” (The Shield 12.4, p. 7). The GEO program helps Rochester College accomplish its diversity goals and allows students to gain knowledge beyond textbooks and classroom lectures.

Campus Activities that Foster Diversity Campus activities that foster diversity include opportunities specifically for Rochester College students, as well as public events such as theatre productions and forums designed to promote dialogue between different communities and cultures. Since 2009, Student Development has organized Detroit Urban Plunge, a servicepacked spring break trip to inner-city Detroit. This experience exposes students to economic and cultural diversity. Kristen Rudd, a student who co-directed the 2012 trip, said the experience taught her the “gift of empathy.” Empathy, she says, is “the ability to relate with another on levels that you could not have before . . . [it] is a huge burden that weighs heavily on your heart. . . . Just as God weeps with us when we

Shack-A-Thon 2012

are sad, we wept with many people who were going through some hard times” (Shield 12.4, p. 24). The March 2012 trip included an educational component as well as a service component. The educational component included a historical and informational tour of Detroit, a ministry contextualization meeting with a local pastor, and visits to a local Mosque and the Heidleberg Project, an outdoor art gallery. Service included work with troubled and abandoned youth in Christ Child Boys Home, beautification and benevolence projects in Cass Park, and work with a traveling homeless shelter called Shelters of Love. Students also taught ESL classes for the Arab American Friendship Center (AAFC) and volunteered as teachers’ aides in Detroit Public Schools. Shack-A-Thon is another event that promotes an understanding of economic and cultural diversity. For the past seven years, Campus Ministry has sponsored this weekend event that raises awareness of homelessness to both the campus and the surrounding community. Students construct homes of basic materials that would be available to the homeless and live



in makeshift homes for the weekend. This is done on the east lawn of the campus and is visible to all who drive by the campus. The community is invited to make donations, which went to the local Habitat for Humanity until 2011, when the students chose to send donations to a local non-profit food and clothing bank. Also, during the weekend, students participate in service projects throughout the community, such as working at the food and clothing bank. In 2012, Integrated Learning activities included an African-American “Read-in,” a program begun by the National Council of Teachers of English to celebrate Black History Month. A faculty member from

Chapel service provides ecumenically

the English Department also sponsored an Irish Celebration in which Irish poetry,

diverse programing that explores a

drama, and music was performed. These events were held in the “CHILL,” or the Community Hub of Integrated Learning.

variety of faith traditions.

Monthly Convocations also allow for special programming that is often tied to promoting diversity; for example, every January we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a community, planning special speakers and activities to commemorate the holiday. Students receive two “chapel credits” for attending convocation and they are well attended. Rochester College is also committed to supporting religious diversity. Religious diversity initiatives include the House of God programs, chapel programming, and many of the public dialogue events hosted on campus. The House of God was started in 2006 by a senior ministry student and provides dialogue between ministers representing various Christian denominations and groups. The group discusses topics, issues, and theological positions on which the groups often disagree. The roundtable discussion forum was designed to model for students how to have healthy dialogue and develop the ability to listen to someone with whom they disagree. Issues that have been discussed in recent years have included sexuality, politics, and race relations. 29


Chapel service provides ecumenically diverse programing that explores a variety of faith traditions. Diverse speakers, musicians, and artists expose students to leaders outside the Rochester College community, and represent the diversity within the campus community. In a survey completed in Fall 2012, 78% of students strongly

Rochester College is well known

agreed or agreed with the statement, “The chapel and convocation program

for its commitment to serve at

helped me connect with and value different groups of students in the campus

local events, and we educate the community through hosting various academic and cultural programs.

community.” The college continuously seeks out speakers for broader events who can contribute their distinct and sometimes dissonant voices to our student body and constituents. Well known speakers who have participated in recent events on campus include Will Willimon, Tony Campolo, Fred Craddock, Morna Hooker, Micheal Medved, Gordon Fee, Stanley Hauerwas, Sally Morgenthaler, Scot McKnight, and Moroslav Volf. These speakers represent a wide spectrum of Christian denominations and other religions, and have all added something vital to the faith discussion at Rochester College. We also hosted the Global Justice Conference in April of 2011 which brought critical awareness to issues of human trafficking and modern slavery, and connected us to various advocacy groups as well as concerned

An Evening with Elie Wiesel 2008

people in our geographic area. Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Holocaust survival, gave a lecture on campus in 2008 to inaugurate the celebration of the college’s fiftieth year. More than 800 people, including many from the local Jewish Community, attended Professor Wiesel’s lecture on “The Power of Language for Reconciliation.” Theater department productions are often selected to bring awareness of diversity issues to both participants and attendees. Theater productions highlighting the Holocaust have included “Number the Stars,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and “Who Returned My Soul.” Productions that have raised awareness of racial injustice include “The Meeting” and “Bourbon at the Border.”



Partnerships that Foster Diversity Rochester College collaborates with the Niagara Foundation, which seeks to increase intercultural and interfaith understanding. In March of 2012, the foundation sponsored the trip to Turkey described above. The purpose of the trip was to foster a greater appreciation for and understanding of the Turkish people and their nation, as well as to promote respect and healthy dialogue between Christian and Muslim communities. Upon their return, students and faculty shared their experiences with the student body through a series of chapel presentations and faculty symposium presentations, as well as articles in the student newspaper, The Shield. In addition, the college and the Niagara Foundation are partnering on many other initiatives in 2013 with similar goals. The foundation’s annual “Abrahamic Dinner” will be hosted on campus on February 28th, 2013. The foundation and the college will co-sponsor a significant seminar on campus in March entitled “Speaking of God in a Secular Society” which will feature a prominent Turkish journalist and author (Mustafa Akyol) and legendary American journalist (John Seigenthaler). Rochester’s president and provost are also working with the foundation to organize two trips to Turkey in June of 2013 for local political, business, and religious leaders.

Outreach Rochester College also has a variety of institutional initiatives designed to encourage global awareness and connect its mission to our diverse society. For

Kibo Corner

example, the college has a unique connection to the East African country of Uganda and launched The Rochester College Center for East African Studies and Development in the fall of 2011. Before the center was established, several faculty members lived and worked in Uganda, students visited East Africa through the college’s GEO program, and several Ugandan students had the opportunity to attend Rochester College via the Ugandan Scholarship. The center builds on these existing connections and now organizes the Ugandan Scholarships and East Africa GEO programs. Furthermore, the center collects and archives historical documents and current research regarding East Africa and oversees Kibo Corner, a coffee shop on campus. Kibo Corner sells Uganda coffee and handcrafts, and supports Kibo Group, a non-profit organization that helps communities 31


in East Africa reach their full potential by providing clean water wells and healthcare training, and tackling issues such as poverty and injustice. Staffed by volunteers, 100% of the profits gained from product sales go to various initiatives of the Kibo Group. The coffee shop also provides a dynamic presence in the campus student center that adds to campus culture and provides avenues for global awareness and concern. Another outreach initiative that demonstrates Rochester College’s mission to cultivate global awareness and connect with the diversity of society is our partnership with the city of Rochester Hills regarding Tuz, Montenegro. The city of Rochester Hills has designated Tuz, Montenegro as its Sister City, and Rochester College has embraced this relationship, offering a $100,000.00 scholarship to a student from the city. In the fall of 2009, business major Drita Dusevic arrived on campus. She is expected to graduate in 2013 and will then return to Montenegro. In 2009, students led by campus social clubs also collected school supplies for students living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Tuz, Montenegro. The supplies were delivered by Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.


Rochester College serves the general public as well as the campus community. As an independent, non-profit institution, we have no obligation to investors or a parent organization; therefore, we exist solely to advance our educational mission and contribute to the public good. Rochester College is well known for its commitment to serve at local events, and we educate the community through hosting various academic and cultural programs. Rochester College also hosts opportunities for dialogue on current issues facing the Christian community, and engages other religious groups to promote education, understanding, and a working community for all.

Rochester College and the City of Rochester Hills: Partners in Community Life Rochester College is featured prominently in Rochester Hills’ promotional material, and Mayor Bryan Barnett frequently calls Rochester College the “crown jewel” to the life of the city. One previously noted example of the reciprocity of this relationship is in regards to Tuz, Montenegro. Rochester College has also served its community 32


by donating land and funds to preserve the Clinton River. Additionally, Rochester College helps sponsor annual community events such as the Paint Creek Art and Apples festival, the Festival of the Hills Independence Day Celebration, and the Detroittelevised Hometown Christmas Parade. Rochester College has also partnered with the Greater Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce to create a very successful program called Leadership Greater Rochester. It is a nine-month program for twenty community leaders who go through an extensive process of training, introduction, and networking with city and county leaders in politics, business, education, and spiritual life. Sheri Heiney, Executive Director of the Chamber, works closely with the college in framing each year’s program, and Dr. Shelly is the opening and closing speaker for each year’s program. The City of Rochester Hills and Rochester College are linked as partners for the improvement of the quality of life for everyone in our area. A recent letter from Mayor Barnett captures our unique relationship with our hometown: “Many of our community leaders are very much a part of Rochester College’s journey and nucleus of support. Our business leaders seek to employ the students due in a large part for their known personal work integrity and work ethic. These qualities are expected of Rochester College’s students and the expectations are warranted.”

Early College Programs Promote Public Good Rochester College also seeks to serve local school districts through early college partnerships. Early College has evolved from a few students independently dual enrolling in college courses, to a formal partnership with Pontiac Schools for completion of an associate’s degree concurrently with high school completion, to customized relationships tailored to the individual district. At present, we are partnered with Pontiac Schools, Fraser Schools, and Oxford Schools.  We are currently in discussion with Madison Heights, Rochester, and Anchor Bay school districts.  More details about RC’s Early College program can be found in Criterion 3, Component 3A.



Campus-wide Commitment to the Public Good Just as the institution as a whole seeks to serve the local community, so do the individual departments of the Rochester College community. Each department seeks to serve the community with its specific area of expertise. For example, the School of Nursing provides assistance to blood drives and health screenings. Nursing students have also provided services at the community senior citizen center, a local women’s shelter, and substance abuse center. Nursing students also make presentations to younger students, visiting Rochester Community Schools to talk about topics such as bullying, safety, and allergies, and nutrition.

Early College Graduates Spring 2012

Rochester College also offers a variety of summer programs for teens in the community, including Elevate, a Christian camp sponsored by the Admissions Department, and Jr. Scholars, an academic program hosted by the Honors Program. In the summer of 2013, Rochester College will offer two additional academic programs for high school students, one featuring the medical profession and the other featuring Shakespearian theater. Rochester College athletic teams also host training camps for local students. The Lake Norcentra Basketball Camp, staffed with Rochester College basketball players, is widely known throughout the community as a camp that stresses skills and character. The soccer and volleyball teams have also held training camps for the local youth. Community service is a focus of Rochester College athletic teams. In addition to hosting training camps on campus, the basketball and softball teams have assisted with a large community marathon, the Brooksie Way, since 2010. For the last eight years, Rochester College’s baseball team has read to local elementary students during the college’s holiday breaks, and for the last four years, they have created Valentine’s Day cards for a local group of senior citizens. Coach Ackerman states, “Our guys feel it is important to spend time with those who laid the groundwork for the society we live in today. We like to listen to their stories and learn from their experiences.”



The music and theater departments draw significant crowds to campus for performances. The theatre department has presented traveling shows to local schools, and frequently invites school groups to attend on-campus productions. Productions also cast community members in plays and musicals when students are unavailable to appropriately fill roles. In addition to the theater camp that will launch in the summer of 2013, the department trains young and aspiring thespians through Theatrefest, a new event that brings prospective students to campus to learn about various topics related to the theatrical craft. In the fall of 2012, 60 high school students attended. The department of Career Services invites the community to campus events such as job fairs and employment workshops. Career Services also frequently hosts area employers, businesses, and graduate schools, seeking to connect our students with the broader community. The department also works collaboratively with local employers in assisting with filling employment and internship needs. The Department of Bible and Religion hosts various conferences such as The Christian Scholars Conference (2007) and the Streaming Conference (annual), bringing together religious leaders from throughout the country. As mentioned above, in April of 2011, the college hosted a Global Justice Conference, bringing awareness to the reality of human trafficking. More than 250 people were present as the conference’s keynote speakers reminded attendees that trafficking is not just a global problem; it is a local problem as well. The Ennis and Nancy Ham Library regularly hosts historical and cultural exhibits for the campus and the surrounding community. Each semester, local artists and art associations exhibit local art in the library, and a reception is held so the campus community and area residents can talk to the artists about their work. In fall 2007, the library partnered with the Rochester Hills Museum and hosted an exhibit entitled, Mothers, Daughters, and Leaders of Oakland County. This exhibit showcased the accomplishments of several



local women including a former first lady of the college, Alma Gatewood. In February 2010 the Library celebrated Black History month by arranging for a monthly exhibit of Jacob Lawrence and the Legend of John Brown. This series of digitized reproductions of Jacob Lawrence’s silkscreen prints was borrowed through an arrangement with Wayne State University. Campus Ministry has always been a leader in promoting the public good, both responding to timely needs and offering ongoing service. For example, in 2005 and 2006, campus ministry organized trips to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to help with Hurricane Katrina relief. In 2010, a group of private donors provided grants for student

Students and staff in Baton Rouge, 2005

groups to do service for the community. Named “Real Hope,” the project required students to raise funds to double the initial money donated toward their projects. Real Hope projects have included repainting the library at Pontiac High School, providing supplies for a Detroit public school classroom, helping a cancer patient pay for two months of rent, providing Christmas gifts for a local family, and assisting a single mother with diapers, furniture, and baby supplies.



CONCLUSION Rochester College is a mission-centered institution. The Christian values articulated in the mission give the institution a unique identity that guides all areas of the institution. The Rochester College mission statement and supporting mission materials are widely known and broadly understood by the campus community, and they provide the framework for all our activities, including curriculum development and instruction, financial planning, and recruiting, and outreach. •

In 2009, our integrated learning academic model was designed and our general education program was revised. These changes

The Christian values articulated in our

strengthened the relationship between academic programs and the

mission give us a unique identity that

institutional mission.

guides all areas of our institution.

The current mission statement is the result of a two-year revision process that began in the fall of 2008. A strategic think tank committee, the academic cabinet, the faculty as a whole, and the Board of Trustees were involved in this revision.

Many students select Rochester College based on the Christian character of the institutional mission, and student extra-curricular activities naturally correlate with the mission.

The college’s commitments to servant leadership and global awareness, articulated in the mission, guide our commitment to diversity and our interactions with the broader community, making Rochester College a significant contributor to the promotion of the public good.



Criterion Two: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

Challenging Academics. Christian Community. 38



Introduction The mission of Rochester College is fulfilled in an ethical and responsible manner through its processes of policy adoption and implementation, through comprehensive and continuing communication, through the autonomy of the board, and through its commitments to ethical teaching and learning. The governing board, administration, faculty, and staff all contribute to fulfilling our mission in a fair and ethical manner. Rochester College is committed to comprehensive and continuing

The governing board,

communication with employees, students, alumni, its donor base, and the

administration, faculty, and staff all

public at large through extensive print, online, and in-person methods. The

contribute to fulfilling our mission in

Board of Trustees functions with autonomy and integrity as demonstrated

a fair and ethical manner.

by their adoption of new policies and a new governance model. The faculty enjoys freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning, and knowledge is discovered and applied responsibly.


Rochester College has established fair and ethical policies and processes that are clearly communicated in various Codes of Conduct for the Board, administration, faculty, and staff. These policies are followed through the transparency of Rochester College’s processes and operations, as seen in its clearly delineated guidelines concerning all constituencies.



Financial Functions: Fair and Ethical Policies In order to relate ethically with donors, the Development Office researched and drafted a policy manual, Rochester College Gift Policies and Guidelines, which was subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees. Article II, Ethical Standards, states, “When engaged in gift marketing, planning, and/or implementation, every employee or other person acting for or on behalf of Rochester shall adhere to the standards in effect as of the date of the original adoption of this Policy, as set forth in (1) ‘The Donor Bill of Rights’ (see Addendum A) and (2) the ‘Model Standards of Practice of the Charitable Gift Planner’ (see Addendum B).” The policy also states that Rochester College considers “the Donor’s intent and circumstances to be of the utmost importance. Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that each gift is beneficial to and reflects the interests of both the Donor and Rochester” (Rochester College Gift Policies and Guidelines 1-2).

A Christian education

Examples of the administration’s fair and ethical financial policies within the

demonstrates that a vibrant faith

internal Rochester College community include faculty pay scales based on rank

compels a life of personal virtue

and education level, a generous tuition discount program that is identical for

and social responsibility.

faculty, staff, and administration, and health insurance benefits. In spite of rising health care costs, the college provides 100% health insurance coverage for all employees, meaning employees do not contribute to health policy premiums. Weaknesses in the financial area, however, are that salaries remain low and the college is not currently making contributions toward employees’ retirement plans; in the past, prior to the period of financial crisis (2004-2008), the college contributed 5% of the employees’ salary to a retirement fund. As the college’s finances improve, raises are a priority for the near future. Rochester College strives to communicate financial matters transparently with all constituents. Therefore, the college website reveals the financial controls of the governing board and the administration in the disclosures on the Financial Services pages on the website:



Academic Functions: Fair and Ethical Policies and Processes Training students in ethics is also a part of fulfilling our mission. The General Education Program requires that all students take three hours of credit in “Moral and Philosophic Reasoning,” which is designed “to introduce students to the basic categories and ideas of the fields of philosophy and ethics, giving special attention to the development of analytic and reasoning skills, especially as they relate to Christian moral discourse” (2012-2013 Course Catalog 54). In addition, students are required to take nine hours in the Christian Values core and three hours of Non-Western Studies and Diversity to introduce them to Non-Western histories, cultures, and religions. All of these course requirements are intended to support the college’s affirmation that “A Christian education demonstrates that a vibrant faith compels a life of personal virtue and social responsibility” In other words, preparing students for ethical living is demonstrably a core value of this institution. Rochester College’s commitment to ethics in academics is also reflected and promoted through our Code of Academic Integrity which outlines definitions, expectations, and policies that govern honest and ethical work in research and academic performance (see more discussion of this below under Core Component E). The document especially defines and addresses issues of plagiarism and sets out the procedures to identify various levels of infractions and steps for discipline and/or appeal. The detail given to these concerns reflects again how seriously the college considers issues of ethics in academic work, and allows the college to model how to set and implement such policies in fair and ethical ways.

Personnel Functions: Fair and Ethical Policies The Rochester College Policy Manual states that the college “requires directors, officers and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As employees and representatives of Rochester College, we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations” (49). The administration ensures that fair and ethical policies and processes are delineated for students, faculty, and staff through a Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, and 41


Employee Policy Manual, all of which are available in print and online. Any changes or additions to these manuals are immediately communicated through all-employee and/or all-student emails. To further ensure clear and complete transparency, the administration holds regular meetings, some of which are for all employees and others for faculty. These meetings are marked by a collegial atmosphere of discussion and the sharing of ideas. The “Standards of Conduct” section of The Rochester College Policy Manual states that “Rochester College is committed to maintaining a Christian environment

Rochester College is committed to

that will provide Christian leadership and personal example for the student

maintaining the highest ethical

body. Therefore, all employees must live a lifestyle that reflects the Christian

standards and to upholding the public’s trust.

values, characterized by integrity, purity, example, and respect. To set the desired example, employees are expected to live above reproach and in an uncompromising manner” (43). In addition, the “Code of Ethics” section of the same document states, “Rochester College is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards and to upholding the public’s trust. We recognize that our behavior affects not only our own individual reputation, but also that of Rochester College. Accordingly, this Code of Ethics forms the ethical principles that will guide all members of the College community in all decisions and activities. These principles are Respect, Honesty and Integrity, Communication, Stewardship, Excellence, Responsibility, and Accountability” (43). To assure that these stated principles are followed, various review processes are in place. All staff members have yearly performance reviews with their supervisors, and directors of various academic departments (e.g. the library, office of Integrated Learning, Academic Services, etc.) have yearly evaluations with their respective administrators. These reviews are housed with the director of human resources. Similarly, to provide continuing self-assessment and performance evaluation, the Senior Executive Administration Team (the president and vice-presidents) meet weekly, the Campus Administrative Team (representatives from every department on campus) meet monthly during the academic year, and the Academic Cabinet meets at least twice each month.



A recent improvement (Spring 2012) in personnel policies is that job opportunities are now posted internally prior to being publically announced. This change ensures that current employees are given an opportunity to advance within the institution.

Auxiliary Functions: Fair and Ethical Policies and Process In keeping with Rochester College’s commitments to our Christian mission and integrated learning , Rochester College offers its students auxiliary services such as the campus Psychology and Counseling Center and the Office of Career Services. The role of the campus Psychology and Counseling Center, as stated in the 2012-13 Course Catalog, is to “help meet the psychological and developmental needs of young adults who face major life transitions and adjustments while they are in college” (17), whether academic or personal. In the past academic year (2010-2011), over 450 clinical contact hours were provided to Rochester College students. This number has increased each year since the establishment of the Psychology and Counseling Center. The professional staff includes psychologists and psychotherapists who are licensed by the State of Michigan in their respective professions. Similarly, the college employs a full-time director of career services. As stated in the 2012-2013 Course Catalog, “Career Services strives to give students the tools to begin a career planning process that takes them through graduation and into their search for jobs or graduate schools” (17). Both of these entities are student-centered and operate with appropriate professionalism in providing essential services to students.

CORE COMPONENT 2.B THE INSTITUTION PRESENTS ITSELF CLEARLY AND COMPLETELY TO ITS STUDENTS AND TO THE PUBLIC WITH REGARD TO ITS PROGRAMS, REQUIREMENTS, COSTS TO STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF, CONTROL, AND ACCREDITATION RELATIONSHIPS. Rochester College presents itself clearly and completely to its students and the public with regard to its programs, requirements, faculty and staff, controls, costs, and accreditation relationships through its extensive communication with all constituencies, accomplished through print, electronic, and various in-person methods.



Clear and Complete Presentation of Programs, Requirements, Accreditation, Control, and Faculty and Staff The Course Catalog exhibits the institution’s clear and complete presentation to students and the public of the faculty and staff, programs, requirements, control, costs to students, and accreditations. The catalog was developed through a collaborative process, documented through the Catalog SharePoint site, in which each department—from Academic Services to Student Development to Student Financial Services to each academic department—worked together to present clearly and completely the policies and procedures that govern each. This collaborative effort required several months to complete, and the result is a document that discloses detailed information about programs, requirements, costs, controls, accreditations, and the academic preparation and responsibilities of the faculty and staff to everyone with whom the college interacts: students, parents, other institutions, and the public. The catalog is readily available on Rochester College’s website, and printed copies are distributed annually to employees, incoming students, and prospective students. The administration also frequently addresses the students during our bi-weekly Chapel/Convocation programs. The president and senior administrators attend chapel regularly and use the venue to inform students about the state of the college, its programs, its upcoming offerings, and the history and future plans of the institution. This information is also made available to members of the Rochester College campus community through the student portal and through “RC Connect” emails sent to students, faculty, and staff. The academic catalog and the college website also make clear and readily available the institution’s practices and policies regarding academics, social expectations, and financial costs to students. Furthermore, the faculty and staff are both active in communicating directly with a particular subset of the public: prospective students. Enrollment recruiters participate in many area high schools’ career days, and staff and faculty alike participate in 44


“Warrior Fridays” which are college preview days held on campus. During Warrior Fridays, a special session is held to provide parents with in-depth information about costs and financial aid, and the prospective students sit in on a college class. To further enhance prospective students’ understanding of Rochester College, a number of faculty and staff visit local high schools to meet with students and discuss with them the programs and policies of the institution. As previously mentioned, summer programs like Elevate and Jr. Scholars also introduce students to the institution and many of its programs, faculty, and staff in an open and effective manner. For all constituencies, the institution regularly communicates about program details, requirements, costs to students, faculty and staff credentials and accomplishments, control, and accreditation relationships through the North Star magazine, through year-end mailings to donors, alumni, and others, and through the college website.

Clear and Complete Presentation of its Costs to Students In addition to the details relating to costs that are fully delineated in the course catalog, the college also clarifies its costs to students through a viewbook, which is mailed or given in person to all applicants. The college website is a third important venue for clarifying costs to students and parents. The first link (below) gives details concerning costs to attend as a residential student or as a commuter, and the second is the net price calculator. The information found at these links is continually monitored and updated by the Director of Student Financial Services. Beyond these items, for over five years, the Student Financial Aid Office has, upon receipt of each Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), sent each student, new and returning, a letter outlining his or her particular costs (which varies by program). Once the student registers, his/her individualized financial ledger is always available on the Student Portal, Rochester College’s secure website for students.



CORE COMPONENT 2.C THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE INSTITUTION IS SUFFICIENTLY AUTONOMOUS TO MAKE DECISIONS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INSTITUTION AND TO ASSURE ITS INTEGRITY. The Board of Trustees has affirmed a “Conflict of Interest” policy as well as a “Whistleblower” policy for its own operations. (Policy Manual, pages 11 and 49). Furthermore, in order to operate more logically and effectively, in January 2012, the Board adopted a new governance model. In short, the Board has been undergoing a thorough re-visioning of itself in order to assure its integrity and autonomy.

Board’s Autonomy and Integrity As mentioned above, The Rochester College Policy Manual states that the college “requires directors, officers and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As employees and representatives of Rochester College, we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations” (49). Obviously, these statements include the Board of Trustees. During the time of the college’s financial crisis (2004-2008), the Board’s emphasis was on the survival of the institution. As the financial situation improved, the Board realized that they needed to spend more time on strategic leadership; thus, they began investigating a governance model that would allow them to create a framework for fostering strategic leadership, rather than providing more direct, hands-on leadership. During their January 2012 meeting, the Board of Trustees of Rochester College agreed to operate on the Carver’s Policy Governance® Model in Nonprofit Organizations, described at Briefly, the Carver Model is based on a system of principles “designed to be internally consistent, externally applicable, and logical” (Carver par.7). To adopt this governance model effectively, the Board of Rochester College brought in Dr. Barry Packer, President of the Board of Trustees at Abilene Christian University, to present a two-day training workshop. 46


One of his opening slides states that “Policy Governance is a comprehensive set of integrated principles that, when consistently applied, allows governing boards to realize owner-accountable organizations.” Jim Randolph, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, stated on July 17, 2012 that the new governance model has led the board to specifically name their constituents and make all decisions and deliberations in the context of those constituents. This practice represents a change in Board procedure, for in the past the constituents were more ambiguous; now they are named in writing and kept in the forefront of all Board proceedings. In addition, the Trustees are intentionally trying to shape the composition of the Board to include individuals that represent all constituencies, rather than electing members solely from within Churches of Christ, their previous practice. In summary, the Rochester College Board of Trustees now delegates all day-to-day management of the institution to the administration and the oversight of academic matters to the administration and faculty, empowering these “owners” of the institution to do their job more effectively. Furthermore, their new governance model demonstrates their desire to govern the institution logically and autonomously and in a transparently ethical manner in their dealings with all constituencies.


Rochester College’s commitment to the freedom of expression and pursuit of truth in learning is embedded in our mission documents.

Rochester College is committed to the freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning, as shown by student publications and by policies and practices regarding research and teaching.

Freedom of Expression and Pursuit of Truth in Teaching One of the corollary affirmations of the mission statement is, “An educated person reveres God and is committed to truth and justice;” another states, “An educated person is not afraid to pursue truth through open investigation and is able to assess 47


and evaluate all truth claims through well-developed skills for critical thinking” (20122013 Course Catalog 9). Therefore, Rochester College’s commitment to the freedom of expression and pursuit of truth in learning is embedded in our mission documents. In order to train students to pursue truth effectively, the General Education Program requires students to take a course called Information Literacy in their first semester at Rochester College. According to the 2012-2013 Course Catalog, the objective of this course is to “develop students’ ability to access, evaluate, assimilate, and use information effectively to accomplish specific academic and personal tasks” (54). The course content includes instruction of academic research, evaluating sources, paraphrasing, documentation, and academic honesty. Students who do not pass the course are required to take it again the following semester; in addition, their course selections are restricted until they pass the class satisfactorily, a practice intended to ensure their complete understanding of academic integrity. An example of students learning to exercise their freedom of expression is The Shield, formerly the campus newspaper, now a magazine with online formats. The Department of Mass Communication provides faculty and staff to serve as advisors of the print, online, and podcast formats of The Shield, available at However, students themselves research, write, and design the content. Indeed, the subtitle of The Shield is “The Independent Student Publication of Rochester College,” and students have the freedom to express their beliefs and opinions on topics spiritual, political, cultural, and otherwise. Topics examined in the 2012-13 academic year included Christians in the media (volume 12, number 1), the Occupy Wall Street protests (12.2), attempts to govern free speech with the SOPA/RIPA Bills (12.3), and the Republican Campaign (12.4). Not only do these student-writers/researchers learn the principles of ethical journalism, but, as the 2012-2013 Course Catalog states, they “serve as a campus voice for students” (74). Diverse and free pursuit of truth can also be seen in various campus forums and in faculty research initiatives and presentations. During the 2012 presidential campaign, we organized several special chapel programs that focused on the issues and candidates, and allowed different faculty members to respectfully present perspectives from different partisan platforms. There was also a panel discussion featuring five 48


different faculty members representing a wide range of convictions. The program allowed the students to learn more about the issues as well as see a model of healthy, peaceful dialogue in the pursuit of truth. The research of various faculty members also reflects the institution’s commitment to freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth. Several times each academic year, the campus is invited to the Faculty Forum Series, a platform for faculty to make presentations. In 2011-2012, for example, faculty presented on such topics as “An American Christian Perspective on Fethullah Gulen and the Role of the ‘Gulen Movement’ in Global Islam,” “An Examination of Press Freedom in the United States, the World, and Turkey,” and “The Gods, the Emperor, and You: Societal Pressure in Early Christianity.” Faculty research is also recognized and encouraged through the annual Distinguished Faculty Award, presented in 2010 to a member of the Department of Psychology for her outstanding mentoring of psychology majors preparing to make presentations at state and regional conferences, and in 2011 to a chemistry professor for training students to develop and implement innovative laboratory techniques and experiments, as well as for his own ground-breaking research in “systems biology” done in collaboration with the University of Missouri. Two faculty members have also recently published books on topics considered controversial in our religious heritage: women in ministry and a redemptive theology of divorce and remarriage. Another professor contributed a chapter in a book that investigates the spiritual implications of the television series Glee. Other faculty members have published on the topics of reconciliation in Rwanda, Victorian poetry, homosexuality, student activism and mentoring, public relations tactics, ecology and evolution, educational administration, leadership, legal education, gender and the brain, techniques for adult learners, and many aspects of biblical and religious studies. The diversity of personal and professional interests among the faculty can be seen on the “Meet the Faculty” pages on the website at Rochester College’s commitment to freedom of expression and pursuit of truth is also tied to our commitment to diversity, which is more fully described in Criterion 1.



CORE COMPONENT 2.E THE INSTITUTION ENSURES THAT FACULTY, STUDENTS, AND STAFF ACQUIRE, DISCOVER, AND APPLY KNOWLEDGE RESPONSIBLY. Rochester College ensures that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly through a variety of policies and practices including research with human participants, plagiarism, and academic integrity.

Responsible Acquisition and Discovery of Knowledge with Human Participants Rochester College has an Institutional Review Board that follows the guidelines established by the Belmont Report of the Office of Human Subjects Research of the National Institutes of Health (“Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research� In addition, Rochester College requires all psychology and behavioral sciences majors serving as interns to be supervised by psychologists who are fully licensed in the state of Michigan. These policies help Rochester College ensure that faculty, staff, and students are acquiring and discovering knowledge responsibly.

Responsible Acquisition and Application of Knowledge through Preventing Plagiarism A 2012 study asked faculty how they identify and prevent plagiarism. Almost 100% of the full-time faculty responded, and many adjunct instructors answered as well. The responses were encouraging: the vast majority of the respondents follow a multiple-step process to prevent plagiarism, beginning with the inclusion of statements about academic integrity in their syllabi, discussing what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it, and talking extensively about how to find and document sources appropriately. Several instructors have their students submit their work in stages so that any problems with research and documentation can be found early and corrected. Many professors noted that they change their assignments frequently 50


so that students are not able to acquire work from one another, or they create such specific requirements that they are not likely to be satisfied by plagiarized work. Once the papers are submitted, instructors read them “carefully,” “thoroughly,” and “meticulously,” looking for any telltale signs of shifts in tone, grammar, or vocabulary, and then use search engines to discover plagiarized passages. Some faculty “routinely” check segments of students’ work in search engines. Other faculty described how they “spot check” their students’ named sources to assure that the publications were, indeed, consulted, paraphrased, and cited accurately. Several faculty members require students to bring their sources to class or submit hard copies of them with their papers (or provide links to their sources); with this method, students know that the integrity of their work can be easily and quickly verified. Several faculty members also mentioned that they stress in class their willingness to assist students, and a significant number of instructors talk personally with all their students about their research projects. This practice allows instructors to form an idea of whether or not students are becoming familiar with their topics, source materials, and accepted research practices. Another instructor described providing students with helpful tutorials and websites to supplement the research process. Indeed, the survey revealed that the faculty of Rochester College is acutely aware of the need to guide students in the practices of ethical and responsible research and writing. Several faculty members noted that they encourage their students to attend the workshop on plagiarism that the ACE Lab (Academic Center for Excellence) hosts each semester and/or to take their papers to an ACE tutor for review. ACE writing tutors are trained to question wording that does not sound original and tutors are also trained in assisting students to use their own words and phrasing in communicating researched information. In addition, tutors train students to credit their sources and cite them properly. Since tutors are expected to model academic integrity, any tutors brought before the Vice Provost for their own academic dishonesty or behavioral problems are dismissed from employment at ACE. The purpose and work of the ACE lab is discussed more fully in CC 4.3. Similarly, the Director of the Library commented that her staff is vigilant in detecting poor research and/or documentation as they help 51


students with their assignments; when problems are suspected, the library staff tries to explain better practices to the students. The survey revealed that the faculty is highly consistent in how they address instances of academic dishonesty. Rochester College’s Code of Academic Integrity clearly defines plagiarism and various levels of infractions, with corresponding consequences. A student who does not follow the college’s Code of Academic Integrity receives a grade of zero on the assignment, and instructor submits documentation to the

The faculty is highly consistent in how they address instances of academic dishonesty.

Vice Provost who keeps a record of infractions.1 In summary, the faculty of Rochester College is active and consistent in its intent to practice, teach, and uphold academic integrity, a commitment that coincides well with the college’s mission to “cultivate academic excellence [and] principled character . . . through a rigorous educational experience . . . in an inclusive Christian heritage.”


Rochester College, “Faculty Survey,” 2012.


CONCLUSION Rochester College fulfills our mission in an ethical and responsible manner through our processes of policy adoption and implementation, through comprehensive and continuing communication, through the autonomy of the board, and through its commitments to ethical teaching and learning. •

Rochester College is committed to comprehensive and continuing communication with employees, students, alumni, its donor base, and the public at large through extensive print, online, and in-person methods.

Rochester College has established fair and ethical policies and processes that are clearly communicated in various Codes of Conduct, including the Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Employee Handbook, Rochester College Gift Policies and Guidelines, and the Code of Academic Integrity.

The Board of Trustees functions with autonomy and integrity as demonstrated by their adoption of new policies and the Carver’s Policy Governance® Model in Nonprofit Organizations.

Rochester College is committed to the freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning, as shown by student publications and by policies and practices regarding research and teaching.

Rochester College ensures that knowledge is acquired, discovered, and applied responsibly through a variety of policies and practices including research with human participants, plagiarism, and academic integrity.



Criterion Three: Teaching and Learning— Quality, Resources, and Support

Challenging Academics. Christian Community. 54



Introduction Regardless of the form of delivery, the quality of education provided by Rochester College is consistently high. Institutional learning goals and general education requirements have been carefully developed with academic quality in mind, and

Institutional Learning Goals and

are consistently applied to all programs. Furthermore, the faculty and dean of each

general education requirements

academic school give appropriate oversight to their individual degree programs, ensuring quality. The quality of Rochester College’s academic programs is made

have been carefully developed

possible through adequate and appropriate resources, as well as academic and

with academic quality in mind,

logistic support.

and are consistently applied to


all programs.

THE INSTITUTION’S DEGREE PROGRAMS ARE APPROPRIATE TO HIGHER EDUCATION. Rochester College ensures that its degree programs are appropriate to higher education through its learning outcomes and a commitment to best practices. Learning outcomes, or goals for student learning, are clearly stated for each educational program and are assessed on a regular basis. As programs are approved, assessed and revised, they are done so with an eye to best practices in post-secondary education. The college researches best practices through environmental scanning of other institutions, including major research institutions, small private institutions in Michigan, and colleges and universities that share our faith-based mission. In these ways, Rochester College assures that student performance is appropriate in regard to the number of credit hours, the number of upper-division hours, and the breadth and depth of the curricular content. As demonstrated below, best practices are also



ensured through the college’s accreditation process under the guidance of the HLC, most recently through our membership in the Assessment Academy.

Academic Offerings are Current Rochester College ensures that courses and programs are current through our review processes. Program review and reflection are critical components of

Program assessment begins

Rochester College’s process for program improvement. Program assessment

at the department and area

begins at the department and area level, giving faculty the greatest amount of

level, giving faculty the greatest amount of input possible in the courses they teach and the programs they support.

input possible in the courses they teach and the programs they support. Departmental courses are reviewed annually area-by-area. This process culminates in updating the catalog, and allows departments to strengthen their programs and adjust to changes in their field, as well as the Rochester College student population. Courses are dropped or added, course descriptions and titles are changed, and course rotations are adjusted. Other more in-depth reviews are completed as needed, also area by area. A more comprehensive assessment took place during the 2011-2012 academic year. All academic programs at Rochester College were reviewed through a Strategic Planning Initiative in concert with the earlier adoption of a new mission statement described in Criterion 1. Each department engaged in a strengths-weaknessesopportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis that was reviewed with the Provost. Each department then generated a three-year (2012-2015) plan that profiled the state of the department, identified its mission and philosophy, and proposed an assessment plan with goals, action plans and resources. Each department’s three-year plan concluded with a timeline for achieving goals, implementing action plans, and developing resources. These strategic discussions and processes are continuing in the spring of 2013 through the new six-school organizational structures. Ongoing institutional strategic discussions are also being nurtured in the spring of 2013 as the college participates in and benefits from a strategic planning project led by Dr. Gary Selby of Pepperdine University entitled “Imagining the Future: A Strategic Planning Project for Rochester College.” Dr. Selby’s project is also cited in Criterions 1, 4, and 5.



In addition to these campus-wide initiatives, each school and department is encouraged to undergo thorough review on an as-needed basis. Each of Rochester College’s schools has had at least one program undergo significant revision in the past few years, responding to the changing needs of the marketplace and the institution. The School of Nursing has completed significant work as part of their Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation. The School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences has updated the Psychology degree offered by the Center for Extended Learning (CEL) to be consistent with the Psychology degree offered to traditional students. As a result of assessment, the School of Theology and Ministry has made significant changes to the Masters of Religious Education (MRE). In 2009-2010, the business department, which is now part of the School of Business and Professional Studies, made significant changes to the entire business program. Some concentrations were eliminated and a broadbased business management major was instituted.  In the School of Education, all certification programs are on a review schedule determined by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). In 2010, they reviewed programs in Elementary Education, Elementary Language Arts and Social Studies, Elementary Secondary History/Social Studies. The School of Education has also recently submitted application to the MDE for the approval of an Early Childhood endorsement within the Elementary Education Program. This program is being developed as a result of student interest and a market need for specialized areas of certification. Furthermore, The School of Education has received cabinet approval to offer a Strategic Leadership degree program in response to a market analysis indicating a need for leaders trained across disciplines by area employers. Other new programs being developed within the school include Speech, Physical Education, and English as a Second Language. In 2009, the Humanities Department, now the School of Humanities, created a Humanities major for implementation in the academic year 2009-2010. Its creation was based on the desire to support studies in the humanities, build off the integrated 57


learning model that emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, and trim the curriculum to deal with the financial circumstances of the institution. Areas such as English and music replaced their major with a concentration in the humanities major. This allowed the institution to reduce the number of low-enrollment courses and increase cost efficiency. Both the BA in English and the BS/BA in Music were restored in 2011-2012 as institutional enrollment grew and the departments strengthened their plans for recruiting students to those majors. By the spring of 2012, the Department of Humanities had developed significant interest in a theater degree, so a detailed proposal was presented to and accepted by the Academic Cabinet. For the first time ever, Rochester College began offering a BS/BA in Theater in the fall of 2012.

Student Performance is Appropriate The performance levels and program requirements for Rochester College’s associate, baccalaureate, and master degrees are appropriate to the degree awarded based on comparison with other institutions of higher education, on the assessment and accomplishment of course and institutional goals,

The chief capstone experience for many programs is Academic Symposium,

upon successful completion of capstone experiences, on feedback from graduates, and, for some programs, on external standards met through accomplishment of course objectives.

an annual celebration of academic

Capstone courses and experiences offer further evidence that

achievement that highlights the

Rochester College’s performance levels and program requirements

presentations of graduating students in a

are appropriate to the degrees being awarded. Many programs

day-long, campus-wide series of symposia.

require a capstone course or experience, the purpose of which is to help students integrate material from multiple courses into a coherent, discipline-focused whole and to demonstrate a level of competency in the discipline appropriate for a baccalaureate graduate. The chief capstone experience for many programs is Academic

Symposium, an annual celebration of academic achievement that highlights the presentations of graduating students in a day-long, campus-wide series of symposia. Some areas have specific measures of graduate accomplishment. When students pursuing a major or concentration in Mass Communication successfully complete 58


the course MED 2613 Introduction to Public Relations, they have met a core of standards set by the Public Relations Society of America. The Education Department has performance levels for all teacher certificate programs that are monitored and performance scores that are published by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Each college/university must demonstrate to the MDE how program standards are met within the degree programs. High-quality student performance is also seen through various external presentations

MPA Presentation 2012

and/or awards that faculty facilitate. In 2011, a chemistry professor was involved in ground-breaking research at Rochester College and the University of Missouri on seed development in soybeans. The professor mentored science students to be an integral part of this research (see NorthStar publication, volume 53, no. 2, spring 2012, pp12-13). In addition, under the mentorship of one of our psychology professors, a growing number of our psychology students have been invited to make poster presentations at the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) meeting in Chicago for the past three years. A high percentage of them were later accepted into various graduate programs in psychology. As a final example, in 2012, a team of Rochester accounting majors was one of twenty teams selected nationwide from a pool of 140 entries to be a Semi- Finalist in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) case competition. The team did their project on the national debt and tax reform and is now eligible for advancing to the next round which involves a trip to Washington D.C. These are only three examples of many that demonstrate that Rochester College students perform at levels appropriate to their levels of study.

Articulation and Consistency of Learning Goals Each degree program incorporates the five Rochester College Institutional Learning Goals: inquiry, critical thinking, diversity, communication, and Christian faith. These Institutional Learning Goals (ILGs) were revised following the revision of our mission statement in 2010. They are also being revised during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years as a part of our Assessment Academy teamwork. The proposed revision currently under review would change the ILGs to information literacy, cultural literacy, 59


quantitative literacy, communication literacy, and theological literacy. This process of revision is described more fully in Criterion 4. A minimum of three of the ILGs are identified for each course and listed in the syllabi. Faculty members are encouraged to link the ILGs to specific assignments and assessment measures listed in the syllabus. The learning goals of Rochester College’s undergraduate programs are consistent. The institution’s only graduate degree, the Masters of Religious Education in Missional Leadership, shares the same learning goals as the rest of the institution, but also has five stated competencies that are tracked throughout the degree program. Students compile work from portfolios to support their progress related to the identified competencies. The program conducts a mid-degree assessment retreat, and a portfolio defense is held at the completion of the program. Each course also provides opportunity for an integrative project related to degree competencies.

Consistency of Academic Quality Rochester College offers several modes of program delivery, including traditional courses, accelerated courses offered through the Center for Extended Learning, online courses through RC Online, and dual enrollment courses offered as part of several early college initiatives with area school districts. Furthermore, Rochester College offers courses at both its main campus in Rochester Hills and at satellite campuses. The administrative restructuring that was completed in 2012 brought academic oversight of all programs, whether traditional, CEL, main campus, off-site, or on-line, under the supervision of an academic dean or director for each of the six schools that comprise Rochester College. Thus, the schools are able to provide consistency in quality of instruction and assessment of student learning throughout these diverse modes of delivery. A coordinator responsible for the day-to-day operations of the site and student relations staffs each off-site location. Additionally, the college’s Vice Provost provides leadership and support for all external and extended learning offerings and programs. RC Online is the college’s arm for online course delivery. We have committed resources to the development of our online program, as evidenced by the hiring of 60


a dean of online learning and support staff in 2011. Further, Rochester College has enhanced our capacity for delivery by migrating to the Moodle LMS open source delivery platform in 2012. Additionally, the college has recently contracted with Lambda Solutions, Inc., a Moodle supported server host to provide additional technical support to faculty and staff. Online course offerings are at an all time high with over 1600 duplicated course enrollments during the 2011-2012 academic year. The fall 2012 semester concluded with over 800 duplicated course enrollments, the highest online enrollment in the history of online course offerings at the college. The growth of RC Online is illustrated in the chart below:


Head Count





















900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0

FA-09 SP-10 SU-10 FA-10





SU-12 FA-12

The HLC recently approved the college’s substantive change request for additional growth of online programs. As a result, an initiative is underway to develop the General Education Core courses for online delivery, which will extend the reach of Rochester College geographically through development of full online programs. Our growing early college initiative offers local school districts and their students the opportunity to obtain transferable college credit(s) concurrently while pursuing their high school diplomas. Early college began at Rochester College in the form of high school students dual enrolling in college courses and has grown to partnerships with three local school districts resulting in 130 enrollments in the fall 2012 semester. Additionally, the college conferred Associate degrees to 12 early college participants 61


at its spring 2012 commencement. As a result of the success of this program, partnership arrangements with several other districts are being explored. The needs of each district are considered when determining the model for delivery. At present, early college programs are delivered on Rochester College’s main campus, on site at the partnering district, and online. To ensure program quality, a formative and summative evaluation is conducted each year with representatives of the partnering districts and Rochester College. Program components that are reviewed include courses, professors, and course rotations to make sure the program meets the requirements and standards of the College. To ensure appropriate oversight and maintain institutional standards of quality, the vice provost heads a team that establishes processes and procedures in line with overall college policy. A core group of key campus staff including the director of integrated learning, new/transfer student advisor, the registrar, appropriate school deans, the director of financial aid, and the director of admissions meet regularly for ongoing review. Additionally, an Early College Advisory Board was established in June 2012. The intent of this board is to create a forum for effective communication between district superintendents and key personnel at the college. Through these means, Early College students are held to the same academic standards as traditional Rochester College students. Early College is also discussed in Section 1.D of this report.

CORE COMPONENT 3.B THE INSTITUTION DEMONSTRATES THAT THE EXERCISE OF INTELLECTUAL INQUIRY AND THE ACQUISITION, APPLICATION, AND INTEGRATION OF BROAD LEARNING AND SKILLS ARE INTEGRAL TO ITS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM. Rochester College ensures that the exercise of intellectual inquiry and the acquisition, application, and integration of broad learning and skills remain central to our educational program through our general education which imparts broad knowledge, as well as our specific degree programs which offer a greater level of mastery. Furthermore, our faculty and staff are actively contributing to scholarship, creative work, and the discovery of knowledge. 62


The General Education Program The General Education Program establishes the broad liberal arts core of all of Rochester College’s bachelor degrees. The curriculum emphasizes specific content areas in the liberal arts as well as skill development in areas such as reading comprehension, critical thinking and quantitative analysis, research, writing, and communication.  In 2009, the Academic Cabinet engaged in an assessment and reformation of the General Education curriculum.  This was the fulfillment of a longterm goal of the faculty: previously, the General Education curriculum had remained unchanged for several decades despite other significant changes at Rochester College and in the college curricula more generally.  As the college became more attuned to issues of assessment and learning outcomes, the desire developed to replace the older “class check list” approach to General Education with a “skill/knowledge” approach.  The skill/knowledge approach provides a more creative and effective way to meet the goals of the General Education curriculum, and also better ensures appropriate attention to institutional values and goals such as Non-Western and Diversity Studies, which is now a specific category in the curriculum.  These academic goals also aligned well with the institutional need to use resources more efficiently.   For example, the increased flexibility in choosing from a menu of classes that address specific skills or areas of knowledge eased some pressures to develop multiple sections of specific classes and more efficiently spread enrollments over a greater number of existing courses.  (Note:  There are still some courses that were determined to be specifically important and do not allow for flexible choosing.  For example, college composition classes remain specifically required).  The new program also provides more options for students as they complete the requirements. For example, formerly, all students were required to take Intermediate Algebra. Now, students select one course from a list of options that develop the skills of quantitative literacy.  Depending on students’ majors and prerequisites, the requirement for critical and quantitative competency can be satisfied by taking a course in logic.  In addition, students who have met prerequisites and are capable of success in upper-division coursework may also choose upper-division classes 63


to fulfill general education requirements. Students still acquire broad knowledge and exposure to diverse intellectual concepts, but the increased freedom in course selection enhances their motivation in fulfilling the general education requirements.

Articulation and Framework of Education Requirements Rochester College articulates the purposes, content, and intended learning outcomes of the undergraduate general education requirements in the college catalog (pp. 61-3), which not only outlines the general education requirement categories and course work, but also provides the rationale for each skill development and knowledge enhancement category. The general education program is grounded in a philosophy and framework developed by the college. Integrated learning activities, guided by the Director of Integrated Learning, enhance the “connectedness” of the coursework and disciplines represented in the general education program as well as the baccalaureate programs. These integrated learning activities and linked classes encourage students to think holistically and not in disciplinary “blocks.”

Degree Programs and information, inquiry, and skills Each degree program offered by Rochester College engages students in collecting, analyzing, and communicating information; in mastering modes of inquiry or creative work; and in developing skills adaptable to changing environments. The five institutional learning goals (inquiry, critical thinking, diversity, communication, and Christian faith) form the foundation of the processes that ensure that students develop skills and attitudes that we believe every college-educated person should possess. Most degree programs also have a capstone course or experience that serves as a summative experience of the student’s program. These capstone classes also serve to prepare the students for either employment or graduate training. (See appendix for capstone list.) Academic Symposium, fully described in Criterion 1, Core Component A, allows students to demonstrate the collection, analysis, and communication of their



work. A rubric for establishing standards to enhance the quality of symposium projects and presentations was developed for and implemented in the 2011-2012 academic year.

Education and Diversity The education offered by Rochester College recognizes the human and cultural diversity of the world in which we live. Diversity is one of the five Institutional Learning Goals, and Diversity and Non-western Studies is one of the key areas of the knowledge base segment of the general education program. The requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing course work in areas designated in the Catalog. Diversity is more fully addressed in Criterion 1, Core Component C.

Faculty and Students Contribute to Scholarship, Creative Work, and the Discovery of Knowledge The faculty and students of Rochester College contribute to scholarship, creative work, and the discovery of knowledge to the extent appropriate to our programs and our mission. Although Rochester College is primarily a teaching college, faculty members actively engage in scholarly activities including publication, and presentations and participation at professional conferences.1 Individual faculty members present current research to the faculty as a whole in Faculty Symposia. Sessions have included research on soy beans, nineteenth century American female authors, and the significance of Western Turkey in the history of Christian theology. Students contribute to scholarship, the discovery of knowledge, and creative work through multiple activities that are fully described in other sections of this study. These activities include the annual Academic Symposium, participation in academic conferences, internships, student publications, dramatic productions, and performance groups such as Rochester College Chorus, Autumn, and the Rochester College Band. Both faculty and students participate in numerous integrated learning activities such as Poetry Slams, a Banned Books Discussion, an African-American Literature Read-in. 1

Rochester College, “Faculty Survey,� 2012.




The institution provides an effective learning environment through appropriately credentialed and relevant faculty and staff who are engaged in student learning that occurs inside and outside of the classroom.

Faculty is Sufficient Rochester College has sufficient numbers and continuity of faculty members to carry out the classroom roles of the faculty. Rochester College employs 27 full-time faculty members, 28 other contracted

The college has a remarkable faculty retention record which illustrates both

employees that carry faculty rank and regularly teach classes (e.g. deans, directors, part-time non-adjunct faculty, and members of the

the commitment of the faculty to

senior administration, etc.), and 107 adjunct faculty members to serve

the college, as well as continuity in

a total enrollment of 1165 students. The result is a student to faculty

academic departments and programs.

classroom ratio that the college is very proud of: for the fall of 2011 the ratio stood at 14 to 1. In addition, the college has a remarkable faculty retention record which illustrates both the commitment of the faculty to the college, as well as

continuity in academic departments and programs. Of the 55 contracted employees with faculty rank who regularly teach, the median number of years of employment is eleven, and more than one-third of our faculty members have been employed at the college for more than fifteen years. Finally, because Rochester College is a small institution, most faculty members have significant non-classroom roles. However, faculty members are protected by the policies that limit the number of classes taught. Full-time faculty members are required to teach a minimum of 24 credit hours per academic year and may be eligible to teach courses beyond 24 credit hours as overload, but must not exceed 42 hours over the period of an academic year. Also, many faculty members receive course release for 66


non-teaching duties. The institutional and professional responsibilities of faculty are clearly outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

Instructors are Appropriately Credentialed Of the 27 full-time faculty members employed by Rochester College, 14 hold doctoral or terminal degrees, and the remaining 13 hold masters degrees. In addition, there are 6 full-time employees with faculty rank who are in the process of pursuing a terminal degree. Of the 107 adjunct instructors, 20 hold a doctoral or terminal degree, 70 hold a masters degree, and 12 hold a bachelors degree.1 The Faculty Handbook includes polices related to the credentials required for various levels of faculty.

Evaluation of Instructors Rochester College’s instructors are evaluated regularly in accordance with established institutional policies and procedures. Faculty evaluation focuses on five criteria as described in the Faculty Handbook, Section IV, A “Professional Development and Evaluation”: •

Criterion One - The faculty member demonstrates the ability to effectively teach and/or perform effectively in other assignments.

Criterion Two - The faculty member shall be involved in scholarly or creative achievement or research.

Criterion Three - The faculty member shall show evidence of continuing preparation and study.

Criterion Four - The faculty member will contribute to student growth and development

Criterion Five - The faculty member engages in service to the college and community. 1

Rochester College, “Faculty Survey,” 2012.



The Faculty Handbook states “Faculty evaluation at Rochester College is designed to improve instruction and to help determine areas needed in faculty development and for making decisions concerning promotion, tenure, and other administrative matters” (Section IV, D, p. 37). There are four main components in the process of faculty evaluation: a collaborative peer review (including the presence of the department chair), student evaluation, self-evaluation, and an evaluation by the Chair or Academic Dean. The peer review includes the presence of a mentor for the first two years of employment. The evaluations conducted by students, by the faculty members themselves, and by the department chair or the Academic Dean are conducted annually. Based on the number of administrative changes that have occurred at the institution, the evaluations and the follow-up has been deficient. One of the goals of the new academic administrative structure implemented for 2012-2013 is to implement and strengthen a more effective faculty evaluation program. Oversight previously administered by the college’s only Academic Dean will now reside within each school and its dean or director, with the vice provost providing additional support. Course surveys administered at the end of every course were changed from the traditional paper-and-pencil format to an online survey during the 2011-2012 academic year.2 The survey instrument, which had been called a teacher evaluation questionnaire, was also revised to reflect the institutional mission and learning goals and focus on student’s whole course experience, rather than faculty effectiveness. The online system greatly increased turn-around time for reporting results to the dean or director of each school, who reviews the reports before forwarding them to faculty members. Deans and directors use student surveys to identify red flags areas of concern to be discussed and remediated. A communications instructor, for example, received unsatisfactory reviews in terms of organization and classroom management. The dean met with the instructor, and together they created a plan for improvement that included the instructor submitting daily lesson plans that were reviewed and revised based on suggestions by the dean. 2

Cabinet, Student Course Survey Proposal, 2010

Faculty self-evaluations have been developed and piloted by the School of Humanities. At the end of each semester, humanities faculty complete a self-



evaluation form for each course taught. The evaluation form has faculty members list changes in pedagogy from previous semesters, describe the institutional learning goals and the course-specific objectives and how they were assessed, and identify what was learned from the assessment and what adjustments the teachers intend to make based on this analysis. Following completion of the self-assessment portion, faculty review the student course surveys of their courses to compare and contrast student assessment of the learning experience. Areas of concern or “red flags” are noted that might require further reflection and remediation. The self-evaluation forms are submitted to the dean of the school for review and follow-up as deemed necessary.

Professional Development Despite limited resources, Rochester College provides creative and substantive opportunities for professional development. First, we offer a proactive graduate assistance program that assists full-time faculty in pursuing terminal degrees in their field of expertise. The program pays up to $28,000 for tuition and fees incurred, and also provides course load reductions during the semesters in which the work is being done.3 In addition, there are salary

We offer a proactive graduate

incentives to complete a terminal degree as outlined in faculty pay scale.

assistance program that assists

The provost also provides course load reductions on a case-by-case basis

full-time faculty in pursuing terminal

for faculty who are engaged in substantial research projects. In the past few years, such reductions have been awarded to faculty such as the following:

degrees in their field of expertise.

Dr. Michael Muhitch, professor of chemistry, for his leadership in research on soy beans; Dr. Greg Stevenson, professor of New Testament, for his research and book authorship on the book of Revelation. Faculty members are also awarded stipends upon request, and on a case-by-case basis, to attend professional conferences. The college also gives incentives each year for faculty to attend the Christian Scholar’s Conference. We also bring resources to our campus. During the opening meetings in August, we often invite an outside presenter to come and inspire and challenge the faculty on matters of pedagogy and faculty life. In 2011, we brought Dr. Gary Selby, professor of communication at Pepperdine University and in 2012, we brought Dr. Randy Lowry, president of Lipscomb University. The Office of the


Rochester College, Faculty Handbook 2012.

Provost also organizes and sponsors a number of internal faculty symposia each year 69


for faculty to make presentations to one another on areas of interest and research. Starting in 2012, abstracts of these symposia are included in the Academic Symposium booklet published in April. Professional development for adjunct faculty is delivered a minimum of twice annually at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. The vice provost oversees this ongoing training initiative, established in 2011. The emphasis of these custom-designed sessions is to integrate adjunct faculty members into the life and culture of the college, while providing orientation and best practices for teaching and learning. Additionally, RC Online holds regular training sessions and support for online faculty members. Data related to the professional development and association membership of Rochester College’s faculty members was gathered during the summer of 2012 and is provided in the appendix on Faculty Development. (See Appendix)

Accessibility of Faculty for Student Inquiry Rochester College faculty members are available for student inquiry. The institution prides itself on low student-faculty ratios, and on fostering an environment that encourages faculty interaction with students in and out

We pride ourselves on low

of the classroom. All full-time faculty members are required to schedule a

student-faculty ratios, and on

minimum of five office hours per week. Office hours and contact information

fostering an environment that

are posted on syllabi and made available in the Academic Services Office. Appendix 1 of the 2011-2012 Faculty Handbook lists the minimum syllabus

encourages faculty interaction with

requirements, including the instructor’s name, office location, telephone

students in and out of the classroom.

number, and email address. A review of the syllabi from the 2011-2012 academic year demonstrates that the majority of faculty members are fulfilling these requirements, and many even include personal information, such as their home and cell phone numbers. Rochester College’s size and mission provide additional opportunities for instructors to engage students for academic and co-curricular activities outside of the classroom or scheduled office hours. After each traditional student declares a major, he or she is assigned a full-time faculty member to serve as their academic advisor. This



advising relationship provides opportunities for faculty to engage in conversations with students about their academic programs, career choices, industry trends, and the student’s satisfaction with Rochester College. The mission of Rochester College includes honoring the institution’s Christian heritage, and one way Rochester College honors that heritage is through the community gathering of chapel/convocation. The 2011-2012 Faculty Handbook states, “Faculty members should not schedule meetings with students during chapel, and faculty should plan to be present” (Section II, C, 4, p. 15). Co-curricular activities include but are not limited to social club sponsorships, “Dinner at Six,” Midnight Breakfast, intramural athletics, GEO programs, theater productions, student publications, Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) tutoring, and service projects.

Credentials and Training of Staff Members who Provide Student Support Services

In Defense of Banned Books Event 2012

Rochester College’s staff members who provide support services such as tutoring, financial aid advising, academic advising, and co-curricular activities are appropriately qualified, trained, and supported in their professional development. The credentials of Rochester College’s support staff members, and records of professional development activities, are on file with the Director of Human Resources.

CORE COMPONENT 3.D THE INSTITUTION PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR STUDENT LEARNING AND EFFECTIVE TEACHING. Learning and teaching are at the heart of Rochester College’s mission and purpose, as evidenced through the support services and facilities which the college provides. Our small size allows us to give personalized services to students. This includes the student support services described in previous chapters as well as academic advising and academic support. Furthermore, in spite of recent financial challenges, Rochester College has made significant improvements to its infrastructure. Since our last self-study, we have constructed a new academic building that includes a theater, laboratories, and classrooms. We have also developed the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) that provides tutoring and other forms of academic support, 71


developed additional study spaces for students, increased our library holdings, and updated our technology.

Learning Support and Preparatory Instruction Rochester College provides learning support through the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and preparatory instruction addresses the academic needs of our students, primarily through remedial classes in English and math. ACE exists to facilitate a successful college experience for each student by providing tutors who assist with math, English and other courses. ACE is centrally located near the cafeteria and offers an additional place to study. It also provides supplemental instruction for select courses, including optional study sessions led by students with a high degree of success in each course. During the school year, tutoring is available on a walk-in basis. For summer semesters, assistance is available by appointment. ACE also encourages off-site students to submit papers electronically for review and tutorial assistance. ACE is more fully described in Criterion 4. Regarding preparatory instruction, Rochester College has clearly articulated processes that determine which students will take remedial courses in English and math, and careful advising of all incoming students ensures that they register for courses and programs for which they are adequately prepared. In 2010, the Academic Services Office conducted a study on persistence of students with low ACT scores. It was determined that students who scored an ACT Composite score below 14 would not likely persist to complete even an associate degree. Except in cases where college potential is documented through means other than ACT scores, the Enrollment Services Office encourages these students to begin their higher education in a community college to demonstrate their ability to do college-level work. These students are then encouraged to re-apply to Rochester College when they have completed at least fifteen hours of college-level academic work and have a GPA of 2.25 or higher. 72


The criteria for placement of students was revised for the fall 2011 semester based on the results of the 2010 study on student persistence. The English department now offers two semesters of remedial writing rather than one. Students with a score of 16-17 on the English/Writing section of the ACT must take ENG 1013 Fundamentals of Composition. Students with a score of 15 or below must take ENG 1003 Basic Writing before they take ENG 1013 Fundamentals of Composition. Students progress as required from ENG 1003 to ENG 1013 to the standard college-level composition course, ENG 1113 College Composition A. Students with a score of 16-21 on the Math component of the ACT test must take MAT 1003 Beginning Algebra and those with a score of 15 and below on the Math component of the ACT must take MAT 0103 Pre-Algebra. Specialized testing can be administered for placement in classes through Rochester College’s Testing Center or through the Career Services Office. Traditional students are administered the COMPASS test if they do not have ACT scores, or if they question the math or English class in which they are placed. Students in the CEL program usually transfer in associate degrees from other schools; therefore, testing is rarely needed for placement.

Academic Advising Rochester College strongly believes in the value of academic advising and

Rochester College believes strongly

assigns a specific academic advisor to each student. The type of advisor

in the value of academic advising

assigned to each student is suited to the institution’s programs and the needs

and assigns a specific academic

of students. Freshmen are advised by a freshman advisor for their first year. In the sophomore year, students who have not declared a major continue to

advisor to each student.

be advised by the freshman advisor. Once students declare a major, they are advised by a departmental advisor or by a faculty member in that department. Students interested in nursing or education are advised by a department advisor. The education advisor meets with all her advisees two times per year, planning their program and monitoring their progress. This advisor also meets with most prospective education majors. In addition to tracking and monitoring academic



progress, the nursing advisor talks to all students interested in the nursing program. She also collects contact information, conducts an interview, and completes a transcript evaluation. The Center for Extended Learning, the accelerated learning program for adults, also assigns each student to an advisor. CEL students are advised on the main campus by Academic Services personnel and at the three off-site locations by off-site coordinators. Each off-site coordinator is knowledgeable concerning the programs and student needs at each location. They are also able to assist students with information about dual enrollment and transferring to Rochester College. Off-site managers also provide assistance to Rochester College faculty teaching on their campus.

Technological Infrastructure Technological support services include public computers, wireless internet access, a campus management system (CAMS), and a student and faculty information system (RC Portal). Through the RC Portal (, students can access all essential campus information. They can register on-line, access grades, access important documents such as course rotations, and receive notification of class cancellations and other emergency notifications. The main campus has nineteen classrooms with projection capability, computers, and wireless access. Two of these classrooms are equipped with a SMART board, and grant proposals continue to seek funding for additional SMART boards. The main campus also has two computer labs, one with sixteen computers and the other with thirty-one. These computer labs are always accessible to students. Because most full-time traditional students are provided with a MacBook during their freshmen year, these computer labs are more than sufficient for serving students at the main campus. Wireless access is available in all high traffic areas throughout the main campus, including the residence halls, the Ham Building, The Richardson Center, and the Campus Center. Two computers are available for student use in each of the three residence halls.



Center for Extended Learning (CEL) students taking classes at off-site locations also have access to technology. The Specs-Howard campus maintains a computer lab for Rochester College students. On the Macomb campus, all classrooms are mediaenhanced and have wireless internet access, and students have access to Macomb computer labs. The Mott campus also has technology in the classrooms along with separate computer labs. Over the past ten years, six new servers and two new state-of-theart virtualization servers were added. Rochester College has had CAMS, a student information system, since 1999. In 2008, CAMS was upgraded and now allows student and faculty access to grades, registration materials, and related school information. A “CAMS Committee� was established in 2011 to secure training and enhance interconnectivity among the offices of Academic Services, Student Development, Financial Aid, and Information Technology. Google mail is used by the whole campus and Google aps are free. Additionally, the College’s online offerings continue to grow under an organized initiative called RC Online. A dean of online learning and a program director provide staffing for this growing initiative. The college was granted a substantive change to increase its on line program offerings to represent up to 20% of its degree programs. As a result, several programs and the overall General Education core are in the process of being developed in online format. Realizing the need for an enhanced infrastructure, the college migrated its online offerings to the Moodle platform in 2012 and has recently entered into an agreement with Lambda Solutions, an approved Moodle host and technical support services provider.

Scientific Laboratories and Clinical Practice Sites Two science labs are available in the Richardson Academic Center, and a clinical nursing lab is available in the Ham Building. The science labs are current, constructed in 2005, and equipped with up-to-date technology. With the addition of the nursing program, more students need to take lab sciences. An adjoining classroom is converted temporarily into lab space as needed. 75


The nursing skills lab was created in December 2010 and includes a SMART board. The lab has over 1,000 square feet and is centrally located near the nursing offices. While a Heath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant provided equipment, Rochester College’s general budget financed the re-construction of the space in December, 2010, including the installation of antimicrobial vinyl flooring, a sink and water supply, and land locking cabinets. Two new doors were cut and constructed to accommodate the hospital beds’ girth and to provide easy access to an adjoining lecture space. Eight full-functional electric Stryker hospital beds, mattresses, pillows, and linens were donated by Crittenton Hospital. Finally, the lab includes four mid-range fidelity simulated human mannequins. This affords nursing students the opportunity to practice in a life-like lab setting, and use of the lab bridges the potential school-work disconnect. Simulation enhances the curriculum, and the nursing faculty have all been trained on this equipment. Simulation sessions have the option of audio and visual capture for enhanced learning opportunities. The lab passed inspection by the State of Michigan and is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Performance Spaces Rochester College built a new theater when the Richardson Academic Center was constructed in 2005. It is a black box theater with a sprung floor and includes a lighting and sound booth with projection and computer recording equipment. This space not only provides theater and music programs with a professional area for performances and practices, but also hosts large campus events, such as conferences, convocation chapels, award ceremonies, and campus-wide meetings. The Gallaher Center serves as the home of the music department. It houses five offices, a piano lab, and a music tech lab. The tech lab is equipped with technology to record music, and it also serves as a classroom and rehearsal space. The downstairs area of Gallaher houses two studio rooms and two practice rooms as well as a large choral rehearsal classroom. 76


The Library and the Effective Use of Research and Information Sources Rochester College’s Ham Library is an important part of the institution’s infrastructure, providing essential resources that support effective teaching and learning. Built in 2001, the Ham Library provides access to on-site print and licensed electronic materials. Furthermore, the library staff actively educates students in the effective use of research and information resources through its daily operations and through INF 1001 Information Literacy, an academic course required of all incoming freshmen. The library is committed to teaching the students the importance of information literacy skills that they can implement throughout their college experience. INF 1001 is taught by librarians and faculty and teaches students to locate, evaluate, and use resources. Pre-tests and post-tests evaluate students’ understanding of information literacy concepts. The information literacy instructors meet regularly with the dean of the School of Humanities to discuss areas of concern raised in student and selfevaluations. As a result of this assessment, the format of the one-credit course has changed from eight weeks to sixteen. This allows students more time to absorb the material and use it in relation to their other coursework.

Rochester College’s Ham Library is Librarians also teach research skills by providing one-time instruction sessions that focus on searching specialized databases and other research

an important part of the institution’s

skills. Librarians are available to teach one-time instruction sessions for faculty

infrastructure, providing essential

on our off-site campuses. Over the past five years the librarians have taught

resources that support effective

85 one-time sessions to 1206 traditional students and 55 one-time sessions to 613 CEL students on our main campus and off-site campuses. The librarians

teaching and learning.

have also presented 13 library orientations to 176 CEL students over the past five years. Students consistently rate library services highly. In course surveys administered to all classes during the past two years, over 60% of students responding indicated they had used library services during their course; of these, 87.1% strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “Library resources, available oncampus and/or online, were helpful to me during this course.” The Ham Library provides access to 72,000 book titles (print and electronic), over 100 print periodical titles, and over 25,000 electronic periodical titles. An off-site 77


storage facility houses 1,000 volumes of older books and the Michigan Church of Christ archives. Students, faculty and staff have on-campus and remote access to over 60 electronic databases. In the past 5 years, database searches have increased dramatically, from 58,853 (2007-2008) to 139,323 (2010-2011). General circulation of print materials has increased from 6918 in 2007-2008 to 7587 in 2010-2011. Circulation of reserve materials has also increased in the last 5 years from 622 in 2007-2008 to 1052 in 2010-2011. These circulation statistics show that library materials are a

Rochester College operates under an Integrated Learning model

necessary and valuable resource for students and faculty and that they are used. The Ham library offers additional resources to the Rochester College community

that is designed to encourage

through collaborations. Interlibrary loan through large library networks allows

interdisciplinary thinking and extra-

students and faculty opportunities to borrow from other state and national libraries.

curricular extensions of learning.

The Ham Library has membership in Michigan Library Association (MLA), Christian College Librarians (CCL), Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET), and Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS). These partnerships not only benefit the Rochester College community, but also give the institution the opportunity to share resources with others. Interlibrary loans to other libraries from the Ham Library have increased from 82 in 2007-2008 to 1264 in 2010-2011. This increase in loans to other libraries shows the value of Rochester College’s collection.

CORE COMPONENT 3.E THE INSTITUTION FULFILLS ITS CLAIMS FOR AN ENRICHED EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT. Rochester College provides a learning community that complements and enriches the educational environment of the classroom. As described in Criterion 1, Rochester College operates under an integrated learning model that is designed to encourage interdisciplinary thinking and extra-curricular extensions of learning. For this reason, each of our six academic schools sponsor co-curricular activities. Other co-curricular programs are sponsored by athletics and student development. These programs seek to develop well-rounded students by offering activities that are suited to our mission and contribute to the educational experience of the students.



Academic Programs offer an Enriched Educational Environment The School of Humanities offers co-curricular programming in theater, music, and creative writing. Four to five theatrical productions are staged each year. Approximately 50 students participate in theater management, stage management, technical design, promotion, writing, onstage performance, and, in some cases, directing responsibilities in these productions. Within the moral parameters of a Christian institution, we select provocative material that will promote campus discussion. At the conclusion of at least one performance of each production, “talk-backs” are held. These open dialogue sessions encourage the audience to ask questions to directors, actors, and faculty members of disciplines related to the play’s content. As outlined in Criterion 1, many of the theater performances promote a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity, and off-campus performances demonstrate the college’s commitment to serving the broader public.

A Cappella Chorus at Carnegie Hall 2012

The School of Humanities also supplements its music curriculum with several musical performance groups. Best known is the A Cappella Chorus, which has become a highly-regarded ambassador for the college. Each year, 40-50 students engage in rigorous, daily preparation, and they perform diverse and challenging choral compositions. The chorus schedules two 10-day tours each year. The most recent tour, in May of 2012, included a privileged engagement at Carnegie Hall in New York City. One student reflected on her experience as a freshman in the chorus saying, “I love the environment. The way everyone is growing so quickly into a family and a strong Christian support system for each other is so encouraging. Through chorus I have learned a great deal, and been privileged to be a part of an awesome community” (The Shield, 12.1, p. 26). A smaller a cappella ensemble, Autumn, travels extensively throughout the entire year. The repertoires of the A Cappella Chorus and of Autumn, in particular, are primarily built with hymns and spirituals, and some of the biggest events are designed for Christmas or Easter



celebrations. In addition, several students participate with individuals in the broader community in the Rochester College Concert Band. The School of Humanities also offers extracurricular opportunities through Ex Libris, a student writing group, and Blackberry Winter, the publication they edit. All Rochester College students are invited to contribute short stories, literary essays, poems, illustration, and photographs. Many individual courses offered by the School of Humanities provide field trips to complement the in-class sessions. For instance, in PHI 3043 Diversity Seminar and PHI 3923 World Religions, students are required to visit non-Christian houses of worship. The annual trip to Chicago (with PHI 3923) has become especially popular, and 30-35 students normally participate each spring (including 4-5 from our CEL program). Shakespeare and British Writers classes (ENG 3213 and 4203) visit the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, and HON 2014 visits the Holocaust Memorial Center in Bloomfield Hills. The School of Business and Professional Studies enhances its mass communication curriculum with a magazine called The Shield, which is published quarterly and online. Approximately 30 students participate on the staff, but only about one-third of these receive academic credit for their work. Student editors and reporters are assigned to write articles on campus news, special features, opinions, sports, activities, photography, design, and creative writing. The online version includes podcasts and provides students with experience designing and maintaining websites. The Shield develops communication skills and promotes serious investigation and reporting. PharmaSim and BizCafe are two resources that contribute to the enhanced learning environment of business students. PharmaSim is the leading marketing management simulation. It covers segmentation, positioning, management of a portfolio of brands, integrated marketing communications, and multiple channels with intermediaries. PharmaSim is an excellent complement to traditional teaching methods, allowing students to apply business concepts in a dynamic, integrative environment. BizCafe provides undergraduate students an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of business by running a start-up enterprise. As students progress through BizCafe, they encounter the real world problems of managing personnel, marketing their 80


product, and managing cash flow in the context of a local coffee shop. Students learn business terminology and how to interpret business information as they develop an understanding of the key functional areas of a business.   The School of Theology and Ministry sponsors an annual event called Streaming. Begun in the spring of 2011, the Streaming Conference was established as a continuation of previous conference traditions (including the “Sermon Seminar” and the “Resource” series). This event draws theologians and ministers from around the country, including significant contributors such as Miroslav Volf (2011), Walter Brueggemann (2012), and Richard Beck (2012). Students are encouraged to attend at discounted rates, and are enriched by the scholarly and edifying presentations. The School of Nursing offers many service learning opportunities to its students. As

Earth Science Field Study 2009

mentioned in the Criterion 1 section on “commitment to the public good,” the School of Nursing provides assistance at local blood drives and health screenings. Nursing students have also provided services at the community senior citizen center, a local women’s shelter, and substance abuse center. Nursing students also make presentations to younger students, visiting Rochester Community Schools to talk about topics such as bullying, safety, and allergies, and nutrition. Observation and student teaching are key components of the School of Education. Furthermore, many courses require field experience, including EDU 3271 Teaching Across Cultures. This course is an immersion field experience which includes a two-week trip to a Native American area in Oklahoma. The School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences provides Rochester College students with many opportunities for an enhanced learning environment, including the annual Field Study trip for Natural and Earth Sciences. Students earn three credits while spending two weeks traveling through the western half of the United States. Focusing on learning through experience, the students trek across mountains and deserts, and 81


visit regions known for fossil beds, unusual soil types, and rock formations. Anatomy and physiology classes (BIO 2114 and 2124) also take local trips to observe autopsies. Furthermore, students in the Behavioral Sciences have the opportunity to pursue internships, presentations at academic conferences, and membership in Psi Chi, an honors society for students of Psychology. Many students each year participate in guided research activities, working closely with faculty members in the Psychology Department. These faculty-directed, student-driven activities have often produced high quality research. In the past three years, fifteen Rochester College psychology students have presented their peer-reviewed work at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Athletics Contribute to an Enriched Educational Environment Rochester College offers both intramural sports and an intercollege athletic program. Our intercollegiate teams have competed in various

Rochester College has taken remarkable

small-college conferences, including the United States Collegiate Athletic

steps to ensure that college athletes are

Association (USCAA), and are new members in the National Association for

engaged with the academic process.

Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Men compete in baseball (JV and varsity), basketball (JV and varsity), golf, and soccer; women compete in basketball (JV and varsity), golf, soccer, softball, and volleyball. In the 2011-12 academic year, 29% of the traditional students were participants on one of these teams, which is a significant (and deliberate) reduction from the 48% ratio that existed in 2005. Rochester College has taken remarkable steps to ensure that college athletes are engaged with the academic process, a concern nationally for intercollegiate athletic programs. Rochester College athletes are required to spend significant time in the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) or the Athletic Study Lounge, and must log their hours with the staff there. In addition, they are required to get regular notifications from each instructor regarding their progress (or lack of progress) in every class. Athletic teams also frequently participate in service projects, and engage with diverse and underprivileged communities, such as developmentally-challenged children. Athletes also lead a chapel service each year, and they are continually reminded of the faith-centered position that they must represent on the field and on the court. Many



have testified to the spiritual awakening that they have experienced because of their involvement with these teams. One member of the basketball team said, “Rochester College has turned me from a teenager without direction to a positive young man with goals and a drive to reach those goals. . . . I want to thank Coach Garth Pleasant for really changing me for the better”

In the past 10 years the residence life staff has worked diligently to transition from

(The Shield, 12.4, p. 20). The co-curricular impact for students not on athletic

a focus on rule enforcement to a focus on

teams is compromised by the limited facilities that exist on the campus:

relationship and community building.

except for baseball, the college does not possess its own facilities for hosting athletic events. Nonetheless, these teams have achieved remarkable degrees of success, and they have contributed significantly to the energy and the community that exists on campus.

Student Development Contributes to an Enriched Educational Environment Student development also enhances Rochester College’s educational environment. Many of the functions of this office are outlined in Criterion 1, including campus ministry. However, student development also oversees residential life, student government, social clubs, and a variety of other community-building events. Approximately 200 students live on-campus, and residence life provides them with spiritual, educational and social programming each semester. In the past 10 years the residence life staff has worked diligently to transition from a focus on rule enforcement to a focus on relationship and community building. This has been done through enhanced leadership training for student resident advisors (RAs) and through partnering with other campus areas to be an active part of the integrated learning experience at Rochester College. Student government is designed to maintain good communication between students and administrators, and contributes to improving campus quality of life issues, diversity issues, and alumni relations. The officers include a president, four vice presidents (Student Activities, Community Life, Public Relations, Financing and Fundraising), and senators. These offices provide valuable opportunities for gifted students who want to develop their talents with communication, leadership, problem83


solving, and administration. Student government also oversees activities that are designed for the entire student body, including homecoming events and the “Emmys,” an annual event where entertainment is interspersed with a series of awards. The awards range from the absurd (“I’m Not Flirting, It’s Just My Personality”) to the exalted (“Second Miler”), and every student is invited to the celebration that follows. Aside from attending the actual event (with about 70 students in 2012), students also cast the ballots for these awards (112 voters in 2012). Social clubs have a declining presence on campus (41 members, currently), but they are a significant part of the college heritage and they provide another context for students to develop socially and spiritually. At this time, there are two co-ed social clubs (Alpha Tau Theta/Kappa Tau Xi and Sigma Phi/Delta Nu), as well as two gender-specific social clubs (Epsilon Theta Chi for men, and Epsilon Delta Psi for women). Not to be confused with fraternities and sororities, these clubs are designed to offer smaller peer group involvement, accountability, leadership development, service opportunities, and, most decisively, a sense of Christian community. Other events sponsored by Student Development include Midnight Breakfast and Celebration. Midnight Breakfast is scheduled on Monday evening during each semester’s final exam week. The event begins in the Fletcher Dining Center, at

Student Government Executives 2012

11:00 pm, and it lasts until midnight. Students are treated to a full menu of breakfast items, and they are served by faculty and staff volunteers. This event has become extremely popular, and normally draws 200-230 students who are served by 20-25 faculty and staff members. Celebration is one of the College’s longest-standing event traditions. In past years it was a variety show that primarily featured the social clubs and the talents of selected hosts and hostesses. Beginning in 2012, however, it has been revised to provide a stage for a broad array of artistic presentations. The size of the Rochester College community has allowed co-curricular programming to emerge organically and in unexpected places. Interested individuals are able to create new events that deliver significant impact, and some of our most successful programming is relatively new. The college provides a remarkable array of cocurricular options to both traditional students and students in the Center for Extended



Learning (CEL). These opportunities provide an enriched learning environment by supporting institutional learning goals, and Rochester College’s integrated learning model ensures that learning takes place both inside and outside of the classroom.

CONCLUSION Rochester College provides students with a consistently high-quality education. •

Our academic organization ensures that students in all of our delivery models—traditional, online, Center for Extended Learning, and early college—receive equitable academic support and are held to the same academic standards.

Rochester College regularly assesses and updates all academic offerings.

Institutional learning goals and general education requirements have been carefully developed with academic quality in mind, and are consistently applied to all programs.

Rochester College has the physical resources, faculty, and staff necessary for delivering and supporting high-quality education.

Rochester College offers an enriched educational environment through our integrated learning approach and co-curricular offerings.



Criterion Four: Teaching and Learning— Evaluation and Improvement

Challenging Academics. Christian Community. 86



Introduction Rochester College has demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement through creative programs and initiatives that leverage institutional strengths. Strategic initiatives undertaken to improve the quality of our academic programs and promote student success include the development of Academic Symposium in 2004; the development

NSSE results in 2011 indicated that 87% of

of the Academic Center for Excellence in 2004; a comprehensive

first-year students think that Rochester College

restructuring of the General Education program in 2009; the

has a substantial commitment to their

development of the Integrated Learning Model in 2009 and the

academic success; 89% of seniors indicate

subsequent hiring of a Director of Integrated Learning; hiring a Director of Assessment and Institutional Research in 2010; application and acceptance into HLC Academy for the Assessment of Student

that “they would have chosen RC again if they could start their college career over.”

Learning in 2011; hiring a Dean of Online Learning in 2011; and most recently, the restructuring of academic departments into six schools. Furthermore, the Academic Services office continues to streamline and implement best practices to support these endeavors and ensure improved service to students. Student Development and the Athletic Department also work with Academic Services to support students in all these initiatives. The success of these endeavors is reflected in Rochester College’s 2011 results of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Both first year and senior year students rated Rochester College significantly higher than comparison institutions in survey items benchmarking a supportive campus environment. NSSE results in 2011 87


indicated that 87% of first-year students think that Rochester College has a substantial commitment to their academic success; 89% of seniors indicate that “they would have chosen RC again if they could start their college career over.”1 These encouraging results demonstrate that Rochester College provides a supportive campus environment and fosters a culture of continuous improvement.

CORE COMPONENT 4.A THE INSTITUTION DEMONSTRATES RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE QUALITY OF ITS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS. Rochester College demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs in various ways including regular program reviews, transfer policies, specialized accreditation, and the HLC Assessment Academy project which focuses on assessment of General Education.

Evaluation of Credit and Transfer Policies Many new students enrolling at Rochester College have transferred from other institutions. A number of our degree options, especially in the Center for Extended Learning (CEL), are structured as degree completion programs. The registrar’s office processes all transcripts of students transferring credit from other institutions. Rochester College grants credit for courses completed at regionally accredited colleges and schools accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education with a grade of C- (1.7 on a four-point scale) or higher. Composition A and B are exceptions; to transfer either of these classes a minimum grade of C is required. Policies are in place and best practices are used to ensure the integrity of our degree programs as designed by the faculty. As a general rule, at least 50% of a student’s major core in any degree program must be earned at Rochester College. To satisfy the General Education literature requirement, literature courses transferred from other institutions must emphasize canonical literature and include a chronological survey component. Major and concentration courses that are not listed on department 1

NSSE, The Student Experience in Brief: Rochester College,” 2011.


approved transfer guides are routed to the appropriate school dean for approval. A combined maximum of 30 hours toward the Associate’s degree or 60 hours toward


the Bachelor’s degree may be available through nontraditional avenues, and up to 60 hours of military credit may be used toward a Bachelor’s degree. Nontraditional credit is evaluated using the American Council on Education’s National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training. Credit for experiential learning is not awarded at this time.

Specialized Accreditation Our professional programs have either earned or are pursuing specialized accreditation to ensure that they meet the highest standards of their respective fields. The School of Nursing has State of Michigan Board of Nursing (LARA) approval and specialized national accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Rochester College is seeking final approval as a Teacher Preparation Institution in the State of Michigan and is currently responding to the Committee of Scholars’ comments relating to the Standards, Requirements, and Procedures for Initial Approval. The Rochester College Education Department has reviewed, reflected and revised the program standard indicators to better articulate how Rochester College prepares teacher education candidates. Rochester College is a Candidate Member of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Faculty teams attended the Spring CAEP Conference in Las Vegas on March 15-16, 2012 and the TEAC/NCATE Writing Conference at Hope College, April 11-12, 2012. Rochester College has set a time line to apply for TEAC accreditation during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Program Review As discussed in detail in Criterion 3, Component 3A, “Academic Offerings are Current,” annual program reviews are often conducted simultaneously with the catalog revision process, the budget process, course scheduling each semester, and during departmental meetings held prior to start of the academic year. Annual program reviews invariably include reviewing and revising curriculum and degree programs, 89


admission policies, and course pre-requisites. Assessment of student learning and cost considerations inform and shape decision-making. A number of improvements have been made during the past three years to improve program review processes, including

The reorganization of the Academic Cabinet

the development of SharePoint sites to share information across departments and improving the course survey system. In 2011, the

and establishment of six schools in 2012

Assessment Academy team identified Program Review as a second

provides a framework for administration

priority project. The team plans to use components from its primary project, Assessing General Education through Integrated Learning, to

and faculty leadership to actively and

promote quality assurance processes and ongoing assessment at the

collaboratively oversee program review

department level. Finally, the reorganization of the Academic Cabinet

processes and evaluation of instruction

and establishment of six schools in 2012 provides a framework for

throughout the six schools on all campuses.

administration and faculty leadership to actively and collaboratively oversee program review processes and evaluation of instruction throughout the six schools on all campuses.

HLC Assessment Academy and General Education The new general education program, adopted in 2009, opens up new possibilities for the assessment of student learning as they relate to institutional learning goals (ILGs). During the Assessment Academy application process, we identified assessment of our general education program as the primary need and focus for our participation in the Academy. The project we developed during the initial academy workshop, Assessing general education through Integrated Learning Portfolios, will help us align our general education program to our institutional mission and learning goals within the framework of our integrated learning initiatives. Our academy project is designed help students make connections between knowledge and skills gained in the general education program by providing tools for them to select and collect their work over time, and reflect on it as it relates to our ILGs. Faculty, using rubrics developed by the assessment team, will assess student work assembled into learning portfolios. The results will then be translated into reports and correlated to NSSE data and locally-developed course experience surveys 90


to provide a summative measure of student learning toward ILGs using both indirect and direct measures. The project has evolved over time and initiated a number of productive conversations and processes, helping us develop a culture of assessment across campus. In March 2012, the assessment team began working with faculty in the School of Humanities, who teach a majority of the courses in the general education program, to map our general education curriculum to our ILGs. Faculty reviewed courses satisfying general education requirements and selected a primary and secondary institutional learning goal (ILG) each course addressed. During the process, faculty noted that broad language in the current ILGs did not provide a clear framework to map several courses. In April 2012, during the HLC annual conference and Academy learning exchange, representatives from the assessment team reviewed our current ILGs with our Academy mentor and she concurred that they could use clarification and revision. In addition, we also decided to articulate learning outcomes at the program level and develop more concrete measures of student learning at the course level. In May 2012, the assessment team began a revision process that will be discussed in further detail below.

CORE COMPONENT 4.B THE INSTITUTION DEMONSTRATES A COMMITMENT TO EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPROVEMENT THROUGH ONGOING ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING. Rochester College demonstrates a cross-campus commitment to improving its academic offerings and co-curricular programs through ongoing assessment of student learning. Institutional assessment of student learning is framed by a set of institutional learning goals which are currently being reviewed and revised as part Rochester College’s participation in the HLC Academy for the Assessment of Student Learning. During the 91


past 10 years, Rochester College has administered national surveys such as Noel-Levitz’ Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), along with a locally developed student course survey that is administered at the conclusion of every course. These survey instruments collect indirect measures of student learning and have produced data that is used by administration, academic departments, and committees to inform strategic plans, conduct program reviews, and develop improvement initiatives.

Institutional Learning Goals Rochester College’s institutional learning goals are well publicized and promoted in school publications and public spaces across campus. As a matter of policy, course syllabi are required to reflect 3 of 5 institutional learning goals. Instructors are given freedom to adapt the wording of these goals for specific courses. The institutional learning goals and syllabus policy is being reviewed and revised as part of Rochester College’s Assessment Academy Project. In May 2012, The Assessment Academy team began discussing a revision to the institutional learning goals (ILGs) within a “literacy” framework. The literacy framework provides unifying language to articulate learning goals that bridge our institutional mission and program/course student learning outcomes. The working definition of literacy being used by the team was developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): “Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicated and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.” The UNESCO definition of literacy provides common language to discuss the new ILGs in a way that reflects the mission of the school in a diverse world while focusing on student learning outcomes. 92


The revision of ILGs coincided with a concurrent development in Rochester College’s board of trustees, who adopted the Carver model and are working to identify a set of “ends” by which they can evaluate the performance of the school and oversee the allocation of resources towards these ends. In June 2012, the board adopted a version of our second draft of ILGs to articulate these ends. At the time of writing, we are planning to develop a third and final draft of the ILGs in the spring of 2013 during a strategic planning project led by Dr. Gary Selby of Pepperdine University entitled “Imagining the Future: A Strategic Planning Project for Rochester College.” Dr. Selby’s project is also discussed in Criterion 1, Criterion 3, and Criterion 5.

Departmental Assessment Plans Rochester College identified assessment of student learning as an area needing improvement in the 2002 Self-Study Report produced for the HLC in advance of a comprehensive visit. In this report, Rochester College requested the visiting team to provide advice on “how to accomplish a documented cycle of assessment that will benefit institutional improvement without the benefit of a separate assessment office.” In response to the findings of the visiting team, the Academic Cabinet developed a comprehensive plan for the assessment of student learning called the 2004 Learning Outcomes Assessment Report. The 2004 report outlined a mission-focused framework in which departments developed and articulated discipline-specific student learning outcomes and plans to assess these outcomes and use the findings for quality assurance and improvement. To promote faculty ownership of the comprehensive plan, department chairs were assigned primary responsibility to develop, oversee, and adapt their departmental plans.2 Recent efforts have stabilized departmental leadership and data collection initiatives. The newly created schools empower deans and department chairs to revise their plans and identify more realistic goals and practices.3 They are addressing strengths and weaknesses revealed in the 2010 and 2011 review of departmental assessment plans outlined in the 2004 report and are establishing more consistent data collection


Rochester College, Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Report, 2004.


Office of Assessment and Institutional Research, Report on Assessment: An Evaluation and Proposals, 2010.

processes. Furthermore, a number of programs began using the annual Academic Symposium and their capstone course to assess student learning in their programs.



These reviews have resulted in ongoing curricular changes, as described in Criterion 3.A, “Academic Programs are Current.� Most degree programs also have a capstone course or experience that serves as a summative experience of the student’s program. (See appendix for capstone list.) Capstone projects allow for student learning to be assessed by Rochester College faculty and the students themselves. In some cases, capstone projects also provide opportunity for performance levels to be measured according to external standards. For the psychology department, selected capstone projects are submitted to the regional branch of the American Psychological Association to be considered for presentation at the annual regional conference. In 2009-2010, the research of two graduates was accepted for presentation. In 2010-2011, the research of five students was accepted, and in 2011-2012, the research of eight students was selected. A number of improvements have been made during the past three years to provide more institutional support for academic departments in regards to student learning assessment. In 2009, Rochester College addressed the leadership gap by establishing a dedicated office to coordinate assessment efforts and hired a full-time director of assessment and institutional research in 2010. The Assessment Academy team is working on program review as a second priority project to be implemented concurrently with our primary project. Sharepoint sites have been created for the reorganized six schools to improve collection and sharing of assessment data. When the new ILGs are finalized, the assessment team and director of assessment will work with deans and directors of the schools to develop program-specific learning outcomes (PLOs). Departmental assessment plans will be revised to embed assessment of student learning in gateway and capstone courses. Assessment data will be disseminated and evaluated during annual departmental processes, including catalog revision, budgeting, and departmental meetings prior to the beginning of the academic year.



Evidence-based decision-making Rochester College uses national surveys and institutionally developed course surveys to evaluate and improve both academic and co-curricular programs. The SSI was administered in 2003 and 2004 and the results of survey were discussed with the standing retention committee. The committee used survey data, along with exit interviews, to determine why some students chose to leave Rochester College or leave campus residence halls to commute from off campus. As a result, the committee issued two recommendations that were subsequently adopted by the administration. First, operation of the campus cafeteria was contracted to a reputable food service company to address student dissatisfaction. Secondly, security cameras and security staff were added and improved to address safety concerns noted by students. Rochester College administered the NSSE during the spring semesters of 2011 and 2012. The results of the NSSE were compiled and shared with the campus community in committee and department meetings. Initiatives such as the First Year Experience were launched in the fall of 2012 to address weaknesses identified. Student course surveys, administered at the conclusion of every course, provide a reliable and accurate means of collecting student evaluations of their experience in the course. Survey results are compiled by the Academic Services office and sent to department heads who review them before distributing them to their faculty. Department heads use the surveys in various ways, including performance reviews and instructor self-evaluations. The course survey system has been revised during the past two years to align the survey instrument with institutional assessment goals and departmental concerns, and to improve efficiency of administering the survey and distributing results. The current survey instrument was developed by a crossdisciplinary committee and is now administered through the institution’s online student management system, CAMS.4 Rochester College has enjoyed a high response rate to these surveys in both the paper and online formats. Nearly all students completed the paper-based surveys and over 90% complete the voluntary online survey. 4

Academic Cabinet, Proposal to transition to online course survey system, 2010.




Tracking Student Performance through Retention and Completion Rates Rochester College tracks retention and completion data using Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) definitions and methodologies, as well as institutional measures. Standard IPEDS methodologies disadvantage Rochester College because they do not factor in transfer students, who comprise a majority of new students enrolling every semester. In addition, Rochester College’s enrollment profile has changed considerably during the past several years with the addition of early college, continuing education, and online programs. The need to track persistence and completion rates in ways appropriate to our increasingly complex enrollment profile was one of many reasons the college contracted with an outside company to improve and extend our student information system, CAMS. The first phases of the CAMS project were completed in Fall 2012. Rochester College has completed the first steps in the process of partnering with the National Student clearinghouse that will greatly enhance our ability to report and verify student data. Currently, we have a contractual agreement in place and have uploaded our first round of clean data to be processed. Once our student database is integrated into the Clearinghouse system, employers, student service providers, and background screening firms will be able to verify enrollment at Rochester College; students receiving financial aid can be verified by lending organizations and the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS); and Rochester College students and staff will be able to use electronic transcript exchange and ordering services.

Improving Student Persistence and Completion through Student Support Trends in our retention and completion rates are analyzed by administration and used by Student Development, the admissions department, and the retention committee 96


to positively affect these rates across all programs. During the last comprehensive visit by the HLC in 2002, the college identified student retention as an institutional weakness and sought to address this weakness by evaluating and improving academic support. In 2003, Rochester College was awarded a five-year Individual Development Grant under the Strengthening Institutions Program, authorized under Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Academic Program included three goals: 1.

Construct an additional academic building to include new science labs and additional classrooms with full technology.

2. Complete a comprehensive assessment of student learning that includes department/major objectives, assessment tools, and a reporting feedback loop. 3. Increase retention rates from the freshman to sophomore year through more effective academic advising, institutional support for threshold courses, and student tutoring and remediation. The first two goals were accomplished with the opening of Richardson Center in 2004 and the Report on the Assessment of Student Learning, also completed in 2004, after a two-year long process with the Academic Cabinet.5 The third goal was addressed with the creation of Academic Center for Excellence, known around campus as the ACE Lab.

Academic Center for Excellence The stated mission of ACE is to provide student-centered programs, resources, and services to develop independent and successful learners. ACE accomplishes this in a number of ways: •

Providing a positive learning environment that includes social interaction


Providing academic assistance to Rochester College students through peer


Rochester College, Learning Outcomes Assessment Report for the Higher Learning Commission, 2004. 97


tutoring as well as supplemental instruction in designated classes •

Proactively impacting student performance and retention at Rochester College by providing programs and services to all students who wish to improve their academic standing

Assisting students in developing study habits and positive attitudes to ensure a lifetime of learning success

Upon completion of the grant, the college was to realize a freshman to sophomore retention rate that was 25% higher than the fall 2003 rate, with a 5% increase expected each year of the grant’s duration. At the conclusion of the grant, Rochester College’s freshman to sophomore retention rates had improved from baseline 55% to final grant year 71%. The following chart shows the actual retention rates for the grant years. RETENTION OF FTIAC STUDENTS, FALL TO FALL, BEFORE AND DURING TITLE III GRANT PROJECT, 2002-2008

GRANT YEAR YEAR 2002 2003 Year 1 2004 Year 2 2005 Year 3 2006 Year 4 2007 Year 5 2008

ACTUAL 44.90% 54.69% 61.90% 54.48% 58.86% 60.2% 71%


59.7% 64.7% 69.7% 74.7% 79.7%

After the grant period ended, Rochester College remained committed to the academic support of students to promote persistence and retention in college. Thus ACE continues to function as the center for academic support on campus providing free tutoring to students. ACE has generally distinguished itself as a place for all students, rather than as a place for just those who require special assistance. Currently operating under the direction of the Dean of Students, the ACE staff includes a director, a math and science assistance coordinator, and an ACE assistant. Each academic year, ACE hires and trains 16 outstanding students to work as peer- tutors and Supplemental Instruction leaders. The ACE lab serves over 25% of the student body each semester, as illustrated in the graphic to the right.



Students consistently rate ACE highly. In course surveys administered to all classes during the past two years, 82.1% of students who visited the ACE lab strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) provided effective support of my learning experience through tutoring, supplemental instructors, or computer labs.” STUDENTS SERVED

FA11 SP11 FA10 SP10 FA09 SP08 FA07 SP07 FA06 SP06 FA05 SP05 FA04 SP04











Threshold courses in the general education program are the primary focus of ACE support. The threshold courses are Composition A and B and Beginning and Intermediate Algebra. ACE works closely with the math and English departments in order to focus on each department’s learning objectives as well as each instructor’s course objectives. ACE tracks the number of students passing/failing all Composition A and B courses and Beginning and Intermediate Algebra courses. The table below illustrates improvement of student grades in these threshold courses after ACE was established.




English Composition A & B Beginning and Intermediate Algebra

Before ACE FA03 79% 44%




87% 57%

82% 61%

80% 70%

ACE also supports freshman religion courses by placing an upperclassman leader called a Supplemental Instructor (SI), in each course. This support has proved to be extremely effective; students who participate in study sessions led by their SI consistently earned higher grades. ACE also provides the necessary support for students with disabilities. Tutors and staff serve as readers and scribers and the ACE Lab is used as a place for exams that allow extended time. ACE tracks all usage by students on Academic Alert, Warning, and Probation. Every two weeks, ACE usage reports are sent to each of the student’s advisors and to the athletics academic coordinator. Reports are also sent to the Student Development staff as needed. At mid-term, grades are included in the report. This tracking and cooperating with advisors, coaches, and the Student Development team is a strong retention factor, as the reports give an early alert that students in academic trouble are not seeking the needed assistance. New ACE initiatives include increased support for Rochester College’s new majors of nursing and mass communication. ACE has recently increased the number of math/ science tutors and now offers SI in chemistry courses. The School of Nursing (SON) worked closely with ACE staff, to ensure effective support for the nursing students. In Fall 2012, a dedicated tutor for SON was added to the staff. On-line tutoring is now offered for papers in all courses. This enables ACE to reach students in online and off-site courses. Fall 2012 is the first semester to track on-line use, and as of November 2012, ACE has reviewed 37 papers.



Success of our Student Athletes The Athletic Study Lounge (ASL) provides dedicated support to student athletes at Rochester College. Coaches and tutors in the ASL assume that each and every athlete already has the talents needed to persist in college, and mentor students to help them leverage their personal abilities and talents to succeed academically. Certain student athletes at Rochester College are required to log in hours at the ASL. All incoming freshman who enter Rochester College as an ineligible student-athlete and all returning student-athletes and incoming transfer athletes with a cumulative GPA lower than a 2.25 are required to log 2 hours of study per week in the ASL. Coaches may place required study hours on top of the required hours by the athletic administration listed above within reason. Efforts to promote the academic success of student athletes are evidenced in high retention rates – 91.3% of student athletes registered in Fall 2011 were registered in Spring 2012, and their academic performance, 32.6% of athletes were honored on dean’s list in Fall 2011, which exceeds the percentage of non-athletes who were honored on the dean’s list.

Student Development Student Development creates, sustains, and develops relationships, programs, and experiences across campus departments and connect students to all aspects of academic, social and spiritual life. One way Student Development accomplishes this is through the retention committee. Under the leadership of the dean of students, the retention committee includes members from all relevant offices as well as students from the campus community. The retention committee evaluates campus life to identify retention/persistence issues, using the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), evaluating the First Year Experience (FYE) Program, and interviewing students who withdraw and choose not to return.



Student Development approaches student engagement as a campus-wide effort. For example, Student Development has established a process to identify at-risk students called “Save our Students.” All employees are encouraged to send an e-mail to sos@ to alert key campus leaders of students who are struggling so the students’ needs can be appropriately addressed. Student Development is also currently focused on connecting commuter students to the campus community. The office is evaluating options and developing strategies to connect our commuter students to campus life.

Recruiting Successful Students Rochester College strategically recruits students that have a positive impact on persistence and completion. Under the leadership of the vice president of enrollment and director of admissions, recruiters meet weekly to identify recruits that best fit the mission of Rochester College. If a recruit does not meet minimum academic standards of ACT of 18 and GPA of 2.25, protocol includes interviews, writing samples, and letters of recommendation. In the past six years, Rochester College has not accepted any student who does not meet entrance criteria without completing the documented protocol process. If someone has below an ACT of 14, they will not be accepted under any circumstance. Related to mission, every prospective student is presented with a video about the mission of Rochester College. That video is followed with discussion of the mission. These efforts to recruit students who are prepared for Rochester College, both academically and socially, help ensure that students are retained because they are a good fit for the college in the first place. Success of these initiatives are reflected in rising ACT scores and the increasing numbers of Trustee Scholars, as displayed in the chart below. ACT SCORES

Profile of incoming freshman Fall Semester: Average ACT, FTIACS Trustee Scholars (ACT of 30 or higher) 102

2010 19.6 4

2011 20.7 6

2012 21.6 12


CONCLUSION Rochester College ensures the quality of its educational programs and environments and evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to foster continuous improvement. •

The College engages in regular program review at multiple levels across the institution.

Careful review and evaluation of transfer credit and course prerequisites occurs on a continuing basis.

Our commitment to effective student support services is manifested through our Student Development initiatives, strong supplemental instruction and academic support services, and careful integration of co-curricular programs such as athletics with these services.

The College has obtained specialized accreditation (CCNE) for its BSN program and is pursuing specialized accreditation for other programs as appropriate.

Ongoing assessment of student learning occurs in all academic departments. Additionally, the college has demonstrated its commitment to assessment of student learning through the hiring of a full-time director of assessment and its current participation in the HLC Academy for the Assessment of Student Learning.

Rochester College demonstrates its commitment to educational improvement through institution-wide interdepartmental retention efforts.




Criterion Five: Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

Challenging Academics. Christian Community. 104 104



Introduction Rochester College considers its mission to be of primary importance. Rochester College exists to cultivate academic excellence, principled character, servant leadership and global awareness through a rigorous educational experience that integrates liberal arts and professional studies within an inclusive Christian heritage. Therefore, managing resources to ensure the fulfillment of that mission is of primary importance. The last decade has seen the college face tremendous challenge in terms of financial and physical resources. Through rigorous assessment, evaluation, and restructuring the college continues to position itself to better serve its constituents in the decade to come.

CORE COMPONENT 5.A THE INSTITUTION’S RESOURCE BASE SUPPORTS ITS CURRENT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND ITS PLANS FOR MAINTAINING AND STRENGTHENING THEIR QUALITY IN THE FUTURE Rochester College has a strong commitment to maintaining current resources and cultivating new resources in the areas of human resources, technology, finances, and stakeholder support. Rochester College has a well-developed budgeting and monitoring process in place that involves all stakeholders. Through careful management, the college has the resources needed to properly support operations and academic programs.



5.A.1 FISCAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES AND INFRASTRUCTURE The most important resource of Rochester College is a faculty and staff who have, over the years, demonstrated their competence, commitment, and Christian devotion. Faculty and staff have chosen to work for the college at lower-than-average wages for their positions in the region; they have remained committed to the college in spite of the fact that there have been no raises for the past six years. Their Christian devotion is displayed by their leadership in churches in the area and their deep involvement with the student body. Emphasis will be placed on pay and benefit enhancement to employees in upcoming years, with special emphasis on faculty salaries as they relate to peer institutions in Michigan and to salaries within specific disciplines. Rochester College has worked to strengthen the human resource base by making strategic hires as it continues to broaden and strengthen its academic offerings. Over the past three years, the college has hired six nursing faculty to support the new School of Nursing. The college has also hired a Dean for the School of Business and Professional Studies, as it attempts to refocus and grow that academic area. Rochester College named its first director for the honors program that was launched in 2010-11, with the first summer program in 2011 and the first honors classes offered in 2011-12. The college also launched an initiative to strengthen assessment, which prompted the hiring of a director of assessment in 2010-11 as well as Rochester College’s application and acceptance into the HLC Assessment Academy in 2011. During the academic year 2011-12, the college also hired its first dedicated director of integrated learning. Online learning is a strategic growth area for Rochester College. The first Dean of Online Learning was hired in 2011, and an HLC focus visit occurred in 2012 as Rochester applied to offer fully online degree programs. During 2011, a director of development was hired to focus on annual fund giving and prepare the college for a future capital gift campaign. 106


These hires and new programs where made in the wake of a financial crisis brought on by mismanagement by the prior administration and ineffective board governance. During the five year period from 2004 to 2008, the college had cumulative losses of $11.5 million dollars, incurred massive amounts of debt, froze salaries, and suspended college contributions for retirement. In 2009, the current administration drafted a three-year turn-around plan titled “Getting Healthy” that became the road map to keeping the doors open. The Rochester College Board and Administration realized that it could not bring the college back to solvency just by cutting costs, but knew that a return to health depended on selected investment in personnel, academic programs, student recruitment, technology, and advertising. Another significant resource for the college is the Board of Trustees. The Board is comprised of 14 trustees with a combined 119 years of service to Rochester College. It is an autonomous, self-perpetuating body. Each Board member must be a member in good standing of a Bible-based church. Board members’ terms extend for a period of not more than three years and may be renewed for an unlimited number of terms if re-elected. The Membership Committee of the Board of Trustees is responsible for the nomination, examination, and recommendation of all board candidates. Through the various committees, the Board functions in its role of setting the policies and strategic planning for the institution. Recent additions to the Board have provided geographical diversity along with substantial expertise in academic, financial, and board governance. All official Board minutes are on file in the President’s office and will be available in the Higher Learning Commission resource room on the campus for Team use. The administration and the Board of Trustees enjoy a good, cooperative relationship. The President is directly responsible to the Board, and he and the vice presidents regularly attend Board meetings. There has been considerable change to the administration since the last HLC comprehensive visit. Rochester College is currently served by the following executive administrative personnel: president, provost, vice president for finance and operations, and vice president of enrollment. 107


Dr. Rubel Shelly, the current President, came to Rochester College in 2005 and became the college’s eighth president in 2008. During his tenure at Rochester, Dr. Shelly has brought stability and leadership to a fragile situation. Dr. Shelly has a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt, and served on the faculty at Rochester College, Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt, Lipscomb University, and Freed-Hardeman University. He has also served as preaching minister at numerous churches, and is a widely published author and sought after speaker. Dr. John Barton has served as the Chief Academic Officer (Provost) of Rochester College since 2008. Previously, he served as a faculty member and Department Chair for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies. He was also Associate Academic Dean from 2004-2008. Dr. Barton has a Ph.D. in African Philosophy from Makerere University (Uganda). He has efficiently and effectively revamped the academic programs at Rochester.

President Rubel Shelly The Vice President for Finance and Operations, Mark VanRheenen, worked at Rochester College from 1998-2003 and from 2009 to the present time. Dr. Shelly asked Mr. VanRheenen to return to Rochester College to assist in its turn-around efforts. VanRheenen served as Vice President of Finance at both Rochester College and Lehigh Carbon Community College, and also served on the business faculty at Lourdes College and Harding University. VanRheenen started his career with the international accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, LLP, CPAs and was the President and Chief Operating Officer of VanRheenen, Miller, & Rose, PLLC, CPAs. The Vice President of Enrollment is Klint Pleasant. Pleasant has been at Rochester College since 2005, and was asked by Dr. Shelly to assume his current role in 2009. Mr. Pleasant’s leadership in enrollment has resulted in record traditional student enrollments, both in terms of numbers and in terms of the academic preparedness of students. Mr. Pleasant also serves as Athletic Director and the Men’s Basketball Coach. Pleasant has served as a coach at Abilene Christian University, Kent State University, University of Tennessee-Martin, and Wayne State University.



The executive administrative team meets weekly. Following the administrative meetings, team members communicate with appropriate managers and staff regarding relevant issues discussed. The Academic Cabinet is comprised of the provost (chairperson), vice provost, deans and directors of the sixsSchools, registrar (ex officio), director of library services, and other academic leaders as selected by the provost. The committee is responsible for oversight of the academic mission of the institution and meets regularly to assess and develop academic policies defined in the College Handbook and the College Catalog. This committee is also responsible for substantive curriculum changes, evaluation and operation of academic programs, and matters that affect the General Education core. The Rochester College library is another significant resource that supports the mission of the college. The director of library services is responsible for the governing of daily operations of the Ham Library. Such responsibilities include supervision of the ordering, processing, and storage of library materials, annual reports and budgets, recommendations to the provost about additions to library services, supervising library personnel, including student workers, and determining the hours of operation. The director also works with the faculty Library Advisory Committee in ensuring the best use of the library for meeting academic needs. Technology is vital for the success of any institution of higher education at this time in history. Rochester College has taken steps to enhance its technology platform. In 1999, the college purchased a student enterprise system, CAMS. In 2008, that system was substantially upgraded at a cost of $120,000, plus additional costs for training and implementation. In 2011, an examination of the use of that system revealed that additional training was needed to fully utilize the system. On February 7, 2012, a contract in the amount of $94,800 was executed to provide in-depth CAMS training and assistance, data cleanup and correction, customized reporting, and management over a twenty-four month period. In spite of all of these developments and initiatives, Rochester College’s fiscal situation has presented an ongoing challenge. A schedule of total assets relative to current and long-term liabilities by year is illustrated in Table 5.1 on the following page. 109




Current Liabilities

Long Term Liabilities

Fund Balance

Change in Net Assets

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012























































The college’s financial performance exceeded the expectations in the first two years of our turnaround plan and the college has had increased net assets for the past two fiscal years.


Rochester College, Getting Healthy Strategic Plan, 2009-2012.


Prior Year Adjustments

Change in Net Assets After PYA

FYE 5/31


(4,814,160) (2,732,902)


(2,132,908) (1,982,112)


271,612 306,003


The college is working through financial problems brought on by approximately $11.5 million dollars of deficit spending from 2004-8 by the prior administration. Furthermore, significant building pledges were booked as gift revenue in fiscal 2004 and subsequently restated as a prior year adjustment in 2007 when determined to be uncollectible. The college now has over $20 million in debt as a result of operating deficits and an inadequately funded building project. Starting in 2011, substantial progress has been made in retiring debt and renegotiating the interest rates to a lower level. However, the high debt levels and high interest rates continue to cause financial stress to the college. A turn-around plan crafted in 2009 by the college called for decreased expenditures and increased investments in strategic areas such as integrated learning, enrollment, advertising, on-line program development. The college’s financial performance exceeded the expectations in the first two years of our turnaround plan and the college has had increased net assets for the past two fiscal years. A schedule of total revenue relative to expenses with change of net assets by year is listed in Table 5.2 and demonstrates positive change in the college’s financial profile. TABLE 5.2

TOTAL REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES BY YEAR FYE 5/31 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

Total Revenues

Unrestricted Revenues

Tuition and Fees

Total Gift Income

Unrestricted Expenses

Change in Net Assets After PYA































































A final area of consideration when evaluating resources is the physical plant. Rochester College’s physical infrastructure has been substantially upgraded in the past fifteen years with the construction of new residence halls in 1997, library and classrooms in 2001, and classrooms and offices in 2004. Basic maintenance has been accomplished; however, there is a backlog of approximately $1.5 million of deferred maintenance and remodeling that should be accomplished when funds become available. Table 5.3 lists the buildings on campus, their age, square footage and utilization: TABLE 5.3
















1940s, 1960-62


Athletics, Office, Classrooms




1959 1959, 1961 1978 1966 (lower), 1978 (upper)

19,452 5,056 5,181

Academics, Classrooms, Offices Student Classrooms, Chapel, Student


Student, Office Facilities Student Residential, Offices, Student Residential Residential Academic, Classrooms, Offices Academic, Classrooms, Offices, Student


2001 1970 1961 1960 2002

2,592 1,080 28,014 8,600 3,510 17,484




Purchased 1964



175,866 (overall)





5.A.2 THE INSTITUTION’S EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES DO NOT SUFFER AS A RESULT OF ELECTIVE RESOURCE ALLOCATIONS TO OTHER AREAS OR DISBURSEMENT OF REVENUE TO ANY SUPERORDINATE ENTITY. Rochester College does not have any elective resource allocations that cause the institution’s educational purposes to suffer. All of Rochester College’s resource allocations support our mission to create well-rounded students in areas of education, faith, and core values.  Forty-one percent of the Rochester College annual budget consists of employee salaries and employee overhead costs. Fifty-two per cent of the annual budget consists of operational expenses including facilities, utilities, information technology, housekeeping, and campus security. The remaining seven percent of the annual budget consists of the following elective resource allocations: Streaming Seminar, Partnership Dinner, development regional receptions, alumni relations, the campus store, and athletics. As the descriptions below demonstrate, each of these elective resource allocations supports the mission and increases the student experience at Rochester College.

Streaming Seminar (Biblical Conversations from the Missional Frontier) The Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College hosts a three day Streaming Seminar each summer on the main campus. This conference brings scholars and church leaders together to discuss Biblical topics and current evangelical Christian topics. This event is open to current students, community members, church leaders,

Partnership Dinner 2012

and faculty and staff and helps to strengthen ministry relationships. This additional educational opportunity also serves to strengthen the college’s brand as a faith-based institution and adds to recruitment and retention of the target demographic.

Partnership Dinner Partnership Dinner is a fundraising dinner hosted by the Development Office. Each year a prominent individual is hired to speak and a local banquet hall is rented for this event. The ticket sales for the event exceed the cost of the event thus making it a profit generator for Rochester College. The Partnership Dinner is also an avenue to strengthen connections with many Rochester College constituents and supporters.



Development Regional Receptions The Development Office also hosts a limited number of regional receptions for Rochester College constituents. These small receptions build relationships and raise awareness with current and prospective fiscal supporters of Rochester College.

Alumni Relations Rochester College currently has a staff of two who work with alumni.

Campus Store The campus store offers a selection of schools supplies, as well as sportswear and college emblem items that promote Rochester College and boost school pride. Prior to 2009, the campus store was combined with a physical bookstore, but an operational review led the college to replace this with a partnership with MBS Direct, the largest online textbook system in the nation. The campus store coordinates the sale of textbooks through the MBS Direct online system, and has found this system to be convenient for students and financially efficient for the college.

Athletics Athletics is a core value in the development of a well-rounded student; furthermore, the total athletics budget does not exceed the student tuition and fees generated.

5.A.3 THE GOALS INCORPORATED INTO THE MISSION STATEMENTS OR ELABORATIONS OF MISSION STATEMENTS ARE REALISTIC IN LIGHT OF THE INSTITUTION’S ORGANIZATION, RESOURCES, AND OPPORTUNITIES Institutional learning goals help shape an environment at Rochester College to ensure that our mission is being achieved. The five stated goals are inquiry, critical thinking, diversity, communication, and Christian faith. These goals help frame programming to guide efforts to fulfill our mission, and as the previous chapters demonstrate, they are not only realistic and suitable to Rochester College’s 114


organization, resources, and opportunities, but also are fulfilled in a variety of ways. Institutional learning goals serve as the driving force for the academic organization, as well as budgeting and planning for resource allocation. As described previously in this report, the college’s academic structure was recently reorganized into six schools. A primary rationale for this reorganization was to provide a stronger voice from those primarily responsible for the college’s academic mission in planning processes. In addition to this reorganization, a redesigned and more proactive Academic Cabinet began work in the past academic year. A fundamental element of this group’s work is to analyze the college’s resources and opportunities and develop plans and initiatives to advance the college’s mission in light of these factors. This group works closely with faculty in each department in budget planning, program evaluation, and “vision casting,” all aimed at ensuring and cultivating the optimal realization of our mission.

5.A.4 THE INSTITUTION’S STAFF IN ALL AREAS ARE APPROPRIATELY QUALIFIED AND TRAINED. Rochester College has policies and procedures in place to ensure that new staff hires are qualified and appropriately trained. The college employs pre-employment screening for any person applying to work in a full-time, part-time or adjunct position with the college. This policy does not apply to student workers. College policy requires that all outside hires have certain credentials with background information verified as a condition of employment addressed in section 3.16 of the Rochester College policy manual. In addition to pre-employment screening to verify an employee’s initial qualifications, Rochester College utilizes professional development and training to ensure that staff members have the most current information and training available to effectively complete their work. While budget constraints have limited formal professional development to key areas, staff members in multiple areas have participated in various forms of professional development in the past three years.2 Onboarding of faculty and staff has also become a priority for the college in training


Rochester College, “Faculty Survey,” 2012.

and maintaining its new hires. Enhanced recruitment efforts have been established to recruit new hires nationally for posted job openings. The college is in the process of 115


developing standardized onboarding procedures for all new staff, which will include the assignment of a mentor and predetermined check points for mentoring new hires during their first year. As referenced in CC3, faculty and adjunct faculty participate in regular on-campus professional development activities geared toward increasing the college’s capacity for providing quality teaching and learning.

5.A.5 THE INSTITUTION HAS A WELL-DEVELOPED PROCESS IN PLACE FOR BUDGETING AND FOR MONITORING EXPENSE. Rochester College has a collegial budgeting process. In mid-January, budget managers for all academic and non-academic departments are presented a zero-based budget template containing board funding priorities, applicable strategic priorities, the current departmental operating budget and year-to-date totals, and a template to request both operating and capital expenditure funding. The results of this initial budgeting process is reviewed, adjusted if necessary, and then forwarded to the senior administrative team for review. All budget lines are reviewed by the senior administrative team as the needs from all areas of the campus are weighted against budget limitations. Any proposed budget changes are discussed with the first line budget managers for additional input. Once the senior administrative team has a proposed budget, that budget is forwarded to the Board finance committee for review and input. The senior administrative team receives the input

Rochester College has the fiscal, human, physical, and technological resources needed

from the Finance Committee and makes any additional changes that are needed. The proposed budget is presented at the April Board of Trustees meeting for discussion and approval. The college’s fiscal year

to support its academic programs and

commences June 1.

operations, as well as the programs that are

Monthly, reports are sent to all budget managers showing monthly and

being contemplated for development.

year-to-date comparisons of actual expenditures to budget. Also, on a monthly basis, the finance committee of the board receives a financial report that details the monthly revenue and expenses for the college, as well as the year-to-date revenue and expenses. Both monthly and year-to-date numbers are compared to applicable budget numbers. The finance committee calls periodic meetings to discuss the financial reports and also updates the full board at each board meeting.



In summary, Rochester College has the fiscal, human, physical, and technological resources needed to support its academic programs and operations, as well as the programs that are being contemplated for development. The goals incorporated into Rochester College’s mission statement are realistic in light of resources and opportunities. Furthermore, Rochester College has a well-developed process in place for budgeting and for monitoring revenue and expenses.


The board and administration have

The board and administration have structured and regular interaction

structured and regular interaction with both

with both internal constituencies and the community in which

internal constituencies and the community

it resides and serves. The college has spent the past three years

in which it resides and serves.

assessing its position and the educational model that will define the future of this institution.

5.B.1 THE INSTITUTION HAS AND EMPLOYS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES TO ENGAGE ITS INTERNAL CONSTITUENCIES IN GOVERNANCE, INCLUDING ITS GOVERNING BOARD, ADMINISTRATION, FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS Historically, the board has engaged its internal constituencies through involvement in 11 standing committees: Executive Committee, Church Relations and Diversity, Membership Committee, Officer Nominating Committee, Advancement Committee, Finance Committee, Academic Affairs Committee, Student Services Committee, Building and Grounds Committee, Committee to Review the President, and Enrollment Services Committee. These committees have provided the board a closer look at the inner workings of the college and have provided a format for personal interface with the institution faculty and staff through staff involvement in the quarterly board meeting and on the various committees.



In 2012 the board adopted the Carver Governance Model. Under this model there are four committees: Nominating, Audit, President Compensation, and Ownership

Employee Appreciation Dinner 2012

Linkage. This model provides clearer policies and procedures for engaging our internal constituencies in governance and encourages greater focus on creating a “one voice” direction from the board, clarifying the board’s expectations of the college and its management team, providing the incentive to empower the management team to perform the responsibilities given them unencumbered by micro-managing, and establishing metrics the board can review to ensure the college is achieving its purpose. Other activities that permit board interaction with employees and students include the board sponsored Employee Appreciation Dinner, Partnership Dinner, campus visits and attendance at graduation ceremonies.

5.B.2 THE INSTITUTIONS GOVERNING BOARD IS KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE INSTITUTION, PROVIDES OVERSIGHT FOR THE INSTITUTION’S FINANCIAL AND ACADEMIC POLICIES AND PRACTICES, AND MEETS ITS LEGAL AND FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITIES The last decade has presented many challenges to Rochester College. As a result of operating problems that occurred from 2004-2008, the board took a more active role in reviewing operational activities. This included not only closer scrutiny of cash flow and financial commitments but also a review of alternative ways of conducting business that included a partnership with a for-profit entity. The current management team that was installed in 2008 established clear direction and progress has been made toward achieving financial stability. Board meetings prior to the adoption of the Carver Model included active discussion concerning the institution’s accomplishments, challenges, and future initiatives. The board finance committee regularly reviewed the monthly financial reports, and participated in both the budget development and the annual audit process conducted by external auditors. These findings were shared with the entire board. 118


Under the Carver Model, the board continues to be actively involved but from a more strategic, “big picture� perspective. Policy 3.4 in the governance model from the Board Policy Manual lays out the performance metrics and the procedures through which the board will monitor the performance of the president and the organization as a whole. Performance metrics, as laid out in the Board Manual, will be submitted to the board on a regular schedule. Prior to the implementation of the Carver Model, there was insufficient time for the board to deal with strategic planning. The change of governance model along with many other changes is precipitated by the fact that the college has now achieved more operational stability, allowing the board to focus on the future of the college.

5.B.3 THE INSTITUTION ENABLES THE INVOLVEMENT OF ITS ADMINISTRATION, FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS IN SETTING ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS, POLICY, AND PROCESSES THROUGH EFFECTIVE STRUCTURE FOR CONTRIBUTION AND COLLABORATIVE EFFORT. The provost works with the department chairs, academic deans and the academic cabinet in setting academic requirements, policy and processes. Any major program changes are developed with the faculty through the department chairs, academic deans and then the provost. The suggested changes are then brought to the academic cabinet for final approval. Other non-academic senior administrators may be involved with program changes if budget or other institution-wide factors are involved. Student Government, under the oversight of a staff advisor (the assistant director of student life) provides traditional student input on academic requirements, policy and processes through written proposals approved by the Assistant Dean of Students and submitted to the provost. Center for Extended Learning (CEL) students provide input through course and program evaluations. Course evaluations are required to be completed online before 119


students are permitted to view their course grade through the student portal. There has been some concern expressed that the evaluations are not truly anonymous and, therefore, a small percentage of students have resisted completing these evaluations for fear that an honest evaluation may impact grades. This concern is unfounded as instructors have no access to the identity of evaluators and the evaluations only become available after the final grades have been submitted. CEL students have also provided input through program evaluations that have been administered during the capstone course at the end of their program.

CORE COMPONENT 5.C Rochester College allocates its resources in alignment with our mission and priorities.

THE INSTITUTION ENGAGES IN SYSTEMATIC AND INTEGRATED PLANNING. Rochester College allocates its resources in alignment with our mission and priorities. The college regularly performs environmental scanning, carefully monitoring our internal and external environments to detect

early signs of opportunities and threats that may influence our plans. We compare our strategic plan and budget to the changes of internal and external assumptions made in planning processes. In addition, as mentioned in Criterion 1, the college continues to participate in systematic and collaborative processes of assessment and strategic planning. This is exemplified by the campus-wide project taking place on campus in spring of 2013 under the direction of Dr. Gary Selby of Pepperdine University. Dr. Selby is directing and implementing a project entitled “Imagining the Future: A strategic Planning Project for Rochester College� which is helping collect and interpret data, define strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and challenges, and set strategic directions.

5.C.1 THE INSTITUTION ALLOCATES ITS RESOURCES IN ALIGNMENT WITH ITS MISSION AND PRIORITIES Rochester College allocates its resources in alignment with our mission and priorities. Both current and prospective programs and decisions are aligned with our mission during strategic planning and budgeting.

In many cases, the strategic planning

encompasses years of work, as was the case with the evolution of the nursing program,



Missional Leadership program, and the online program. Each of these programs also reflects the alignment of our mission with resource allocation. The nursing program speaks strongly to Rochester College’s emphasis on servant leadership and the mission affirmation “an educated person views vocation as an opportunity for service and stewardship rather than a passport to privilege.” The recent development of the graduate program in Missional Leadership speaks strongly to the institutional goal of “Christian Faith: Students will be challenged to embody a way of life that is shaped by Christian scripture and community.” The recent development of an overall academic model called a “Christian Integrated Learning Community” recognizes learning happens most effectively when it takes place in small communities, when it focuses on all of life, and when it is offered in creative formats. The strategic goal of offering online degrees and strengthening our online offerings in all areas of the college allows integrated learning to take place in new formats and created funding for an online director and assistant director. Other resource allocations that reflect our commitment to our mission include the counseling center, Global Education Opportunities (GEO), and campus ministry. The decision to increase funding to the counseling center for the summer of 2012 was made due to unresolved cases, or students who needed continued mental health care at the end of the spring term. Rochester College has also provided subsidies to help students cover the cost of GEO study abroad programs. This support meets the institutional goal of diversity stated as “students will experience and develop an understanding of various cultures and belief systems.” Campus ministry speaks very directly to the Christian Faith component of our institutional goals and our willingness to support the goal in formal ways.

GEO Vienna Trip 2010



5.C.2 THE INSTITUTION’S PROCESSES FOR ASSESSMENT, EVALUATION, PLANNING, AND BUDGETING ARE LINKED EFFECTIVELY Rochester College links strategic initiatives to budget processes. Strategic initiatives are fully considered by the administration and by budget managers as budgets are developed. As discussed in some detail in Criterion 5, section D, programs and operations are evaluated frequently and changes made as appropriate. In the area of assessment, Rochester College acknowledges that additional work is required to effectively link the institution’s processes for assessment, evaluation, planning, and budgeting. To supplement the work already being done, a director of assessment was hired in 2010 and Rochester College joined the HLC Assessment Academy in 2011. As the college is writing its current strategic plan, departmental strategic planning is being done that encompasses assessment and evaluation with the related budget implications. Rochester College began using the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) during 2011. The business department uses the Major Field Test to measure the critical knowledge and understanding obtained by students in their major field of study. A course evaluation is required to be completed before students access grades. Many disciplines require a capstone class which is also used for various assessments.

5.C.3 THE INSTITUTION’S PLANNING PROCESSES TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE ENTIRETY OF THE INSTITUTION AND APPROPRIATE INPUT FROM INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CONSTITUENT GROUPS. The planning process includes input from internal stakeholders, including current students, faculty, staff, administrators, and board members. Such input is achieved via committee meetings, meetings with faculty and staff, collaborative budget development, email updates, invitations for written comment, our open door environment, surveys, chapel, and other community events. Input is also solicited informally from outside stakeholders such as community, business and political leaders, alumni, donors and potential donors. The institution is also pursuing more effective ways to identify and procure input from outside stakeholders. The college actively seeks to reach out to the community via presentations at local civic clubs, involvement in the Chamber of Commerce, representation on local boards, 122


regional meetings of alumni and friends of the college, and involvement in local churches. The college currently utilizes a Nursing Advisory Committee, as well as a Masters in Business Advisory Board.

5.C.4 THE INSTITUTION PLANS ON THE BASIS OF A SOUND UNDERSTANDING OF ITS CURRENT CAPACITY. INSTITUTIONAL PLANS ANTICIPATE THE POSSIBLE IMPACT OF FLUCTUATIONS IN OUR SOURCES OF REVENUE, SUCH AS ENROLLMENT, THE ECONOMY, AND STATE SUPPORT. The institution plans on the basis of capacity in the areas of human resources, facilities, intellectual capital, and financial capital. While Rochester College continues to be a tuition driven institution, particular attention is given to economic and competitive factors that affect enrollment, including the availability of employer reimbursement as well as the impact of federal and state funding levels for programs such as the Direct Student Loan Program, Pell Grants, and the Michigan Tuition Grant. The use of adjunct faculty allows the college to quickly adjust to enrollment changes. Budgets are reviewed by management and the board on a monthly basis, and the impact of changes to the budget are discussed and projections are made as to the likely annual impact on the college. In particular, changes in enrollment by program are scrutinized after the start of the fall and spring semesters. The economy and the Michigan tuition grant are factors that are considered as pricing and enrollment projections are discussed. Rochester College has gone to great lengths to structure new and existing programs to maximize capacity. For example, with space constraints on our main campus, additional sites have been opened for Center for Extended Learning (CEL) adult completion programs. Dual enrollment programs at area high schools have been established and continue to be developed. Our study abroad program was developed in partnership with sister colleges to leverage our resources and reach critical student mass.



5.C.5 INSTITUTIONAL PLANNING ANTICIPATES EMERGING FACTORS, SUCH AS TECHNOLOGY, DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFTS, AND GLOBALIZATION. Rochester College continues to scan for emerging factors that might impact the institution. As mentioned earlier, the college is investing additional funding in technology and training its faculty, staff, and students in relevant technology. Enrolling freshman are eligible to participate in our Apple program that provides them with a MacBook or iPad, which is free to the student if they remain at Rochester College as a full-time student for six consecutive semesters. The college has reallocated enrollment resources to recruit the ever-increasing population of community college students in the metro Detroit area. Additional course delivery methods are being aggressively developed, primarily in the area of online course delivery. Rochester Colleges’ information technology staff and selected employees annually attend conferences that explore new technology. On the globalization initiative, Rochester encourages student, faculty, and staff participation in global programs like GEO. Additionally, during the 2011-12 academic year, many of the faculty symposiums centered on global awareness, in particular, Turkey, since that was the destination of a faculty, staff, and student trip during spring break 2012. Rochester College is also exploring how it can participate with Oxford Community Schools’ International Residence Academy as it focuses on a Chinese student program.

CORE COMPONENT 5.D THE INSTITUTION WORKS SYSTEMATICALLY TO IMPROVE ITS PERFORMANCE. Rochester College evaluates its operations continuously. It learns from its operational experience and applies that learning to improve its institutional effectiveness, capabilities, and sustainability, overall and in its component parts.



5.D.1-3 THE INSTITUTION EVALUATES ITS OPERATIONS. DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE OF PERFORMANCE ROUTINELY INFORMS THE INSTITUTION’S PROCESSES FOR EVALUATION, PLANNING, AND IMPROVEMENT IN ITS OPERATIONS. THE INSTITUTION LEARNS FROM ITS OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND APPLIES THAT LEARNING TO IMPROVE ITS INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS, CAPABILITIES, AND SUSTAINABILITY, OVERALL AND IN IT COMPONENT PARTS. Part of the culture of Rochester College is to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of operations. This starts at a high level with strategic planning, flows down through budget development, and is evaluated as operations are reviewed on a monthly basis by management. Monthly reports are provided to both the Board of Trustees and Rochester College managers. These reports include information about the annual budget and year-to-date actual expenditures, as well as the monthly budget and monthly actual expenditures. The Carver governance model adopted by the Rochester College Board of Trustees incorporates reporting of key metrics to the board on a pre-determined reporting cycle. This model has facilitated Trustee attention on key metrics and has provided them with more meeting time for strategic discussions. A number of changes in operations are the direct result of review, evaluation, application, and assessment processes. In 2009, an evaluation of leased equipment indicated that leasing was not cost effective for the college over an extended period of time. As

Part of the culture of Rochester College is to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of operations.

a result, the college no longer has capital leases and has greatly reduced the number of operating leases. For several decades, the college ran its own food service operation. In 2003, we outsourced our food services as a result of student assessment of food quality and service. In 2009, the college hired a consultant to assist with a number of financial related matters. A review of the food services contract indicated that the college was probably paying a rate above market for the services rendered. Negotiations with the food services vendor resulted in the college saving approximately 30% on the gross billings. The college also provided its own security (safety officer) services. That was 125


outsourced in 2003, but an evaluation of the contract led the college to once again staff this service in 2005, with an outside firm providing supplemental security service for vacations and weekends. A review of our rental rates, safety, and frequency of use of 15 passenger vans led to the purchase of a 25 passenger bus in 2011. An evaluation of outsourcing our grounds and maintenance in 2000 and 2010 resulted in Rochester College continuing to provide that service in-house. Annual reviews of space usage have resulted in significant operating and logical improvements, including regrouping around functional units and closing facilities that were no longer needed. In 2009, an operational review was completed for the bookstore. As a result of that review, the college decided to close its physical bookstore and replace it with an online store. Profits have increased and administrative attention has declined as a result of that decision. In 2010-2011, research was done on support services and staffing within college residential housing facilities. As a result of that study, resources were realigned saving the college $29,000 in 2012 over 2011, with expected ongoing savings in that same range. Rochester College’s review process has also led to changes in Academic Services and Advancement. A review of our academic model in 2012 resulted in restructuring for the 2012-2013 academic year and the formation of six schools. An evaluation of our marketing plan in 2012 led to both a change in advertising agencies and a reallocation of our marketing dollars with increased emphasis on assessment of advertising effectiveness. An in-house analysis on the effectiveness and the costs associated with development and alumni relations was performed. Annual fund giving charts and prospect pools were created using data that pointed to cost effective methods for the acquisition of gifts from donor pools. Several campus-wide adjustments have also been made to reflect needs identified by our review process. An institution-wide assessment of Rochester College’s CAMS system (an enterprise application system) in 2010-2011 provided information that CAMS was underutilized and additional training was needed. In 2011, a two year contract was signed to address training, data cleanup, customization, and report writing. This 126


project is expected to yield substantial benefits campus wide, with exceptional time savings in the areas of academic services, institutional research and assessment, financial aid, IT, and enrollment. Also during 2011, Rochester College developed a performance review process which was rolled out in 2012 for staff evaluation.

CONCLUSION Rochester College manages resources responsibly to ensure the fulfillment of our mission. We have the resources needed to properly support academic programs and operations, and through rigorous assessment, evaluation, and restructuring we continue to position ourselves to better serve our constituents in the decade to come. •

Rochester College has a strong commitment to maintaining current resources and cultivating new resources in the areas of human resources, technology, finances, and stakeholder support.

Rochester College has a well-developed budgeting and monitoring process in place that involves all stakeholders.

The board and administration have structured and regular interaction with both internal constituencies and the community in which it resides and serves.

The college has spent the past three years assessing its position and the educational model that will define the future of this institution.

Rochester College allocates its resources in alignment with our mission and priorities.

The college regularly performs environmental scanning, carefully monitoring our internal and external environments to detect early signs of opportunities and threats that may influence our plans.

Rochester College evaluates its operations continuously. It learns from its operational experience and applies that learning to improve its institutional effectiveness, capabilities, and sustainability.


Self-Study Report 2013  

Rochester College's Self-Study report prepared for The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

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