Institutional Effectiveness Summary Report 2003

The 2003 Institutional Effectiveness summary report for Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) includes the following required Institutional Effectiveness reports and assessment elements:

REQUIRED INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS REPORTS 2003 Majors and Concentrations on FDTC Reporting Schedule for 2003:
Results of Professional Exams Full or Interim Reports:
Programs Eligible for Accreditation Law N/A
Alumni Survey -Satisfaction Interdisciplinary Studies N/A
Alumni Survey -Placement Data Liberal Arts & Sciences N/A
Majors and Concentrations Communications and Journalism N/A
Student Development & Services Area Studies,Geography&Anthropology N/A
For Future Reporting: Majors and Concentrations:
Two to Four Year Transfers Civil Engineering
General Education Electro-Mechanical Engineering
Library Resources Industrial Electricity/Electronics
Advising Procedures Engineering Graphics Technology
Electronics Engineering Technology
Health Information Management
Criminal Justice
Automotive Technology


In addition to the reports and elements listed above, the Minority Student and Faculty Access and Equity assessment will be reported by the SC Commission on Higher Education. The following elements of Institutional Effectiveness reporting are not currently applicable to the Technical College Sector: Program Changes that have Occurred as a Result of External Program Evaluation, Success of Students in Developmental Courses, Success of Entering Students in Meeting College or University Admissions Prerequisites, Academic Performance of Student Athletes, and Students Participating in Sponsored Research.


Florence-Darlington Technical College is a post-secondary, public, two-year institution serving Florence, Darlington and Marion Counties, whose primary mission is to deliver an affordable, comprehensive technical education. The college has an open admissions policy and annually enrolls approximately 8,500 to 10,000 credit students and 12,000 to 18,000 continuing education students. Through technical, general and continuing education programs, the college responds to the educational, economic and cultural needs of a diverse traditional and non-traditional adult population. The College's mission statement was approved by the Florence-Darlington County Commission in January 2002.

As a vital institution in the community, the college fosters educational and economic growth opportunities that quantitatively and qualitatively contribute to cultural life and economic development of the area it serves. It offers comprehensive technical education, college transfer programs, specialized training for business and industry, continuing education, transitional studies, and student development services. The instruction provided at the college is designed to prepare individuals for careers, advancement, and growth in health services, human services, business, engineering, public services, and other fields. In addition to the knowledge specific to their chosen program of study, graduates of the college are expected to have mastered competencies in written and oral communication, information processing, mathematics, problem solving, and interpersonal skills.

Institutional Effectiveness And Planning

At FDTC, strategic planning, operational planning, and the institutional effectiveness design are combined to create one annual master plan that serves as a vehicle for institution-wide evaluation. As a collaborative action the college defines key performance indicators in support of the mission statement to drive the planning process and provide a platform against which to judge success. As part of this institutional effectiveness process, the college conducts an open strategic planning retreat in the spring each year, including all college personnel in the planning process. Focus groups combining faculty, administrators, and classified staff, led by peer facilitators, meet on Planning Day to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, major opportunities, and major challenges of the College. As a result of the process, the college develops a comprehensive multi-point plan of institutional goals that serve as the backbone of the institutional effectiveness strategy for the period.

The individual divisions of the college conduct their planning sessions in April - May when they evaluate current operational objectives and institutional effectiveness initiatives. The individual plans are then combined and used to develop the College's annual objectives for the new year.

All academic departments follow a planning and evaluation cycle that is supervised by the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The planning and evaluation cycle is comprehensive, systematic, interrelated, and appropriate to the institution. Each educational program follows an Institutional Effectiveness Report Planning Document that includes the development of all program evaluation information for that program. The guide includes the program's general purpose, establishes annual goals and objectives, and provides a methodology for periodically assessing student outcomes. The Institutional Effectiveness Report Planning Document includes a standardized form, The Institutional Effectiveness Report, that is used by each academic department to guide its planning and evaluation efforts. Institutional Effectiveness Reports require a purpose statement that supports the College's mission statement. Additionally, each department must identify means of assessing their goals, results of the assessment, and the proposed use of assessment results for the improvement of educational programs, services, and operations. These records are used to develop and revise curriculum offerings and instructional techniques. Through the Institutional Effectiveness Reports of all academic departments, the college defines its expected results and describes its methods for analyzing those results. Combined, these records constitute the College's Institutional Effectiveness Report.

All FDTC non-academic departments also utilize the Institutional Effectiveness Report Planning Document to prepare their Institutional Effectiveness Report to review and document their department's programming for the cycle. This standard form allows for a consistent method of data collection and analysis and becomes a vital component of all college planning and assessment efforts. The budget planning and the strategic and operational planning, based on Institutional Effectiveness, are conducted from May through June each year. The budget process consists of open budget hearings with the Institutional Effectiveness Report being used to support departmental budget requests.

Florence-Darlington Technical College also utilizes the DACUM (Develop a Curriculum) process to assist in academic program review and enhancement. DACUM reviews are conducted for all academic disciplines according to a predetermined three-year cycle for each curriculum.

In addition to the Institutional Effectiveness Reports and the DACUM process, all programs at Florence-Darlington Technical College collect and analyze Program Evaluation data in their annual assessments. This data set contains responses from a survey of graduates of the previous academic year regarding current employment status and participation in higher education at an advanced level. This process is annually coordinated by the SC State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education and called the Program Evaluation Report.

Full and Interim Reports 2003

Student Development & Student Services

Florence-Darlington Technical College continues to provide comprehensive student academic development programming and services through its Learning Resources Division and College and Student Services Divisions. Through the Transitional Studies Department of the Learning Resources Division, Enrollment Services, Assessment Center Services, Career Services, Registrar Services, Financial Aid Services, WIA/Intensive Services, and the TRIO programs, FDTC offers all students academic, career and personal development skills training for life long learning.
The Transitional Studies Department offers developmental education courses in the areas of reading, English, and mathematics for those students who have been identified through use of assessment tools including Compass, Asset, SAT, ACT or other appropriate evaluation methodologies. The courses provide students with the skills needed to attain their goals in their chosen curricula. The Department also prepares students to earn a high school equivalency diploma (GED).
Courses are designed to strengthen the students' skills in English, vocabulary, reading comprehension, mathematics, study skills, and test-taking strategies, and subsequently, to enhance students' chances for success as they enter curricula courses requiring these skills.

The Transitional Studies Department uses a variety of assessment vehicles and methods to review and examine students' work as well as test the success of the department. Yearly, the department reviews data from all semesters including enrollment characteristics per skill identified above, class retention, course grades, and student opinion surveys, and compares them to the successes and needs identified in previous classes. As well, they compare the success rate of students who have completed developmental studies courses to the success rate of students who were not required to take classes in the Department. This use of assessment tools has provided a platform for the department to reflect on and examine internal educational methods and to inform the advising process at the College.

During this assessment period, the department has extended its evaluation methodologies to include additional tools to increase departmental retention. The department goal is to increase student persistence from fall term 2002 to spring term 2003 by 10%.Report formats and other evaluation tools to determine the success of this goal are not available as of this printing.
To achieve this retention goal the department has employed a five pronged plan which they will continue to use to evaluate their retention goal. Students who become academically at risk will be referred to counseling through the Early Alert process in place in the Student Services Division. These students will be counseled by academic advisors and appropriate instructors of the department as well as receive tutoring services from the campus' comprehensive tutoring facility, the Success Center. Additionally, students experiencing academic difficulty will receive a mid-term report on grades so that they will be able to prepare a plan to correct their deficiencies for the end of the period.

As well, 80 % of Transitional Studies faculty received additional training with instructional technology tools and stressed the use collaborative teaching methods during the year being evaluated.

Enrollment Management at FDTC includes Admissions and Admissions Counseling, the Assessment Center, and Recruitment. These FDTC service areas annually create plans to identify goals for each department and evaluate the accomplishments at the year-end.

Admissions has also worked diligently this review period to implement and train faculty and student on new technology now available at the college designed to implement online administrative services and give students and faculty greater access to academic records and processes such as online advising, registration and grade reporting. Additionally, the department has cross-trained staff to ensure students experience a smooth transition through the processes from academic advising through graduation.
Also this year, the admissions counselors and staff, examined the capabilities and implications for increased efficiency provided by the communication tools imbedded in the student software available to manage the admissions process. They have refined the communication system to track recruitment data for prospective through enrolled students, reviewed and revised the FDTC prospective, applicant and acceptance methods of communication, and evaluated and revised literature for distribution to all customers.

They also gathered data on the admissions office incoming phone calls, analyzed then for efficiency of service, and redesigned the system to more effectively provide general information to customers by automating frequently asked questions. An additional communications goal accomplished was that staff reviewed, revised and prepared a maintenance plan to provide up to date Enrollment Management information on the FDTC website.

The Assessment Center was able to improve accessibility and offer additional services during the year in accordance with its plan. To that end, the Assessment Center gathered data on the nature and frequency of phone calls to the Assessment Center. Upon analysis, they were able to create a system for Frequently Asked Questions that will be implemented to service students during the 2003-2004 academic year when FDTC telephone systems will be upgraded.

Further, the Assessment Center has reduced the number of calls from students requesting testing scores by 25% by training them to look them up on FDTC's web advisor.

The FDTC Student Development Department provides leadership in developing and maintaining a supportive campus atmosphere through its efforts to foster academic success and provide personal growth opportunities, cultural diversity and to eliminate educational barriers. It consists of the TRIO Programs, the Student Activities and Internships office, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Intensive Services office, and the Perkins III Success Center.

As a result of organizational changes within the Student Services Division the Student Development department staff and leadership was required to examine their functions and remodel the array of services offered by the department. In academic year 2002-2003 Student Development leadership and the Coordinator of the Office of Student Activities and Internships re-designed student programming to better accommodate College's focus and student body needs. They used focus groups to evaluate student input for desired programs and researched programming at other institutions with similar student demographics, facilities and missions and prepared a plan to revise the Office of Student Activities and Internships' functions and physical space. This plan will be implemented in the fall 2003 semester.

The director of Student Services also continues to collaborate with FDTC's director of Grants identify supplemental grant resources to expand student development services available to the general student population. This year the FDTC's Student Services department organized a reporting system for and marketed the CCamPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools Program) initiative on campus. The director met with appropriate college program departments, grants and fiscal coordinators to continue to administer the grant at the College.

Additionally, the Student Services department, this year reviewed all student life publications and resources available on campus including the student newspaper, the Tech Times, the FDTC Official Student Handbook and other regular communication vehicles and made them accessible to students, via the College's website.

Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and Student Support Services are all components of the federally funded TRIO Grant program currently in place at Florence-Darlington Technical College. The Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search TRIO program components provide academic counseling and cultural enrichment opportunities to qualified students in targeted middle and high schools and the Student Support Services (SSS) program offers academic and life skills training to qualified students at the College. The SSS's purpose is to support students to stay in college, graduate and to transfer to another institution with the intention to continue their education on a more advanced level. These units also work directly with the College's Perkins III Grant tutorial center, the Success Center, to provide academic tutoring to SSS students at the College.

During this year of review, the TRIO Grant components' staffs and managers worked in cooperation to develop and provide ‘Learning Communities' consistent across Florence-Darlington Technical Colleges' three campuses in Florence, Lake City and Hartsville, South Carolina. The Learning Community has been defined as one that will promote a campus climate that will encourage success for the general student population. Appropriate personnel surveyed students, instructors and staff on all three campuses and found a need for expanded tutorial and support services across the student body, no matter their location at the College. Also, it was requested that these services be supplied in a centrally located space. As a result of these studies, an expanded Learning/Tutorial site will be installed in the first floor of the 5000 Building of Florence-Darlington Technical College.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) One-Stop Center uses the case management method to assist WIA participants in obtaining academic instruction and employment training and retraining that allows for self-sufficiency. The program provides personal, academic and career counseling as well as skill training. It trains participants to use a variety of assessments to prepare an individualized goal-centered employment plan to assist them in building a career plan to maximize future opportunities.
The Office of Registrar Services oversees student registration and provides students, faculty and college staff with assistance in records access and retention. It also prepares veterans' certifications and transfer credit evaluations for students as necessary.
During this year's Institutional Effectiveness cycle, the office has reviewed and re-engineered some of its processes to reduce the time necessary to complete tasks and provide services. The office has reduced the turnaround time for student transcript requests to same day service on all requests, and, having collaborated with FDTC's Information Resources Management to create reporting resources, has also reduced the time it needs to identify veteran's enrollment status changes by 50%. Additionally, the office has implemented the VA Electronic Certification system, or VACERT process, thus reducing the time needed for academic verification from the Veteran's Administration from six to eight weeks to three days.

In response to the students' continued needs for timely services, FDTC's Financial Aid Center is reengineering some of its processes to improve the amount and timeliness of information available to students through college services. The department has cross-trained staff members to provide students with information on the full range of services offered on site and has added new services to its website. The department has converted the Federal Stafford Loan certification of student eligibility process from a manual to an electronic process to reduce the time required for processing by 20% for the 2003-2004 financial cycle. The Colleges' Financial Aid website also has been redesigned to assist students in searching and applying for other federal, state and private funding.

The Financial Aid Office have also revised processes related to the Federal Work-Study payroll procedures to eliminate the repetition of tasks involved in the process and maintain the accuracy and integrity of the process. Departmental staff overhauled the office space to increase the effectiveness of the student appointments and provided for the reconfiguring of other internal processes to reduce duplication of services and increase efficiency in the award cycle.

Majors and Concentrations 2003

Engineering Technologies

The FDTC associate degree engineering technology programs include Civil Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Engineering Graphics, and Electro-Mechanical Engineering. Also offered is Industrial Electricity/Electronics. All of the College's engineering programs eligible for accreditation are accredited and the combined enrollment represents 6 % of the student body. All of the programs use classroom and laboratory experiences to prepare graduates to work as engineering technicians in related engineering positions in various industries and production facilities in South Carolina's Pee Dee region and beyond.

The Civil Engineering Technology Department is dedicated to making learning opportunities more accessible to students, the community, business and industry. It is committed to integrating technology, teamwork and collaborative learning into instruction in accordance with the FDTC Mission statement.

During the 2002-2003 academic year the Civil Engineering department further integrated the use of new technology and additional training methods into its cross departmentally developed course work. Collaborative learning exercises including mathematics, English, physics, and engineering skill challenges were developed to enhance the course work. Students and instructors from across the represented disciplines represented prepared eight engineering projects during the semester using this applied teaching manner. The collaborative methods employed in the academic phases of the program assist the students to better understand the technology in an applied manner and to see the relationships between the disciplines in which they are working. Also, the students, working as a team, motivate each other to greater academic success and technological acumen.

The department also successfully completed a review by the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) during this year. Department faculty will use the review standards to enhance the revised instructional techniques and teaching models.

The Institutional Effectiveness plans for the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology Department also focused on increasing the use of technology, classroom team work and the alternative educational delivery systems during the year in review. The department created teaching teams and student teams to facilitate improved learning and concept retention. They chose assignments to convey individual course concepts assisting students to integrate the technology, science, interpersonal skills, teamwork and reporting functions of the course work. The program faculty has determined, based on this years student and faculty evaluations that further micro-project work will be integrated into the technology component of the course track to encourage teaming. In addition, collaborative learning techniques such as "think-pair-share" will be employed in limited scope to project work.

Department instructors and leadership also ventured to increase program retention during this year under review. They compared progress toward program completion of the current year's class to that of the previous year. Using appropriate student records and internal documentation it was determined that the percentage of students maintaining progress toward degree requirements was 100%. Also, there was no attrition from the program ranks during the year in review. In light of these findings, it was determined that the marked progress of all students enrolled during this time frame clearly suggests retention.

FDTC's Engineering Graphics Technology Associate Degree program prepares students for work as engineering technicians, drafting technicians, and CAD operators. Graduates of the program are qualified to work in a variety of industries to develop products and support construction. During the 2002-03 academic year the department leaders undertook to examine employer satisfaction with graduates, and increase enrollment and retention in the program.

Instructors conducted phone surveys of recent program graduates and their employers to assess students' satisfaction with the program and employers' satisfaction with the entry level skills of the graduates. It was determined that the skills acquired by students in their classroom and laboratory experience were appropriate for the entry level positions students gained upon graduation from the program. Further, the employers surveyed agreed that the entry level skills students bring to the job are satisfactory and appropriate. The department has plans to add blueprint reading, and additional interactive tutorial software and online course programming to the curriculum to greater enhance students' competitiveness and flexibility in the workplace.

The Electronics Engineering Technology Department prepares students to work in the field of industrial electronics, and especially, in the development and maintenance of industrial equipment for production and automation. The departments' goals for this year being examined included, among other objectives, increasing enrollment and retention to the program.

A department faculty team has been put together to develop a recruitment plan to impact the 2003 fall semester enrollment. During this year of evaluation, instructors have collaborated with career and academic counselors to prepare presentations on industry changes and opportunities on electronics in computer networking for use with student audiences in academic counseling, career exhibitions and trade fairs. Further, department faculty participated in the College's first semester orientation programming to discuss the advantages of FDTC's newly developed Process and Control and Cabling certificate programs.

Additionally, the department has examined its programming to evaluate its academic strategies for student retention. Beginning in the spring 2003 semester faculty formed academic teams to provide additional tutoring services for program students in the College's technology lab and learning center. The departmental instructors are also in the process of examining the basic skills sets required for success in electronics technology and building strengthening exercises into tutoring applications and regular academic programming for the fall 2003 semester.

Additional Majors & Concentrations on the FDTC Reporting Cycle

The Health Information Management Department offers students the opportunity earn an associate degree in the Health Information Management (HIM) or a certificate in Medical Coding. Graduates of the program are qualified to work in Diagnostic/Procedural Coding and Classification, Quality Improvement, Utilization Review, Cancer Registrars, Medical Staff Support, Medical Record Supervision and other functions at hospitals, health centers, medical research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and other health care facilities and insurance companies.

The HIM Department met both their Health Information Management and Medical Coding enrollment goals during the year being reviewed. They also met their retention goal which was to retain 70% of the departments first year students and 85% or more of their senior students. Department faculty evaluated their previous retention plan and re-designed it to afford students additional options for academic assistance. They provided students clearly stated learning objectives, and designed new test and evaluation methodologies that reflect learning objectives. Faculty also redesigned support materials for tutoring for class and lab, and scheduled additional time with students in the tutoring functions.

Faculty also met their objective to increase the pass rate on mock licensure exams scheduling them for students in early 2003. Following the increase in the pass rate of the mock licensure exams the program graduates achieved a 100% pass rate on the Registered Health Information Tech (RHIT) licensure exam was achieved this year.

And, in addition, the department evaluated their course content against the requirements of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), their accrediting agency, in preparation for the annual report to the association.
The Criminal Justice associate degree program of the Human and Public Services Department prepares students for employment in law enforcement, correctional agencies, the courts, and juvenile services.

During this period of review, the Criminal Justice program increased program enrollment for 1st year students over the previous year by 30%, and increased the retention of program students from the previous year by 10% as well. To increase enrollment the program faculty executed a plan to interview all local law enforcement agencies regarding their employees training needs, and then coordinated conferences during career workshops with local high school students, guidance counselors and career training seminars. Program faculty updated their recruitment materials and followed up with all identified possible recruits by letter in the early part of 2003. By the time of publishing the program and met its fall 2003 enrollment goal.

The departments' successful 10% increase in student retention over last year was accomplished in part by referring students needing academic assistance to the College's early alert system in a timely manner and following up with the student and the student's designated Success Center tutor. They also held mid-term conferences with students to reduce the number of students withdrawing during the semester, offered additional tutoring sessions in conjunction with the student's academic needs and by inviting former graduates to speak to students in the classroom and provide perspective on careers in Criminal Justice and increase interest in a wide variety of jobs in the field.

Additionally, the faculty members and the program Advisory Board created a survey to implement at their present sites for students' field placement. The survey was developed to determine if the students' learning capabilities and opportunities are maximized and students are transferring knowledge and skills from the classroom to the workplace efficiently.

Diploma Programs-

The Industrial Electricity/Electronics Department offers a diploma program which trains students in the knowledge and technical skills associated with electricity and electronics. The program endeavors to match that knowledge and skill preparation being offered by the college to the needs of the local-area industrial and manufacturing firms.

During the period being measured, the department is re-engineering its recruitment process for the fall term 2003. Instructors included FDTC Admissions Counselors in visits to area high schools targeting students interested in the program and collaborated with college Marketing staff to create new promotional materials in the print and audio visual media to increase awareness of the program's instructional components, future employment opportunities and prospective salary benefits. Presently, the program's enrollment for fall 2003 exceeds the goal set by the department for the period. Additionally, the instructors set a program retention goal to retain 80% of the students from one semester of the program to the second semester and then to the final semester. The plan has components to increase student faculty interaction with regard to coursework, program projects and elements, and increased faculty tutoring and curriculum advising. As advisors, faculty plan to stress that a student's success will be eminent if they build the curriculum-defined skills in concurrence with the faculty guided course work and the course sequence designed into the program. Data on the success of the retention goal is not available as of this printing. The faculty also plan to place more emphasis on guiding students to on-time graduation and ultimately to a 100% graduation rate.

The Welding Department researched and gathered information from local business and industry to prepare a strategic plan to revise and re-design the curriculum and Continuing Education Course offerings to very specifically meet the needs of industry and the College's graduates.

They analyzed specific needs in the areas of MIG, TIG, Pipe or Arc Welding that are needed. Concurrently, they customized the training needs to the particular metals used. Then they developed curriculums specific to successive companies, organized instructional and material needs and formulated a time line for implementation. After this was accomplished they revisited client companies and briefed them on the training plans. If required, doctrinal customized instruction was revised per the companies request(s) and finalized and delivered to management.

Further, the faculty developed and advertised courses to tailor training and assessment of the individual students so that they will have the skills required to seek employment with a cadre of companies. The assessments used meet the AWS (American Welding Society) standards. This certification meets and exceeds most company requirements for employment. Also, with the advent of sponsored training by business and WIA increased enrollment during the year was recorded.

Alumni Surveys for Satisfaction and Placement Data

To date, August 1, 2003, Florence-Darlington Technical College has received and completed Alumni Surveys and Placement Data responses from 18% of the 1999-2000 graduates. The college will forward a report on all appropriate alumni survey responses as soon as it receives the required number/percentage of completed responses from the population being appraised.