With public funds diminishing, community colleges need to be smarter about how they fundraise and manage their investments. That means developing foundations, devising new fundraising and donor recognition approaches, and diversifying investments. It also means innovating new tactics, like social media, to tackle negative perceptions about community colleges, so that they become more highly regarded as institutions of choice for higher education.
The NVCC Foundation has reorganized itself for fundraising, with its enthusiastic and committed board. It has adopted a new mission (to raise funds for and increase awareness of the college) to align its activities with NVCC’s goals and initiatives established in its strategic plan. The Foundation’s new mission allows for an ambitious agenda for coming years: to build Foundation membership; to strengthen ties to alumni; to research lessons learned from peer institutions; and to expand the reach of annual campaigns, particularly among area employers. This initiative outlines campus-based fundraising and communications activities to support and augment their work.
Activity Areas of Focus:
Purchase a donor and grants management
Work with faculty to identify funding for department projects that enhance teaching and learning.
Establish a President’s Grants Planning Council to explore and prioritize major grants.
Design a communications plan that uses data to show the value of community colleges.
Higher education has experienced a cultural shift in its decision-making practices. Many funding initiatives, from the federal Race to the Top, to state formula funding, are increasingly basing their allocations on student completion and graduation. Higher education accrediting bodies are now requiring colleges to produce greater evidence of how data influences decision-making. As the country and the State of Connecticut look to community colleges to educate a competent and skilled workforce, these institutions must become more effective at documenting student success in more meaningful ways.
At NVCC, we must fortify our internal culture of data-informed decision making so that we can make wise choices about what improves student success. Through this initiative, we will build systems and internal communications strategies that provide faculty and staff with greater access to data as they plan, implement, and assess programs and initiatives. We will help faculty and staff understand how performance on student-centered outcomes impacts budgeting. As availability of data increases, so will the expectation that faculty and staff demonstrate use of it to identify areas of concern, make improvements and document progress linked to student success.
Activity Areas of Focus:
Implement systems that improve NVCC’s information reporting capacity.
Provide training in using the system’s reporting capabilities.
Develop standardized reporting cycles and provide regular data snapshots, which analyze particular issues facing certain student groups and illustrate them with data from NVCC.
Design internal communications approach that helps the campus community understand how data informs better decisions and improves our impact.
Implement assessment measures and methods to better track progress across all strategic plan initiatives.
Colleges need modern, functional facilities that support teaching and learning. Campuses must be inviting and safe for students, employees, and the community. Ensuring the physical plan basics (attractive grounds, accessible and clean facilities, ample parking, and transportation access) and infrastructure development that supports teaching and learning (personal and group study/congregating areas, state-of-the-art science, engineering, and computer laboratories) help extend that invitation. The trend across the country is also to “go green” – to be more conscious of our impact on the environment.
Through this initiative, NVCC will undertake improvement projects that address maintenance and upgrades as well as student and community access to college programs and services, including those required externally (e.g., ADA compliance). We also will advocate for continued evening bus service, and undertake efforts to reduce our environmental footprint.
Activity Areas of Focus:
Design and renovate Founders Hall to house the new Center for Allied Health and a multi-purpose meeting facility to be used by the entire campus.
Convert more general classrooms to computer classrooms and to smart classrooms.
Complete Office of Civil Rights-mandated self-assessment of physical/program access, and obtain funds to make the required physical improvements in order to enhance access for all.
Design and complete the campus-wide improvement project (includes sidewalk construction, repaving streets and parking lots, campus lighting improvements, campus East Entrance improvements).
“Green” NVCC’s water and energy usage, waste disposal, and recycling, with student club involvement.