At its core is student success – transforming the College to one laser-focused on results. Goals include increasing graduation rates, ensuring employment readiness, improving transferability of courses to universities and assisting underprepared students to be college- ready.
Revamping its finances to ensure long-term financial stability also tops the list of priorities for the College, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.
“Community colleges are in the spotlight nationally because we are very accessible – along with the spotlight comes greater public scrutiny, Meyer said. “At OCC, we welcome this increased accountability to students, the community, taxpayers and the government.”
“It is crucial that we focus our efforts on providing a great education for our students and our community,” he added.
With student success and completion rates in mind, the College has taken these important steps:
- Joined the Higher Learning Commission’s Persistence and Completion Academy this year. The Academy offers an aggressive program helping institutions define, track and analyze data on student success, establish goals and strategies for population groups and implement established goals. It is the College’s intent to significantly improve completion rates by the end of the Academy in 2018.
- Created the position of Vice Chancellor of Student Services to elevate the importance of providing a “high touch environment” for students.
- Conducted ground-breaking research on the transferability of courses to four-year institutions, helping OCC further align its curriculum to benefit transfer students.
- Developed an evaluation tool to guide the College in identifying curriculum gaps.
- Sought accreditation to issue online degrees and certificates. Pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, OCC will offer 50 online programs.
- Signed an agreement with Oakland Schools providing high school students a seamless transition from Oakland Career and Technical Education programs into post-secondary studies at OCC.
- Led the area in dual enrollment and early college initiatives partnering with K-12 systems to help students prepare for college-level courses, transition smoothly and graduate more quickly.
The College is also setting an aggressive financial agenda to have a balanced five-year budget and pursue a bond rating review from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. A five-year forecast in January showed deficits ranging from $15 million for 2016 to $28 million in 2020.
Since January, the College has identified a number of strategies to reduce the projected deficit for 2016 from $15 million to $4.5 million. The proposed budget reflects changes including a reduction of full-time positions, implementing energy savings, a more competitive model for OCC bookstores and other efficiencies identified by employees.
“Like other K-12 systems and colleges, we are faced with tremendous legacy costs that could cripple our budget if we don’t address them today,” Meyer said.
The College set aside reserve funds to offset the increased liability for pensions of the current, past and future workforce of OCC. In addition, the College is recommending steady contributions to this pension reserve account starting in 2017.
Meyer thanked employees, the community, business and government partners for their contribution to help students achieve their goals and fulfill their potential.
“I strongly believe the work we are doing today will position OCC for another half century of innovation, partnership and development of a healthy and prosperous community.”
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, Oakland Community College is celebrating its 50th year. OCC is the largest community college in Michigan and the 25th largest in the nation. It offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields and university transfer degrees in business, science and the liberal arts. Nearly a million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit www.oaklandcc.edu.