GCC earns prestigious SCUP award

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Photo courtesy of SCUP, still from 2014 award video

Alex Roe, SCUP president, presenting Glendale Community College’s psychology faculty Dr. Lopez with the Institutional Integration and Innovation award, July 2014 SCUP Conference in Pittsburg, Penn.

GCC earns prestigious SCUP award

by Shelley Handley

Glendale Community College received a national award in July from the Society for College and University Planning. GCC is the first junior college to receive this honor.

The award acknowledged GCC for innovative thinking, effective strategic planning and implementation.

“Winning this award has been very exciting. To receive this kind of prestigious recognition has been wonderful for our college and an amazing validation for all our hard work,” Dr. Alka Arora Singh, dean of Strategy, Planning and Accountability, said.

To accept the award, GCC representative Dr. Illder Lopez, psychology faculty, traveled to Pittsburgh, Penn. to attend SCUP’s 49th annual three-day international conference.

“It was an honor to go. Anytime a college receives national recognition in regards to the work they are doing, it is very notable…GCC is standing out among all the community colleges and universities nationally,” said Lopez. “That is a big deal!”

SCUP is a 50-year-old prominent organization that shares the best practices in fostering student success through collaborative leadership, effective planning, resource efficiency, ongoing assessment and underlying analytics.

“While the idea of strategic planning seems broad and disengaging, it’s absolutely critical to our students’ success,” said GCC’s President Dr. Kovala. “Now, imagine if the college didn’t have a plan to help our students and our own employees? We would quickly find ourselves hurting for clarity and not helping the very people that we care about – the students!” she said.

Brianna Long, GCC freshman and Paradise Valley resident, attends GCC’s nursing program. In a few years she hopes to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Her experiences at GCC are meeting her needs and expectations; she has experienced helpful advisors, supportive faculty and friendly students she said.

“People have been very nice and helpful,” Long said. “I appreciate the advisors making sure that my schedule is right – that I won’t be taking the wrong classes or confused about what I need to do to complete the program I am in.”

More than thirty representatives, Strategic Planning Task Force (SPTFr), from various departments and divisions worked for over 18 months to complete the Fall 2013 Integrated Strategic Plan. The plan was created to serve the college and student’s needs into the year 2020 said Singh.

“This was an extensive, collaborative work among talented, hard working and committed people,” Singh said. “We could have never completed this size of a campus-wide integrated plan without everyone buying into fully participating in such a thoroughly comprehensive strategic process.”

Lopez said the most important aspects of SPITFr’s work that the campus experiences every day are somewhat intangible, almost assuming, but are extremely significant for success:

  • Utilizing research, analytics, makes certification programs more cohesive and efficient
  • Collaborating provides diverse perspectives in assessing campus needs
  • Aligning, centralizing all departments and budgeting, saves time for everyone
  • Systematically measuring what is being done ensures accountability
  • Prestige, image, promotes confidence in GCC’s faculty, staff and students.

SPITFr meets regularly to discuss eight specific factors regarding the plan: shifting demographics; student under-preparedness; student success initiatives; resource constrains; evolving workforce needs; collaboration; emerging technologies; and compliance and accountability.

Having an effective plan and maintaining it ensures that students do not “spend more money, become burnt-out and disillusioned” Kovala said.

Dr. Singh, GCC’s dean of Strategy, Planning and Accountability, in her office displaying Glendale Community College’s award winning Fall 2013 Intergrated Strategic Plan.

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