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VC progress report shows areas of improvement, success

By KBell
May 17, 2011 at 12:17 a.m.


IN OTHER ACTIONThe VC board also approved an agreement with the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation, in which GEDC would provide a $400,000 forgivable loan to the college to finance the Gonzales Center Expansion project.

The loan bears no interest, and it will be forgiven if VC meets certain conditions like completing the construction of at least 9,700 square feet of facilities that will offer courses in welding, construction and sciences.

The board also approved a change to its vacation policy based on the recommendation from the personnel committee.

Previous policy awarded an extra 40 hours of vacation time to employees who have served at the college for 25 years. The new policy awards the 40 hours of vacation time to employees after 10 years of service.

The Victoria College Board of Trustees heard a biannual progress report on student success benchmarks that will continue to help the college meet its strategic goals.

And VC President Tom Butler liked what he saw.

"I'm pleased that we're the kind of organization that wants to take a hard look at itself and improve," he said after the regular board meeting Monday night.

The performance indicators were compiled as part of a two-year project that has aimed to foster student success as one of its primary goals.

The data show that about 72 percent of all VC students obtained a grade of "C" or better in their courses from 2007 to 2010. The recent results of strategies implemented by the college - including creating a student ambassador program and a required course for first-year students - are less decisive because the approaches have only been in practice for about a year.

The target is to have 75 percent of students achieve a passing grade for all courses.

"What we're really trying to do is make long-term changes. And we're taking a snapshot at one point in time, and by looking at that snapshot, it can tell us if we need to change our approaches, change our tactics, do things differently in order to make sure we reach our long-term goals," Butler said.

Members of the board expressed satisfaction with the data that showed 96 to 99 percent completion rates each quarter from 2008 to 2010 in non-credit courses, like EMS, real estate and police training.

"I think we're doing a great job with our students," Butler said. "Having said that, no matter how good you're doing, you can always do better, and that's what we want to do."

While continuing to focus on student success, Butler briefly updated the board on the state legislature's looming education budget decisions.

He said the legislature will most likely go into special session, further delaying a vote that could cut the school's budget as much as $2.5 million.

The board should begin preparing for a worst-case scenario and begin a budget workshop soon, Butler said.

"This is going to be one of those cases where we work through scenarios, like we have before," Butler said. "And if it turns out better than (cutting $2.5 million), we'll have a cushion, maybe."

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