Southeast Technical Institute Systems Portfolio 2017-2018 
    
    Apr 13, 2021  
Southeast Technical Institute Systems Portfolio 2017-2018

Category Five: Knowledge Management and Resource Stewardship


Knowledge Management
Resource Management
Operational Effectiveness

Category Five Overview

Southeast Technical Institute’s performance on Knowledge Management and Resource Stewardship has remained solid and consistent. This is not to say that the Institute has not faced financial issues. With a regional unemployment rate of less than 3%, the Institute has gone through several years of declining enrollments, which has required the Institute to make some major Institutional adjustments. Even so, the processes the Institute uses to assure that it has the resources and knowledge systems in place to meet the Institute’s needs now and in the future have been vital in assuring the Institute’s continued success.

In terms of Knowledge Management, Southeast Tech has put in place solid integrated processes that assure employees have, from the moment of hiring (3P 1 ), the data necessary to make informed decisions. Through the Institute’s budgeting (5P 3 ) and Annual Planning (4P 2 ) processes, this data is provided to work units in a timely manner for use in planning and decision making.  Knowledge systems are also maintained to the most recent versions of the software to assure all systems connect effectively, have the most up-to-date security systems, and are reliable for end users.  While the Institute has established some systematic to aligned measures for knowledge management, the Institute believes it can still achieve more in this area.

Southeast Tech’s Resource Management process, has also remained solid and is integrated across the Institute. Similar to Knowledge Management, Southeast Tech resources, including employees, facilities, equipment, reserves, etc. are all directly tied to Strategic and Annual planning (4P 2 ) and mission and vision (4P 1 ). The budgeting process (5P 3 ) has been developed to assure that all resources are included as part of these processes.  Southeast Tech believes that the results sections from across this Portfolio attest to the successful integration of these Institute resources; however, the Institute does believe that direct measures of Resource Management are currently at the systematic to aligned level.

5P1 Knowledge Management


Knowledge Management focuses on how data, information, and performance results are used in decision-making processes at all levels and in all parts of the institution. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Selecting, organizing, analyzing, and sharing data and performance information to support planning, process improvement, and decision-making
  • Determining data, information, and performance results that units and departments need to plan and manage effectively
  • Making data, information, and performance results readily and reliably available to the units and departments that depend upon this information for operational effectiveness, planning, and improvements
  • Ensuring the timeliness, accuracy, reliability, and security of the institution’s knowledge management system(s) and related processes
  • Tracking outcomes/measures utilizing appropriate tools

Selecting, Organizing, Analyzing, and Sharing Data and Performance Information to Support Planning, Process Improvement, and Decision-Making

Selecting Data and Performance Information: Central to Southeast Tech’s management of data and performance information to support continuous quality improvement are the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) with selection and targets established by the Southeast Tech Council and Board. The Key Performance Indicators  guide the Institute’s actions across campus and are the main drivers for Institutional performance and measures (4R 1 ). The Institute’s Strategic Plan guides the selection of additional data and performance measures that directly relate to the goals of the Plan.  This data is selected through a combination of efforts of the teams/committees responsible for the implementation of the Strategic Plan as well as Administrative, Council and Board decisions.  Therefore, Institutional data selection derives from Southeast Tech’s mission, vision and the Institute’s current strategic goals.  Once data selection and targets are set, all stakeholder actions are guided by the KPI’s and strategic plan to assure that the Institute is focused on its mission and vision.

Programs and departments select data for planning, process improvement and decision-making within their areas by utilizing the Institutional KPI, disaggregated by program and department, as well as the development of additional measures appropriate to the specific work area’s needs.  All program/department data, including five-year historical and targets, are provided to work areas through data sheets distributed every fall semester and used as part of the Annual Planning process (5P 2 ). The Administrator supervising the area approves data selection.   

As action plans are developed across the Institute, data and performance measures are selected by the unit overseeing the action plan. 

Comparative data selection is determined according to Institutional mission, vision and strategic plan as well.  Through the Office of Institutional Research, Southeast Tech actively searches for comparative data that will further the Institute’s mission, vision and strategic plan and implements those the Institute believes will enhance the Institute’s direction.

For example, Southeast Tech has found it valuable to use comparison data for student satisfaction.  The Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory provides national mean satisfaction scores, both at the Institutional and program levels, thereby allowing Southeast Tech the opportunity to set goals and action plans that will significantly improve student satisfaction levels. Southeast Tech is also able to use the data for internal comparisons by survey year. In spring 2009 Southeast Tech joined the National Community College Benchmarking Project (NCCBP) because it provides numerous opportunities for additional benchmarking.

In other areas, such as the Campus Climate Survey, Southeast Tech had elected to use internal data and compare the internal data to previous year results.  Until recently, the Institute had not found an effective comparison survey for employee satisfaction.  However, since the Institute’s last portfolio, Southeast Tech has implemented the Noel-Levitz Campus Employee Satisfaction Survey.  The Institute currently has two data sets (2014 and 2016) for analysis and improvement.

As the Institute finds potential opportunities for comparison data, the information is presented to the Administrative Team for consideration and implementation, receiving Council and Board approval as needed.

Organizing Data and Performance Information: Institutional, program, department and team/committee data is generally organized by the Office of Institutional Research (IR) with input from the Administrative Team and Southeast Tech employees.  IR develops initial reports and report locations to assure easy access for stakeholders. Frequently, links to data and reports are located on the STInet intranet site using Sharepoint for storage. The goal of IR is to organize the data in meaningful ways that will assure it is easily understood and is presented consistently across the various Institutional areas. The majority of key data measures is maintained in the Planning and Assessments database, which is available for review by all Southeast Tech employees. 

In order to organize data systematically, consistently and visually across the campus, Southeast Tech has established a budgeting process report that incorporates a standardize presentation of program/department/institutional data, targets, actions, and results, along with revenue and expenditure information.  The report provides a single location for Institutional information that can be used throughout the planning, process improvement, and decision-making processes (4P 2 ).  

Besides STInet and the IR Office, executable reports have been created that can be run directly by employees through administrative software executables. The reports, however, are developed by Module Managers, individuals who have been trained in report development. Centralizing report creation to specific individuals has helped the Institute assure report accuracy and reduced report duplication. Employees make requests directly with the Module Manager.

Analyzing Data and Performance Information: Once the data has been collected, Institutional-level data analysis begins with the IR Office. IR creates initial reports on the data and provides the draft report to the appropriate team/committee to analyze. When the final report is approved by the team/committee, the results, with analysis, are shared across campus. For programs and departments, analysis begins once the fall data sheets have been disseminated. The data sheets include the most recent five-years of collected data (KPI, program/department-specific data, and current targets), which the program or department analyzes with their immediate supervisor as part of the budgeting (5P 3 ) and Annual Planning (4P 2 ) processes. The Administrative Team also reviews and analyzes all Institutional and program/department data for planning preparation.

As part of the analysis, the Institution expects the unit to review the data against targets to determine if the actions taken have been successful and if the targets are being met. The unit then works as a team to adjust actions and targets (if necessary) or create new ones, as needed.  Any updates, changes or additions to targets, actions or results are then documented in the Planning and Assessments database.  Discussions are documented in team/department/committee minutes.   

Sharing Data and Performance Information: Once IR has shared the fall data as part of the budgeting process report (5P 3 ), the various programs and departments share the data with other stakeholders for input and analysis and determine directions to be taken for improvement.  (For example, programs share the information with Advisory Committees.)  Through this sharing process, programs and departments determine new targets or actions to take to meet specific measures.  The data, targets and actions are then shared with the area’s immediate supervisor during budget discussions, and decisions are made regarding what actions, including funding requests, will be brought forward for consideration for the following year’s budget.

Internal sharing of data occurs through the STInet site, where all employees have access to links that will take them directly to data and reports. Data is also shared at all-campus Monthly Meetings, Building Meetings, Campus Notes, emails, department, program, team and committee meetings, etc.

External sharing of data occurs through the Systems Portfolio, Tech Times magazine, President’s Report, state, regional and national reporting requirements, Southeast Tech website, etc.

Determining Data, Information, and Performance Results that Units and Departments Need to Plan and Manage Effectively

As stated previously, program and department level data, information, and performance results are initially determined by Southeast Tech’s KPI and strategic planning measures.  Whenever these measures directly relate to a particular program or department, the data is disaggregated and becomes a measure at the unit level.  However, the Institute recognizes that additional data elements are often necessary to effectively measure unit-level performance. These measures are developed by the unit supervisor and unit-level employees.  Similarly, committees and teams are responsible for setting their action project measures. All measures are documented in the Planning and Assessments database and are communicated to the Administrative Team for final measure approved.  Both the Council and Board have the right to establish or remove measures associated with any unit. To assure that unit-level (as well as all other) targets and actions are in-line with the Institute’s mission, vision and/or strategic plan, the development of each target and its actions within the Planning and Assessments database must be linked to the Strategic Plan or the mission or vision. 

Making Data, Information, and Performance Results Readily and Reliably Available to the Units and Departments that Depend Upon This Information for Operational Effectiveness, Planning, and Improvements

Institutional Research Data:  The IR Office is responsible for making the majority of data, information, and performance results readily and reliably available to department, program, committee and team units. IR is frequently part of committees and teams, which assures that IR is aware of data collection needs.  For units where IR is not a participant, the unit communicates the data collection need to IR through email or meetings, and IR begins the collection process.

IR communicates data back to the various units upon request but guarantees that data is readily available in the following ways:

  • Upon completion of data collection and analysis, IR communicates the results to the appropriate units.  Generally, because of the small size of the Institute, this is accomplished by email and email attachments to all unit membership and immediate supervisors.  In cases where membership is not known or changes (such as teams and committees), IR communicates the information to an immediate supervisor or a unit member for dissemination to the unit;
  • During the start of a new budgeting process (fall semester), the most recent data is sent to units directly associated with the various budget cost centers.  This process allows for the greatest opportunity for connecting targets, actions, assessments, performance results to revenues/ expenditures to each other and to the budget (5P 3  );
  • IR posts data to the Sharepoint site with links on the STInet Employee tab, making data access quick and easy.
  • For data that is not easily stored and shared on Sharepoint, IR posts the data in the Planning and Assessments database, which is available to all employees through STInet.

IR assures that data is reliable by developing internal processes that assure data is collected systematically and consistently using the same selection criteria.  Processes are documented on STInet or in the datacluster to assure future consistency.

External data requests are handled by IR, which works directly with program and department employees to complete the data request. These requests may come from IPEDS, South Dakota State Board of Nursing, HLC, South Dakota Board of Education, etc.

Jenzabar EX:  While IR has the ability to provide the majority of unit data requests necessary for quality improvement and process measures, Southeast Tech’s EX administrative software stores all student and employee records.  This data is available through various program screens, reports and queries, created by the Module Manager assigned to the particular module. 

Southeast Tech Cares:  Additional data on students, especially as it relates to employee/student interactions that may be important in retaining or assisting the student, are provided through Southeast Tech Cares.  Employees with the proper permissions can view student schedules, current course grades and attendance, predictor analysis, recent interactions, etc. Southeast Tech’s Student Success Center and IR use aggregated information to help determine future actions to better meet student needs and retain students. 

Ensuring the Timeliness, Accuracy, Reliability, and Security of the Institution’s Knowledge Management System(s) and Related Processes

Southeast Tech’s Information Technology (IT) department is tasked with managing the Institute’s Knowledge Management System and assuring that the system is timely, accurate, reliable and secure.  Southeast Tech data is stored on internal servers and within Institutional software systems maintained by IT.  Through the use of internal servers and a strong bandwidth, Southeast Tech has been able to assure that data is easily and quickly accessible and reliable. Additional data is stored on the STInet and Southeast Tech websites, as well as the Southeast Tech datacluster, OneDrive and SharePoint. Data is backed up nightly at the Institute and differential back-ups are performed at an off-site back-up location, assuring data integrity and recovery.

All data storage is password protected as well as permission sensitive for security. Therefore, individuals must first be given a login and password to get into specific areas within these storage locations, and must also be given permissions to view and/or edit the information located on a specific part of that site.  A forced change of password is required every 180 days. Permissions are granted based on job responsibilities and require administrative approval for an individual to receive rights, including an explanation regarding why the rights are necessary. The IT department oversees all data security processes.

Data accuracy is checked using various internally-developed data integrity reports, data comparisons of separate reports, and review by various individuals in different departments.  

Through the processes described earlier, IR assures that data is timely by disseminating it on a consistent basis and shortly after it has been analyzed.

Tracking Outcomes/Measures Utilizing Appropriate Tools

Southeast Tech utilizes the following measures regarding Knowledge Management:

  • % of IT Tickets Closed
  • Length/Frequency of System Downtime
  • Bandwidth Utilization
  • Security Breaches

 

5R1 Knowledge Management Results


What are the results for resource management? These results may include: 

  • Summary results of measures (include tables and figures when possible)
  • Comparison of results with internal targets and external benchmarks
  • Interpretation of results and insights gained

Summary Results of Measures AND Comparison of Results with Internal Targets and External Benchmarks

Length/Frequency of System Downtime: While downtime is not specifically measured, this is because it is very infrequent. Downtimes due to maintenance are announced several times prior to the event and through several different methods, including direct emails and notifications on STInet, are conducted during non-peak times, and are kept short.

Bandwidth Utilization: Southeast Tech uses Solarwinds to monitor bandwidth usage, server utilization by CPU load, and to provide preventative information on failing servers, printers, switches, etc. for repairs prior to impacting stakeholders. Southeast Tech recognized that the bandwidth usage was reaching maximum levels and requested increased Category 5 page 5 bandwidth from the state. Over the years, through this type of monitoring, Southeast Tech has increased its bandwidth to meet continually increasing stakeholder demands due to the increasing use of videos, streaming, etc. The data can also be used to determine peak usage times, which for Southeast Tech generally occurs from 9:30 am to noon, so that load balances can be adjusted as well.

Security Breaches: Besides stating that Southeast Technical Institute has not had a security breach, it is difficult to provide additional information as a measure. Still, the Institute’s target is to maintain this level of no breaches, and therefore the Institute continues to develop more and better ways to guarantee data security.

Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

Completing the Systems Portfolio results sections has helped Southeast Tech improve its knowledge management systems, including how it determines what data to collect, how data is stored, shared, analyzed and used in decisionmaking. The processes throughout this Portfolio rely on the data to be effective, and Southeast Tech has developed a knowledge management system that provides this data to its stakeholders effectively and efficiently. Knowledge management is unimportant if the information is not used and used appropriately. Therefore, the Institute’s goal is to continue to work with its stakeholders on using data in the decision-making process.

 

5I1 Knowledge Management Improvements


Based on 5R1, what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

Southeast Tech has recently accomplished the following regarding Knowledge Management:

  • Increased Institutional bandwidth to meet growing curriculum and student learning needs;
  • Implemented the VMWare virtual server environment and VMWare Horizon virtual desktop access, allowing employees and students more access to information and software 24/7;
  • Implemented Southeast Tech Cares, a retention software package to assist the campus with determining and meeting student needs quickly and effectively;
  • Implemented a new recruitment software package (JRM) to increase prospective communications and improve admissions tracking;
  • Implemented lecture capture, allowing faculty to video in-class presentations and post them on the LMS for student use;
  • Increased data security, including password complexity and forced password change;
  • Developed consistent maintenance updates and patches for software packages scheduled released by vendors - assures most up-to-date security as well.

Over the coming one to three years, Southeast Tech’s main goal will be to implement a new software package to replace its current Planning and Assessments database (Access). A new software package will help the Institute better integrate its data into its actions and targets, improve communications of action projects across campus, and help the Institute better document its progress toward completion of the Strategic Plan.  Southeast Tech believes that it has the proper processes in place, and is already making significant strides toward meeting its Strategic Plan, but having a more effective software package to input the Strategic Plan, targets and assessments, and Institutional, committee/team, program and department actions will enhance the Institute’s ability to move forward on its quality journey.

 

5P2 Resource Management


Resource Management focuses on how the resource base of an institution supports and improves its educational programs and operations. Describe the processes for managing resources and who is involved in those processes. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Maintaining fiscal, physical, and technological infrastructures sufficient to support operations (5.A.1)
  • Setting goals aligned with the institutional mission, resources, opportunities, and emerging needs (5.A.3) 
  • Allocating and assigning resources to achieve organizational goals, while ensuring that educational purposes are not adversely affected (5.A.2)
  • Tracking outcomes/measures utilizing appropriate tools

Maintaining Fiscal, Physical, and Technological Infrastructures Sufficient to Support Operations (5.A.1)

Southeast Technical Institute is a public institution operating under Sioux Falls School District 49-5. The funds used to operate Southeast Tech are restricted for post-secondary educational purposes and are separate and apart from the K-12 secondary system funds.  The Institute accounts for and oversees its financial operations within one governmental fund and three proprietary funds.  The primary educational operations of the Institute are included in the Post-Secondary Vocational special revenue (governmental) fund.  Business-like activities that support the educational functions of the Institute are reported separately in one of three enterprise (proprietary) funds - Child Care, Bookstore, and Corporate Education.

Southeast Tech works in a cooperative arrangement with the Sioux Falls School District to share resources/services that are common to both entities.  Included in these shared resources are the following:

  1. Accounting - a. General Ledger; b. Accounts Payable processing; c. Payroll processing; d. Fixed Asset inventory and accounting
  2. Purchasing - a. Bids, RFP’s preparation; b. Procurement (Credit) Card administration; c. Purchase Orders preparation and distribution; d. Warehouse
  3. Treasury - a. Pooled Cash; b. Banking Services
  4. Benefits - a. Insurance; b. Worker’s Compensation; c. Unemployment
  5. Operations - a. Architectural/Engineering; b. Audit; c. Construction Management; d. Energy Management; e. General Counsel, f. Human Resources; g. Maintenance/Carpentry

This arrangement provides for the efficient use of limited financial resources and exposure to a broad range of professional staff, systems, and support resources.  The result is a significantly reduced impact to Southeast Tech’s financial resources as compared to the costs associated with developing, providing, and maintaining these resources independently. Southeast Tech compensates the Sioux Falls School District for the services that are jointly shared.

To assure the Institute maintains the overall infrastructure necessary to support Institutional operations, Southeast Tech relies on the following processes presented throughout this portfolio:

  • Strategic and Annual planning (4P2)
  • Budgeting (5P3)
  • Capital Improvement/Capital Equipment planning (5P3)
  • Technology planning (5P3)

Throughout these planning process, Southeast Tech considers all infrastructure needs, including fiscal, physical and technological. The Institute aligns all needs to the strategic goals, mission, and vision, as well as available resources and potential restraints, including Institutional risks. The robust Annual (4P2) and Budget (5P3) planning processes assure that these needs are vetted with both external and internal stakeholders.  Adjustments to the budget are made accordingly, even during budget implementation, and require the approval of the President and Board.

Southeast Tech maintains two five-year Capital plans: Capital Improvement (CIP) and Capital Equipment (CEP), maintained by the Business Office.  The CIP identifies emerging facility opportunities and the resources needed to develop and implement facility enhancements that will improve student learning and services. The Institute also utilizes a Facility Life Cycle Costing and Capital Outlay Operation/Maintenance Plan (FLCCCOMP) that identifies key components of the Institute’s infrastructure and projects the expected useful life of such components as well as future replacement costs. Similarly, the CEP identifies campus and program equipment needs. The plans are evaluated, prioritized, and integrated into the Institute’s five-year CIP/CEP plans on an annual basis upon the changing needs of instructional programs and supporting operations. Current year projects on the CIP/CEP are then incorporated into the Budgeting process (5P3) during the capture and development stages; however, adjustments occur at other times as needed. If, during the decision stage, adjustments need to be made due to revenue constraints, a discussion with the appropriate supervisor and employees is held and the project may be moved to a future plan year. Once the CIP/CEP plan has been approved, it is up to the immediate area and supervisor to assure that deployment is successful. Finally, once deployed, all required evaluations and reports are completed.

A dedicated funding source has been established through state administrative rule to provide funding for various campus repair and maintenance projects.  A portion of the Institute’s per credit fees is restricted to these projects.  Major facility construction or expansion is funded through the state Health and Educational Facility Authority (HEFA).  HEFA is authorized to issue revenue bonds to fund campus improvements.  Projects funded through the facility authority must be approved by the local Board of Education, HEFA Board, and the South Dakota Department of Education.  The state legislature determines system-wide debt ceilings that are revised periodically.  Student fees and state appropriations fund the debt service on the outstanding bond obligations. (5.A.1)

Setting Goals Aligned with the Institutional Mission, Resources, Opportunities, and Emerging Needs (5.A.3)

Southeast Tech’s mission and vision statements establish the basis from which resources are allocated. Budget guidelines are developed and adopted annually by Southeast Tech’s Council and Board and tie directly to the Institute’s strategic plan. Adopted budget guidelines for the FY18 budget:

  1. Allocate resources consistent with the goals and objectives of the strategic plan;
  2. Allocate resources to create a culture of continuous improvement and service excellence in support of Southeast Tech’s mission;
  3. Optimize the quality of budget information available to decision makers;
  4. Engage stakeholders at all levels and provide avenues for input;
  5. Evaluate historical revenue performance and cost center expenditures;
  6. Allocate resources efficiently, effectively, and equitably across the Institute;
  7. Incentivize revenue innovation and new program development;
  8. Maintain existing reserves and align requested expenditures with projected revenues.

With these guidelines in mind, the Institute used is Annual (4P2) and Budget (5P3) planning processes in the development of the FY18 budget.  Progress towards accomplishing strategic plan goals and objectives are reported to both the Council and Board a minimum of twice annually.  This reporting process assures that the Institute is focusing its resource allocations responsibly toward the achievement of the Institute’s goals. (5.A.3)

Allocating and Assigning Resources to Achieve Organizational Goals, While Ensuring that Educational Purposes are Not Adversely Affected (5.A.2)

Southeast Tech’s processes throughout this Portfolio assure that the allocation and assigning of resources occurs in support of the mission, vision and strategic plan. In addition, operating budgets are adopted on an annual basis and incorporate elements of Southeast Tech’s 5-Year Capital Plan, which assures that infrastructure improvements, repair and maintenance projects, and equipment additions and replacements are scheduled, reviewed, revised and updated annually. Furthermore, Southeast Tech assures that overall resources are in direct support of meeting the Institute’s educational purposes (5R2). (5.A.2)

Tracking Outcomes/Measures Utilizing Appropriate Tools

Southeast Tech measures Resource Management in the following ways;

  • Balanced Budget: By state statute, the annual budget must balance at the end of each fiscal year; 
  • Reserve Levels: A healthy reserve assures that the Institute has the necessary funds to continue operations during unforeseen circumstances;
  • Educational Expenditures: With a mission to educate for employment, it is vital for the Institute to assure that the majority of funding relates to student learning.

 

5R2 Resource Management Results


What are the results for resource management? These results may include: 

  • Summary results of measures (include tables and figures when possible)
  • Comparison of results with internal targets and external benchmarks
  • Interpretation of results and insights gained

Summary Results of Measures AND Comparison of Results with Internal Targets and External Benchmarks

Balanced Budget: The balancing of expenditures can be accomplished through earned revenues or a combination of earned revenues and existing cash drawn from accumulated reserves.  A monthly report of budget to actual revenue and expenditures is provided to and approved by the Board of Education. Oral reports on budgetary compliance are also presented to the Board of Education at the conclusion of each quarter of the fiscal year, including a preliminary summary of pre-audit year-end results. These reports provide measures of the overall budget implementation and appropriate resource allocation and are available for review at www.southeasttech.edu/About/Leadership/Previous Meeting Minutes.

Reserve Levels: Southeast Tech maintains budget reserves with an internal target rate of 20% of prior year total post-secondary fund expenditures. The Institute takes a very conservative approach to the use of existing reserves, limiting by practice the use of reserves to one-time projects or contingency events.  Historically, the Institute has met or exceeded reserve targets as shown in Figure 5R2.1.  While percentages of fund balance to post-secondary expenditures fluctuates significantly from year to year and according to Institutional growth and development, Southeast Tech has maintained its reserve levels above the established target every year.

Educational Expenditures: Expenditure composition is another key indicator of how well the Institute is using its funds to meet its mission of educating for employment.  As shown in Figure 5R2.2, the majority of Southeast Tech’s expenditures directly relate to educational and student learning needs. The combination of Instruction, Instructional Support, and Facilities Acquisition makes up 79% of the Institutional budget. These budget allocations have been consistent over the years, which has helped the Institute achieve its KPI targets (4R1).  

Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

Southeast Tech’s conservative approach to budget allocations has helped the Institute maintain its ability to provide high quality programs and services (as indicated in results sections throughout the Portfolio), while maintaining a healthy fund balance that assures future viability, as indicated in Figure 5R2.1. Monthly oversight of the budget by the Institute’s Board further assures that the Institute uses its resources wisely. Finally, Southeast Tech’s expenditures provide additional evidence that Southeast Tech is placing its mission as the key driver of the Institute.

 

5I2 Resource Management Improvements


Based on 5R2, what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

Southeast Tech has recently accomplished the following regarding Resource Management:

  • Revised the Institutional accounting structure and the format in which annual budgets are formulated and presented, including the addition of historical revenue and expenditure data at the cost center level, including allocations of fixed and overhead costs;
  • Updated the Facility Life Cycle Costing and Capital Outlay Operation/Maintenance Plan.

Over the next one to three years, Southeast Tech will continue to improve the use of goals, measures and accomplishments through key performance indicators at the program and department levels.

 

5P3 Operational Effectiveness


Operational Effectiveness focuses on how an institution ensures effective management of its operations in the present and plans for continuity of operations into the future. Describe the processes for operational effectiveness and who is involved in those processes. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Building budgets to accomplish institutional goals
  • Monitoring financial position and adjusting budgets (5.A.5)
  • Maintaining a technological infrastructure that is reliable, secure, and user-friendly
  • Maintaining a physical infrastructure that is reliable, secure, and user-friendly
  • Managing risks to ensure operational stability, including emergency preparedness
  • Tracking outcomes/measures utilizing appropriate tools

Building Budgets to Accomplish Institutional Goals

The Institute’s strategic plan, inclusive of its stated goals and objectives, provides the framework from which annual budgets are adopted, and budget development is directly integrated into the Institute’s Annual Planning process (4P2).  Therefore, throughout the Budget process description below (Figure 5P3.1), references are made to the specific associated step in the Annual Planning process (Figure 4P2.1). 

Budget requests are formulated at the cost center (program/department level) during the capture stage of the Annual Planning process (AP1). Prior to these meetings, immediate supervisors provide employees with prior year budget documents and cost center data sheets (which include measures and targets specific to the cost center).  Information from other sources, including Advisory Committees, student, graduate and employer survey results, Southeast Tech Cares, Capital Improvement, Capital Equipment and Technology plans, etc. are also gathered by the supervisor and cost center employees.  The supervisor then meets with the employees to discuss anticipated needs to maintain current operations, achievements of stated goals, and new program initiatives.

Cost Center employees then develop a proposed cost center budget (AP2), based on Institutional and cost center goals and the needs of the area.  Major initiatives requiring increased funding must support one of the Institute’s strategic goals or the mission/vision of the Institute and requires documentation of need and purpose.

Cost center budget proposals are approved by the immediate supervisor and are submitted to the Institute’s Office of Finance for inclusion in the aggregated budget requests. The Finance Office then prepares a projected revenue report for the Institute, which also disaggregates revenue by cost center.

Prior to and during budget development, the Administrative Team reviews revenues. Through reviews of current and potential enrollment growth, adjustments in local/program fees, and expected state appropriations and other revenue sources, the Team develops projected revenues for the coming fiscal year. Southeast Tech takes a conservative approach to revenues and requires that the Institute’s operational expenditures not exceed revenue projections unless such expenditures are justified and are in-line with the Institute’s long-range planning and goals.

A multi-level review and decision (AP3) process is used to ensure budgets reflect adopted guidelines and support stated goals and objectives. The process begins with the Administrative Team, which reviews the proposed budgets and adjusts accordingly to assure it is balanced with revenues. Frequently, this requires cost center budget adjustments that eliminate funding in some areas and increases funding in others. As the Team makes these adjustments, communications continue with cost center employees to inform them of these adjustments.

The Budget Committee, consisting of the Adminstrative Team and a faculty and staff representative, review the final budget and make additional adjustments.  

Formal adoption of the completed budget begins with the Council, which reviews the budget during its April meeting, adjusts it accordingly, and recommends the final version to the Board for approval (5.A.5). 

The budget is preliminary reviewed by the Board during its April meeting, and then formally approved during its July meeting.  This provides additional opportunities for public input.

Once adopted, the budget is deployed (AP4) by the immediate supervisor and the cost center employees. 

Monitoring Financial Position and Adjusting Budgets (5.A.5)

The Institute has implemented several budget monitoring and evaluation (AP5) processes that occur throughout the year. First, the Institute maintains budgetary controls to ensure compliance with the legal provisions of the annual appropriation approved by the Board. This includes monthly budget reports that are provided to, and approved by, the Board. Second, user-generated reports are available to immediate supervisors and employees for review and monitoring of cost center expenditures. Third, expenditures require the approval of the immediate supervisor, who has the responsibility of assuring that the budget is adhered to. Fourth, the Vice President of Finance reviews the budget with the Administrative Team at weekly meetings and with all employees during Monthly Meetings, assuring that expenditures are within allocations. Fifth, the Board receives more detailed revenue and expenditure reports on at least a quarterly basis.

Budgets may be revised through a transfer request or supplemental appropriation. Immediate supervisors may request budget transfers in the amounts of $1,000 to $10,000 with the approval of the President.  Budget transfers in excess of $10,000 or involving any salary budget account must be approved by the Board.

Supplements to the budget are also allowed if revenues are in excess of anticipated levels or if there is a request to utilize existing cash reserves.  All budget supplements, regardless of dollar amount or funding source, must be approved by the Board.

A final review of budget revenue and expenditures is provided to the Board and Council and occurs as part of the Institute’s Strategic and Annual Plan reflection (AP7, SP8)  (5.A.5)    

Maintaining a Technological Infrastructure that is Reliable, Secure, and User-Friendly

Table 5P3.1 Technological Infrastructure
Automated Remote Back-Up (VMWare Vecam) Ensures data back-up at a remote location, which can be retrieved in emergency situations.
Virtual Environment (VMWare) Used for Southeast Tech systems recovery, creating a redundant path should a failure occur.
Remote System Access (VMWare Horizon) Provides employees and students remote access to non-web based data and information.
Secured Data Center Requires keycard/code entry to access Southeast Tech’s data center.
Emergency Messaging (Microsoft 365) Allows for cloud-based instant messaging system for emergencies even when internal systems are down.
Learning Management System (CMS) Allows access to courses and course content, as well as Institute intranet from anywhere, anytime.
Data Security Data is username and password protected with controlled access according to need.

Redundancy, data security and ease of use are vital to any technological infrastructure. Table 5P3.1 provides information on how the Institute maintains these areas. Reliability is ensured through redundant systems that provide back-up of data and multiple data paths should one pathway be blocked. A strong bandwidth also assures that data is accessible when it is needed. Security of the Institute’s data center is assured through keycard/code entry and limited access, as well as established processes for obtaining usernames and passwords and permissions on an as-needed basis controlled by IT help assure that the institute keeps data secure. Using the most up-to-date software also provides additional security.  Finally, assuring that technology is user-friendly by providing remote access and an LMS system that is easy to navigate provides for a better customer experience. 

To assure that the Institute continues to be on the cutting edge of its technology infrastructure, IT personnel participate in regional educational and non-educational IT groups as well as vendor software panels and committees.

Additional information regarding technological infrastructure is provided in 5P1.

Maintaining a Physical Infrastructure that is Reliable, Secure and User-Friendly

Through the use of required R&M funding, Southeast Tech has the on-going ability to maintain its physical infrastructure to be consistently reliable in meeting the needs of its stakeholders.  The Institute’s five-year CIP plan (5P1) provides for additional facility updates to further improve the physical infrastructure.  Security of the facilities is a priority of the Institute. All buildings have established hours of operation with external doors opened and closed by custodians or campus security according to these established hours. Employee access (by keycard) is limited, requiring the approval of the immediate supervisor and the President, and is monitored by the President’s Office.  To further improve security, Southeast Tech contracts with the local Sheriff’s Department for security officers on campus during the day and in on-campus housing during the evening.  The Institute also has security cameras placed throughout the campus and monitored by the security officers. All facilities are ADA compliant and therefore user-friendly.    

Managing Risks to Ensure Operational Stability, Including Emergency Preparedness

Southeast Technical Institute maintains an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that includes procedures, guidance, and checklists to aid in the handling of a wide variety of emergencies, including medical, active threat, weather, fire, workplace violence, etc.  The EOP plan has been derived from, and conforms to, the Department of Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System (NIMS).  NIMS provides a consistent, flexible and adjustable national framework within which government and private entities at all levels can work together to manage domestic incidents, regardless of their cause, size, location, or complexity.  The EOP plan is reviewed and updated every three years as part of the Institute’s policy review process.     

The Institute has also implemented an emergency alert system that allows designated employees to send alerts to the Southeast Tech campus community (all employees and all students) when an emergency has occurred or may be imminent. The emergency alert system notifies community members through phone, email and text messages. Rights to send alert messages are password protected and controlled by IT.  

Southeast Tech also maintains a Safety Committee which meets monthly to address safety issues and develop and review procedures for emergency responses. Security officers from the Minnehaha Sheriff’s Department provide on-campus security and support during emergency situations.

Tracking Outcomes/Measures Utilizing Appropriate Tools

Beyond the success of the Institute as outlined in the results sections of this Portfolio, Southeast Tech uses the following stakeholder measures of Operational Effectiveness:

  • Employer – Facilities and Equipment
  • Students – Labs and Campus Maintenance
  • Employees – Budget and Staffing

 

5R3 Operational Effectiveness Results


What are the results for resource management? These results may include: 

  • Summary results of measures (include tables and figures when possible)
  • Comparison of results with internal targets and external benchmarks
  • Interpretation of results and insights gained

Summary Results of Measures AND Comparison of Results with Internal Targets and External Benchmarks

While Southeast Tech’s results throughout this Portfolio, especially the KPI results in 4R1, speak of the Institute’s success in managing its resources in direct alignment with its mission, stakeholder satisfaction with resources and budget allocations are important measures in assuring that the perception among important stakeholder groups is consistent with allocations.  To measure these perceptions, Southeast Tech reviews questions from its Employer, Student Satisfaction Inventory, and Employee Satisfaction surveys that are directly related to budget and resources.

Employers may not have direct access to budget and resource allocations, but they do have direct access to campus facilities and equipment, either through the knowledge levels of the graduates they employee or as campus visitors, Advisory Committee members, etc.  Southeast Tech uses its Employer Survey to ask these stakeholders to rate the Institute’s facilities and equipment. As Table 5R3.1 indicates, facilities has reached the Institute’s target level for all five years.  Equipment ratings, however, have remained fairly consistent but just below target level.

Students have direct access to Institutional equipment and view the campus maintenance on a daily basis.  Table 5R3.2 provides student perceptions for labs and campus maintenance with both just under the established target.

For employees, facilities, equipment, supplies, materials, staffing, etc. all fall under the categories of budget and staff.  In both these areas, Southeast Tech has reached its target level in 2016, which is also the second time the target has been reached for budget resources (Table 5R3.3).

Given that employees may feel differently about Institutional-level budget and staffing when compared to department budget and staffing, Table 5R3.4 provides an additional employee measure at the unit level. For both budget and staff, employees ranked these areas above the national mean target level for both 2014 and 2016.

One final measure, campus safety, is important to address in this section.  As Table 5R3.5 shows, student safety ratings at Southeast Tech have been at the target level for the past two measures.

Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

Overall, Southeast Tech believes it has used its resources appropriately to not only operate the Institute effectively, but to also meet its mission. This is evident by the results provided in 4R1. Employer, student and employee survey results also indicate that the Institute’s stakeholders, overall, are in agreement that allocations have been effective to this end. Even with students, where lab equipment and campus maintenance fall just below the target, the ratings are in-line with national measures. It is still the goal, however, for the Institute to reach the student target in these areas.

However, surveys of any kind are only as valid as when they were given. It is important that the Institute continue to be vigilant in its relationships and its structure to assure that these perceptions remain strong.  The Institute believes that by following the processes presented in 5P3, as well as the rest of the Portfolio, these measures can be maintained and improved.

 

5I3 Operational Effectiveness Improvements


Based on 5R3, what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

The new budget model, aligning program/department revenues with program/department costs and assigning overhead to better measure the financial performance of individual programs has been a significant change at the Institute. Over the course of the next one to three years, the use of this model will be further integrated and improved to help the Institute in its decision making process and assure operational effectiveness.

Go to Category Six: Quality Overview