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

Category One: Helping Students Learn

Common Learning Outcomes
Program Learning Outcomes
Academic Program Design
Academic Program Quality
Academic Integrity

Category One Overview

As a technical institute with a mission of educating for employment, Southeast Tech places students at its center. From the moment a student applies for a program to graduation and employment, Southeast Tech designs processes for learning and support which will lead to the greatest student success. To that end, Common Learning Outcomes (CLO’s) and Program Learning Outcomes (PLO’s) have been identified and regularly assessed in alignment with the Institute’s mission. Academic programs are intentionally designed to ensure that Southeast Tech is responsive to business, industry and community needs and meets the standards and rigor for each discipline. Co-curricular activities directly align with program areas and reinforce learning outcomes. The Institute’s internal customized Planning and Assessments database facilitates the capture and analysis of program and Institutional assessment results. A Celebrating Learning Team coordinates assessment activities related to CLO’s and PLO’s, assisting and coaching faculty and staff on a regular basis.

Southeast Tech considers the majority of its processes in Category 1 to be integrated, with repeatable and documented processes, results, and improvements arising from the use of data and other inputs.

While data associated with the Institute’s teams and departments have been available for years on the STInet internal website, and faculty and staff have been charged with referencing and using the data to inform planning and budget, data collected had not always been used to its full effect. The use of data varied according to area, with some using the data more effectively in decision-making than others.

However, with the implementation of the Institute’s new Strategic Plan, and the development of an improved Annual Planning process (4P 2 ) that incorporates Institutional data directly into the budgeting and annual planning process, the Institute believes it now has processes that fully integrate its Helping Students Learn processes to the rest of the Institute’s processes, assuring that data is used more effectively in decision-making and informing change.  The new process assures that performance levels are regularly reviewed and compared to targets, that discussions are held on what actions will achieve the desired target levels, and that budget allocations are made to meet the needs of the Institute. With this new Strategic Plan and Annual Planning process in place, Southeast Tech believes its results maturity level for Category 1 are at the integrated level.   

Academic Program Design is a formal process involving the State Department of Education, external stakeholders, and administration and faculty initiating program and curriculum design and improvements. A standing Curriculum Committee ensures thorough review and vetting of new courses and programs as well as the modifying and changing of existing courses and programs. Southeast Tech believes this process is at an integrated maturity level.

Academic Student Support is one of the strengths of the Institute as noted by the 2012 Systems Appraisal. Comprehensive Student Services include a renovated Library/Student Success Center, Adult Learning Center, and centralized support services.  The Institute believes it is currently at an integrated maturity level for academic student support.  

Academic Integrity is incorporated into Southeast Tech’s policies and procedures with a specific, communicated process for the reporting, investigation, and implementation of final decisions regarding integrity complaints or concerns. The Institute believes its processes are at the aligned maturity level.

1P1 Common Learning Outcomes

Common Learning Outcomes focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of graduates from all programs. Describe the processes for determining, communicating, and ensuring the stated common learning outcomes and who is involved in those processes. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Aligning common outcomes to the mission, educational offerings, and degree levels of the institution (3.B.1, 3.E.2)
  • Determining common outcomes (3.B.2, 4.B.4)
  • Ensuring the outcomes remain relevant and aligned with student, workplace, and societal needs (3.B.4)
  • Articulating the purposes, content, and level of achievement of the outcomes (3.B.2, 4.B.1)
  • Incorporating into the curriculum opportunities for all students to achieve the outcomes (3.B.3, 3.B.5)
  • Designing, aligning, and delivering co-curricular activities to support learning (3.E.1, 4.B.2)
  • Selecting tools/methods/instruments used to assess attainment of common learning outcomes (4.B.2)
  • Assessing common learning outcomes (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.4)

Common Learning Outcomes Process:  A Brief History

Common Learning Outcomes (CLO’s) have been aligned to the mission, educational offerings and associate degree levels of Southeast Tech since their inception in 1995, with assessment occurring at the program level. CLO’s were directly tied to Southeast Tech’s mission of educating for employment by addressing the question, “What skills do employers of Southeast Tech’s graduates expect?” When the Institute moved toward an Institutional-level CLO assessment, the original set of outcomes were based on the 2000 Department of Labor SCANS Report, employer surveys of graduates, faculty and Program Advisory Committee input, and CLO’s at peer institutions. The twice-yearly Program Advisory Committee meetings provided feedback and input from businesses and industry regarding outcome relevancy to industry needs and helped to assure that curriculum reinforces these outcomes. The CLO’s were reviewed and revised from eight to four outcomes in 2005.  In 2014, the term for the outcomes was changed from “Broad Student Outcomes” to “Common Learning Outcomes” to reflect common terminology in higher education. (3.B.1), (3.B.2)

Aligning Common Outcomes to the Mission, Educational Offerings, and Degree Levels of the Institution AND 

Determining Common Outcomes 

The formal process for determining and assuring alignment of CLO’s occurs during the first year of implementation of any new strategic plan.  During each Strategic Planning process (4P 2 ), Southeast Tech reviews its mission, vision and values and sets the future direction of the Institute.  Because any changes to the mission, vision, values or Institute direction could impact the CLO’s (and therefore program learning outcomes, outcome matrices and lesson plans) the Institute assures that a formal review of CLO’s always occurs after the Strategic Planning process is completed (Figure 1P1.1).

Southeast Tech then gathers input (capture) on CLO’s by engaging stakeholders in the CLO review process.  Both internal and external stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide input through surveys, Advisory Committee meetings, and focus groups. The Celebrating Learning Team (CLT), with the help of the Institutional Research Office, collects the data, analyzes it, and determines a course of action, which may include new CLO’s or revisions to current CLO’s (develop).  Because Southeast Tech believes that the General Education department is integral to the development of CLO’s, imparting broad knowledge and intellectual concepts to all students, members of that department are included in the CLO review. 

The recommendation of the CLT is sent to Southeast Tech stakeholders (both internal and external) for further review and modification. Once completed, the CLT prepares a final report on the CLO’s and presents the report to Southeast Tech’s Administrative Team for approval, then to the Southeast Tech Council and Southeast Tech Board for adoption (decide). The Academic Administrative Team then works with faculty and academic staff to integrate the new CLO’s into the curriculum, and the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students work with departments to communicate the new CLO’s to all Southeast Tech stakeholders (deploy). (3.B.2), (4.B.4)

Southeast Tech’s most recent strategic planning process was completed in Summer 2016 and approved in Fall 2016, and a new mission statement was developed, setting the stage for a new CLO cycle review in 2016-2017. The CLT is currently gathering input on the CLO’s from the Institute’s stakeholders, which will be used in Summer 2017 to determine any CLO adjustments or additions.

Southeast Tech’s requirement of a minimum of 15 general education credits for all AAS degrees (five to nine credits for diploma programs), including courses in composition, mathematics, sociology, and psychology, assures students are engaged in curriculum that helps build student skills in collecting, analyzing, and communicating information and developing the ability to succeed in an ever-changing world. General Education faculty function as a coherent team, meeting monthly to address areas such as online learning, curriculum, and student success, and are instrumental in the development of student general education course placement and transfer guidelines. (3.B.1)

Ensuring Common Learning Outcomes Remain Relevant and Aligned to Student, Workplace, and Societal Needs

Once established/revised, the CLO’s are reviewed annually during team and program meetings and with Program Advisory Committees. Additionally, the AQIP Education Design and Delivery and AQIP Celebrating Learning teams discuss the appropriateness and relevance of the CLO’s as part of the CLO assessment process (evaluate) (1P1 Selecting Tools and Targets, and Assessing Common Learning Outcomes). Included in that review are results from the Southeast Tech Employer Survey, which is conducted every other year and provides feedback from employers on graduate skill level attainment for various areas, including the CLO’s.  The survey includes the opportunity for employers to provide feedback on additional skill areas they believe graduates may be missing or should be enhanced, which is reviewed for possible adjustments to the CLO’s by the Celebrating Learning and Education Design and Delivery teams.  CLO adjustments may be recommended by these two teams and approved by the Administrative Team.  Should these annual processes reveal a need to review the CLO’s at a more significant level prior to the next Strategic Plan, the President has the authority to begin the formal process review at any time (reflect).

Because the respect for diversity is one of Southeast Tech’s core values, awareness of the human and cultural diversity of a global society is incorporated into the Professionalism CLO and is included in instruction as learning outcomes within the Social Issues general education course, individual program coursework, and the Student Success Seminar course.  Diversity events, activities, and/or awareness campaigns are provided annually. (3.B.4)

Articulating Purpose, Content, and Level of Achievement of Common Learning Outcomes

Southeast Tech has established the following four CLO’s:

Science & Technology: Technical competence including knowledge of technology and/or scientific principles as these apply to programs.

Problem Solving & Critical Thinking: The ability to select and use various approaches to solve a wide variety of problems – scientific, mathematical, social and personal. Graduates will also be able to evaluate information from a variety of perspectives, analyze data and make appropriate judgments.

Communication: The ability to communicate effectively in several forms – oral, written, nonverbal and interpersonal. Graduates will also demonstrate knowledge of how to manage and access information.

Professionalism: Strong work ethic, including responsible attendance; skill in teamwork and collaboration, as well as an ability to work with others, respecting diversity; ability to adapt to change; commitment to lifelong learning; adherence to professional standards; and positive self-esteem and integrity.

The assessment methods used to determine achievement of these outcomes is provided in 1R 1 .  (4.B.1)

Southeast Tech articulates the CLO’s and their purpose and content through (publish):

  • General Education mission and purpose statements
  • Standardized syllabi template, including CLO’s
  • Posters in classrooms
  • Bookmarks in the Bookstore
  • Online Southeast Tech Catalog
  • CLO assessment results published in this portfolio (3.B.2)  

Incorporating into the Curriculum Opportunities for All Students to Achieve the Outcomes

All programs provide multiple opportunities for students to practice and learn the CLO’s. Each program has:

  • Aligned its specialized program outcomes (PLO’s) to the CLO’s through a published chart showing program outcomes within each CLO;
  • Developed a Course Mapping Matrix that indicates the method (standardized test, performance test, portfolio, true/false or multiple choice test, etc.) used to assess the CLO’s by course;
  • Developed a Program Mapping Matrix that indicates in which course PLO’s are taught and to what level (introductory, reinforcement, mastery) in order to assure curriculum is designed effectively to build skills and assure that all PLO’s are covered to the level expected of graduates.  

Since PLO’s directly relate to CLO’s, this process also helps assure that the CLO’s are covered and mastered accordingly.

General education at Southeast Tech reinforces the teaching of the CLO’s through the core coursework required for diplomas and degrees. General education functions as an integral but complementary component of the AAS and diploma programs and is designed as a coherent core of courses taught by qualified faculty in the General Education Division (3P 1 ). Since CLO’s are the skills all program graduates are expected to achieve by the time they graduate, these outcomes are integrated and assessed within each program as well as through the general education coursework.  Program mapping matrices assure that content introduces, reinforces, and provides mastery opportunities for student achievement of CLO’s in a structured building-block approach. Review of these matrices provides for continued improvement of this process and opportunity for students to achieve the CLO’s.  (3.B.3, 3.B.5)

To assure these linkages are further strengthened, General Education faculty participate on program Advisory Committees.  This regular participation helps assure strong General Education/Program faculty collaboration, relevancy of general education courses to business and industry requirements and standards, and a positive model that encourages student understanding of the value general education plays in their learning.  (3.B.1, 3.B.2, 3.B.3, 3.B.5)  

Designing, Aligning, and Delivering Co-curricular Activities to Support Learning

Students at Southeast Tech have the opportunity to participate in various professional student organizations, primarily linked to career areas. These organizations promote leadership, field exposure, opportunities to attend state, regional and national conferences and competitions, and networking opportunities with employers. Currently, Southeast Tech has sixteen student program organizations (see 1P 2  for listing). In addition to these organizations, Southeast Tech’s Student Government Association (SGA) provides students the opportunity to build leadership skills while providing student input into the planning and operations of the Institute.  SGA is composed of two members from each program and is responsible for the development and implementation of campus student activities and campus events such as movie/pizza night, talent shows, dances, and holiday celebrations. (3.E.1)

To form a student organization or club, students must complete an application with the Student Activities Coordinator and develop a set of by-laws.  All student organizations must be directly linked to a program of study. Student clubs can be developed around student interest areas, such as music, art, gaming, etc.  Prior to approval, both organizations and clubs must have at least one Southeast Tech employee assigned as an advisor. All clubs and organizations must have a minimum of five active members. (3.E.1)

Each year both organizations and clubs are required to participate in a minimum of one service learning event.  To assure that this requirement is met, Southeast Tech will be piloting an annual reporting process in 2017-2018, submitted to the Student Activities Coordinator, that details the service learning event, participation, and final outcomes.  The report will also provide details on other organization/club accomplishments and activities and how the group reinforces CLO or PLO development. The report will then be made available to Southeast Tech stakeholders on STInet and incorporated into future planning and budget through the Annual Planning process (4P 2 ). (3.E.1)

Once a student organization or club is established, it is allowed to continue into the next year as long as:  1. the by-laws are up-to-date; 2. an advisor is established; and 3. membership is kept at five or more students. (4.B.2).   

Selecting Tools and Targets AND Assessing Common Learning Outcomes 

A Brief History on CLO Assessment: The initial tools, assessment targets, and timetable for measuring the CLO’s was developed by Southeast Tech’s former Assessment Coordinator and Assessment Committee. From 2005-2010, a Writing Across the Curriculum assessment was implemented to measure the CLO of written communication. Programs from across the Institution submitted student writing samples, which were rated in the summer by a team of English faculty. Assessment of the technology, problem-solving, and professionalism CLO’s was left up to the program teams with assessments conducted at the program level on an annual basis. In 2012, the Celebrating Learning Team (CLT) was formed to develop a more Institutional-wide assessment process.  

The CLT developed and implemented a problem solving assessment in 2013, which collected student work on problem solving from programs across the Institute. The problem-solving assessment was repeated in 2014 after a CLT review and revision of the process.  In 2015-2016, the CLT developed and conducted an Institutional professionalism assessment pilot (Figure 1P1.2).

Current Tool Selection and Assessment Process:  The Celebrating Learning Team has been delegated the responsibility for overseeing Southeast Tech’s formal CLO assessment process. Team membership includes an Academic Administrator, a member of the campus Institutional Research Office, and faculty and staff representing programs and departments from across campus.  The CLT determines the methods used to assess the CLO’s at the institutional level and creates rubrics or other measures for CLO’s.  Measures are developed to allow Southeast Tech to gauge Institutional-level CLO achievement while at the same time are flexible enough to be individualized at the program level to meet varying industry requirements.  The CLT determines which CLO’s will be measured in what year (Figure 1P1.1 and 1P1.2) and establishes Institutional assessment targets, which are then approved by the Administrative Team. (4.B.1, 4.B.4)

Throughout the process of selecting assessment tools, setting assessment targets, and developing and deploying CLO assessments, the CLT seeks direction and input from faculty and staff at all-campus monthly meetings, in-services, through email requests for suggestions, and through direct discussions with CLT members.  Prior to any assessment selection or implementation, the process is approved by the Southeast Tech Academic Administrative Team. The CLT members function as coaches for faculty and staff, helping them throughout the process of creating and implementing CLO assessments, as well as helping programs to develop action plans based on assessment results. (4.B.4)

CLO’s are assessed on a rotational schedule established by the CLT (Figure 1P1.1). Southeast Tech generally assesses CLO’s during the spring semesters and requests that programs assess those students who are closest to graduating.  Each program is responsible for conducting and submitting results of the CLO assessment within their program area. The CLT provides assistance in this process as needed and guides faculty in the completion of the assessment. (4.B.1)

Once the assessment results are collected, the assessment data is aggregated by the Institutional Research Office and reviewed by the CLT during the Team’s summer retreat. Aggregated and disaggregated-by-program data are stored in Southeast Tech’s Planning and Assessments database and are available for review by all Institutional employees on the STInet intranet site.  An Institutional assessment report is created, and overall Institutional and individual program results are presented at employee meetings and/or posted on the Institutional STInet site to provide access to all employees. The assessment report includes an analysis of the overall student strengths and weaknesses as related to the CLO’s and provides suggestions for improvement or further analysis by program and general education faculty. Program faculty then use their individual program results for program improvement and review by Advisory Committees (1P 2 ). Overall results are posted within the Systems Portfolio for external stakeholder access (1R 1 ).

Along with direct assessment of CLO achievement, Southeast Tech also uses its Job Placement and Employer Survey results to assess student overall achievement. Placement rates and Employer Survey results, which include questions directly related to CLO achievement, are located in 1R 1  and provide indirect evidence that the Institute is meeting its CLO assessment objectives.  The CLT analyzes the data from both of these sources with the direct assessment data as part of its review of graduate academic achievement of CLO’s. 

At the Institutional level, the CLT reviews the overall results and determines what actions, if any, are necessary for improvement.  The CLT then implements actions and makes recommendations to Southeast Tech administration for those actions needing administrative approval or support (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.4).  

Southeast Tech defines four Institutional student learning outcomes and measures these outcomes both at the Institutional and program levels:

Science and Technology                

Program areas define specific measurements and targets that meet the technical standards required of their industry (1R 2 Figure 1R2.1 Proving Student Learning Chart).  To document the achievement of an Institutional-level Science and Technology Outcome, each program runs the assessment and reports the results to the Office of Institutional Research, reporting the number taking the assessment and the number achieving the established target level. This information is then aggregated into an Institutional Science and Technology CLO assessment result, allowing program flexibility in determining an appropriate technical standards assessment, while assuring that Institutional Research can aggregate data into an Institutional-level achievement result.

Problem Solving/Critical Thinking

The Celebrating Learning Team (CLT) developed a problem-solving/critical thinking rubric that is easily adaptable to the needs of individual program areas.  Each program uses this common rubric to score an appropriate problem-solving assessment for their program area.  These results are then aggregated by the Office of Institutional Research for the Institutional-level problem solving/critical thinking assessment.    


Southeast Tech has developed a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) communication assessment based on program student writing samples within a range of appropriate writing assignments as determined by programs and approved by the English department faculty to assure the writing sample meets requirements for assessment.  The samples are scored based on a WAC rubric designed by the CLT with input from English faculty.  Results are provided to the Office of Institutional Research to be aggregated into the Institutional-level communication assessment.


In Spring 2016, Southeast Tech piloted its Institutional-level professionalism assessment.  The CLT created a rubric that is adaptable to all program areas.  Programs then conducted the assessment with results returned to the Office of Institutional Research to be aggregated into Institutional-level results.  

For all assessments, the Office of Institutional Research and CLT develops and publishes on STInet reports providing aggregated and disaggregated analysis and results.  The CLT also disseminates the report to all employees through email and on the STInet site.  CLT members discussed individual program results with program faculty as requested.


1R1 Common Learning Outcome Results

What are the results for determining if students possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are expected at each degree

  • 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 AND Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

Assessment Results Timeline History

In 2004-2005, Southeast Tech began the process of developing Institutional-level CLO assessments.  However, the Institute realized that it could not begin assessments in all four areas at the same time; therefore, the HLC Assessment Committee (now CLT) reviewed the 2001 and 2003 Employer Survey results (Table 1R1.3), which indicated that employers rated graduate communication skills lower than the other three CLO’s.  (While the committee recognized the fact that problem-solving skills rated lower than communication skills in 2001, a significant change occurred in that skill rating in 2003.  Therefore, the committee focused on communication and decided to wait for future survey results on problem-solving skills.)

Science and Technology

As indicated in Table 1R1.1, Southeast Tech has been conducting science and technology skill achievement (Technical Skills) for many years. In fact, these assessments have been conducted since the 1990’s.

2010-2016 Analysis and Insights:  Because technical skills vary greatly by program, each individual program uses their individual results for analysis and improvement (1P 2  and 1R 2 ). At the Institutional level, these results are documented and analyzed by the Celebrating Learning Team to assure that technical skill attainment, which is key to the mission of the Institute, is reaching the established target (80%). For the past six years, the Institute has met or exceeded the target except in 2013-2014 where it fell to 78%.  While no specific reason was determined regarding the drop, the Institute returned to above target results the following year and maintained that level in 2015-2016.  (Note: 2016-2017 results will be available in summer/fall 2017.)


In 2005, the Institute conducted a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) assessment pilot.  Student writing samples were gathered from all divisions and were analyzed and rated by Southeast Tech English faculty using a Likert scale rubric. An overall rubric score of 22 was determined by the HLC Assessment Committee to represent achievement of the student performance target.  The score represented a 69% average on the seven WAC writing categories, which the committee determined would indicate an “average/acceptable score” for workplace writing competence.  The Institute continued with the assessment until the results reached the established target level (Table 1R1.2).

2005 Analysis and Insights:  As a pilot, Southeast Tech was satisfied with the initial results; however, through a reflection of the process, it was determined that incomplete directions were given to faculty regarding the student writing samples.  Clearer direction was necessary to assure that the assessment process targeted student writing consistently across campus. Training and clearer direction was provided through monthly meetings and individual program assistance by the HLC Assessment Committee.

2006-2008 Analysis Insights:  Throughout the next three years, Southeast Tech’s HLC Assessment Committee continued to tweak the WAC assessment, providing faculty in-service presentations on writing, discussions on writing within program areas, and increasing program participation in the assessment process.  

2009 Analysis Insights:  The HLC Assessment Committee felt that by 2009 the Institute had developed a solid CLO writing assessment. Programs found the assessment helpful in building and evaluating student writing ability and made curriculum and other changes accordingly. The results and changes were shared at faculty in-service sessions. As a result of analyzing trends and level of student achievement in writing, for example, program faculty became more aware of the need to emphasize the importance of written composition as evidenced by the fact that more writing assignments were introduced into program curriculum, and more program faculty considered writing quality when grading assignments.  Throughout this process, Southeast Tech built an awareness of the importance of writing on campus and in the workplace.

2010 Analysis Insights:  In 2010, Southeast Tech met its CLO writing assessment target.  With a successful implementation completed, the Institute moved into the development and deployment of assessments for the remaining CLO’s.

Problem Solving/Critical Thinking

Having successfully deployed a Communication CLO assessment, the Institute again reviewed employer survey results for 2009 and 2011 to determine which CLO to target next.  As shown in Table 1R1.3, problem-solving skills showed the most opportunity for employer satisfaction improvement.  A problem-solving assessment rubric and assessment process were developed in 2011-2012 with a pilot conducted in 2012-2013.  After revision and reflection by the CLT, a follow-up assessment was conducted in 2013-2014.  Similar to the communications assessments, programs collected student work on problem solving skills appropriate for their career area, scored the work based on a common rubric, and submitted the scores to the Office of Institutional Research, which aggregated the results and presented them to the Celebrating Learning Team for review.  Final reports on both years of the problem-solving assessment were provided to stakeholders for further review, reflection, and action.  

2013-2014 Analysis and Insights: The CLT used the 2012-2013 pilot problem-solving assessment to determine the effectiveness of the rubric and the associated assessment process.  Overall, the Team felt that both the rubric and process were effective in assessing student problem-solving skills.  The CLT decided to conduct a full problem-solving assessment the following year and use the two sets of results for a full analysis.  The CLT also set as its target that “90% of assessed students will score at a 15 or higher on the established rubric.”  A score of 15 would require the student to score an average of a 3 Agree (proficient) on each of the five assessed areas.    

2014-2015 Analysis and Insights:  Thirty-five programs, representing approximately 80% of all Institute programs, completed the problem-solving assessment as well as five general education areas (Math, English, General Psychology, Sociology, and Speech).  For those areas participating in both assessments, comparison data was provided for each year.  As an Institute, 80% (493 out of 614) of the assessed students reached the target level (Table 1R1.1), an increase of 3% over the pilot assessment’s 77% (573 out of 746).   Each program was provided the specific comparison data related to their program students. Overall, 54% of the areas reached “90% of target or higher”.   While the Institute did not reach its set target, the CLT set the target high in order to push for continuous improvement in problem-solving.

Analyzing the results in terms of each part of the rubric, the Institute found that “selecting the best solution” and “analyzing solutions” had the greatest opportunity for improvement.  The April 2015 ”Problem Solving Assessment Report” was provided to all program areas with instructions to use the data for further area improvement (1I 1 ). 


In Spring 2016, Southeast Tech conducted a pilot Institutional professionalism assessment that included 13 Southeast Tech programs from across the campus.  A total of 134 students were assessed.  

2015-2016 Analysis and Insights: Of the five professionalism rubric areas, commitment to lifelong learning appeared to be the most common opportunity for improvement; however, this area is also more difficult to quantify and evaluate, and will require the Institute to discuss more in-depth what constitutes a true measure of lifelong learning. Overall, the results did meet the target and are indicators that the Institute is meeting its professionalism CLO (Table 1R1.1). Programs were provided with their individual program results to use for program-level.  The Institute is currently conducting the professionalism assessment for a campus-wide measure.  The CLO will review these results in summer 2017 and determine future action steps at that time.

Employer Surveys

As part of its Employer Survey conducted every other year, Southeast Tech asks employers to rate its most recent graduates (past two years) in a variety of categories.  These results, which are directly related to the four common learning outcomes, provide additional support regarding common learning outcome achievement and played a significant role in the Institute’s determination regarding the order for measuring the CLO’s.

Employers are asked to indicate what they expected the graduate performance level to be and the actual performance level for each area. 

For Tables 1R1.3, 1R1.4, and 1R1.5, the first number by the CLO indicates the graduates’ actual performance level average. The second number indicates the employer’s expected performance level average. The number in parentheses indicates if the graduate exceeded expectations (+) or not (-). The Southeast Tech goal is for the gap between actual and expected performance to be within +/- .10.  

In all three tables, Southeast Tech has found that the Institute is doing an excellent job of meeting employer needs as related to the CLO’s.

2015-2016 Analysis and Insights:  Both Table 1R1.3 and Table 1R1.4 are discussed in the sections above in relation to the CLO’s. Results for both the 2013 and 2015 employer survey (Table 1R1.5) indicate a larger negative gap between actual and expected performance for the Problem Solving CLO (-0.14 and -0.12 respectively).  While the overall graduate performance scores are similar or even higher than previous years, employer expectations have risen as well, causing Communication and Problem Solving to have a negative gap (-.14 and -.16 respectively) in spring 2013, and again in problem solving (-.12) in spring 2015.  As part of the Strategic Plan (4P 2 ), the Institute will be gathering employer data on the CLO’s to assure that the CLO’s are still meeting industry needs.  Additionally, in spring 2017 Southeast Tech initiated sector breakfasts to gather direct employer expectations of the Institute and its graduates to better meet their needs. Finally, the Institute conducted its Employer Survey again during spring/summer 2017.  

During summer 2017, the Office of Institutional Research will 1. collect and develop a report of the Employer Survey data; 2. collect, with the Celebrating Learning Team, information from employers on the CLO’s and any additions/adjustments based on employer and internal stakeholder input, and 3. gather the  data from the sector breakfasts.  Once collected, all three will be presented to the CLT for potential review and revision of the CLO’s and to the External Stakeholders Relationships Team for improvements in services and educational offerings to industry (3P 3 ).


1I1 Common Learning Outcome Improvements

Based on 1R 1 , what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years? (4.B.3)

Improvements at the Institutional level:

  • Created and implement the Online Student Support position in 2013 to further support online student academic performance and assure CLO across all modalities
  • Developed and implemented a common problem-solving and professionalism rubric (CLT) to provide a consistent CLO assessment method and move these assessments from the program to the Institute level. The Institute has established outcomes that are aggregated campus-wide and disaggregated by program.
  • Began review process of CLO’s to assure the CLO’s directly align with the Institute’s new mission statement and meet stakeholder needs. The review will be completed in summer 2017. To accomplish this, the CLT developed a survey for faculty to use with Advisory Committees to gather input regarding CLO’s. The survey was also sent to non-advisory stakeholders for input through our Career Connections software. Gathered data will be analyzed by the CLT, which will revise the current CLO’s as needed and make its recommendations to the Futures Team, which will review the CLO’s, make further adjustments, and send to the Administrative Team. The process will continue from the Administrative Team to the Council and finally to the Board, which will adopt new CLO’s for the Institute. Category 1 page 10
  • The Institute’s second all-campus Diversity Fair was held in April 2017. The fair’s booths represented cultural, ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, and other forms of diversity. Booth representatives shared their stories, experiences, talents and traditions with the campus community. The Institute’s goal is to hold the Diversity Fair every other year.

Examples of improvements at the program and department levels include:

  • Since 2010, the Construction Management program has made significant changes to its curriculum based upon industry standards, the needs expressed by the Advisory Committee and the desire to improve student achievement on the Communication CLO.  These curriculum changes included BUS 130 Business Communications, which has helped program students gain more confidence in their communication skills.
  • Based on student feedback, peer listening sessions, and assessments of student learning, the Automotive program integrated more technology assistance into the classroom experience. Online testing and assignments have been implemented since 2010 with tests now almost exclusively completed online. Technology has also been used to record video of procedures and shop projects to better assist students and help them meet assessment requirements. Cameras and video display is also used in the lab so students can better view and detail live demonstrations. These changes were based on the program’s efforts to better meet the Institute’s Communication CLO.
  • The Automotive program added more industry certifications embedded into the program’s curriculum, providing more opportunities to assure technical skill standards are met through industry-recognized assessments.
  • To improve student performance for the Institute’s Professionalism CLO and based on Advisory Committee input, the Automotive program now requires students to wear uniforms and assesses student safety, work ethic and overall professionalism levels daily.
  • To improve mastery in Problem Solving skills, the General Education Mathematics department implemented the Hawkes Learning Systems software in 2015, which promotes mastery-level learning and offers immediate feedback with an Artificial Intelligence component. The department also implemented Math 099 in Fall 2012, a co-requisite course taken with Math 101 Intermediate Algebra and/or Math 102 College Algebra to provide students with additional support and resources.
  • To improve mastery in Communication skills, the General Education English department implemented ENGL 099, a co-requisite course taken with ENGL 101 Composition to provide students with additional support and resources.

Over the next three years, Southeast Tech’s priorities for improving Common Learning Outcome results include:

  • Introducing (2017-2018) through the CLT the new CLO’s to the Southeast Tech community and begin work on Program Learning Outcome (PLO) review (1P2).
  • Strengthening co-curricular programming and assessment through full implementation of the assessment and reporting process by the SGA/Student Activities Coordinator
  • Embedding CLO assessments into program curriculum and striving for 100% program participation through the efforts of the CLT.


1P2 Program Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities graduates from particular programs are expected to possess. Describe the processes for determining, communicating, and ensuring the stated program learning outcomes and who is involved in those processes. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Aligning program learning outcomes to the mission, educational offerings, and degree levels of the institution (3.E.2)
  • Determining program outcomes (4.B.4)
  • Ensuring the outcomes remain relevant and aligned with student, workplace, and societal needs (3.B.4)
  • Articulating the purposes, content, and level of achievement of the outcomes (4.B.1)
  • Designing, aligning, and delivering co-curricular activities to support learning (3.E.1, 4.B.2)
  • Selecting tools/methods/instruments used to assess attainment of program learning outcomes (4.B.2)
  • Assessing program learning outcomes (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.4)

Program Learning Outcomes Process:  A Brief History

Since 1995, Southeast Tech has conducted assessments on program learning outcomes.  It is the Institute’s goal that every program conducts a program-level assessment on an annual basis.  Prior to the creation of the Celebrating Learning Team (CLT) (1P 1 ), Southeast Tech relied on an Assessment Coordinator and the Office of Institutional Research to assist faculty in developing, conducting and analyzing program assessments.  While this initial approach provided the Institute with the ability to begin its program assessment process, Southeast Tech recognized the need to broaden responsibility for assessment, resulting in the creation of the CLT. The CLT has now developed a full process for both common and program learning outcome assessments. 

Aligning Program Learning Outcomes to the Mission, Educational Offerings, and Degree Levels of the Institution AND Determining Program Outcomes

The formal process for determining and assuring alignment of Program Learning Outcomes (PLO’s) occurs after the alignment of the CLO’s to the new/revised Strategic Plan, mission, vision, and values.  Because PLO’s are categorized under the Institutional CLO’s, waiting for any CLO changes assures that CLO adjustments are accounted for during the alignment and revision of the PLO’s.  PLO revision and alignment, therefore, begins toward the end of the first year of the strategic plan and is completed prior to the end of the second plan year (1P 1  Figure 1P1.1). 

Program faculty are charged by administration with developing specific PLO’s for their particular programs.  External stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide input on PLO’s through the Employer Survey, which is disaggregated by program for program faculty review, and through the program’s Advisory Committee.  Programs with external accreditations specific to their field utilize these requirements/standards in the development of their PLO’s. Determining the methods for assessing student PLO attainment, and the assessment of attainment, is the responsibility of program faculty with support and guidance from the immediate supervisor and the CLT.  Assessment methods and results are provided in 1R 2 . (4.B.4)  

The CLT provides support to programs and assures that programs complete the alignment process by requiring notification of completion as well as a report of new/revised PLO’s.  The PLO’s are communicated through the Southeast Tech Catalog and are available on the Southeast Tech website for stakeholder viewing.  All PLO’s are approved by the Academic Administrator who oversees that program area.  Upon approval of the PLO’s, the Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Students work with the departments to communicate the PLO’s to all Southeast Tech stakeholders. 

While Southeast Tech’s mission is to educate for employment, the Institute makes no explicit claim to students regarding job placement; however, Southeast Tech strongly believes that it fulfills its mission of educating for employment and meet any unspoken claims regarding contributions the Institute may provide to student’s educational experience based on high graduate placement rates (1R 2 ). (3.E.2)

Ensuring Program Learning Outcomes Remain Relevant and Aligned with Student, Workplace, and Societal Needs

Program faculty ensure that their learning outcomes are relevant and aligned to student, workplace, and societal needs in a number of ways: interactions with business and industry representatives, bi-annual Advisory Committee meetings, external accreditation reviews, internal inservice learning outcome work sessions, participation in professional organizations and conferences, analysis of Employer Survey results and graduate placement rates.  The use of external stakeholder input is essential in assuring an objective review of the relevance of program learning outcomes that meet industry and community needs. Review of the various inputs and revisions of PLO’s are reported in Advisory Committee meeting minutes and reviewed by an Academic Administrator to assure the review occurs and adjustments are completed. During program meetings with the Southeast Tech Academic Administrative Team, adjustments to PLO’s are made as needed.   If an entire course or program change is determined necessary, the change must go through the Institute’s Curriculum Committee process (1P 4 ).

Because the respect for diversity is one of Southeast Tech’s core values, awareness of the human and cultural diversity of a global society is incorporated into our Professionalism CLO and is included in instruction as learning outcomes within the general education Social Issues class, program coursework, and the Student Success Seminar course.  Diversity events, activities, and/or communications are provided annually. (3.B.4) 

Articulating the Purposes, Content, and Level of Achievement of Program Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes are articulated to all stakeholders on the program curriculum pages of the Southeast Tech Catalog, which is located on the Southeast Tech website.  PLO’s are also provided on standardized syllabi according to the outcomes associated with that particular course.  During JumpStart orientation days, program students review PLO’s with program faculty prior to beginning their program of study.  PLO’s are also frequently reviewed with students during Academic Advising. (4.B.1) 

Designing, Aligning, and Delivering Co-curricular Activities to Support Learning

As described in 1P 1  Common Learning Outcomes, Southeast Tech has a number of co-curricular activities directly linked to specific career areas.  These professional student organizations provide student exposure to their career field as well as opportunities to participate in state, regional and national conferences and competitions and to network with potential employers.  Currently, Southeast Tech has sixteen student program organizations.  The program associated with the organization is listed in parentheses.  (4.B.2) 

  • AITP (IT programs)

  • Animation Technology Artisans (Digital Media Production)

  • Civil Engineering Technology Student Organizations (Civil Engineering Tech and Land Surveying)

  • Construction Management Student Organization (Construction Management)

  • Dakota Turf/Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (Sports Turf Management)

  • Early Childhood Student Organization (Early Childhood)

  • Electroneurodiagnostic Technology Student Organization (ENDT)

  • Law Enforcement Student Organization (Law Enforcement)

  • National Association of Landscape Professionals (Horticulture programs)

  • Nuclear Medicine Student Organization (Nuclear Medicine)

  • SkillsUSA (Automotive and various other programs)

  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers (Mechanical Engineering Tech)

  • South Dakota Advertising Federation (Media Design)

  • Southeast Tech Student HVAC Association (HVAC)

  • Student Chapter of the Sioux Falls Home Builder’s Association (Architectural Engineering)

  • Student Practical Nurses Association (LPN/RN)

All student organizations (and Southeast Tech clubs) must meet specific requirements as defined in 1P 1 . (3.E.1)

Selecting Tools/Methods/Instruments Used to Assess Attainment of Program Learning Outcomes 

Faculty select various assessment tools and conduct assessments based on standards for their specialized fields. Because program faculty have worked in the professions they teach and continue to have direct ties to the industry through professional organizations, they are in the best position to know the needs of their industry and the type of assessment that works best in their field. Therefore, every program selects its own assessment tool and conducts its own assessments (1R 1  Proving Student Learning Chart).  

Program faculty then use the “Measuring Student Learning Cycle” to develop and implement their program assessments (Figure 2P1.1)

1. Capture/Develop/Decide:  Program faculty take inputs from Advisory Committees, stakeholder surveys (Employer, Graduate and Student), common learning outcome assessments, etc. and use the information to develop program outcome assessments and assessment targets.  The assessment tool and associated targets are then reviewed by the CLT and the program’s Academic Administrator.  

2. Deploy:  Program outcomes are then measured through an assessment tool chosen or developed by program faculty.  Common tools are certifications/licensures, program evaluations, portfolios, projects, etc.  Program faculty conduct the assessment and gather the results.

3. Evaluate:  Assessment analysis against the established targets is conducted by the program faculty with assistance as needed by the CLT and Office of Institutional Research.  Analysis includes the direct measures developed in step 1, but it may also include indirect measures such as employer surveys and graduate and retention data.  The analysis is documented in the Planning and Assessments database.

4. Plan:  From the assessment, plans for improvement are developed and documented in the Planning and Assessments database, including timelines for completion, which become part of the Annual Planning process (4P 2 ). (4.B.1, 4.B.3, 4.B.4)

5. Act:  The plans in Step 4 are then implemented and may result in modified curriculum, requests for more resources, adjustments in entrance or graduation requirements, etc.

6. Communicate/Publish:  Annual outcomes are documented in the Planning and Assessments database and may also become part of Advisory Committee minutes, the President’s report, State Program Review, etc.  The cycle then begins again at Step 1.     

To assure that faculty have the time to complete assessments and assessment reports, Southeast Tech utilizes faculty non-student contact days.  Faculty can use one or more of these days to complete assessment requirements and develop assessment and improvement plans. Training on assessment occurs during new faculty training, in-service and workshop sessions, and during monthly building meetings.  (4.B.1, 4.B.2, 4.B.3, 4.B.4)

Assessing Program Learning Outcomes

Southeast Tech measures program learning outcomes on an individual program level through the following direct measures:

Program Level Assessment:  Every program has developed a program-specific outcome assessment tool based on what faculty, with Advisory Committee input and Academic Administrative approval, believe to be the most appropriate assessment for their particular career field.  These may include project/presentation scores, certification/licensure pass rates, portfolios, pre/post-testing, etc. (Figure 1R2.1 Proving Student Learning).  

Licensures and Certifications:  Many Southeast Tech students take national licensure or certifications associated with their program areas, a direct measure of student academic achievement.

Indirect measures are also used to measure program learning outcomes:

  • Southeast Tech’s employer survey is disaggregated by program with results available to program faculty for review and analysis.  Categories on the survey directly relate to learning outcomes and provide an employer assessment of graduate performance (1R 4 ).
  • Though not as strong of an outcome indicator, employment rates also provide general information regarding graduate performance.  A low program employment rate may suggest that employers are not satisfied with the ability of the program graduates, indicating that the Institute needs to conduct further analysis of its curriculum and assessment processes (1R 4 ).

The results of all of these measures are analyzed at the program level and documented in the Planning and Assessments database.


1R2 Program Learning Outcome Results

What are the results for determining if students possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are expected in programs?
• Outcomes/measures tracked and tools utilized
• Overall levels of deployment of assessment processes within the institution
• Summary results of assessments (include tables and figures when possible)
• Comparison of results with internal targets and external benchmarks
• Interpretation of assessment results and insights gained

Overall Levels of Deployment of Assessment Processes Within the Institution

Southeast Tech has a long history of deploying program-level assessments dating back to the 1990s.  The Institute uses direct assessments of student learning at the pre-program, program summative and program completion levels (Figure 1R2.1).  The pre-program level provides the Institute with entry-student program readiness (entrance requirements) and placement results (English, math and reading).  While not used for program level assessment, proper entrance and placement requirements help the Institute assure program level outcomes are achieved.

Program-level assessment is accomplished at the Summative and Program Completion levels.  As shown in Figure 1R2.1, all Southeast Tech programs establish specific program-level assessments with some programs conducting more than one.  

It is Southeast Tech’s goal that programs conduct their assessments on an annual basis; however, due to major changes in program curriculum, faculty, or other factors, not every program is able to conduct their assessment every year.  

To assure that assessments are completed on a regular basis, Southeast Tech’s target is for 100% of programs to complete a program assessment a minimum of once every three years and 90% a minimum of once every two years.  Table 1R2.1 provides the percentage of programs meeting these two targets.

While Southeast Tech has met the “During 3 Year” target in 2011 and 2012, and the “During 2 Year” target in 2010-2013, overall participation in program assessment has fallen to within 90% of target for both 2014 and 2015.  This is partly due to the addition of new programming and new faculty who are currently working to develop program-level assessments. However, some of the discrepancy is also due to programs not completing or not documenting their assessments.

Programs not meeting the participation targets are assisted by the Celebrating Learning Team to get the program’s assessments back on track.  The Institute recognizes that new programs and new faculty are in need of additional training and assistance; therefore, the Institute has included this area for future improvements (1I 2 ). 

Summary Results of Assessments AND Comparison of Results with Internal Targets and External Benchmarks, AND Insights Gained

Program Level Assessment: Each program analyzes its own specific program assessment in order to determine if its target level is being met.  While it is not possible to show each program’s results within the portfolio, Table 1R2.2 provides the percentage of programs meeting their program-specific targets (green) as well as the percentage within 90% of target (yellow) and the percentage below 90% of target (red). 

2010-2016 Analysis and Insights: While the initial reaction to only 66% (year 2015-2016) of programs meeting their assessment targets might be negative, a review of these targets indicates that programs have set significantly high expectations.  These expectations not only challenge the students, it challenges the program to determine ways to meet the assessment expectations. While it would be easier to set lower targets that can be easily obtained, setting stretch targets has led the Institute to more significant improvements at the program level (1I 2 ).   

Licensures and Certifications:  Twenty Southeast Tech programs are associated with one or more state or national licensures/certifications, which provide the Institute with an additional assessment of student learning at the program level, and in many cases the opportunity for national benchmarking.  As Table 1R2.3 shows, Southeast Tech students regularly perform above the national average, meeting the Institutional target.  

2010-2016 Analysis and Insights: Southeast Tech is pleased with the certification results, which are consistently above national pass rates.  No Institute actions are planned; however, individual programs review results and set actions accordingly.

Employer Survey:  Employer survey results are provided in 1R 4  as indicators of program quality; however, these results are also indicators of meeting program learning outcomes. Each program receives disaggregated data from the employer survey, which can then be used as an indirect measure of program assessment in thirteen areas:  oral and written communication, customer service, interpersonal, problem solving, equipment familiarity, team, technical, safety, computer literacy, math and work ethic skills as well as overall performance.  

Analysis and Insights: While providing individual program employer survey data within this portfolio is not possible, Southeast Tech graduates receive high praise from employers in almost every survey category regardless of program, generally meeting or outperforming employer expectations.  In relation to program learning outcomes, the 1R4 Table 1R4.2 indicates the percentage of programs with scores in the specific survey categories that average at the 3+ and 4+ ranking on a five point rating scale.  Table 1R4.3 provides evidence that a positive difference between actual and expected performance exists for the majority of the categories. Programs each use disaggregated data to develop action plans to better meet employer survey needs. Southeast Tech is currently collecting and analyzing the results of its 2017 Employer Survey, which will be completed Summer 2017.

Employment Rates:  As a technical institute with a mission of educating for employment, graduate employment rates provide an additional indirect measure of student program outcome achievement. Employment rates are also indicators of program quality; therefore, employment rates are provided in 1R 4 .

Analysis and Insights: A review of the Institute’s six-month graduate employment rates, which have been consistently at 90+% for employment and at 89+% for employment in field/related field, provides a strong indirect measure that the Institute is meeting its mission. 


1I2 Program Learning Outcome Improvements

Based on 1R 2 , what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years? (4.B.3)

Improvement at the Institutional level:

  • Increased understanding across campus regarding the importance of program assessment and its role in continuous quality improvement;
  • A knowledgeable Celebrating Learning Team that can assist program faculty with assessments and monitor assessment activity;
  • The expansion of the Celebrating Learning Team to include staff members and department assessments.

Examples of Improvements at the program level include:

The Mechanical Engineering Technology program added eight Afinia 3D printers and switched to SolidWorks as its main modeling software to better align program training with local employers, based on industry standards, Advisory Committee input, and technical assessment results.

The Automotive program’s new lab (Fall 2016) increased the program’s ability to meet student needs by providing more lab space and better lab environment. Students can now work in groups of two instead of three, increasing learning opportunities. In addition, the program added new equipment, based on the prompting of industry.  Industry and the Advisory Committee have also been requesting more program graduates, and the program has had a long history of student wait lists for the program.  The new facility has allowed the Institute to increase student program enrollments to better meet industry needs. More hands-on opportunities for students has provided students more opportunities to improve their technical skills as well.

The System Administrator program now has a $110,000 NetLab virtual lab pod, which creates an online lab environment that can be accessed anywhere in the world.  It is used for the program’s VMware vSphere training.  The Advisory Committee recommended that the program teach vSphere. VMware is the industry standard for virtualization platforms for both medium and large businesses.  Southeast Tech’s faculty recognized the need to include this skill in its curriculum and administration assured that the instructor received the necessary training.  In addition to improving curriculum, the change has helped many students obtain jobs specifically because of their training in VMware.

Beginning in Fall 2014, the Surgical Technology program changed from a one year diploma program to a two year AAS program based on its national accreditation review and student feedback. The program’s national accrediting body, CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) determined that surgical technology programs should award a minimum of an Associate’s Degree by August 1, 2021. However, Southeast Tech escalated the timeline based on satisfaction surveys of graduates nine months after program completion.   Over the past three years of graduate satisfaction survey results, a common suggestion among graduates (18 out of 30 or 60% of graduates) voiced their agreement that in order to meet training needs of the profession, the additional year of coursework was appropriate due to the large content-driven curriculum.  

Based on results of its program learning assessments, the Biomedical Equipment Technology program implemented weekly assessment testing, similar to the national testing process.  The change improved student performance on the program’s learning assessments. 

The Early Childhood program, based on data collected from student requests and industry needs, introduced a hybrid program in Fall 2011. The hybrid option was later changed from weekend offerings to week day offerings at the request of students to accommodate student family needs.  Class sizes were increased as well to meet industry needs, and to increase student lab experiences and improve assessment results, the on-campus childcare center was added as a ”lab” environment site, giving students more hands-on experiences with children in order to improve program learning outcomes. Students work at the center for one-hour per week or 14 weeks in the first and second semesters. The center’s staff serve as mentors to the Early Childhood students, strengthening the skills for both the staff and the students. In Fall 2013, a remodeled location was dedicated to the program, providing a lab experience designed specifically for the program.  To meet increased student numbers and retain program quality, an additional faculty member was added in Fall 2014.  To provide a better opportunity for students to continue in the program even after a failed semester, the Institute moved the hybrid program into a spring start (Spring 2015), allowing new students the opportunity to start in January and current students to retake failed courses without having to wait until August of the following year.  The change also created the opportunity for non-traditional students to attend courses part time and continue to work during their enrollment.

While most programs are laptop based, Southeast Tech’s Invasive Cardiovascular Technology and Surgical Technology programs opted for an IPAD based classroom due to the opportunities the IPADs provide for graphic displays of human anatomy and learning apps that apply to their program areas.

Over the next three years, Southeast Tech’s priorities for improving Program Learning Outcome results include:

  • Assuring that a CLT member is immediately assigned to all new programs and new faculty to provide direct assessment mentoring.
  • Providing basic assessment concept training as part of the new employee onboarding course (3P1) to assure all employees understand CLO and PLO assessments.  
  • Providing a more in-depth training to new faculty as part of the faculty training program (3P1).


1P3 Academic Program Design

1P3 Academic Program Design

Academic Program Design focuses on developing and revising programs to meet stakeholders’ needs. Describe the processes for ensuring new and current programs meet the needs of the institution and its diverse stakeholders. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Identifying student stakeholder groups and determining their educational needs (1.C.1, 1.C.2)
  • Identifying other key stakeholder groups and determining their needs (1.C.1, 1.C.2)
  • Developing and improving responsive programming to meet all stakeholders’ needs (1.C.1, 1.C.2)
  • Selecting the tools/methods/instruments used to assess the currency and effectiveness of academic programs
  • Reviewing the viability of courses and programs and changing or discontinuing when necessary (4.A.1)

Identifying Student Stakeholder Groups and Determining Educational Needs
Note:  Because Southeast Tech’s specific student stakeholder groups frequently become our key student groups (2P 1 ), the Institute has provided more detail on how it works with these student stakeholder groups in Category 2. In this section, the Institute will focus on the larger general population stakeholder groups we serve and how we meet their educational needs. 

Southeast Tech’s current mission is to “educate for employment.”  Therefore, our academic offerings are developed to specifically meet that mission, and the general student stakeholder groups we serve are those interested in pursuing educational options that lead to specific industry careers.  Currently, the Institute offers the following options:

  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs: The AAS degree is designed to prepare students for a specific technical career and typically requires 60-75 credits for completion, including technical and general education courses. A full time student will generally complete the program in two years.
  • Diploma programs: Diploma programs are also designed for entry-level positions in a specific technical career but typically require fewer credits for achievement and generally range from 30 to 45 credits with around five to nine general education credits.  A full time student will typically complete a diploma program in one year or less.  Diploma credits can frequently be used to fulfill AAS program requirements.
  • Certificate programs:  Southeast Tech currently offers a limited number of certificate programs, such as truck driving, which can generally be completed in a semester or less and require 16 or fewer credits or are non-credit based.  Certificate programs are very focused and seldom include general education coursework.  Certificate completion can frequently be used to fulfill requirements in diploma or AAS programs.

Capture:  Given the mission of the Institute and the above program options, Southeast Tech begins the process of identifying general student stakeholder groups by capturing the inputs related to student stakeholder identification. The Office of Institutional Research collects these inputs, which include regional demographic data (age, race, economic status, educational levels), internal student population data (full/part time, age, race, economic status, transfer/first time, etc.), Employer Survey results, and graduate job placement rates and locations. Additional data is provided through internal and external stakeholder input, which may include environmental/workforce scans, unemployment rate data, potential incoming industries, etc.  This information is frequently gathered through direct Institute connections with area Chambers of Commerce, Forward Sioux Falls, local school districts, state agencies, etc.   

Develop:  Once collected, data is reviewed by both the Student Success Team, Admissions and the Administrative Team.  The Admissions department analyzes the data to determine what changes have taken place in terms of student recruitment - what student stakeholder groups are growing or shrinking, how regional demographics are changing, etc.  This information is then used as part of the recruitment process to determine what adjustments are necessary to better recruit students interested in completing Institutional programs.  The Administrative Team analyzes the data to determine how the community we are serving is changing and how we, as an Institute, can better meet community needs.

Decide:  The Administrative Team, along with the Student Success Team and Admissions department, then determines what changes, if any, are necessary to the student stakeholder groups we serve and recruit.  These changes are then implemented and become part of the data collection process for future review and analysis.  Any changes to student stakeholder groups are communicated across campus to all employees through emails, direct discussions with those areas impacted by the change, and/or topics covered during monthly employee meetings.  Each year, as new data becomes available, it is analyzed for changes and measured for impact.  Student stakeholder groups are again reviewed and revised to determine any necessary changes. 

Once student stakeholder groups are identified, the Institute determines the group’s educational needs.  This process is described in full detail in 2P 1  and involves departments, programs and employees from across campus. In general terms, the new student stakeholder group is given to the Student Success Team and the Office of Institutional Research, who work together to determine the stakeholder group’s educational needs.  This is done by capturing and analyzing the data that was used to determine the student stakeholder groups, data provided from various departments, programs, and individuals from across campus, and Institutional research, which includes student retention, graduation rates, certificate completion, certifications received, etc. (See 2P 1  for Southeast Tech’s process for deployment, evaluation, publishing/communicating, and reflection for meeting student stakeholder groups needs.)  

Currently, the general population student stakeholders we serve, and the initial educational needs required of these groups, as well as a sample of the services we provide to meet those educational needs are:

  • First Time Students: For students attending post-secondary education for the first time, the transition can be difficult.  Students may have had strong support for pursuing higher education at home, but once the student moves to post-secondary education, that support may be far away and its impact may dwindle.  Southeast Tech strives to assist these students by providing Institutional support through the Student Success Seminar course, Student Success and Academic Advisors, and JumpStart orientation days (2P 1 ).
  • Transfer Students:  Transfer students to Southeast Tech make up 35-40% of the Institute’s student population.  These students need a simple, effective process for transferring courses as well as an understanding of how transfer may impact financial aid and time to graduation.  Southeast Tech offers a transfer equivalency calculator, reviews of financial aid, and initial registration and transfer review by Admissions to assist these students (2P 1 ).  
  • Underprepared Students:  Whether the underprepared student is first time or transfer, Southeast Tech strives to develop placement requirements that are specific to general education courses in order to assure that these students receive the initial assistance they need in order to be successful.  Admissions staff assure students are placed appropriately and that initial student schedules are created to provide students the best opportunity for success.  For students who have not yet received a GED or are in need of English as a Second Language (ESL) preparation prior to entry, Southeast Tech’s Hovland Learning Center provides these services.  Finally, for those students who attend Southeast Tech but struggle academically, the Institute offers pre-academic coursework, peer tutoring, an Academic Recovery course and Student Success lab (2P 1 ). (1.C.1, 1.C.2)
  • Full Time/Part Time Students: With a regional unemployment rate of less than 3%, almost all Southeast Tech students hold full or part time jobs.  This requires the Institute to be as flexible as possible with program offerings, which has resulted in Southeast Tech offering online programs and courses whenever possible, as well as flexible traditional schedules to meet student needs (2P 1 ). 
  • Program-Specific Students: Every program has its own unique requirements and rigor; therefore, Southeast Tech has established specific program entrance requirements to assure students entering the program are ready to meet the academic challenges for that program (see 1P 4  for the entrance requirement process).  For those students who do not meet these entrance requirements, Southeast Tech has developed numerous options, which may include completing a certificate or diploma program prior to entering an AAS program, or taking a program over an extended period of time.  

While ESL students are listed under “Underprepared Students”, the Institute has determined that this student stakeholder group’s needs may differ enough from the underprepared category to warrant further attention.  Therefore, the Institute has established a sub-committee of the Student Success Team and developed an AQIP Action Project to determine and address this student stakeholder group’s needs (1R 3  and 1I 3 ).  Additional information on the above student stakeholder groups and other key student groups can be found in 2P 1 . (1.C.1, 1.C.2)

Identifying Other Key Stakeholder Groups and Determining Needs  

Southeast Tech has always maintained excellent relationships with its non-student key stakeholder groups. However, the previous methods used to maintain these relationships was unaligned with other processes within the Institute.  While these previous methods provided opportunities to identify new key stakeholder groups and their needs, they did not assure that all new groups were identified, needs were addressed in the most effective manner, or that these stakeholder relationships were communicated effectively across campus.

Therefore, in 2016-2017 Southeast Tech developed a stronger process for identifying key stakeholders, determining and meeting their needs, and developing stronger stakeholder relationships. This process is fully described in 2P 2 . The Institute also implemented a new AQIP team, called the External Stakeholder Relationships Team, that is dedicated to key stakeholder groups.  This new team is described in 6P 2 .

See figure 2P3.1 for a list of the Institute’s currently identified non-student key stakeholder groups as well as how the Institute maintains these relationships and determines needs.  The table also indicates the current identified needs of the specified key stakeholder group and the champion who internally assures that stakeholder connections are maintained and enhanced. Each champion is a member of the External Stakeholder Relationships Team to assure internal communications on key stakeholders occurs.

Developing and Improving Responsive Programming to Meet All Stakeholders’ Needs 

Southeast Tech has long been recognized by its stakeholders for the Institute’s ability to respond to employer needs in a timely manner while assuring the learner receives the appropriate academic training and support required to meet industry need. This responsiveness and ability to meet all stakeholder needs is an Institutional advantage over four-year college competitors who cannot respond with the same agility.  

The development of responsive programming follows a formal approval process that includes input at the Institutional, Board, and State level as shown in Figure 1P3.2 and described below:

1. Stakeholder Input
The program approval process begins by capturing stakeholder input. Southeast Tech:

  • partners with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulations, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Development Foundation, and Forward Sioux Falls to combine resources in collecting and sharing economic trend and employment projection data, environmental scans, and regional demographics information;
  • holds industry forums to monitor employment trends;
  • gathers input from program faculty, program Advisory Committees, and employers to generate ideas for new programs and courses; 
  • collaborates with the South Dakota governor, legislators, and business and industry leaders to identify educational and training needs;
  • reviews Employer and Graduate surveys and other Institutional data, including student assessments, enrollments and retention and graduation rates, certifications and licensure results, etc., as they relate to the new or expanded program;
  • conducts needs assessments to establish program viability.

2. Program Proposal Development
Once the decision is made to pursue new programming, Southeast Tech’s academic administrators and program faculty work together to determine the level of training required (certificate, diploma, or degree) and develop a formal program prospective, including program objectives, initial curriculum, needs assessments, budget, etc.  

3. External Program Approval
If the new programming requires HLC, Department of Education, or other external approval or notification of intent to offer a new program (or format), Southeast Tech applies for/notifies the appropriate organization to meet accreditation, financial aid, or other requirements.

4. Local Approval
Formal proposals for new or expanded programs are reviewed by the Southeast Tech Council, which recommends the proposal to the Sioux Falls School Board.  Approval by the Board is required and frequently occurs at a similar time to the submission of the new or expanded program to the state Office of Career and Technical Education. (For non-credit certificate programs, the programming implementation can occur once Southeast Tech administrative approval has been received.)

5. State Office of Career and Technical Education Recommendation
State approval begins with the state Director of the Office of Career and Technical Education bringing the program forward during one of the technical institute president’s monthly meetings.  The program is discussed and any concerns are addressed, especially any concerns regarding program duplication.

Prior to submitting the recommendation, the office reviews the following to assure the new programming meets the following state standards as well as the appropriate state administrative rules:

  • Program description, competencies, curriculum design and budget
  • Labor market demands in the United States and South Dakota
  • Student needs
  • Industry support
  • Statement and determination of non-duplication
  • Wage factor

These criteria are used to assess currency, effectiveness and viability of the new/expanded programming.

If the Director approves that the prospective move forward, the Director recommends program approval to the South Dakota Board of Education, which has final approval authority.

6. State Board of Education Approval
The State Board of Education scrutinizes new program proposals and makes the decision to approve programs that are deemed competitive and demonstrate a regional need for program graduates. The department also assures that duplication of programs does not occur unless there is a proven need (for example, Surgical Technology is offered on both the west and east side of the state due to regional need).

7. Implementation, Evaluation and Reflection
If approved, Southeast Tech deploys the new or expanded programming and evaluates the results through its formal program and student learning assessment processes, including the State Program Review process and related accrediting body requirements.  Adjustments to new programming are made accordingly (reflect).

Selecting the tools/methods/instruments used to assess the currency and effectiveness of academic programs

The selection of methods to assess the currency and effectiveness of academic programs occurs at both the internal and state levels.

  • Internal Level: It is the responsibility of Southeast Tech’s Administrative Team to select the local methods used to assess academic program currency and effectiveness.  Using the input and assistance of the Southeast Tech Futures Team, which oversees the Institute’s continuous quality improvement processes and consists of representation from administration, faculty and staff, the Administrative Team selects and develops the local review processes.
  • State Level: The state Director of the Office of Career and Technical Education is responsible for selecting the state methods used to assess academic program currency and effectiveness.  Using the input of the four technical institute presidents, the Director selects and develops the state review process.

Reviewing Program and Course Viability and Changing or Discontinuing When Necessary

Southeast Tech’s program review process occurs at both state and Institutional levels, utilizing several methods and metrics:

  • Annual Internal Program Review

Internally, the Southeast Tech Administrative Team annually reviews all programs using both the state’s criteria (see Annual State Program Review) and program data:

  • Student enrollment
  • Retention rates
  • Graduation rates and graduate count
  • Regional employment needs/graduate placement/graduate salaries
  • On-going program costs
  • Program facility and equipment needs
  • Instructor availability
  • Employer and student satisfaction
  • Assessment results

Southeast Tech is currently piloting a more formal Annual Planning Process which incorporates a program review within the process (4P 2 ).  The new Annual Planning process provides two pages of program information.  The Office of Institutional Research provides five year program data (listed above), program descriptions, program goals, targets and current actions, recent program accomplishments and major budget requests. The Business Office provides program revenue and budget information, relevant equipment and facility needs, etc.  The two data sources are then used to review program overall vitality.  

By combining this information into one document, Southeast Tech can more directly tie program review to operating revenue and expenditures and therefore make more informed decisions regarding program continuation and modification.  The process also provides the opportunity to determine and respond to at-risk programs faster, allowing the Institute to make adjustments before program continuation decisions become critical.

During the initial stages of the Annual Planning process, program faculty receive draft budget program pages.  Faculty then meet with their Academic Administrator to review the data and develop potential action plans and budget requests to meet Institutional or program goals and targets.  Once these are developed, the Office of Institutional Research and the Office of Finance make adjustments to the pages to match the input collected.

The entire budget is then presented to the Administrative Team for review, which includes a discussion regarding program viability and continuation.  If the Administrative Team determines that a program should be discontinued or modified significantly, the decision is discussed with program faculty, the appropriate Advisory Committee and other internal and external stakeholders.  Any discontinuation or major modification to a program requires Southeast Tech Council review and Sioux Falls School Board approval, as well as notification to the state. (4.A.1)

  • External Program Accreditations

Programs with external, program-specific accreditation requirements undergo rigorous program reviews through the accreditation process itself, which is completed according to individual accreditation timelines.  Southeast Tech uses these program accreditation reviews as additional evidence that these programs are maintaining appropriate standards of excellence. (4.A.1)

  • Annual State Program Review

Southeast Tech submits data on all program enrollments, retention, and placement to the State Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE) every year. The OCTE reviews the data and compares it to a set of performance levels established by OCTE and the technical institutes. Programs that continue to fall below the established performance levels for two consecutive years are required to complete a follow-up report on how the institute plans to improve the program’s performance level for the unmet measures. After a third consecutive year below an established performance level, a program is assessed as high risk, and the director of OCTE submits an updated continuing program report to the Secretary of Education and the Board of Education with recommendations regarding the continuation of the program. The recommendation may be to continue or discontinue the program. The Director’s recommendation includes parameters for ongoing review and continued approval of the program if the Board of Education approves program continuation. (4.A.1)

Whenever the state or Southeast Tech determines that a program will be discontinued, a plan is developed for phasing it out. This plan is developed at the local level and is carried out by the Institute and includes information on how Southeast Tech will assist current program students to complete the program or transition into another one, communicate changes to faculty, staff and the community, and remove the program from various processes and publications (4.A.1).

  • Course and Curriculum-level Internal Review 

New and revisions of courses, and changes in curriculum, are generally initiated by faculty teams working with administration and using input from Advisory Committees and industry. Courses and curriculum are reviewed and approved through the Southeast Tech Curriculum Committee process (1P 4 ).  Criteria for approval include appropriateness of curriculum, competitive advantage, and up-to-date content. (4.A.1)


1R3 Academic Program Design Results

What are the results for determining if programs are current and meet the needs of the institution’s diverse stakeholders?
• Summary results of assessments (include tables and figures when possible)
• Comparison of results with internal targets and external benchmarks
• Interpretation of results and insights gained

Summary Results of Assessments

Southeast Tech programs are developed in response to business and industry needs, which is verified as part of the New Program Approval process (1P 3 ).  Once implemented, the Institute continues to verify the vitality of the program, including assuring the program is up-to-date and meets the needs of its stakeholders, by analyzing the following:

  • Program Vitality
  • Aggregated Program Vitality
  • Annual State Program Review
  • Annual Institutional Program Review
  • Key Student Group Retention

Program Vitality

As part of the Annual Planning process, Southeast Tech programs receive program KPI data sheets each fall.  By the spring semester, programs create action plans and budgets directly related to their program data.  Analysis of the program’s data, action plans, and budget occurs at the Administrative Team, Southeast Tech Council and Sioux Falls School Board levels to determine if the program is maintaining its vitality (4P 2 ).  A similar process with measures appropriate to the specific area is used for department vitality (Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Success, etc.)  The following measures are used to determine program vitality:

  • Enrollments (Total)
  • Retention Rates (Fall to Fall)
  • Placement (Employed in Related Field)
  • Employer Survey (% of Categories Above a 4 Rating)
  • Student Satisfaction (% of Categories Above National Mean)

Southeast Tech is developing vitality measures to help the Institute determine, according to program results vs. established targets for each of the measures above, the overall strength of the program. Where there is an Institutional level KPI (4R1) target, that target is used as the program level target.  Where no such target level exists, a specific level is determined for that particular measure. 

While it is not possible to provide information within the portfolio for all programs, Table 1R3.1 provides an example of a program vitality table.  Once fully developed, the vitality tables will be included as part of the full program KPI data sheets, and provide a quick program check to determine program vitality. Programs can then compare their vitality scores to the target and review program KPI data sheets to determine areas where the program met or did not meet the measures associated with the program vitality measure. 

Aggregated Program Vitality

In order to get a clearer picture of the Institute in relation to program vitality, the percentage of programs meeting the program vitality target of 23 provides an Institutional-level measure (Table 1R3.2). This allows the Institute the opportunity to determine the percentage of programs, over time, that are moving toward the target, and if not, why not.   

Associated with the percentage of programs meeting the program vitality target, Southeast Tech can also capture by year the percentage of each specific vitality measure compared to target. The Institute can then determine Institutional-focus areas that will provide the greatest opportunity for improvement.  The Aggregated Program Vitality measures are still under development.  Therefore, no direct analysis of the results has been made at this time.  A full pilot of the vitality measure is scheduled for the 2017-2018 year.

Annual State Program Review

Over the past five years, Southeast Tech has had four programs requiring state reports. Three of the four were related to enrollments, while the fourth was due to retention rates just below the required level. In all four cases, the program was able to move off the state reporting list the following year. Southeast Tech uses the reporting process as another method for improving programs and building sustainability.  In all four cases, the Institute developed and implemented actions that not only removed the program from immediate state concerns, but improved the program and its viability.

Key Student Group Retention

Assuring that the Institute is retaining its key student groups is a clear indictor that the Institute’s processes are working at assuring students are ready to learn and receiving the support they need. These results have been positive and improving over the past five years as indicated in 2R1 of the Portfolio.

Comparison of Results with Internal Targets and External Benchmarks AND Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

Annual Institutional Program Review

Once fully implemented, program faculty, along with their Academic Administrator, will review program vitality scores, along with the rest of the program data sheets, against the internal targets to determine areas for improvement. For example, the program associated with Table 1R3.1 was at target in 2011 but has since fallen below target for the subsequent years. Faculty within this program review their KPI sheets to determine which vitality measures are below target and work with their Academic Administrator to create a plan of action for improvement, which will then become part of the Annual Planning process.

Over the past five years, as Table 1R3.2 indicates, the percentage of programs at or above target rose slightly in 2012 and 2013, and then fell slightly below 2011 levels in 2014.  Similarly, the percentage of programs below target in 2011 fell in 2012 and 2013 and then rose again to the 2011 level in 2014.  


1I3 Academic Program Design Improvements

Based on 1R 3  , what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

Southeast Tech recognized through its key stakeholder student groups (2R1) that first time, underprepared and ESL students provided key opportunities to improve student retention. While direct work with these key groups are listed in 2R1, Southeast Tech has implemented several improvements to assist them in terms of Institutional academic program design:

First Time Students 

  • Revamped new student orientation process to Academic Advisement and Registration Days, which directly connects new first time students to program faculty for academic advisement; 
  • Implemented JumpStart to better prepare students for their initial academic semester.

Underprepared and ESL Students

  • Developed an AQIP Action Project centered on assisting underprepared and ESL students earlier in the admissions and enrollment processes;
  • Developed ESL coursework aimed at building ESL skills prior to entering program coursework;
  • Added Accuplacer Reading scores as another part of the admissions and placement processes.

Transfer Students

  • Developed a transfer equivalency calculator so that potential transfer students can determine credit transfer prior to enrollment.

Southeast Tech’s future actions include:

  • Developing processes to help the Institute meet the needs of the 30% of South Dakota high school graduates who do not seek higher education.  Besides being First Time students, a majority of these students are either underprepared or face financial barriers.  By reaching out to these student groups prior to graduation, the Institute believes it can help these students reach their academic potential.
  • Developing more certificate options and pathways for students that also meet industry needs as determined through the Institute’s sector breakfasts; 
  • Completing the Institute’s current AQIP Action Project regarding ESL student assistance.


1P4 Academic Program Quality

1P4 Academic Program Quality

Academic Program Quality focuses on ensuring quality across all programs, modalities, and locations. Describe the processes for ensuring quality academic programming. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

• Determining and communicating the preparation required of students for the specific curricula, programs, courses, and learning they will pursue (4.A.4)
• Evaluating and ensuring program rigor for all modalities, locations, consortia, and when offering dual-credit programs (3.A.1, 3.A.3, 4.A.4)
• Awarding prior learning and transfer credits (4.A.2, 4.A.3)
• Selecting, implementing, and maintaining specialized accreditation(s) (4.A.5)
• Assessing the level of outcomes attainment by graduates at all levels (3.A.2, 4.A.6)
• Selecting the tools/methods/instruments used to assess program rigor across all modalities

Determining and Communicating the Preparation Required of Students for the Specific Curricula, Programs, Courses, and Learning They Will Pursue

Program Requirements: Because program preparation varies significantly by program need, each Southeast Tech program has individualized program entrance requirements.  This allows Civil Engineering Technology to focus requirements on mathematics skills, while Early Childhood focuses on reading and writing skills.  Individual program entrance requirements are formally reviewed on a six-year rotation by a Program Entrance Committee of the program faculty, the Office of Institutional Research, and the Admissions person assigned to that program. This assures that entrance requirements are meeting the needs of students, the program, and employers.  If needed, program faculty can request, through their Academic Administrator, that a review occur prior to the six year rotation.  The Office of Institutional Research, with input from faculty and administration, develops the review cycle and assures that all programs are reviewed within the cycle (Table 1P4.1). 

Table 1P4.1  
Year Programs for Entrance Requirement Review
2014-2015 Ultrasound Programs, Invasive Cardiovascular, Nuclear Medicine, ENDT
2015-2016 Early Childhood, Digital Media Production, Media Design
2016-2017 Transportation Programs
2017-2018 RN, LPN, and Remaining Health Programs
2018-2019 Business, Law Enforcement, IT and Horticulture Programs
2020-2021 Electronics, Engineering, and Industrial Programs
  • Capture:  The first step in the process is the collection of inputs, which is completed by the Institutional Research Office.  Data on program student demographics, entrance test scores (ACT, Accuplacer, Compass, TEAS, etc.), individual student retention and graduation results, first time status, transfer status, low income, high school gpa and rank, previous college gpa, etc. are combined with program data such as enrollment, retention and graduation rates, assessment results, program accreditation requirements and benchmarks, etc. in order to gain a full picture of program and student success. An initial analysis and summary of the data is created by the Office of Institutional Research, which is then presented to the committee.
  • Develop:  Student data is provided in spreadsheet form, which allows the committee to analyze the inputs by choosing specific student groupings and determining if these groupings resulted in student success.  For example, the committee can choose to look at all first time students with ACT Math scores of 21+ and determine the retention rate of these students.
  • Decide:  Committee meetings are held to review and analyze the data, discuss the success and concerns of the current entrance requirements, and take into consideration any external stakeholder requests for changes, such as student drug testing.  Decisions on entrance requirements are made, and if adjustments are necessary, an implementation plan is developed.
  • Deploy:  The Admissions Office uses the new/revised entrance requirements when accepting students into the program.
  • Evaluate/Reflect:  The Office of Institutional Research continues to track and report student data to faculty and admissions on an annual basis, allowing these individuals to monitor the results of any changes. A formal evaluation and reflection of the changes takes place during the program’s next scheduled entrance requirement review.
  • It is the responsibility of the committee to assure that entrance requirement adjustments are deployed.  Note:  Southeast Tech uses a process similar to the one described above to determine and modify general education course placement requirements.
  • Publish/Communicate:  Any entrance requirement/course placement changes are communicated to all stakeholders through the Southeast Tech Catalog, the Admissions Office, high school visitation and orientation days, JumpStart, and meetings such as monthly employee and program Advisory Committee meetings, as needed.   

Course Requirements: Course requirements are guided by Southeast Tech’s program curriculum maps.  These maps, which indicate at what point and to what level common and program learning outcomes are covered, provide the necessary information to determine course requirements (1P 1 ).  Therefore, if a particular outcome is introduced in program course number 120 and mastered in course 250, the mapping indicates that 120 must be a prerequisite to 250. Other course requirements, such as equipment, textbooks, or required placement scores are determined by program faculty with input from Advisory Committees, external accreditation requirements, Academic Administration, etc.

All curriculum adjustments, including course requirements, must be approved by Southeast Tech’s Curriculum Committee prior to implementation.  (See the “Evaluating and Ensuring Program Rigor” section below for the Curriculum Committee approval process.)

Changes to course requirements, as well as other curricula changes, are communicated to stakeholders through Southeast Tech’s website, Catalog, degree audits, program brochures, Admissions and Student Success staff, Academic Advisors, and faculty.  Standardized course syllabi communicate course learning outcomes, assessment tools, pre-/co-requisites and other course requirements.  A review of course requirements occurs during the mapping process cycle as well as annual curriculum reviews with Advisory Committees and the Academic Administrator.

At orientation sessions, Admissions Counselors register new students for their first semester coursework, assuring that students are placed in the correct program and general education courses. Once students begin classes at Southeast Tech, they are assigned to a primary faculty Academic Advisor and a Student Success Advisor. These individuals then work with students to assure that they take the correct sequence of coursework to meet program and Institutional requirements. (4.A.4)

Evaluating and Ensuring Program Rigor for All Modalities, Locations, Consortia, and When Offering Dual-Credit Programs

Ensuring program rigor, and ensuring rigor across all modalities, requires the integration of processes from across the portfolio and its categories.  Therefore, references and links are indicated in several locations to provide quick access to these processes. 

  • Hiring Faculty:  Ensuring rigor begins with the hiring process.  Faculty must be qualified and active in their professions.  Southeast Tech requires that all faculty have a minimum of three years of relevant, in-field experience. General Education faculty must have a masters plus 18 credits in the specific general education area in order to teach transferrable general education courses. All faculty must provide transcript documentation and meet Southeast Tech’s general hiring requirements (3P 1 ).
  • Training Faculty:  Because the majority of our incoming faculty have little or no formal instructional training or experience, it is vital that we provide them with the support and training they need to transition from their in-field role to their instructional role.  Southeast Tech requires new faculty to complete the Institute’s new faculty training program, participate in the new faculty mentoring program, and be evaluated three times a year by their Academic Administrator for the first three years of employment.  Faculty training, however, does not end there.  Southeast Tech believes in continuing professional development, and therefore provides faculty with funding and training options throughout their career at the Institute.  Additionally, Southeast Tech has established two full-time positions to provide faculty training on how to effectively use technology for traditional, hybrid, accelerated, and online courses (3P 1 , 3P 2 , 3P 3 ).
  • Faculty Expectations: Southeast Tech has defined and documented its expectations for effective teaching and learning in its Instructor Evaluation Handbook. This document includes the Institute’s ”Indicators of an Effective Instructor” and the “Classroom Evaluation Form”, which outline and define Southeast Tech’s instructor expectations. Effective teaching and learning expectations are communicated to faculty through in-service presentations, formal and informal evaluations, meetings with academic administrators, and formal training processes such as the Institute’s mentoring program for new instructors.
  • Evaluating Faculty: All full-time faculty are evaluated on a set evaluation cycle, which is used to identify areas for improvement and to determine continued employment. Faculty who do not meet minimum expectations are placed on a Plan of Assistance and are given help to improve instruction. Part-time faculty are also evaluated by administration. (3P 2 )
  • Advisory Committees:  Every program is required to maintain an Advisory Committee and hold committee meetings at least twice a year.  Meeting minutes are also required and must be maintained on STInet.  Advisory Committees review curriculum, program and course requirements, program rigor, etc. and provide program faculty with information on industry direction that may impact the program.
  • Curriculum Committee:  Southeast Tech’s Curriculum Committee, consisting of faculty from across the campus, an Academic Administrator, Registrar, Registrar Assistant, and an Information Technology representative, is assigned the responsibility of assuring all programs maintain their curriculum and rigor appropriately and systematically.  Faculty requesting changes to curriculum, including new courses, course deletions, changes in course order, pre/co-requisites, course textbooks or other required course materials including software, course numbering, etc. must submit the request on the required form(s). The faculty member then presents the request in person to the committee, and the committee determines whether or not the curriculum change will be approved.  If not approved, the faculty member can revise the request and submit again, or remove the request.  If approved, the Registrar Assistant assures that the curriculum is changed in the Catalog and verifies these changes with the program faculty.  These changes are then communicated to other departments by March.  All changes are documented through the request forms and meeting minutes, which are maintained on STInet.  While Southeast Tech believes its faculty are the experts in their field of study, the Institute has found that the use of the Curriculum Committee process is vital in assuring that programs maintain consistency and rigor across campus and for all modalities (Figure 1P4.1).
  • Program Accreditations:  Specialized program accreditations provide rigorous program reviews by external sources, validating the program, its curriculum, and its outcomes (see the “Selecting, Implementing, and Maintaining Specialized Accreditations” section).
  • Program Assessments:  Results of program and common learning assessments provide opportunities to discover both strengths and weaknesses regarding program rigor and outcomes (1R 1 , 1R 2 ).
  • Internal Program Review:  Southeast Tech began piloting a more effective internal program review process in 2016-2017 as part of the Institute’s Annual Planning process (4P 2 ). Through this process, all programs and departments are formally reviewed annually on set criteria to determine future direction and continuation, allowing Southeast Tech the opportunity to review key program performance indicators that may indicate a concern regarding the program and its rigor.  Key indicators included during the process are internal assessment results, enrollments, retention and graduation rates, number of graduates, graduate placement rates and average salary, and employer and student satisfaction results, as well as program performance for both associated revenue and expenditures as well as program resource needs (1P 3  and 4P 2 ). 
  • State Program Review:  The Office of Career and Technical Education reviews all programs on an annual basis using three key indicators:  enrollments, retention rates, and graduate placement (1P 3 ).
  • Modality Assurance of Standards:  Regardless of modality, all program offerings must meet the above criteria and the processes associated with each criteria as well as meet the established common and program learning outcomes.  To further assure that online courses maintain appropriate rigor, Southeast Tech’s Education Design and Delivery Team, along with Academic Administration, has developed and implemented comprehensive guidelines for online courses, online student and instructor evaluations, templates, and student communications that are specific to online programming.  Because the expectations of students is greater for online students in terms of self-motivation and expected entry-level academic ability, these students must meet minimum entrance requirements that may be more stringent than traditional program entrance requirements.  The expectations for online courses mirror those of traditional courses, and faculty are provided resources to ensure consistency.

Online courses are delivered via the STInet Jenzabar LMS system, which has such features as audio and video testing, grade book, and collaborative work environments. Users are authenticated and granted access using industry-standard security protocols (unique identifiers and passwords). Access by students is controlled via the secure login profile established by each eligible user. When appropriate or necessary, data passed over the internet through web application for faculty, staff and students is encrypted. For distance education courses which may require students to take proctored exams, the exam is supervised, just as it would be for a course taken in a traditional classroom setting. The proctor verifies the student’s identity via photo identification, supervises the exam, and returns the completed exam to the instructor to grade. No fee or a nominal fee is charged for proctored exams, depending upon the setup and circumstances of the course or program. 

Southeast Tech does not maintain other locations or consortia.  The Institute’s dual credit program is taught by Southeast Tech faculty either on campus or online.  These students are integrated into our current course offerings and are taught by current full and part time faculty.  Therefore, teaching, curriculum, and course outcomes do not differ in any way from other course offerings and meet all the standards listed above.  In 2016-2017, Southeast Tech piloted a concurrent course taught by a local high school instructor.  To assure consistent standards, the Institute did the following:  1. Reviewed the instructor’s credentials and assured credentials met Institute standards; 2. Reviewed curriculum, assessments and assessment processes, by a Southeast Tech faculty member and Academic Administrator, to assure consistent course outcomes; 3. Connected the high school instructor to the Institute full-time faculty member who teaches the same course for a minimum of three face-to-face meetings, as well as emails and phone calls, to continue communications on curriculum, standards, assessments and outcomes; 4. Evaluated the high school instructor by a Southeast Tech Academic Administrator to assure teaching methodologies were used effectively.  Should the Institute pursue more concurrent programming taught by high school instructors, the Institute will use its experiences from this pilot to develop and implement a modality assurance process for future concurrent offerings (3.A.1, 3.A.3, 4.A.4).

Awarding Prior Learning and Transfer Credits

Southeast Tech accepts credits from postsecondary institutions accredited by one of the major regional accrediting associations that meet the following criteria:

  • An earned ”C” grade or higher (courses or credits over seven years old may not apply);
  • Equivalency to Southeast Tech’s course(s) as determined by the review of the Registrar;
  • Award cannot exceed Southeast Tech’s course credit assignment;
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or required scoring on Advanced Placement (AP) testing.

Students may receive credit for prior learning experiences or other non-transferrable coursework in lieu of taking comparable Southeast Tech courses through:

  • Department Evaluation, which may require a portfolio of work experience, documentation of authenticity, direct skill assessment by program faculty, national certifications, military transcripts, etc.;
  • Credit by Examination, which requires the student successfully pass testing specifically designed by program faculty for a particular course.

For both credit and prior learning awards, the Registrar requests assistance from Institute faculty during the evaluation process, as needed.  Granting of credit is at the discretion of Southeast Tech’s Registrar.  

To earn an Associate of Applied Science degree or diploma at Southeast Tech, 25% of coursework must be earned at the Institute with 25 % of the major courses in the program earned at the Institute.

Processes for the awarding of prior learning and transfer credit are communicated to stakeholders through the Southeast Tech Catalog and are reviewed annually as part of the new catalog development process. (4.A.2, 4.A.3)

Selecting, Implementing, and Maintaining Specialized Accreditation(s)

Southeast Tech administration encourages program faculty to seek specialized program accreditations.  For some programs, accreditation is a requirement, and therefore maintaining accreditation is vital.  For other programs, accreditation is a mark of excellence and can play a significant role in program quality, student recruitment, and employer satisfaction.  Program faculty seeking specific program accreditations work with their Academic Administrator to develop an action plan for implementation, entering the plan and related steps in the Planning and Assessments database.  Seeking specialized accreditation requires the approval of the Administrative Team and occurs as part of the Annual Planning process.  The list of Southeast Tech programs with specialized accreditations is provided in 1R 4 . (4.A.5)

Assessing the Level of Outcomes Attainment by Graduates at All Levels

Southeast Tech’s assessment of graduate attainment occurs through the following processes:

Graduate Outcome Assessment:  As described in 1P 1  and 1P 2 , Southeast Tech has an established process for the development and assessment of common and program learning outcomes.  Program teams work directly with the Celebrating Learning Team to design, conduct, and report assessment activities in the Planning and Assessments database.  These results are used to verify that graduates have attained the expected common and program learning outcomes. The results are also used to further improve program and course offerings and outcomes.  The CLT, Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Research and the Vice President for Academics supervise the process and help ensure compliance of the assessment process (1P 1 , 1P 2 ).

Registrar Transcript Review:  Southeast Tech verifies that students who are awarded degrees and certificates have met learning expectations through electronic and manual degree audit by the Registrar Officer. Graduation requirements for all Southeast Tech programs are listed in the Southeast Tech Catalog.

Employment Rates of Graduates:  With its mission to educate for employment, the Institute monitors and evaluates graduate placement rates both in employment and in employment related to field of study as additional measures of outcome attainment (1R 4 ).  (4.A.6)

Selecting the Tools/Methods/Instruments Used to Assess Program Rigor Across All Modalities

The selection of measures to assess program rigor across all modalities is the responsibility of Southeast Tech’s Education Design & Delivery and Celebrating Learning teams.  It is the responsibility of the Academic Administrative Team to assure consistency across modalities.

Southeast Tech relies on multiple measures to determine and ensure the quality of its academic programs. These include:

  • Internal Program Review (1R 3 )
  • State Program Review (1R 3 )
  • National Program Accreditations
  • National Licensures/Certifications and Benchmarking (1R 2 )
  • Employer Surveys
  • Employment Rates


1R4 Academic Program Quality Results

What are the results for determining the quality of academic programs?
• Summary results of assessments (include tables and figures when possible)
• Comparison of results with internal targets and external benchmarks
• Interpretation of results and insights gained

Summary Results of Assessments AND Comparison of Results with Internal Targets and External Benchmarks AND Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

Internal Program Review:  Every program receives annual program performance data, including developing an overall program vitality measure (1R 3 ).  These sheets indicate program quality in numerous areas, including enrollment, retention, graduate counts, employment rates, assessment results, and satisfaction levels of employers and students.  Through the Annual Planning process, the data and vitality measures are reviewed by program faculty and the program’s Academic Administrator to determine program needs and set direction for program quality.

Internal Program Review Insights and Action Plan:  

Because much of this information also indicates effective program design and program currency, these results are included in 1R 3 .  

State Program Review:  Annual state reviews are conducted on all Institute programs based on three established criteria: program enrollments, student retention (state defined fall to fall data), and graduate six-month placement results.  Targets are set for each criteria and gradually increase each year.  Programs not meeting a criteria may be requested to complete a program continuation form, indicating the steps that will be taken to improve performance.  Programs not improving performance over a period of several years may go before the state Board for review and possible discontinuation.  

State Program Review Insights and Action Plan:  

Over the past five years, Southeast Tech has had four programs fall under an established criteria, resulting in a state report.  However, all four programs have since met the established criteria.  The process has proven to be beneficial in addressing potential concerns early so that the proper measures can be taken for continuation.  All four of Southeast Tech’s programs have improved their performance and are meeting the established standards.  

National Program Accreditations:  Sixteen of Southeast Tech’s programs maintain national program accreditations through various accrediting bodies (Table 1R4.1).  The Institute’s target is to maintain these accreditations at 100%.

National Program Accreditation Insights and Action Plan:  

Currently, of the sixteen accredited programs, 93.8% (all but one) have continued their accreditation meeting all accrediting standards. The Institute’s Diesel Technology program has undergone recent full-time faculty turnover just prior to accreditation renewal; therefore, the Institute put the request for reaffirmation of accreditation off until the new faculty are ready. Each program uses the results of its individual accreditation visits to determine future action plans and improvements (1I 4 ).

Employer Survey:  Southeast Tech’s Employer Survey, conducted every other year, requests employers to rate recent graduates (those graduating over the past two years) on specific skill sets in thirteen categories.  (See 1R 1  for skill set results related to CLO attainment.)  Scores of “3+” indicate employers found the graduate skill levels for that skill set to be “Satisfactory” or above.  Scores of “4+” indicate employers found these skills to be “Very Good” to “Excellent”. Table 1R4.2 provides an Institutional-level look at the percentage of average scores for all thirteen categories at the 3+ and 4+ ranges.  Participation levels for the survey have been excellent, with recent response rates of 44% (2015), 33% (2013) and 42% (2011).  The next survey results will be available summer 2017. 

Employer Survey Insights and Action Plan:  As Table 1R4.2 indicates, at the Institutional level, 100% of the average scores for all thirteen categories combined met the 3+ range.  These results have been consistent from 2007 to 2015, indicating that overall, graduates are meeting employer expectations.  From 2007 to 2013, the percentage of Institutional score averages meeting the 4+ range increased from 38.5% to 53.8%.  However, in 2015 the number of 4+ scores fell to 38.5% of ratings.  To better understand the decrease, Southeast Tech also reviews gap scores (Table 1R4.3) between ratings of graduate actual skill level to employer expected skill ratings (Action - Expected = Gap).  Overall, Southeast Tech graduates receive gap scores at meeting (yellow) or exceeding (green) employer expectations.  However, two areas show a marked decrease in employer satisfaction: oral and problem-solving skills.  The data also indicates that employer expectations in these two areas has increased; therefore, Southeast Tech will need to improve graduate performance in order to meet these higher standards. To meet this challenge, Southeast Tech has set these skills as focus areas for upcoming assessments (1P 1 ).  In Spring 2016 Southeast Tech again conducted its Employer Survey. Results will be compiled and analyzed by the External Stakeholder Relationships Team and CLT in Summer 2017.  In order to gain more insight into employer needs and satisfaction with Institute graduates, Southeast Tech held sector breakfasts in Spring 2017. Input from these sector breakfasts will be used by the External Stakeholder Relationships Team and Administrative Team to determine employer skill level needs and further enhance program quality.

Placement Rates:  High graduate placement rates can be an indicator of program quality as these graduates are highly recruited by industry.  Low graduate placement rates can indicate that a program’s quality is not meeting industry expectations.  As a technical institute with a mission of educating for employment, graduate placement rates are vital to the Institute meeting its mission as well as determining program quality. General graduate employment provides proof of meeting the Institute’s mission.  Employment in a related field provides an indirect measure of program quality.   

Placement Rates Insights and Action Plan: As shown in Table 1R4.4, from 2012 to 2016, Southeast Tech has maintained graduate six-month placement rates between 95.9% and 98.0%, which has met the Institutional target every year.  In related field employment placement rates have ranged from 88.7% to 93.9% with all measures but one meeting the target.  Both data elements are indicators that the Institute is meeting its mission and providing high quality programs.  Each program uses individual program data to develop program action plans as needed.


1I4 Academic Program Quality Improvements

Based on 1R 4  , what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

The following program quality improvements have been implemented:

  • Developed and implemented a voluntary online orientation class to better prepare students for online programs and courses (2011-2012);
  • Developed and implemented best practices for online learning, as well as similar best practices for traditional learning (2012-2013);
  • Developed and implemented an Instructor Workday Online form to be used to streamline the faculty process for reporting the use of non-student contact days, including using the days for assessment purposes (2013-2014);
  • Developed and implemented a standardized Lesson Plan Template for all faculty to use (2013-2014);
  • Researched Universal Design for Learning Elements and incorporated some elements into current practices (2014-2015);
  • Reviewed entrance requirement on nine programs (2014-2016) with three more to take place Summer 2017.  The completed reviews have resulted in entrance requirement adjustments and the development of a pre-Early Childhood program;
  • Held industry sector breakfasts for Health, Transportation, Construction, and IT career fields in Spring 2017, providing the Institute with direct industry input on workforce needs and how the Institute can better meet those needs;
  • Received national reaccreditation for various programs, as indicated in Table 1R4.1.

Over the next three years, Southeast Tech’s priorities for improving Academic Program Quality results include:

  • Re-establishing the Diesel national NATEF accreditation;
  • Conducting student assessments for Oral Communication and Problem-Solving skills and using results to improve graduate quality; 
  • Strengthening the program improvement process by reviewing, developing, and implementing improvement strategies and updating to a new assessment and planning software package;
  • Using the Education Design and Delivery Team to determine workforce needs and positioning the Institute to meet those needs through the development of appropriate programming.


1P5 Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity focuses on ethical practices while pursuing knowledge. Describe the processes for supporting ethical scholarly practices by students and faculty. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

• Ensuring freedom of expression and the integrity of research and scholarly practice (2.D., 2.E.1, 2.E.3)
• Ensuring ethical learning and research practices of students (2.E.2, 2.E.3)
• Ensuring ethical teaching and research practices of faculty (2.E.2, 2.E.3)
• Selecting the tools/methods/instruments used to evaluate the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of supporting academic integrity 

Ensuring Freedom of Expression and the Integrity of Research and Scholarly Practice 

Ensuring freedom of expression begins with establishing the premise as part of Institutional policy and operating procedures.  

For faculty, freedom of expression is defined in the faculty negotiated agreement which states, “The Board recognizes and respects the right of citizens to make suggestions for the improvement of Southeast Technical Institute but maintains that no special interest group shall deny educators academic freedom. Nor shall any special interest group dictate to the professional educators the type and/or quality of texts and instructional materials to be used. Academic freedom is defined as the opportunity for Instructors and students to study, investigate, present, interpret, and discuss facts and ideas relevant to the subject matter.”  

This statement was developed with input of faculty through the negotiating faculty team and agreed upon by Southeast Tech administrators during the negotiating process outlined within the agreement. 

A review of the statement occurs based on the terms of the negotiated agreement, but generally every three to five years.  The statement is covered with new full-time faculty as part of the FAC 100 course (3P 1 ).

Implementation is the shared responsibility of Academic Administration and faculty.  Should either believe an infraction to the freedom of expression statement has been made, the negotiated agreement provides a specific grievance process for faculty and a disciplinary process for supervisors to remedy the situation. (2.E.1, 2.E.3)

Note: The State of South Dakota removed all bargaining units from the technical institutes effective July 2017; therefore, the Institute is reviewing the Academic Freedom policy as part of its move away from negotiated agreements.

Southeast Tech does not conduct research; therefore, the Institute does not have a process for ensuring the integrity of research.

Ensuring Ethical Learning and Research Practices of Students 

Ensuring student ethical practices begins with the establishment and communication of ethical expectations; therefore, Southeast Tech faculty, staff and administration, along with input from Student Government Association representatives, establish expected student behavior and ethics, which are then communicated to students through the Student Conduct section of Southeast Tech’s Catalog and on course syllabi, which are covered by faculty during class time. Ethical behavior is also included within the Institute’s Professionalism Common Learning Outcome, which is assessed as described in 1P 1 . (2.E.2)

Ethical behavior is also frequently covered during JumpStart days and in course presentations, as well as the Student Success course. Southeast Tech’s ENGL 101 course includes an Information Literacy unit that meets South Dakota Board of Regents requirements and covers plagiarism, research, and academic integrity.  Faculty across campus provide guidelines to students in syllabi and as part of assignments regarding expectations for learning outcomes, safety and security, academic integrity, and code of conduct.  New faculty receive training on student ethical practices during the review of the Institute’s standard syllabi in FAC 100 (3P 1 ). (2.E.2)

The assurance that students follow ethical practices is the responsibility of all Southeast Tech employees and students.  Infractions of Southeast Tech’s expected student conduct may be reported to any Southeast Tech employee, who then reports the infraction to administration.  No specific form is required for reports.  The process of investigating and responding to these reports varies according to the infraction as stated below:

Academic Infractions:  The Vice President of Academics or designee is responsible to work with faculty and staff in response to academic infractions. The individuals (Southeast Tech employees and students) involved in the investigation varies by type of infraction and involvement regarding the infraction.       

Non-Academic Infractions:  The Vice President of Student Affairs or designee is responsible to work with faculty and staff in response to non-academic infractions.  As stated above, the investigation varies by type of infraction and involvement regarding the infraction.

The level of final response to the student may be made directly by a Southeast Tech employee for less severe infractions or may require a response from the Vice President level. (2.E.3)

Should disciplinary measures be necessary, the Southeast Tech Catalog provides information on the types of discipline that may be taken, from oral or written reprimands to suspension or termination of enrollment.  The measures taken are in direct response to the level and severity of the infraction.  Depending upon the type and severity of the infraction, the documentation of the investigation may be included on the student academic record or merely retained in the office of the Vice President of Academics or Vice President of Student Affairs with appropriate notes placed on the student’s administrative academic electronic file.  Discipline is kept confidential with only those needing the information receiving access.  

Students are provided the outcome of the investigation either orally or in writing and have the right to appeal the decision to the next appropriate level.  If a decision is made by a faculty or staff member, the appeal goes to the Vice President who oversees that area.  Some decisions at the Vice President level are final, while others, such as suspension or termination, are directed to the President; therefore some Vice President decisions are appealable, while others are not.  For those that are appealable, students have the right to appeal to the President. The President’s decision is final.  The appeal process is provided in the Southeast Tech Catalog.  (2.E.3)

Review of the Student Conduct policies and procedures is done on an annual basis as part of the annual Catalog review, and adjustments are made as needed. 

Southeast Tech students do not conduct research through the Institution.

Ensuring Ethical Teaching and Research Practices of Faculty

As stated in the sections above, ensuring ethical teaching requires the establishment and communication of expectations.  Therefore, Southeast Tech has established several Institutional policies and procedures regarding ethical behavior:

Code of Conduct:  Southeast Tech has an established Code of Conduct policy for all employees.  The code specifically states the Institute’s expectations of employee behavior.  Each year all employees are required to review the Code of Conduct and other policies, including Sexual Harassment/Assault, and sign a statement that the policies have been reviewed.  The Code of Conduct is also covered in new employee orientation sessions.  A Policy Committee, made up of faculty, staff, administration and a Board member, reviews the Code of Conduct policy a minimum of once every three years.  New faculty review the Code of Conduct as part of the onboarding process (3P 1 ). (2.E.2, 2.E.3)

Negotiated Faculty Agreement:  The negotiated agreement not only provides information regarding the faculty contract, but it also provides information regarding faculty requirements of employment and expectations of fulfillment of contract. The agreement is reviewed for changes according to the negotiated agreement process, but generally occurs every three to five years. The agreement is covered in new faculty training (

 ).  With the removal of negotiated agreements, this information is being moved to a new employee handbook. (2.E.2, 2.E.3)

Instructor Evaluation Handbook:  The Instructor Evaluation Handbook provides a list of “Indicators of an Effective Instructor” as well as classroom observation expectations regarding what behaviors the Institute expects in and outside the classroom.  The evaluation handbook is covered with faculty annually according to the negotiated agreement and is reviewed for improvement generally once every three to five years, as stated in the agreement.  New faculty receive training on evaluation during FAC 100. (3P 1 S). (2.E.2, 2.E.3)

Ensuring ethical behavior becomes the responsibility of Southeast Tech administration, its employees, and its students.  Anyone believing that an ethical infraction has occurred may report it to a Southeast Tech employee, who will then report the incident to administration.  The process for the investigation and final decision regarding the infraction continues in a manner similar to that described in the “Ensuring Freedom of Expression and the Integrity of Research and Scholarly Practice” section above. (2.E.2, 2.E.3)

Selecting the Tools/Methods/Instruments Used to Evaluate the Effectiveness and Comprehensiveness of Supporting Academic Integrity

It is the responsibility of Southeast Tech’s Administrative Team, with input from faculty and staff during negotiated agreement conversations, to select the methods used to evaluate the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of supporting academic integrity.

Southeast Tech formally uses the following tracking methods to determine academic integrity:

  • Student Complaints/Appeals
  • Employee Grievances
  • Student Integrity Issues  


1R5 Academic Integrity Results

What are the results for determining the quality of academic integrity?
• Summary results of measures (include tables and figures where appropriate)
• 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

Student complaints/appeals, which can reflect issues of student or employee integrity, are monitored and are included in the results section for complaints (2R 4 ). While this data does indicate student complaints/appeals regarding grades and other academically-related issues, few deal directly with integrity issues.  Southeast Tech has a formal grievance procedure for students or employees who believe a violation has occurred of the Institute’s Code of Conduct, Harassment, Discrimination or other such policy.  The Institute has had only a handful of student formal grievance incidents over the past five years.  Due to the infrequent number of these issues, and therefore the privacy concerns of releasing data regarding these incidents, it is not possible to provide additional information in this section.  

Similarly, Southeast Tech monitors employee grievances.  Over the past five years, Southeast Tech has had four formal grievances, which have been vetted through the Institute’s grievance procedures and have been dealt with accordingly.  Again, due to the low number of grievances and privacy concerns, it is not possible to provide additional information in this section.

Student integrity issues are handled at the lowest possible level; therefore, most are dealt with directly by faculty.  Over the course of a year, Southeast Tech may experience around 5 to 8 student integrity issues that have moved up to an administrative level for review.  These issues are generally in the form of cheating or plagiarism and are handled on a case-by-case basis.

When it comes to academic integrity, Southeast Tech’s goal is to reduce integrity issues, either by employees or students, to a zero level. While maintaining such a level on an annual basis is not possible, the Institute believes that its policies and its enforcement of these policies, has assured the number of academic integrity issues remain minimal.

External benchmarks for integrity issues are difficult to find; however, the integrity of admissions staff and how they portray the campus is vital to assuring prospective students make informed educational decisions. As Table 1R5.1 shows, Southeast Tech’s Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory results for accurate portrayal of the campus are at or near (within 90% of) the national mean level. It is the Institute’s target, however, to move these levels to above the national mean.

Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

The number of incidents of academic integrity issues, either at the employee or student level, is low.  While it continues to be the goal of the Institute to minimize all integrity issues and remain diligent in assuring no increases in frequency or level of these issues, the Institute believes that, at this time, the Institute is effectively handling these concerns.


1I5 Academic Integrity Improvements

Based on 1R 5  , what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

While Southeast Tech believes its policies and processes have been effective in assuring academic integrity as indicated in 1R5, the Institute plans to strengthen its focus in these areas over the next two to three years by:

  • Revising its Academic Freedom policy to assure alignment to the new mission, vision and values;
  • Developing new employee handbooks that are no longer based on negotiated agreements;
  • Implementing, through Southeast Tech Cares (retention and communication software - 2P1), a process to improve the tracking of student integrity concerns.

Go to Category Two: Meeting Student and Other Key Stakeholder Needs