Southeast Technical Institute Systems Portfolio 2017-2018 
    Apr 12, 2021  
Southeast Technical Institute Systems Portfolio 2017-2018

Category Four: Planning and Leading

Mission and Vision
Strategic Planning

Category Four Overview

Southeast Tech’s mission and values were initially defined when the Institute was formed in 1968 and given the authority by the legislature to offer diplomas and certificates in post-secondary education. Since the original statement development, the statements have been reviewed and revised several times by faculty, staff, and administration, as well as the Sioux Falls School Board and external stakeholders. One of Southeast Tech’s strengths is the clarity of its mission. Although the mission has been reviewed and reworded several times, the central objective of educating for employment has remained strong and clear, a mission supported by its stakeholders (1.D.2).

In 2005 a more defined process regarding mission, vision and values was developed by the Strategic Planning Committee, which consisted of faculty, staff, administration, students, and community members. The revised statements were communicated to all faculty and staff by email for additional input with the final revision becoming part of the Strategic Plan and incorporated into all Southeast Tech publications.

In spring 2010, the Southeast Tech Administrative Team again reviewed the Institute’s mission, vision and values and requested a vision statement change to read, “Creating Workforce Excellence.” This change request was opened for input and comment from faculty and staff through an electronic vision survey. Faculty and staff voted to accept the changes prior to approval by the Southeast Tech Council and the Sioux Falls School Board (1.A.1).

With the development and approval of the Institute’s new Strategic Plan, Southeast Tech has redefined and significantly improved its mission and vision and strategic and annual planning processes to the integrated maturity level, both for processes and results. The Institute believes that its leadership maturity level is currently at the aligned level for both processes and results; however, with the implementation of recent, as well as planned actions, the Institute believes it will reach the integrated level for leadership in the next two to three years. Southeast Tech believes that the implementation of all its processes, and assuring focus to the mission and vision, as well as enforcing Institutional policies assures Institutional integrity across the campus. The Institute believes the processes it has in place regarding integrity place it at the aligned to integrated level for processes and systematic for results.

4P1 Mission and Vision

Mission and Vision focuses on how the institution develops, communicates, and reviews its mission and vision. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Developing, deploying, and reviewing the institution’s mission, vision, and values (1.A.1, 1.D.2, 1.D.3)
  • Ensuring that institutional actions reflect a commitment to its values
  • Communicating the mission, vision, and values (1.B.1, 1.B.2, 1.B.3)
  • Ensuring that academic programs and services are consistent with the institution’s mission (1.A.2)
  • Allocating resources to advance the institution’s mission and vision, while upholding the institution’s values (1.D.1,1.A.3)
  • Tracking outcomes/measures utilizing appropriate tools

Developing, Deploying and Reviewing the Institution’s Mission, Vision, and Values (1.A.1, 1.D.2, 1.D.3)

Southeast Tech’s 2016 Strategic Planning process (4P 2 ) included another revision of its mission, vision and values and established the Institute’s formal review process. 

This formal mission, vision and values review and development process occurs with every new Strategic Plan development, which now occurs a minimum of once within every AQIP reaccreditation process. Additionally, on an annual basis, the Southeast Tech Futures and Administrative teams review the mission, vision and values statements to determine if there is a need to reopen these statements for review consideration prior to the creation of the new Strategic Plan.  If these teams believe that such a review is warranted, the Southeast Tech Council and Southeast Tech Board must approve the formal review, and a process similar to the one described in the Strategic Planning process is used (4P 2 ).  Such a review may even result in the development of a new or revised Strategic Plan that is directly related to and supports the statement revisions.  Both the Council and Board may also initiate a mission, vision, or values review, as desired, and any adjustments to the mission, vision or values requires approval by the Council and Board (1.A.1).

While deploying the mission, vision and values is the responsibility of all employees, the Southeast Tech President and the Administrative Team are responsible for assuring that successful deployment occurs. Therefore, throughout the decision-making process, the President and Administrative Team assure that Institutional decisions support the mission, vision and values by internally monitoring decisions and establishing integrated processes across the Institute that support the Strategic Plan and the mission, vision and values of the Institute.  The following integrated processes help the Institute maintain deployment focus toward the mission, vision and values (1.D.2):

  • Strategic Planning Process - reviews and revises the mission, vision and values, and develops a plan for the future that is directly based upon these statements (see 4P 2 );
  • Annual Planning Process - integrates the strategic plan, mission, vision and values into the formal resource allocation (budgeting) process (5P3) by assuring data, targets, revenues and expenditures are directly aligned with these statements (4P 2 );
  • Planning and Assessments Documentation Process - requires that Institutional targets and assessments be directly linked to the Strategic Plan and Institutional mission, vision, and values and are documented in the Planning and Assessments database (4P 2 );
  • Employee Evaluation Process - directly links employee goals to the Strategic Plan and the mission, vision and values of the Institute (3P 2 );
  • Culture of Quality - Southeast Tech has developed a continuous quality improvement (CQI) framework designed to assure CQI efforts directly relate to the mission, vision and values of the Institute (6P 2 ).

Ensuring that Institutional Actions Reflect a Commitment to its Values

Establishing policies that reflect commitment to the Institute’s values is the first step to ensuring values commitment.  Southeast Tech has established policies that cover the areas of Personnel, Students, Governing Board, etc. These policies provide the commitment framework that Institutional leadership uses to assure Institutional values are met.  

Value policies are reviewed annually (fall semester) with all employees to assure that they are communicated and reviewed.  The review requires employee signatures, which are collected and maintained by the Human Resources Officer, who assures all employees complete the review.  Employee Handbooks provide a resource for related policies and expectations. Review of policies occurs through a Policy Committee, which includes the President, a member of the Board, and representatives from administration and employees.  Each policy is reviewed on a rolling three-year timeframe. The policies are accessible to all stakeholders through the Southeast Tech website. 

When a situation arises where Institutional actions are not reflecting a commitment to values, it is the responsibility of the Administrative Team to address the issue using the appropriate process as outlined in policies, negotiated agreements, etc.

Communicating the Mission, Vision and Values (1.B.1, 1.B.2, 1.B.3)

Southeast Tech’s new mission statement (adopted Fall 2107):

     To educate individuals for dynamic and rewarding careers that promote lifetime success and meet the workforce needs of our region (1.B.2).

Southeast Tech’s new vision statement (adopted Fall 2017):

     Educational excellence for tomorrow’s workforce.

Southeast Tech’s current core value statements:

  • Student Learning: Southeast Tech provides an environment for student mastery of academic and technical skills.
  • Student Centered: Student satisfaction and success are valued by Southeast Tech and have a high priority among all the stakeholders.
  • Respect: Southeast Tech fosters a climate in which the dignity and worth of all persons is respected.
  • Excellence: Southeast Tech strives for excellence and quality in all of its endeavors.
  • Innovation: Southeast Tech values creative solutions and continuously seeks new, flexible and responsive ways to achieve its mission and goals.
  • Collaboration: Southeast Tech fosters collaboration with all stakeholders in the delivery of its mission and goals.
  • Accountability: Assessment and evaluation of student learning, programs and Institutional effectiveness are an integral part of assuring student success.

Southeast Tech’s communication of its dedication to the mission, vision and values is shared with stakeholders through the communication methods listed below. In particular, in-service days have provided a direct opportunity for administrators to promote and communicate the mission, vision and values internally. Externally, Southeast Tech shares its mission, vision and values through various media, including the Southeast Tech Catalog, the President’s Report, and the Southeast Tech website (1.B.1).  The most effective way the Institute shares its mission, vision and values, however, is through daily commitment - a continual display of the mission, vision and values through daily actions and decisions.  Finally, the performance of the Institute and the communication of its results provide proof that the Institute is meeting its mission, including graduate employment rates and employer satisfaction results (4R 1 ).  

Mission/Vision/Values Communication Methods (1.B.1) (1.B.3)                                                                    

  • External Stakeholder Informal/Formal Communications                 
  • In-Service Days (August and January)                                                    
  • Administrative Team Meetings                              
  • Weekly Campus Notes                                       
  • President and Department/Program Meetings     
  • Institute Print Publications                                    
  • Institute Website                                                   
  • New Employee Orientation                                   
  • Employee Evaluations/Goal Setting                     
  • Planning, Goal-Setting and Budgeting                 

Ensuring that Academic Programs and Services are Consistent with the Institution’s Mission (1.A.2)

Ensuring academic programs and services are consistent with the Institutes’s mission begins with the proper vetting and development of the programs and services that are offered. This is accomplished through specific and well-defined processes for the development of academic programs (1P 3 ) and the establishment of academic support and student support services (2P 1 ).  As part of these development processes, the Institute evaluates mission alignment.  Once established, annual review of these programs and services by the appropriate Institutional committee or team (Education Design and Delivery, Celebrating Learning, Student Success, etc.) assures that consistency to the mission continues for these programs and services (1.A.2). 

This assurance is strengthened through the Institute’s Annual Planning process, which includes a review of all programs and services.  Adjustments are made through the process for those programs or services that no longer appear consistent with the mission, and all new services must be approved through this same Annual Planning process to assure alignment (4P 2 ) (1.A.2).

Further program review occurs from the South Dakota State Board of Education, which oversees all four state technical institutes and reviews programs annually for viability and consistency with state-level mission, vision and values.  Program approval also stems from this state oversight (1P 3 ).

Allocating Resources to Advance the Institution’s Mission and Vision While Upholding the Institution’s Values (1.D.1, 1.A.3)

The Annual Planning process (4P 2 ) is used to assure that the allocation of resources directly aligns and supports the Institute’s mission and vision, and upholds Institutional values.  This is first accomplished by directly involving employees in the budgeting process (5P3), allowing them to provide input and requiring that expenditures be directly related to the strategic plan and the Institute’s mission and vision. The budgeting process then provides opportunities for further clarification of resource allocation through Administrative Team, Council and Board budget review. Over half of Southeast Tech’s annual operating budget is directed to instructional costs, including salaries and benefits, capital improvement and capital equipment, employee professional development, program supplies and other related program needs, indicating the allocations directly align with the Institute’s mission of “educating for employment” (4R 1 ) (1.A.3) (1.D.1).  

Tracking Outcomes/Measures Utilizing Appropriate Tools

Southeast Tech’s mission is all about educating for employment; therefore, measuring how well the Institute fulfills this mission is as important as how well the Institute develops, communicates and reviews its mission statement. In fact, fulfilling the mission is a form of communicating the mission.  Therefore, Southeast Tech uses the following measures associated with its mission:

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

  • Student Learning
  • Graduate Placement
  • Enrollment
  • Retention/Graduation Rates
  • Employer Survey
  • Student Satisfaction Survey
  • Employee Satisfaction Survey

Mission Statement Support

  • Employers
  • Employees, Strategic Planning Committee, Southeast Tech Council, Southeast Tech Board


4R1 Mission and Vision Results

What are the results for developing, communicating and reviewing the institution’s mission, vision and values? These results may include: 

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

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

While KPI are frequently associated with strategic plans, a strategic plan’s emphasis may only be on parts of the KPI.  Southeast Tech believes KPI are measures of mission accomplishment, which is separate from measures of strategic plan deployment.  Therefore, the Institute includes KPI in the mission section of the Portfolio. The KPI listed below are also referenced in other sections of the Portfolio with analysis and insights; therefore, for each KPI, an overall statement is provided with references to locations where further information is available. Overall insights into how well Southeast Tech believes it is meeting its mission based on KPI results is provided in the Insights Gained section below.

Student Learning is key to the success of the Institute, its students, and the community the Institute serves.  If the Institute fails to effectively train its students, the mission cannot be met.  Therefore, student learning is the most important measure of meeting the mission.  As Table 4R1.1 indicates, the Institute’s student learning accomplishments have been excellent. Programs have maintained their accreditations (Diesel Technology did not in 2016), students have performed higher than national averages on certifications (based on pass rate percentages), and Common Learning Outcomes have been consistently reached or have been within 90% of Institutional targets (See Category 1). 

Graduate Placement Rates are at the heart of Southeast Tech meeting its mission. Regardless of how well graduates are trained, the Institute is not serving its community if graduates are not employed.  Table 4R1.2 attests to the significant impact Southeast Tech has had on its community and its graduates.  With employment rates as high as 98% and in-related field rates above 90%, Southeast Tech is proud of its ability to serve its stakeholders (see Category 1).

In order to meet the graduate workforce needs, Southeast Tech’s Enrollment numbers must reflect the needs of its stakeholders.  As shown in Table 4R1.3, Southeast Tech maintained strong enrollment numbers in 2012 and 2013 but has seen significant reductions for the past three years as the economy improved.  Not surprisingly, during the recession enrollments increased; however, with the region’s unemployment rate below 3%, Southeast Tech must not only compete with other colleges for students, it must compete with the job market.  Recent sector breakfasts with employers, however, reinforced the region’s workforce needs and the Institute’s need to find ways to increase enrollment rates, and by doing so, produce more trained graduates.  In 2015-2016, Southeast Tech took on this challenge and implemented new enrollment software to improve student recruitment, and in 2016-2017 Southeast Tech hired a consultant to help the Institute take full advantage of the software as well as improve recruitment processes.  While it is still too early for results, the Institute is seeing a significant increase in its accepted student numbers.

Of course, getting students to the Institute doesn’t mean they will graduate, and fighting the job market in a low unemployment environment is difficult.  But as Table 4R1.4 shows, Southeast Tech has been very successful in finding ways to increase its Retention/Graduation Rates, assuring more trained workers will enter the workforce (see Category 2). 

The final three KPI are measures of stakeholder satisfaction.  Delivering qualified graduates does not automatically assure employer satisfaction.  Therefore, Southeast Tech surveys employers of our graduates every other year.  As shown in Table 4R1.5, the Employer Survey results have been excellent, indicating employer satisfaction in graduate performance.  The percentage of the 13 categories rated at the 4+ level (average score on a 5 point Likert scale) fell during the last survey (2015); however, follow-up sector breakfasts over the past year have clarified employer expectations.  Employers believe Southeast Tech graduates have strong technical skills, but they would like the Institute to develop more ways to improve graduate soft skills as they relate to job performance.  The Institute is therefore implementing more opportunities to provide stronger training in these areas.  Overall, however, the results remain strong, and even categories below the 4+ range are very close to that average (Category 1).

Student Satisfaction is vital to retention as well as the Institute’s reputation.  Every three years the Institute uses the Noel-Levitz survey to track student satisfaction rates.  The number of categories (out of 12) with average scores at the 5+ level (7 point Likert scale) has been at the 100% mark for the past two surveys, moving up from 91.7% in the prior year.  While the Institute has not reached its goal of 90% of categories above the national mean, the Institute considers the goal aggressive and long term.  New survey results will be available summer 2017 and will help the Institute gauge its current level of satisfaction.  The Institute does, however, continue to implement ways to increase student satisfaction (Category 2).

It is often said that Employee Satisfaction is the ultimate driver of success.  Paying attention to, and working toward improvement of, employee satisfaction is therefore significant to meeting the Institute’s mission.  Prior to 2014, Southeast Tech used its own, internal satisfaction survey.  The Institute moved to the Noel-Levitz survey in 2014 to include comparison data.  Southeast Tech will wait for one more cycle of the survey (conducted every other year with spring 2018 next in the cycle) before determining an Institutional target.  However, as Table 4R1.7 indicates, Southeast Tech has seen a high variation in employee satisfaction between faculty and staff. This has been a topic of discussion and a driver for change since 2014, and the Institute believes it is implementing changes that will address this issue (Category 3).

Southeast Tech believes that Mission Statement Support provides a direct measure of how well the mission statement is understood and accepted by both employers and employees.  

Employers: Southeast Tech uses its employer survey to gauge employer support of the mission.  Besides rating the graduate, employers also rate the Institute on various measures.  Included in those measures are Meets Company Needs and an Overall Grade.  Positive employer ratings on Meets Company Needs assures that the Institute is meeting its mission.  From 2007 to 2015, Southeast Tech received overall average ratings of 3.95 or higher on a 5 point Likert scale, and in 2015 the Institute met its target of a 4.00 rating (Table 4R1.8).  Over the same timeframe, overall employer grades for the Institute ranged from 91.95% to 92.79% with 2015 receiving the highest percentage (no target has been set for Overall Grade). These ratings indicate employer satisfaction with how the Institute is performing in terms of its mission (2R3).  Southeast Tech’s sector breakfast minutes also point to employer satisfaction with the Institute meeting its mission.

Employees: Southeast Tech uses the Noel-Levitz College Employee Satisfaction Survey to gauge employee support of the mission statement, surveying employees on three key elements as shown in Table 4R1.9.  The Institute conducts the survey every other year and had its own survey until 2014; therefore, the Institute only has two data points at this time for comparison.  The Institute set the highest national mean score of the two survey years (2014 and 2016) as the Institute’s target level. Currently, the Institute is within 90% of the target (yellow) in the three areas of Employees Understand the Mission, Employees Support the Mission and Goals Are Consistent with the Mission.  Southeast Tech believes that its upcoming improvements in employee onboarding (3P1) and recent improvements in employee involvement in planning (4P2) will help move these indicators to the target level. 

Southeast Tech completed its formal review of its mission and vision statements in fall 2017 as part of the Strategic Planning process.  The Strategic Planning Committee reviewed and revised the Institute’s mission and vision statements and gave it to the Southeast Tech community for input.  The Institute surveyed current employees regarding the new mission and vision statements through an online survey. Seventy-six employees (35+%) completed the survey with 92.11% agreeing with the new mission and vision statements, and another 6.58% agreeing with the new mission and vision statements but requesting modifications.  Only 1.32% said they did not support the statement changes. Employee suggestions were sent back to the Strategic Planning Committee for review.  

Final mission and vision statements were presented to and approved by the Council and subsequently endorsed by the Board. The new statements went into effect fall 2017.  Southeast Tech will now follow its mission, vision and values process as outlined in 4P1.


4I1 Mission and Vision Improvements

Based on 4R1, what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

Southeast Tech has recently accomplished the following regarding its mission and vision:

  • Established revised mission and vision statements that will guide the Institute for the next five to eight years;
  • Standardized a formal mission and vision statement review process as a natural part of the Strategic Planning process;
  • Captured stakeholder input at all levels regarding the mission and vision statements;
  • Received positive feedback on the new mission and vision statements from stakeholders;
  • Communicated the new mission and vision statements to the Institute’s stakeholders.

As part of the Annual Planning process, Southeast Tech will informally review the mission and vision statements annually.  The Institute will also:

  • Increase the communication of the new mission and vision statements across the Institute and with external stakeholders;
  • Continue to build more ways to integrate the mission and vision statements into all Institutional processes. 


4P2 Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning focuses on how the institution achieves its mission and vision. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Engaging internal and external stakeholders in strategic planning (5.C.3)
  • Aligning operations with the institution’s mission, vision, values (5.C.2)
  • Aligning efforts across departments, divisions, and colleges for optimum effectiveness and efficiency (5.B.3)
  • Capitalizing on opportunities and institutional strengths and countering the impact of institutional weaknesses and potential threats (5.C.4, 5.C.5)
  • Creating and implementing strategies and action plans that maximize current resources and meet future needs (5.C.1, 5.C.4)
  • Tracking outcomes/measures utilizing appropriate tools

Engaging Internal and External Stakeholders in Strategic Planning (5.C.3)

Initiating the Strategic Planning Process 

Southeast Tech’s formal long-range strategic planning process is initiated by the President and occurs a minimum of once in every eight-year AQIP reaffirmation cycle. Both the Southeast Tech Council and Board approve the initiation of the planning process and contract for strategic planning services with an outside agency. Understanding the speed at which educational changes occur, however, Southeast Tech’s President may determine that a shorter timeframe is necessary for long-range strategic planning.

SP1:  Capturing Input

Once the agency is determined, the President, Council and Board representatives, along with internal and external stakeholders, meet with the strategic planning agency to determine the scope of work and phases of plan development.   

Although every strategic planning process varies according to the ever-changing needs of the Institute and the agency agreement, the following requirements remain consistent (Figure 4P2.1):   

Stakeholder Input:  Throughout the strategic planning process, capturing stakeholder input is vital.  Therefore, a variety of techniques are used to engage stakeholders:

  • Strategic Planning Committee:  A committee of internal and external stakeholders guides plan development, including setting goals and initial strategies.  The committee works directly with the agency to review/revise the Institute’s mission and vision and develop the strategic plan and measures.  The Southeast Tech President works with the Council and Board to determine committee membership that is a cross-representation of internal stakeholders from various programs and departments, including faculty, staff and administration, and external stakeholders from industry, local workforce agencies, state and local government, etc. (5.C.3).
  • Stakeholder Surveys:  Both internal and external stakeholder online surveys are conducted (5.C.3).
  • Focus Groups:  Throughout the process, focus groups of specific stakeholders, and individual interviews, may be held (5.C.3).
  • Draft Plan Review:  As the committee progresses in developing the plan, internal and external stakeholders are given the opportunity to review draft plans and provide input and suggestions (5.C.3). 

Besides stakeholders, additional input is also provided to the Strategic Planning Committee, including survey data (employers, employees, students), Key Performance Indicators and results (enrollments, retention and graduation rates, licensure pass rates, etc.), Capital Improvement, Equipment and other planning documents, etc.  

SP2:  Developing the Plan 

The Strategic Planning Committee develops the strategic plan, gathering additional stakeholder input throughout the development process.  Once the plan is completed, stakeholders are surveyed regarding support of the mission, vision, strategic plan.  Additional input is gathered, and any last minute adjustments are made accordingly.  Included within the Strategic Plan are outcome descriptions, measurements, and indicators of success. (5.C.3)

SP3 and SP4:  Approving and Communicating the Plan 

Finally, the President presents the mission, vision and strategic plan to the Southeast Tech Council and Sioux Falls School Board for final decision.  The plan is then communicated with all stakeholders through Council and Board meetings and minutes, Southeast Tech Website, inservice, and team and committee meetings.

Aligning Operations with the Institution’s Mission, Vision, Values (5.C.2)

By first reviewing and revising the mission and vision during the strategic planning process and then developing the strategic plan based on these changes, Southeast Tech assures that the strategic plan and the mission and vision are aligned.  Aligning operations to the Institute’s mission, vision and values then becomes part of the deployment process.

SP5:  Deploying the Plan  

Once adopted, Southeast Tech’s strategic plan guides deployment through the Institution’s budget, academic program, department, employee evaluation, assessment of student learning, and other planning processes, assuring alignment continues at the operational level.  These planning processes occur as part of the Institute’s Annual Planning process, which uses the same guiding process of capturing, developing, deciding, evaluating, publishing and reflecting: (5.C.2)

     AP1:  Capturing Annual Plan Input:  Every fall semester, the most recent Institutional data is provided to internal stakeholders.  Internal stakeholders review the data, the strategic plan and its goals, and Institutional and internal unit (departments/programs/teams/committees) targets and assessments, and other pertinent data.  

     AP2:  Developing the Annual Plan:  Using these inputs, the various Institutional units develop an Annual Action Plan for the upcoming fiscal year.  Figure 4P2.2 summarizes the key annual planning processes:

Figure 4P2.2 Key Annual Planning Processes
Processes Responsible Team or Individual Description and Actions

Budget Planning (5P3)

VP of Finance The Southeast Tech budget is the key planning document for all annual plans and serves the purpose of integrating all plans into a single, integrated annual Institutional plan.  As each of the plans below are developed, they are presented to the Administrative Team for recommendation as part of the Institutional annual budget plan. The Administrative Team reviews each action plan, makes adjustments as necessary, and develops the final annual plan for consideration by the Council and Board. During these conversations, administrators gather input from faculty and staff regarding program and department general budget needs, such as staffing, supplies, travel and professional development, etc. Administrators also gather information on capital equipment, capital improvement and technology needs. Department and program action projects are considered in the budget planning process. Information from these planning meetings is brought back to the Administrative Team for discussion and final decisions (5.C.2). 
Student Learning Assessment Planning (1P1, 1P2) Celebrating Learning Team To assure that assessment of student learning is integrated into the Annual Planning Process, the Celebrating Learning Team (CLT) produces assessment reports, which are presented to the Futures and Administrative Teams, and are communicated across campus. Within that report, the CLT makes recommendations and planning requests to meet assessment targets and assure student learning is integrated into the Annual Plan (5.C.2).
Academic Program Planning (5P3) VP of Academics

Southeast Tech’s Academic Administrative Team works directly with program personnel on Academic Program Planning.  Program faculty establish program action projects designed to improve the program and meet established targets that directly relate to Institutional mission, vision, and/or strategic plan.  Throughout the fall semester and early spring, faculty and academic administrators gather input from Advisory committees and other stakeholders and meet to discuss staffing and program funding needs, as well as program accreditations, future program goals, program expansion, student assessment, etc. Each designated program area submits its action plans and budget to the Administrative Team.  Budget priority is placed on successfully meeting these actions plans (5.C.2). 

Department/ Committee/ Team Planning (5P3) Department Supervisor Department (Admissions, Finance, Marketing, Financial Aid, Student Success, etc.) and Committee and Team (Student Success, Celebrating Learning, Education Design and Delivery, etc.) planning parallels the Academic Program Planning process. Action projects are established to improve department efficiencies, processes, services, outcomes, etc. that directly impact the Institute’s mission, vision, and/or strategic plan. Through meetings between department staff and the immediate supervisor, as well as input from various committees, teams, and external stakeholders, these areas develop and submit an annual action plan. Budget priority is placed on successfully meeting these action projects (5.C.2).
Employee Evaluation (3P2, 3P3) Department Supervisor Once professional development and training goals are set during employee evaluation, the department supervisor assures that the development and training are incorporated into program, department, and committee planning and therefore presented to the Administrative Team for inclusion in the Annual Plan (5.C.2).
Capital Equipment Planning (5P2) VP of Finance Through Program and Department Planning, capital equipment needs are developed and submitted for consideration to the Administrative Team.  As part of the Budgeting Process, the Administrative Team prioritizes equipment requests and places them on a multi-year Capital Equipment Plan (CEP), which identifies the items to be purchased over a rolling five-year plan. If funds are not available in a given year to complete an item, the item is reprioritized to another year. If funds become available, an item may be moved to an earlier year. This process allows Southeast Tech to focus on the most important equipment needs while maintaining an accurate list for the future.  
Capital Improvement Planning (5P2) VP of Finance Capital Improvement Planning (CIP) is developed in a similar fashion to Capital Equipment Planning (see above). 
Technology Planning (5P1, 5P2) Director of Information Technology Technology Planning is developed in a similar fashion as capital improvement and equipment planning; however, since technology needs frequently arise through student, faculty, and staff feedback, Helpdesk reports, student surveys of instruction or satisfaction, Advisory Committees, or committee and budget meetings, and frequently affect the entire campus, these needs are presented separately to the Administrative Team for consideration. The IT department compiles this information, which is presented to the other administrators by the Director of Information Technology.  Once identified, technology needs are prioritized by the Administrative Team, and items are either included as part of the budget or are carried over to a future year for consideration (5.C.5).
Foundation Planning (5P3) Institutional Advancement Office Foundation Planning centers on a 5-year Foundation Plan based on the Foundation mission to obtain, manage and allocate contributions to support Southeast Tech students. The current plan was approved by the Sioux Falls School Board in January 2009 and is reviewed and updated annually by the Foundation Board, Institutional Advancement Officer and Southeast Tech President. In this plan, the Foundation Board defines its key goals as continuing to build corporate awareness of the value Southeast Tech brings to the community through workforce development and supporting student success through scholarships and targeted initiatives.
Marketing Planning (5P3) Marketing Coordinator

Since marketing is such a critical aspect of Institute success, Southeast Tech has established a Marketing Plan, which is developed by the Marketing Department and approved by the administrator overseeing the department.  The plan is included as part of the Annual Planning process.

     AP3:  Deciding on the Annual Plan:  Culminating all key planning processes into the Annual Planning Process assures that all plans are considered and are integrated into an Institutional Annual Plan that best meets the Institute’s mission, vision and strategic plan.  During its review of the budget documents in the spring and again during the Administrator Summer Retreat, Southeast Tech’s Administrative Team finalizes the Annual Plan for the upcoming fiscal year.  During this same process, the Administrative Team reviews previous annual plan results, Key Performance Indicator results, and other data and input, and incorporates this information into the decision-making process and annual plan. The plan is then presented to the Council for approval and recommendation to the Sioux Falls School Board.  Finally, the Board approves the annual plan as part of its budget approval process.  

     AP4:  Deploying the Annual Plan:  Deployment begins by communicating the Annual Plan to employees and stakeholders. The Annual Plan is shared with stakeholders through board meetings, published documents (President and Council reports), the Southeast Tech website, In-Service Days, Monthly Meetings, and team and committee meetings, as well as during other processes, such as budgeting, program/department planning, etc. The Annual Plan is also documented in the Planning and Assessments database, which requires each planning item to be linked directly to the Institutional strategic plan or the mission, vision and values, and is available for review by all employees.  

Deployment is then decentralized with programs, departments, committees and teams taking responsibility for the implementation of assigned action projects.  The Administrative Team oversees deployment within their assigned responsibility areas, and the Futures Team, which oversees the Institute’s continuous quality initiatives, oversees deployment of the Institute’s quality initiatives (6P 2 ) and assures alignment is maintained among all levels of the plan. Two annual status updates on action projects (one in the fall and one in the spring) are required (beginnning 2017-2018) and are documented in minutes and/or database updates.  The Futures Team assures that notification and completion of updates occurs.

     AP5:  Evaluating Annual Plan Implementation:  Evaluation of Annual Plan implementation occurs at several levels and a minimum of twice a year, shortly after the status updates are completed.

  • Budget (5P3):  Administrators and employees have access to the budget.  Those employees with direct oversight to budget expenditures can be given rights to view their direct budget expense levels 24/7.  Updates on overall budget expenditures are presented by the Finance Office to the Administrative Team during weekly team meetings.  Adjustments are made accordingly.
  • Student Learning Assessment (1P1): The Celebrating Learning Team assures that assessment processes, including development, training, assessment, actions and reflection on assessments occurs at the Institutional and program/department level.  Reports are presented to the Futures Team, which are then forwarded to the Administrative Team. 
  • Academic Program/Department:  Program and department personnel meet with or submit status updates to their immediate supervisor, who reviews the updates and determines if any adjustments are necessary.  The supervisor communicates back to the program or department any necessary adjustments or changes.
  • Team/Committee: Southeast Tech’s Futures Team oversees the actions of the Institute’s AQIP teams and Institutional standing committees (6P 2 ).
  • Capital Equipment/Improvement (5P2):  Assuring that capital equipment and capital improvement planning are implemented effectively is the responsibility of the immediate area supervisor.  These improvements are generally tied to a specific action project and therefore updates on implementation are part of the Academic Program/Department Planning updates.  Regardless, it is the immediate supervisor who assures that an evaluation of this planning takes place.  
  • Technology (5P1, 5P3):  While some Technology Planning occurs within academic program/department areas, the majority of planning occurs within the Information Technology department.  Therefore, the evaluation of this planning occurs within that department in a manner similar to other departments (5.C.5).
  • Foundation:  The Foundation’s Board is responsible for the Foundation Planning evaluation and is overseen by the Foundation Director.
  • Marketing:  The Marketing Director and the immediate supervisor are responsible for the evaluation of the Marketing Plan.

The Southeast Tech Council receives updates on the Annual Plan evaluation a minimum of twice a year during scheduled meetings to determine progress toward the established annual goals, as well as the progress toward the Strategic Plan.  Adjustments are made accordingly.  Evaluations are documented in both meeting minutes and as part of the Southeast Tech Planning and Assessments database, including outcome measures.  Analysis statements and future initiatives based on this analysis are also documented in the database and frequently appear in the Institute’s Systems Portfolio.

Final Annual Planning evaluation occurs with the Administrative Team as part of the development of the following fiscal year Annual Planning process and during the Summer Retreat.  

     AP6:  Publicizing Plan Results:  Final results and outcome measures are documented at the end of the year in the Planning and Assessments database, including an Annual Update for each action project. The Administrative Team then aggregates the data results into a single report that is disseminated to all stakeholders through the Southeast Tech website and includes the planning targets, outcome measure results, benchmarking, and analysis.  The report is presented to both the Board and Council for further review.  

     AP7:  Reflecting on Annual Planning:  During the evaluation process, input is also gathered on the Annual Planning process itself.  Each area reflects on how well the process met their needs, and suggestions are provided to administration through final reports and surveys on ways to improve the Annual Planning process.  The Futures Team reflects on the progress of the teams and committees as they relate to meeting Institutional goals and how well the overall process and team/committee structure is working. Information from these reviews is provided to the Administrative Team, which reviews the reports and suggestions, continues the reflection process, and develops process improvements.  Similarly, the Council and Board reflect on the process during the evaluation process and make process adjustments as well.

SP5:  Integration into the Strategic Plan

Annual Planning results are integrated into the Strategic Plan, including analysis, targets, outcome measures, and benchmarks.  

SP6:  Evaluating the Strategic Plan

Once integrated, the Strategic Plan results are evaluated by the Administrative Team.  A Strategic Plan Annual Update Report is developed and provided to the Council for further evaluation, approval and recommendation to the Board.  Finally, the report is reviewed and approved by the Board.

SP7:  Publishing Strategic Plan Outcomes

The Strategic Plan Outcomes are then published and presented to Southeast Tech stakeholders through the Southeast Tech website, email, e-newsletters using Southeast Tech’s Career Connections software, etc.

Results of the Strategic Plan, including measurements, is documented in the Planning and Assessments database.

SP8:  Reflecting on the Strategic Plan

An overall reflection on the Strategic Plan is developed by the Administrative Team using the input provided through the Annual Plan reflection process.  This information is presented to the Council for recommendation and approval by the Board.

SP9:  Strategic Plan Continuation

The Strategic Plan Reflection Process provides the Administrative Team, Council and Board the opportunity to review the results of the Strategic Plan as well as possible future Strategic Plan action projects. Each year a decision is made regarding the continuation of the current strategic plan or the development of a new one.  If the Administrative Team, Council and Board determine a new Strategic Plan is necessary, the process begins at SP1.  If the decision is made to continue with the current Strategic Plan, the process continues at AP1. This provides the Institute with an annual process for reviewing the Strategic Plan and determining if the plan is still meeting the Institute’s and its stakeholder’s needs.

Aligning Efforts Across Departments, Divisions, and Colleges for Optimum Effectiveness and Efficiency (5.B.3)

The Strategic and Annual planning processes both work to assure alignment of efforts across departments, divisions and programs, helping the Institute assure effectiveness and efficiency in its budget allocations and resources.  However, several additional key methods are used to assure this alignment:

  • Module Managers Monthly Meetings - Key users of the administrative software system, representing each module, meet monthly to assure communication occurs regarding any upcoming change requests and software updates.
  • Academic/Student Support Monthly Meetings - Academic Administrators meet with support staff from Admissions, Financial Aid and Student Success to discuss academic, student support and enrollment information.  The meetings help the Institute assure that all areas are informed on what is happening within the Institute.
  • Administrative Team Meetings - The Administrative Team meets weekly to discuss the current status of projects and actions within each area, as well as to review Institutional concerns, needs and budget.
  • Monthly Institutional Meetings - Southeast Tech holds monthly all-employee meetings to share information with all employees about issues important to the Institute. 
  • Monthly Building Meetings - Academic Administrators hold monthly meetings with faculty regarding issues directly related to academics. These meetings are also attended by staff members from Admissions and Student Success in order to share the information with other departments.
  • SGA Meetings/Decision Board - The Student Government Association meets on a monthly basis to assure that students are aware of campus initiatives as well as to gather student input on issues important to them.  Whenever SGA has a concern or request that is beyond the ability of the Association to change or implement themselves, the Decision Board meets to discuss these items and determine a course of action.  In come cases, the Decision Board can grant approval and implement the request.  If not, the Decision Board makes a recommendation to the Administrative Team, which then determines a course of action.  The Decision Board then assures that communication back to SGA and the student body occurs (5.B.3). 

Capitalizing on Opportunities and Institutional Strengths and Countering the Impact of Institutional Weaknesses and Potential Threats (5.C.4, 5.C.5)

The Strategic Plan Steering Committee’s process of capturing and analyzing input from the Institute’s various stakeholders prior to plan development, including the Institute’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential threats, and documenting and using that analysis as part of the Strategic Plan itself, assures that the Committee develops a plan that can best capitalize on and meet Institutional and stakeholder needs (SP1). Annual review of the Strategic and Annual plans, which provides an opportunity for reflection and adjustment, further assures that the Institute takes into account changing Institutional and stakeholder needs (AP7, SP8). (5.C.4) (5.C.5)

Throughout the Annual Planning process, Southeast Tech administration considers Institutional risks and adjusts the budget accordingly (5P3). Southeast Tech approaches every budget year with conservative estimates both in terms of revenue and expenses. Any major increases in budget allocations require support documentation and justification. This justification must include how the budget increase will help Southeast Tech reach its strategic goals and how the increase will be funded. The President makes final decisions regarding the budget before it is presented to the Southeast Tech Council. The Council reviews the budget and makes any additional necessary adjustments. Once a budget has been adopted, the opportunity for a supplement can be addressed as need arises, but the change must be approved by the Council and the Sioux Falls School Board. (5.C.4) (5.C.5)

Southeast Tech maintains approximately 20% of its budget in reserves. Reserve funds may be utilized for emergency purposes. (5.C.4) (5.C.5) 

Creating and Implementing Strategies and Action Plans that Maximize Current Resources and Meet Future Needs (5.C.1, 5.C.4)

Southeast Tech relies on its Strategic and Annual Planning processes to assure that both plans create strategies and action plans that maximize current resources, meet future needs and are aligned with the mission and Institutional priorities.  Both planning processes include outcomes and measures by which the Institute can gauge progress. (5.C.1) (5.C.4) 

The Board and Council holds the President accountable for achieving strategic outcomes via these measures, and the President holds each member of the Administrative Team accountable for creating and achieving progress toward annual objectives for key operational areas as developed through the Annual Plan. (5.C.1) 

Year-end reports on both Strategic and Annual planning strategies and actions is presented to the Council and Board and published in a formal document made available to Southeast Tech stakeholders. The performance report includes strategy and action outcomes, including targets, measures and analysis of results, both for the current year and previous years for the Strategic Plan. (5.C.1)

Tracking Outcomes/Measures Utilizing Appropriate Tools

With the development of Southeast Tech’s new Strategic Plan, the Institute is redefining and improving the outcomes and measures it tracks and uses for improvement.  Based on the new Strategic Plan, Southeast Tech’s Annual plans are developed to support and accomplish the goals of the Strategic Plan and will include Annual Plan targets that help the Institute gauge annual performance toward the Strategic Plan targets.  These Annual Plan targets, set by the Administrative Team and approved by the Council and Board, will be reviewed annually during the budget review process (5P3), along with the KPI and movement toward successful completion of the Strategic Plan goals and its targets.  Therefore, the following outcome measures will be tracked and reviewed annually:

  • Strategic Plan Targets
  • Annual Plan Targets


4R2 Strategic Planning Results

4R2 What are the results for communicating, planning, implementing, and reviewing the institution’s operational plan?

  • 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 Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained 

Because Southeast Tech is currently implementing a new Strategic Plan and new targets, both a summarization of the previous Institutional Priority areas and a presentation of the new Strategic Plan is provided. For additional information on the previous priority and new strategic plan actions and completions, see Appendix A and Appendix B. 

Previous Priority Areas  Southeast Tech’s last formal Strategic Plan was completed in 2011.  From 2012-2014, the Institute used three Institutional Priority areas to guide Institute planning:  Student Success, Collaborative Relationships and Leverage Resources.  The established outcome measures included graduation rates, new student enrollments, and percentage of completed/continuing strategies. Table 4R2.1 summarizes these outcomes.  Graduation rates remained steady and within 90% of the target, and enrollment of new students declined over the three years.  While many strategies were implemented, with the Student Success strategies reaching 100% completion/continuation for two years and collaborative relationships for one year, the overall impact of the strategies did not directly impact either graduation rates or new student enrollment.

In 2015-2016 the Institutional Priority areas were revised and expanded to include: Branding Technical Education, Increasing Educational Opportunities, Building Excellence in Academics, Developing Governance and Organizational Structures, Optimizing Resources, and Valuing Stakeholders.  This move was precipitated by state-level changes (technical institute governance discussions) and local level changes (new Employee Satisfaction results, enrollment concerns, and the need to increase program opportunities for students through stacked and latticed programming).  The three previous priority areas did not encompass these emerging needs, and a new Strategic Plan would not be available in the near future; therefore, the decision was made to move to new priority areas. New student enrollment continued as one of the measures, but graduation rates was adjusted to fall-to-fall retention rates, providing more immediate feedback. From 2015 to 2016, the Institute experienced gains in retention, reaching the Institute’s target in 2016; however, the Institute continued to see a decline in new student enrollment.  As Table 4R2.2 indicates, a higher percentage of the priority strategies were completed or were continuing as compared to the 2012-2014 results.   

Because the Strategic Plan is new, outcome results are limited and full measures and targets are still being established for each of the plan’s four pillars.  Initial action plans, however, have been established and are being implemented (Appendix B), and initial measures and targets have been developed (Table 4R2.3). While most measures will not be available until FY18, Southeast Tech has seen rapid growth in its Career Connections memberships.  Brand new students to Southeast Tech’s programs has also improved, reaching 801 in 2016-2017. While Southeast Tech’s total population of Sioux Falls high school graduates makes up between 20% and 25% of the Institute’s total enrollment, the Institute believes it has the opportunity to increase the number of graduates coming directly into the Institute and is developing actions that will help the Institute reach its goal of 111 students by 2020-2021. Additional actions and action measures will be determined over the course of the Plan’s implementation.  As part of the Institute’s Annual and Strategic planning review processes, the Institute will update Strategic Plan progress in Summer 2017. 

Comparison of Results with Internal Targets and External Benchmarks

Soliciting Input Results

Employee involvement in the Strategic and Annual planning processes, and using employee suggestions for improvement, are both critical to the success of the Institute.  Southeast Tech uses the Noel-Levitz College Employee Satisfaction Survey to gauge employee satisfaction in these areas. Involvement in planning has improved from 2.72 in 2014 to 2.89 in 2016 as shown in Table 4R2.11; however, the rating is still below the target level of 2.89. Similarly, employee suggestions are used for improvement (Table 4R2.12) has improved from 2014 (2.67) to 2016 (2.73), but the result is still below 90% of the target (3.04).  

Summer 2016 Insights and Action Plan: 

Through increased employee involvement in Southeast Tech’s planning process and implementation (4P2), as well as employee-led teams and committees (6P1 and 6P2), Southeast Tech believes that the Institute will make even stronger gains in reaching its Strategic Plan targets than it did with the priority areas. The Institute expects this revised strategy will also improve employee satisfaction with planning and use of suggestions.  

Interpretation of Results and Insights Gained

Through the experiences of using the priority areas, Southeast Tech learned several things: 1. while valuable, priority areas do not provide the same opportunities and focus that can be achieved through the development of a formal strategic plan that has been vetted with Institutional stakeholders; and 2. strategies must directly relate to expected outcomes and measures.  While the priorities used in 2012-2014 were valuable to the Institute, they were unaligned with the expected outcomes and measures, and therefore did not lead to improvements in reaching the targets. The priorities and outcomes and measures for the 2015-2016 areas was more aligned with, and therefore impacted, the outcomes; however, Southeast Tech realized the importance of implementing a new Strategic Plan, which was approved in Fall 2016.


4I2 Strategic Planning Improvements

Based on 4I2, what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

Southeast Tech is excited about what it has accomplished with its Strategic Planning process, which includes:

  • Development of an improved, repeatable and sustainable Strategic Planning process based on Institute mission and vision;
  • Development of a new Strategic Plan that involved stakeholders from all levels and sets the Institute’s direction for the upcoming years;
  • Development of an improved, repeatable and sustainable Annual Planning process, tied directly to the Strategic Plan, mission and vision;
  • Development of support processes, such as employee evaluations, that directly tie these processes to the Strategic Plan, mission and vision;
  • Completion of the previous priorities which has helped the Institute reach its current level of service to students, the community, and all Institute stakeholders.

Southeast Tech looks forward to what it will accomplish in the upcoming years through its new Strategic Plan.  Included in these changes are:

  • Implementation of a new software package that will improve how the Institute documents, reports, and assures completion of the Strategic Plan; 
  • Buildong even stronger integration of data into decision making and the Annual Planning process;
  • Improving Strategic Plan reporting methods and communications to all stakeholders to provide more opportunities for input and assure transparency. 


4P3 Leadership

Leadership focuses on governance and leadership of the institution. Describe the processes for ensuring sound and effective leadership of the institution and who is involved in those processes. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Establishing appropriate board-institutional relationships to support leadership and governance (2.C.4)
  • Establishing oversight responsibilities and policies of the governing board (2.C.3, 5.B.1, 5.B.2)
  • Maintaining board oversight, while delegating management responsibilities to administrators, and academic matters to faculty (2.C.4)
  • Ensuring Open Communication Between and Among All Colleges, Divisions, and Departments
  • Collaborating across all units to ensure the maintenance of high academic standards (5.B.3)
  • Providing effective leadership to all institutional stakeholders (2.C.1, 2.C.2)
  • Developing leaders at all levels within the institution
  • Ensuring the institution’s ability to act in accordance with its mission and vision (2.C.3)
  • Tracking outcomes/measures utilizing appropriate tools

Establishing Appropriate Board-Institutional Relationships to Support Leadership and Governance (2.C.4)

By state statute, the South Dakota Department of Education (SDDOE) has approval authority for the four state technical institute’s program offerings and faculty credentialing process. To facilitate technical institute collaboration, develop state-wide institute goals, coordinate the program approval process and avoid unnecessary program duplication, and assure that the faculty credentialing process is effective, SDDOE has established the Career and Technical Education (CTE) office to work directly with the institutes.  The CTE Director meets with the four technical institute presidents every other month.  Similar meetings are held between the institute vice presidents and the CTE Assistant Director.  A retreat is held with both the presidents and vice presidents every spring.  Through these meetings the technical institutes work together with the state office to improve state technical education and assure the capturing of important input.  

The five-member Sioux Falls School Board (Board) is the Institute’s official governing body, overseeing Institutional management, approving the strategic plan and annual budgets, expenditure approvals, etc.  Board control and responsibilities are established through Institute policy.  Monthly public Board meetings, attended by the Administrative Team, provide opportunities for Board reports regarding Institutional strategic and annual plan implementation as well as other Institutional activities.  Monthly Board member and Institute president meetings are held to set Board meeting agendas and to discuss Institutional issues. Board members are elected from the Sioux Falls School District community and are responsible to assure that the Institute is using its resources effectively to meet the Institute’s mission, vision and values.

The Board delegates day-to-day management to the Institute’s administration. The Southeast Tech Administrative Team meets weekly and is the primary decision-maker within the organization, responsible for oversight of the Strategic Plan, deployment of the annual plan, and general Institutional operations. The Team consists of the President, Vice President for Academics, Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Research, and directors for Information Technology, Academic Support (2), and Admissions/Financial Aid (see Table 5.1). The monthly Board meetings assure the Board’s knowledge of important Institutional actions and provides opportunities for Board input.  (2.C.3) (2.C.4)

The Southeast Tech Council (Council), consisting of external stakeholders representing the Institute’s program divisions (9 member minimum), at-large positions (2), and one Board member, provide input, review and make recommendations regarding the strategic plan, review annual plans and budgets for Board approval, and serve as community advocates for the Institute. One faculty and one staff member, as well as the Institute’s President, serve on the Council as non-voting members.  All Southeast Tech administrators attend the every-other-month Council meetings to answer questions and present information as needed.  Established by-laws provide the Council’s direction and set its relationship to the Institute.  

Establishing Oversight Responsibilities and Policies of the Governing Board (2.C.3, 5.B.1, 5.B.2)​

The School Board Policy Manual and the Southeast Tech Council By-Laws document the roles of each entity and their independence from undo influence. Both the School Board and Council promote Southeast Tech in the community and region and advocate for resources.  Board policy establishes the Boards oversight responsibilities as follows:

  • Acts as a policy making body and through its own action legislates to make effective these policies;
  • Acts as an appraisal body rendering judgment upon recommendations that may come to it through the President, its own members, or the public which concern the progress and improvement of the Institute;
  • Acts as a judicial body when the President requests a hearing or on an appeal for any Institute employee, group of employees, or student;
  • Selects the President, who is the chief executive officer of the Institute;
  • Adopts the annual budget for the support of the Institute;
  • Carefully deliberates on all issues to be considered;
  • Acts upon recommendations of the President regarding matters of policy, appointment, transfer, and dismissal of all personnel, selection of programs of study, adoption of salary schedules for all employees of the Institute, passing upon accounts and audits of the business control of the school, studying and passing upon the reports of the President and his/her staff, representing the needs of the Institute before the public, and all other matters pertaining to the welfare of the Institute. (2.C.3)(5.B.1)(5.B.2)

Maintaining Board Oversight, While Delegating Management Responsibilities to Administrators, and Academic Matters to Faculty (2.C.4)​

Southeast Tech’s Institutional structure, policies, and planning processes (4P2) delegate management responsibilities to Institute personnel while assuring Board oversight.  By policy, the Board delegates management to the President, who in turn delegates responsibilities to the Administrative Team, according to the areas supervised.  Employees within Southeast Tech’s departments and programs make decisions for their respective areas with the approval of their immediate supervisor.  Daily decisions within the scope of employee assignments, including faculty control of the classroom, are made at the individual level.  Teams and committees function independently and within their assigned roles and are empowered to make and implement decisions. When decisions are beyond their assigned authority, processes exist to request or recommend Institutional actions through the Futures or Administrative team (6P 2 ).  A member of the Administrative Team serves on committees/teams to facilitate faster response times to committee/team actions. (2.C.4)

Academic matters are the responsibility of the Vice President of Academics with the assistance of the Academic Administrative Team and the Southeast Tech faculty who deliver the degrees, diplomas and certificates offered at the Institute.  A faculty-led Curriculum Committee, comprised of faculty from across the campus and academic administrative and student support representation, oversees program, curricular, and course changes. The Curriculum Committee and program faculty rely on guidelines from the State Department of Education, the Higher Learning Commission, and specialized program accrediting entities to ensure that academic standards appropriate to each program are followed.  The use of standardized templates for all changes assures accuracy, consistency, and documentation within the process.  The faculty-led Education Design and Delivery Team develops actions relative to pedagogy and improvements in educational design and delivery across campus.  The faculty-led Credentialing Committee oversees the faculty credentialing process, assuring that all faculty meet the state’s faculty credentialing requirements. (2.C.4)

Ensuring Open Communication Between and Among All Colleges, Divisions and Departments AND Collaborating Across All Units to Ensure the Maintenance of High Academic Standards (5.B.3)​

Because Southeast Tech has a relatively flat organizational structure, the Institute has many opportunities for formal and informal communication opportunities across all levels and units. However, the Institute recognizes that to become a high-performing institution, informal communications frequently go unrecognized and unresponded to.  To limit the effect of such situations, Southeast Tech continues to develop and improve formal communication opportunities that provide for stronger collaboration. The list below includes examples of various formal communication processes:

  • All-Campus Monthly Meetings
  • Monthly Building Meetings
  • Weekly Campus Notes
  • AQIP Team Structure (6P 2 )
  • Academic/Admissions/Student Success Monthly Meetings
  • Program/Department Meetings
  • Monthly Board Meetings
  • Bi-Monthly Council Meetings
  • Weekly Administrative Team Meetings
  • Inservice Days

Since 1992 the Institute has worked within a framework of continuous quality improvement principles and team-based decision making. A key goal for using a team structure is to promote communication and collaboration across the Institution. To assure that collaboration occurs within a structured, intentional and repeatable process, the Institute has developed its Culture of Quality structure (6P 2 ).  To enhance collaboration, the Institute’s teams, committees, and department groups frequently consist of representatives from across disciplines and departments. For example, the General Education Team members each participate in two or three program Advisory Committee meetings to gauge business and industry needs for general education and promote positive relationships between general education and program faculty. As another example, the Campus Climate Team has representation of faculty, staff and administration from across the campus. Table 4P3.1 describes the various groups and their leadership roles. (5.B.3)

Table 4P3.1 Teams, Membership and Their Leadership Roles
Team/ Committee Level





South Dakota Department of Education

South Dakota residents appointed by the Governor

Approves state funding and new programs, conducts annual program reviews


School Board

Elected community officials

Sets policy; approves budget; hires and evaluates the president, assures Institutional priorities such as the Strategic Plan and Institutional mission are preserved and enhance the Institution (2.C.1) (2.C.2)


Southeast Tech Council

Representatives from community, regional industry, school board, Southeast Tech President, faculty member, staff member

Advocates for the Institute; provides input on strategic goals; reviews, recommends budget

  Southeast Tech Foundation Board Community, regional industry, Southeast Tech Foundation Director, President Raises funds for scholarships and other Institutional needs; promotes Southeast Tech within the community; collaborates with multiple stakeholder groups 

Southeast  Tech Administrative Team

President, Vice Presidents of Academics, Finance and Operations, and Student Affairs and Institutional Research, Directors of Academic Support (2), Director of Students, Director of Information Technology

Leads the major Institutional processes: strategic and operational planning, budgeting, human resources, enrollment, retention, academics, facilities, advancement, technology, student support services, corporate training, etc.


AQIP Futures Team

Administrators, staff, faculty from across the Institute, representing all areas, programs, and departments

Leads strategic planning and continuous quality improvement initiatives; funnels information from teams and committees into a central planning process


AQIP Education Design & Delivery Team

Academic administrator and faculty from across the Institute, staff representation

Designs, implements and makes recommendations regarding curriculum, instructional strategies and processes, and other academic topics


AQIP Student Success Team

Administrator and staff from support services, faculty from across the Institute

Designs, implements and recommends strategies and processes for student success


AQIP Campus Climate Team

Administrator, staff, faculty from across the Institute

Designs, implements and recommends strategies and processes to improve employee campus climate, including employee recognition

  AQIP External Stakeholder Relationships Team Administrator, staff and faculty from across the Institute Designs, implements and recommends strategies and processes to improve external stakeholder relationships
Program Program Teams Faculty and academic staff Manages program delivery, sets curriculum; teaches program curriculum; recommends program planning and budget; collects and analyzes program data including student achievement; collaborates with area business and industry to ensure quality

Curriculum Committee

Administrator, staff, faculty

Approves curriculum and textbooks; monitors program and curriculum development and revision; assures academic standards within its assigned areas


Credential Committee

Administrator and faculty

Assures faculty meet state and accreditation credentialing requirements


Institutional Department Teams

Administrator, staff, and faculty within the department

Improves internal processes, completes tasks and provides student and Institute support for areas within the control of the department; sets department action projects and budgets


Student Government Association (SGA)

SGA Advisor, elected student program representatives

Represents student stakeholders; provides input and requests changes to better meet student needs

Providing Effective Leadership to All Institutional Stakeholders (2.C.1, 2.C.2)​

Southeast Tech believes that an effective leadership structure involves its stakeholders in leadership roles and Institutional decision-making processes. Therefore, Table 5.1 documents how this leadership is provided at the oversight, AQIP, program, department and student levels. The Futures and Administrative teams are responsible for assuring the overall effectiveness of Institutional leadership according to their assigned roles (6P2).  

Developing Leaders at All Levels Within the Institution

Beginning in 2016-2017, Southeast Tech has embarked on a new Leadership Development process.  The initial step of this process was the administrative decision to turn over the reigns of all teams and committees to faculty and staff.  While administrators continue to participate on teams and committees, the chairs and co-chairs are held by non-administrator positions. Administrators now serve the role of an advisor, assisting the leadership as needed. To assist these new leaders, the Institute had each team/committee establish by-laws and standardize to a common agenda/minutes structure across the campus.  Chairs and co-chairs were elected for all teams/committees, and the new structure was piloted throughout the year. Initial feedback has been positive; however, based on the feedback, the Futures Team determined that leadership training for the chairs and co-chairs would be helpful; therefore, Southeast Tech’s summer 2017 Strategy Forum will focus on providing that training, as well as working with these future leaders to improve the development process across campus.

Besides the new leadership development process, Southeast Tech provides other opportunities for leadership development through its evaluation process (3P2), opportunities to participate in external leadership training, such as Leadership Sioux Falls, the encouragement of employees to take leadership roles on Institutional partner committees and boards, and through in-house training.

Ensuring the Institution’s Ability to Act in Accordance with its Mission and Vision (2.C.3)​

While ensuring that Institutional actions are in accordance with Southeast Tech’s mission and vision is implicit in everything employees do, some specific processes directly assure that Southeast Tech remains true to its mission and vision.

  • At the state level, the South Dakota Department of Education assures the Institute acts in accordance with its mission and vision through the new program approval process, annual program review, President and Vice President meetings, etc.  
  • Through the development and review of Strategic and Annual plans, the Board and Council ensure strategic alignment with the mission and vision of the Institute. This process involves annual discussions regarding this alignment with the purpose of assuring the Institute’s ability to act in accordance with its mission and vision.  
  • In turn, the President assures that the Administrative Team oversees program and department operations in accordance with the mission and vision.  This occurs throughout the Annual Plan development and implementation process as well as weekly Administrative Team meetings, where Institutional actions and results are discussed and evaluated.
  • When teams, committees, and departments create major action projects, the project documentation requires that it be directly aligned to one of Southeast Tech’s goal areas as part of the Planning and Assessments database entry.

Finally, the Annual Planning (4P2) and Budget (5P3) processes integrate all planning and actions to assure a final review of alignment of all goals and actions to the Institute’s mission and vision. (2.C.3)

Tracking Outcomes/Measures Utilizing Appropriate Tools

Because effective leadership is directly tied to Institutional communication, sharing of information, and setting a clear direction, Southeast Tech uses the Noel-Levitz College Employee Satisfaction Survey to gauge its leadership effectiveness:

  • My Job Responsibilities are Communicated Clearly to Me
  • My Supervisor Pays Attention to What I Have to Say
  • There are Effective Lines of Communication (Department to Department, Faulty to Administration, Staff to Administration)
  • My Department Meets as a Team to Plan and Coordinate Work
  • Administrators Share Information Regularly with Faculty and Staff
  • Leadership has a Clear Sense of Purpose

The Institutional target for each area is to be at or above the highest of the national means from 2014 and 2016. 


4R3 Leadership Results

What are the results for ensuring long-term effective leadership of the institution?

  • 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 Insight Gained

Overall, leadership is about clear, positive communication and direction that will move the Institute toward fulfilling its mission.

Communication: Effectively communicating and listening within an Institute provides the necessary dialogue for continuous improvement; therefore, building a solid foundation of shared communication is important.  It starts with the clear communication of job responsibilities (Table 4R3.1). In 2016, Southeast Tech reached its target level of 3.75, an increase of +.20 from 2014.  While meeting the national mean is significant, continuing that level will indicate a sustainable change.

An effective leader will listen to others and use their ideas for improvement.  Therefore, it is important for supervisors to pay attention to employee ideas and concerns.  Southeast Tech has made strides in this area, moving up +.51 from 2014 to 2016 and just shy of the Institute’s target.

Responses regarding effective lines of communication levels varies according to those involved in the communications - Department to Department, Faculty to Administration, Staff to Administration (Table 4R3.3).  Southeast Tech has made gains in all these levels, even moving from below 90% of target to within 90% of target for department to department communications. In fact, the Institute is within +.09 and +.08 of reaching the target level for faculty and staff, respectively.

Communication within departments must be maintained at regular intervals to assure that the planning and coordinating of duties occurs and is effective.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of leadership to assure that department meetings are held frequently.  Table 4R3.4 shows Institutional growth in this area, moving from 3.65 to 4.01 (2014 to 2016). More importantly, the Institute is now at its target. 

To assure that all employees are moving in the same direction and toward a common goal, administrators must share information regularly with employees (Table 4R3.5). In 2014, Southeast Tech scored 2.92, which was -.22 below target. Southeast Tech closed that gap to within -.12 in 2016.   

Communication Insights Gained: While the movement in communication scores from 2014 to 2016 have been positive in all the surveyed areas, Southeast Tech recognizes that it is still below its target level. The Institute also recognizes that recent changes at the state level (new state-level governance under a separate Technical Institute Board beginning July 1, 2017) and local level (removal of all negotiated agreements as required by the state beginning July 1, 2017) presents new challenges for the Institute.  Because these changes are significant and have a huge impact on the Institution, it is imperative that the Institute assure that positive, frequent and informational communications continue and increase. 

Direction: Having a clear sense of direction that will lead the Institute forward is critical.  Therefore, gauging employee perceptions regarding leadership direction can help the Institute assure that all employees are also moving in a similar direction.  While communication levels have improved from 2014 to 2016, Institutional leadership’s clear sense of purpose score fell from 3.01 (2014) to 2.76 (2016), a reduction of -.25. With both measures below 90% of the target, this indicates an area that Southeast Tech can clearly identify for improvement.

Direction Insights Gained: Southeast Tech recognized after the 2014 measurement that the Institute needed to establish a clearer Institute direction. The initial response was to establish new priority goals and stronger direct measures for the priorities, and then begin the process of developing a new Strategic Plan that incorporated the ideas of all Institutional stakeholder groups. The Institute believes that with the new Strategic Plan, this measure will improve.   


4I3 Leadership Improvements

Based on 4I3, what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

Southeast Tech has made a number of changes that it believes has strengthened the Institute’s ability to effectively improve Institutional leadership:

  • Expanded the Institute’s Council membership to include a faculty and staff member to provide internal stakeholder input and increase internal communications regarding Council actions;
  • Expanded the Institute’s Council membership from a minimum of eight to fifteen, and established membership according to industry sectors, providing more input opportunities from a wider range of external stakeholders;
  • Improved the Institute’s intranet site to improve communications of data and Institutional actions across campus;
  • Revised team/committee structure to be led by faculty and staff with administrative advisory support;
  • Revised and standardized agenda/minutes to a simplified format that allows for better tracking of actions and consistency across campus;
  • Created a Sharepoint site for all teams and committees, improving access and communication across campus.

Building future leadership across campus will be key to Southeast Tech’s success in the upcoming years; therefore, the Institute plans to do the following:

  • Develop a leadership training program that effectively builds Institutional leaders, is sustainable, and meets the needs of the Institute now and in the future (to be piloted summer 2017);
  • Continue to rely on employees at all levels to become leaders on teams and committees, as well as in their departments or programs;
  • Review and restructure Institutional administrative leadership to assure it is meeting the needs of all stakeholder groups;
  • Determine through the Institute’s Board and Council the direction the Institute will take regarding future governance.


4P4 Integrity

Integrity focuses on how the institution ensures legal and ethical behavior and fulfills its societal responsibilities. This includes, but is not limited to, descriptions of key processes for:

  • Developing and communicating standards
  • Training employees and modeling for ethical and legal behavior across all levels of the institution
  • Operating financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions with integrity, including following fair and ethical policies and adhering to processes for the governing board, administration, faculty, and staff (2.A.)
  • Making information about programs, requirements, faculty and staff, costs to students, control, and accreditation relationships readily and clearly available to all constituents (2.B.)

Developing and Communicating Standards

Institutional standards for legal and ethical behavior begin with the development of Institutional policies that incorporate these behaviors into defined and specific expectations.  The process for the development and revision of these policies begins with the Policy Committee, comprised of one Board member, the President, the three Vice Presidents, and a faculty and a staff representative. New and current policies are reviewed by the committee with the committee making recommendations for any new policy or adjustments to current policy to the Institute’s Board.  The frequency of the committee meetings varies. The Office of the President is responsible to assure that meetings are frequent enough that all policies are reviewed and updated a minimum of every three years. The Board representative determines how the policy will be handled at the Board’s next meeting, either as a review/revise, which is heard one time during the meeting with changes approved or rejected, or posted for public review, which requires the policy receive a second reading at the next meeting to allow for community input prior to a final decision.  Once a policy receives final approval, the policy is updated.  The Office of the President assures the policy is updated.

Communication to all stakeholders is provided through the Southeast Tech website and employee and student handbooks.  All policies are available through the site to anyone 24/7.  If a policy has significantly changed, the Southeast Tech Administrative Team will provide information on the changes to internal stakeholders through email, during a Monthly Meeting, or during building meetings.

New employees cover ethical policies and their employee handbook as part of their onboarding process. Every fall semester, specific policies, especially those dealing with legal and ethical behaviors, are reviewed with all employees and require employees to signoff that they have reviewed these policies (3P1).  

Student standards for legal and ethical behavior are developed and reviewed annually during Southeast Tech’s Catalog/Handbook review process. All information in the Catalog/Handbook is assigned to the appropriate department, team or committee to review and update as needed (i.e. financial aid sections are reviewed by the Financial Aid Office). If, during the course of the year, a team or committee is requesting changes to the Catalog/Handbook, these requests are sent directly to the Vice President of Student Affairs to be incorporated into the next year’s Catalog/Handbook.

Communication of student standards is provided through a variety of processes: 1. Publication on the Southeast Tech website; 2. Presentations at JumpStart; 3. Lessons within the Student Success Seminar course; 4. General Education and Program curriculum; and 5. Student individual or group meetings, as needed. 

Training Employees and Modeling for Ethical and Legal Behavior Across All Levels of the Institution

As stated earlier, the review of policies related to legal and ethical behavior are included as part of the new employee onboarding process.  The annual review of these specific policies with all employees provides additional training opportunities to assure all employees are aware of, and can model, these behaviors through their daily work assignments (3P1). Additional training on policies occurs on an as-needed basis and may involve specific departments or individuals, as needed.

Modeling begins at the Board level where, at every Board meeting, members must indicate any conflicts of interest with any Board agenda item, prior to any Board action.

It is the responsibility of Southeast Tech’s Administrative Team to assure that their assigned employees follow ethical practices.  Should a question arise regarding ethical practices, the immediate supervisor is charged to investigate the situation (or cause an investigation to take place) and make recommendations for changes or discipline individuals accordingly.  The policy regulations provide specific investigation requirements as they pertain to the specific legal or ethical practice.  For example, the investigative process for harassment is significantly different than the investigation for a FERPA violation; therefore, it is the responsibility of the administrator to assure that the proper investigative process is utilized. Some potential violations of ethical behavior require a report to be filed with the Human Rights/Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator who then oversees any investigation, as stated in policy.

Operating Financial, Academic, Personnel, and Auxiliary Functions with Integrity, Including Following Fair and Ethical Policies and Adhering to Processes for the Governing Board, Administration, Faculty, and Staff (2.A)

As stated earlier, Southeast Tech has a process in place to develop and review/revise its policies to assure that they are up-to-date and meet the requirements of the Institute. Specific policies on operating financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions with integrity are included in these policies. A short listing is provided here:

  • Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity 
  • Board Member Conflict of Interest
  • Board Member Authority and Responsibilities
  • Annual Examination of Financial Records - Audits/Financial Monitoring
  • Harassment - All Levels
  • Employee Conflict of Interest
  • Employee Code of Conduct

While having policies does not guarantee they are adhered to, Southeast Tech assures adherence through public Board meetings, annual financial audits, and processes for individuals to register concerns as well as processes to investigate potential violations. (2.A)

Making Information About Programs, Requirements, Faculty and Staff, Costs to Students, Control, and Accreditation Relationships Readily and Clearly Available to All Constituents (2.B.)

Southeast Tech assures information availability by providing the following on each program page of the Institute’s website and Catalog:

  • Curriculum
  • Entrance Requirements
  • Completion Requirements
  • Faculty and Staff
  • Student Costs
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Accreditation and Related Accreditation Data
  • Control and Other Related Information
  • Gainful Employment (as needed)

Specific links are available on the “About” tab on the Southeast Tech website for information on HLC/AQIP accreditation, policies, Student Right to Know, etc.

The information is reviewed and updated by program faculty and student services staff annually (generally in the spring and summer for the upcoming year).  The Vice President of Academics and the Vice President of Student Affairs are responsible to assure that review and updates occur. (2.B)


4R4 Integrity Results

What are the results for ensuring institutional integrity?

  • 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

Until the past year, Southeast Tech has maintained a consistent process of reviewing its policies, which has resulted in its policies all being up-to-date; however, over the past year, the Institute has held off on further review of policies due to the hiring of a new President and changes in state law regarding Institutional state-level governance and removal of all negotiated groups. The Institute will begin the review process again in 2017-2018.

Beyond student academic integrity issues, which are generally handled at the faculty level, the number of integrity issues (student, employee or other stakeholder) the Institute deals with on an annual basis is very limited, generally zero and up to two per year reaching the level of an administrator.  To protect individual privacy, the Institute has elected not to provide details of these integrity issues within this Portfolio.   


4I4 Integrity Improvements

Based on 4I4, what improvements have been implemented or will be implemented in the next one to three years?

To assure Institutional integrity, Southeast Tech has completed the following:

  • Reviewed all Institutional policies to assure all policies have been reviewed within the past three years (through 2015-2016);
  • Developed a committee to oversee and assure the Institute meets Title IX requirements;
  • Completed initial training and provided annual training for six individuals to assist with any Title IX concerns;
  • Improved access to Institute policies, procedures, and Human Resource materials through the Institute’s intranet site;
  • Created by-laws for committees and teams and reviewed/revised by-laws for the Southeast Tech Council.

To assure future integrity, Southeast Tech will:

  • Provide training on specific integrity topics, such as confidentiality and Code of Conduct;
  • Begin again the Institute’s process of reviewing/revising policies on a three-year cycle. 

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