Quality Enhancement Plan
GOAL 2: The College will provide an adequate budget to support online infrastructure needs.
Ultimately, it all comes down to money. The best laid plans amount to little without an adequate budget to ensure their implementation and/or perpetuation. As with the previous objective, the purpose of this goal is obvious. What is important is that the College realizes that the appropriate infrastructure is as essential to online instruction as are talented instructors and that it has formalized its commitment to meet this need.
In a small way, the College is in an enviable position regarding this goal. Currently, the Blackboard servers that house all the web-based classes within the Virginia Community College System reside within the VCCS Utility in Richmond. Thus, all the individual institutions are spared the expense of purchasing and maintaining these particular hardware components. This fact, however, should not overshadow that certain fundamental infrastructure needs are the responsibility of each of the twenty-three community colleges which comprise the system. These needs extend from individual faculty computers to computer labs, to network components like servers, routers and hubs, and finally the miles of cable that link the network together.
This goal serves as both testaments to the institution's commitment to meet to financial requirements of the QEP and a reminder that this commitment will require inventiveness, creativity, planning, and foresight especially in the wake of declining state revenues.
Objective 1: Year One through Five: Each year the President will work through the VCCS System Office to support the Chancellor's initiatives for adequate base funding for Virginia's Community Colleges.
Objective 2: Year One through Five: Identify "special" needs to be added to the President's legislative agenda annually.
These two objectives have been grouped together because both illustrate the highest level of the budget process. While Central Virginia Community College has a distinct budget, the Virginia legislature funds the Virginia Community College System as a single entity. Accordingly, the Chancellor of the VCCS has the ultimate responsibility to see that the Virginia Community College System receives adequate funding from the Commonwealth legislature. Objective 1 acknowledges this reality. Like all public colleges and universities in the country, CVCC is also at the mercy of the legislature for its funding. Unlike many similar institutions, however, CVCC is but one of twenty-three schools all competing for a share of the segment of the same line item.
Although the Chancellor is the head of the VCCS, each president within the VCCS has the responsibility of informing the Chancellor of his or her institution's priorities so the Chancellor can better make the case to the legislature. Objective 2 is an acknowledgement of this aspect of the process. The Chancellor cannot persuade the legislature to increase the budget of the VCCS without concrete examples of the spending needs of the component institutions. This objective, then, codifies the president's responsibility to inform the Chancellor of any additional funding needs precipitated by the school's QEP.
Objective 3: Year One through Five: Contract with grant writers to write grants to support online instruction from major federal or private sources as needed.
Central Virginia Community College understands that it may have to seek alternate sources of revenue to supplement its budget to sustain and promulgate its mission. Some of the funding needs generated by the institution's commitment to the QEP may exceed the budget of the institution. Some of these needs are known already, and the College is in the process of securing funds. During the spring 2003 semester, for example, the President secured from the CVCC Local Board approval of additional monies to support professional development for faculty who teach online courses. Admittedly, this example falls outside the realm of funding specified by this particular objective. However, it does illustrate that the College realizes alternate funding sources will need to be secured, and, more important, the College has already begun the process of identifying sources and securing additional money.
This objective also acknowledges, at least peripherally, that the College is in control of some of the expenses associated with its Quality Enhancement Plan, but it also may face unexpected costs due to factors which are not in its control. For example, the VCCS Utility could decide to return Blackboard to each of the colleges in the VCCS. Should this occur (and there is no reason at present to anticipate that it will), the institution would have some advance notice and the expense would not be catastrophic. Nevertheless, this hypothetical situation illustrates a possible scenario for which grant money might be required.
Objective 4: Year One through Five: The College will evaluate and purchase appropriate hardware/software systems that support online instruction.
This objective's appearance in CVCC's QEP is obvious. Clearly, online instruction demands the concomitant hardware and software components that permit its delivery. What this objective does, though, is allow the College to demonstrate its commitment to achieving this goal. The institution has in place the policies and procedures that govern purchasing, updating, and replacing the hardware and software that are part and parcel of the entire academic environment, not just online instruction. These policies and procedures are handled in part by the IT Committee and more broadly by the Strategic Long-Range Planning process. This objective makes concrete the commitment to include online instruction as part of the process (even while acknowledging distance education has been included in this commitment all along).
This objective will also allow the College to deal with planned software and hardware upgrades as well as those that are unforeseen: equipment that expires before its charted lifespan is over, new software programs that perform better than the programs currently in use, or changes in VCCS policies and procedures, for example.