Copper Mountain College: Using the DQP/Tuning to Improve Student Learning Outcomes

Copper Mountain College’s (CMC) faculty and administration appreciate the learning experience and opportunities afforded to us through our participation in The Degree Qualifications Profile Project (DQP). We are thankful for the improved quality of our institutional dialogue and tools we now have to help our students succeed. The work done by our friends and colleagues at other California Colleges and Universities as well as the support provided by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and the Lumina Foundation has been outstanding.
Our institution’s work with the DQP/Tuning has led to significant improvements in our understanding of Student Learning Outcome (SLO) assessment and our ability to identify connections between learning outcomes at the course, institutional, and program level. The most notable success is in the discussions we have related to curricular development. CMC staff and faculty knowledgeable on the DQP are embedded in our curricular process at the creation, technical review, Curriculum Committee, and Academic Senate levels. As such, we have begun implementing lessons learned in our phrasing and language choices. We have had success identifying and using the targeted areas of learning (5+1 of the DQP) in creation and updates of SLOs in both courses and programs. We have taken the DQP and are directly using it to better support the work of our SLO Assessment Coordinator. We have also had multiple discussions at FLEX, the Curriculum Committee meetings, and Academic Senate meetings. Individual instructors have also begun implementation of new interdisciplinary strategies and targeting their SLOs with approaches shared through the DQP.

One of the biggest challenges we have faced, and still face, is the pace of institutional change. As a small Community College, our faculty and staff have to complete the same tasks as larger schools with fewer people and less time available. The DQP has provided us with tools that allow evidence based and targeted changes in our approach to writing, assessing and analyzing SLOs. Implementing changes is also done more efficiently with the data and support provided. However the process is slow and at times gets delayed in favor of other pressing tasks. Currently work has been done on program and course documentation in the Communications Studies area.

Finally, our campus leadership has been encouraging in this endeavor. One of our Trustees, Emeritus Professor Gilbert, briefly attended a DQP meeting and was impressed. His support and the support of our President, Vice-president, and Dean has been unwavering. The Board and our administrative team have encouraged our use of the DQP’s lessons as great tools to promote student success. Thanks to the DQP our college is consistently prioritizing course, institutional, and program learning outcome development and assessment. Dr. Kersey, our Chief Instructional Officer, has emphasized the significance of the work we are doing and committed to provide support to our faculty through the purchase of service agreements with both CurricUNET and Taskstream. The dialogue this project has created will influence our efforts as we continue to work towards a process of integrated planning for all areas of the institution from instruction to facilities.