STRATEGIC PLAN 2021-2025

Strategic Plan Introduction

Every five years, Yakima Valley College (YVC) creates a strategic plan to guide the future work of the college to advance the mission of goals. The previous strategic plan was in effect beginning in 2016 and ending in 2020. The new strategic plan will be in effect beginning in 2021 and ending in 2025. This document contains an outline of the key steps of the strategic planning process at YVC.

Message from the President

I am pleased to share Yakima Valley College’s strategic plan that will guide our collective work through 2025. This plan and the strategic directions contained within it were developed with the extensive input of our faculty, staff, students, and community members. Our new strategic plan aligns this stakeholder feedback with the college’s annual accreditation review process and includes data analysis of our service district and students, strategic direction objectives, and key strategies for achieving these objectives. The resulting plan will guide our decision-making and allocation of resources over the next five years.

We are grateful to everyone who participated in this essential process — especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — and look forward to your continued partnership as the college works to advance these priorities.

Sincerely,
Linda Kaminski, Ed.D.
President

Service District

As one of 34 community and technical colleges in Washington State, the YVC service district covers more than 8,000 square miles. Yakima Valley College acknowledges that its locations are on the homelands of Native peoples, including the 14 Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, who have lived in this region from time immemorial.

According to the United States Census Bureau American Community Survey, the population of Yakima County in 2019 was over 250,000, an increase of 3% from 2010. The county is comprised of 50% Hispanic or Latino, 42% White, 6.7% American Indian or Alaskan Native, 1.6% Asian, 1.6% Black or African American, and less than 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (percentages add up to more than 100% as some residents identify in more than one category). The percentage of adults with a high school diploma is 73% and the percentage who have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher is 16%. The percentage of people in Yakima County living in poverty is 17%.

Yakima Valley College – District 16

YVC Service District Map

Student enrollment and demographics

In 2019, YVC enrolled 8,139 students. Of those students, 48% were enrolled in professional/technical programs, 31% in transfer programs, 19% in college and career readiness programs, and another 2% attending for personal enrichment reasons. The percentage of students taking at least 12 credits (full-time) is 55%, and 45% attending part-time. Approximately 72% of YVC student receive some kind of need-based aid and 84% report that they are first-generation college students (neither one of their parents/guardians has a bachelor’s degree).

The race and ethnicity composition of YVC is 60% Hispanic, 44% White, 3% American Indian or Alaska Native, 3% Black or African American, 2% Asian, and 1% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (percentages add up to more than 100% as some students identify in more than one category). YVC serves the largest percentage of students of color in the Washington State Community and Technical College System. Female students outnumber males at 65% and 35% respectively. The average age of students is 27, with the highest percentage of students in the 20-29 age group (47%).

Initial Steps

In December of 2019 under the guidance of President Kaminski, a strategic planning workgroup was assembled to implement a holistic approach to developing the new strategic plan. This group’s first task focused on inquiry and exploration by gathering feedback from internal and external stakeholders through a survey and focus groups. The surveys were administered in February and the focus groups were held in March of 2020.

At the same time, an environmental scan was compiled that included a variety of data and reports. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) compiled a report with demographic comparisons, socioeconomic and health factors, employment data, enrollment figures, future changes in higher education, and student survey feedback. In addition to this initial environmental scan that includes internal and external data, the workgroup expanded upon this by conducting another aspect of an environmental scan in the form of a document review. The document review included a variety of dissertations, survey reports, workplans, workbooks, evaluations, tools, studies, frameworks, reviews, essays, and strategic plans from a variety of sources pertinent to the work of YVC.

Strategic Direction Development

The information gathered through surveys, focus groups, the environmental scan, and the document review was synthesized and used to create five main strategic direction categories. These categories are:

  • Commitment to Student Learning and Achievement
  • A Culture of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation
  • Social Justice through Access, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Strengthened Community
  • Health and Safety, Financial, and Environmental Sustainability

The next task was to create descriptions, objectives, and strategies for each strategic direction. A lead for each strategic direction was identified to guide the work of completing this task. Following a holistic approach, teams were developed by asking for volunteers from all areas of the college to respond to a survey to participate by joining a team of their choosing. From there, a strategic directions draft document was prepared for review and approval by YVC’s Administrative Council prior to presentation to the YVC Board of Trustees for final adoption.

Mission Statement

As a federally designated Hispanic-serving Institution residing on the traditional homelands of the 14 Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Yakima Valley College cultivates equity and a culture of innovative and inclusive teaching and learning.

Yakima Valley College serves all students holistically, supports all students’ learning goals, and fosters achievement within career and educational pathways.

We strengthen our communities by providing opportunities for personal enrichment, economic mobility, and sociocultural engagement.

Descriptions, Objectives, and Strategies

Commitment to Student Learning and Achievement

YVC uses a Guided Pathways model to direct attention to the complex interactions between students’ personal reasons for attending, the support services utilized, and equitable student learning and success. The Guided Pathways approach begins with students’ goals in mind, providing student support at three major touchpoints each with associated learning and achievements: Onboarding, Committing, and Succeeding.

YVC’s strategic foci for 2021-25 include analyses of how our services and learning environments are best adapted to online and hybrid learning environments, increasing transparency of learning outcomes, and use of disaggregated data on student learning and achievement to improve attainment of equitable outcomes.

Strategic Objectives

  • Ensure equitable student learning and achievement outcomes
  • Create opportunities for students to make connections between academic learning, goals, and careers
  • Provide timely services to support student access and persistence throughout the learning process

Key Strategies

Prioritize Learning and Institute Measurable Learning Outcomes at Multiple Levels
Purposeful emphasis on transparent, measurable, equitable learning outcomes at the service, course, program, and institutional levels. Assess the effectiveness of teaching practices on student learning so that effective practices can be broadly shared and adopted.

Prioritize Equitable Student Achievement
Develop systematic and ongoing evaluation of student achievement using disaggregated data.

Expand Academic Advising
Expand mandatory advising efforts to include three key points of New Student Orientation (NSO), 30 college-level credits, and degree application at 60 credits for associate degrees and two quarters prior to degree application for applied baccalaureate degrees.

Ensure Access to Mental Health Support
Provide mental health awareness, strategies, and support services.

Integrate Career Preparation within Guided Pathways
Provide a variety of services to students to explore options related to their field of study and connect them to employment opportunities.

Utilize Student Feedback for Improvement
Target student survey efforts to enhance our understanding of the student experience and prompt sharing of ideas for improvement.

Develop Online Services and Programs of Study
Map our processes and course schedules to ensure that services and programs of study are available online as well as in face-to-face options as appropriate.

Experiential Learning
Create and support opportunities for students to connect academic learning to real-world situations and real-world learning to academics, including assessment of and credit for prior learning.

A Culture of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation

YVC is committed to our educational mission of creating a culture of teaching, learning and innovation.

YVC seeks to provide opportunities for students to explore ideas and assemble knowledge, improve the student development experience, and cultivate a passion for lifelong learning.

YVC’s strategic foci for 2021-25 supports the advancement of teaching and learning, provides meaningful professional development opportunities for all employees and sustains structures that support regular reflective awareness, adaptation and collaboration.

Strategic Objectives

  • Develop cross-disciplinary structures and support to improve collaboration and innovation in teaching, programs, and services
  • Build capacity to expand and support online teaching and educational research
  • Develop collaborative, equitable, student-focused decision-making processes at every layer of the institution
  • Support all employees in teaching, learning, assessment, and innovation through research, scholarship and professional development opportunities
  • Build shared understanding of practices that improve equitable student learning and achievement

Key Strategies

Employ Innovative, Active, Evidence-based Teaching Practices
Gather research on evidence-based teaching practices and implement them in courses. Measure the effectiveness of the practices with our students through data analysis. Use results to inform decision-making related to continuation and/or expansion of practices.

Increase Student Engagement
Utilize experiential education to increase student engagement with the community and contribute to real-world experience. Cultivate an environment to promote student engagement within the community.

Increase Communication
Create processes that allow for anyone to contribute innovative ideas to expand our combined impact.

Initiate Program Effectiveness Planning
Create a comprehensive process for program effectiveness plans that include elements of continuous improvement that identifies the collective impact of our courses and services on student learning and achievement.

Support Innovation and Adaptation 
Collaborate and design platforms to proactively address challenges, especially during times of crisis by using innovative approaches. Embrace bold decisions that incorporate research and lessons learned from staff, faculty, and students. Examine and expand adaptive practices such as hybrid models for instruction, virtual services, and alternative schedules for students, staff, and faculty.

Provide Relevant and Meaningful Professional Development
Advance employee potential through professional development opportunities at all levels in an equitable manner focused on strengthening a culture of teaching, learning, and innovation.

Assess Student Learning
Support the improvement of teaching and program outcomes through a systematic and meaningful assessment of the student learning process.

Create a Center for Teaching and Learning 
Provide resources, communication, and other assistance through the creation of a center for teaching and learning that is easily accessible to all faculty. Ensure resources are current and maintained accordingly to maximize usefulness.

Social Justice through Access, Equity, and Inclusion

YVC is committed to leading with racial equity by establishing and maintaining a culture of equity mindedness. We know we are serving students equitably when membership in any group does not determine student outcomes.

YVC continuously examines the processes of the institution to meet the needs of racialized and minoritized[1] people in our community, including Latinx, Native American/Indigenous, Black, Asian and Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+, undocumented students, and people with disabilities.

As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the pursuit of equity, YVC is committed to implementing evidence-based inclusionary policies and practices and to establishing and monitoring equity accountability measures. We use disaggregated data to identify disparate outcomes and work to include representation and participation of minoritized groups in curriculum and processes of the institution. We believe students, regardless of their starting point and demographic, have the right to an education that fosters liberation, empowerment, and economic mobility.

Strategic Objectives

  • Integrate principles of equity and social justice throughout the college learning and working environment
  • Institute professional development opportunities and onboarding for YVC employees focused on access, equity, and inclusion.
  • Disaggregate college-wide data to identify and address equity gaps leading with race and ethnicity in all college areas including, but not limited to, hiring practices, student life, and access to technology.
  • Perform a comprehensive anti-racist Policy and Procedures/Processes review in all college divisions.

Key Strategies

Create an Equity Framework (Equity Lens)
Develop and implement a comprehensive Equity Lens framework for YVC to ensure considerations of equity and social justice are applied throughout the college.

Provide Equitable Professional Development Opportunities
Develop and offer a comprehensive, sustainable range of opportunities for engagement in meaningful professional development centering topics of access, inclusion, equity, and social justice to enhance levels of competency across the college.

Institute Equity-Minded Hiring and Onboarding
Create a sustainable, comprehensive structure for equitable hiring practices, orientation, and onboarding focused on inclusion, equity, and social justice.

Establish a Comprehensive Anti-Racist Review Tool for Policies, Practices, and Procedures
Develop and implement a tool or process to review existing and proposed policies, practices, and procedures throughout YVC to ensure that barriers to student success are identified and addressed.

[1] Minoritized Group: A social group that is devalued in society and given less access to its resources. This devaluing encompasses how the group is represented, what degree of access to resources it is granted, and how the unequal access is rationalized. Traditionally, a group in this position has been referred to as the minority group. However, this language has been replaced with the term minoritized in order to capture the active dynamics that create the lower status in society, and also to signal that a group’s status is not necessarily related to how many or few of them there are in the population at large. Source: Sensoy, Ozlem, and Robin DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, first edition. Teachers College Press: New York, 2012, p. 5.

Strengthened Community

Yakima Valley College commits to strengthening the diverse range of communities we serve and to which we belong including communities traditionally racialized and minoritized by higher education. This includes students, college personnel, as well as the workforce, business community, and families, particularly Latinx, Native American/Indigenous, Black, Asian and Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+, undocumented, and people with disabilities.

YVC strengthens its communities through opportunities for meaningful engagement and robust communications that support equitable dialogue, participation and collaboration. We share our communities’ knowledge and strengths throughout all areas of the college to increase, expand, enhance our relationships, and create a sense of belonging.

Strategic Objectives

  • Develop collective impact by engaging YVC’s communities
  • Identify and develop actionable and equitable engagement programs, support, and services in all areas of the college
  • Clearly articulate YVC’s mission, goals, and identity throughout its communities
  • Utilize and create advisory relationships

Key Strategies

Cultivate Community Participation 
Provide opportunities for our community, such as workshops and outreach classes, to increase knowledge and engagement in the areas of arts, culture, languages, STEM, community history and recreational programs.

Maintain and Expand Relationships with Organizations, Schools, and Employers
Ensure the learning and professional outcomes valued by area employers and other educational institutions are addressed in college programs.

 Promote College Resources
Integrate various communication platforms, including social media, to educate a broader range of our community about college resources, including facilities and events.

Expand Business and Industry Collaborations
Expand business and industry collaboration efforts to enhance our understanding of the development of skilled workers for improvement and preparation. Strengthen program specific advisory committees and expand connections for students to experience professional learning with community partners.

Explore Other Areas of Community Integration
Research ways to enhance community collaborations and partnerships by creating advisory boards such as a Community Integration and Equity Advisory Committee, Hispanic-Serving Institution Advisory Committee, and other community opportunities for idea exchanges.

Health and Safety, Financial, and Environmental Sustainability

YVC’s sustainability involves providing a healthy and safe working and learning environment. This sustainability builds understanding of evolving health and safety, financial, and environmental ecosystems and impact, integrating practices that support and improve these systems.  YVC actively builds resilient communities through our work as educators and upholders of a public commons in which diverse groups of people collaboratively create solutions to local and global problems.

YVC’s focus for 2021-2025 is to continue developing and aligning strategic and operational planning structures that support strategic allocation of resources to provide long-term financial stability for our teaching and learning environment.  We apply principles of environmental sustainability to our wealth of built and natural resources on campus and surrounding areas. We integrate health, safety, and well-being considerations into the work we do.

Strategic Objectives

  • Develop planning, decision-making, and resource allocation structures for programs and services to achieve optimal enrollment levels, affordability, and fiscal sustainability while continuing to support a high-quality, equitable teaching and learning environment.
  • Maintain and enhance physical, financial, data/technological, and environmental security.
  • Promote health, safety, and well-being principles and practices.
  • Implement environmental sustainability principles and practices.
  • Increase adaptive capability in staff, students, and built environment to create organizational and environmental resilience.

Key Strategies

Implement New Enterprise Software Platform 
Implement new enterprise software platform (ctcLink) to replace outdated Legacy system. Update business processes to gain system efficiencies, and train/mentor staff to sustain long-term success.  Protect and ensure that state system data integrity and YVC system data integrity complement each other.

Maintain College Reserve
Continue using fiscally prudent practices that allow the college to sustain operations during economic downturns and/or reduced resources.  Provide transparency in budget and financial decisions and an avenue to contribute to budget/financial decision-making.

Maintain Staffing Stability
Ensure adequate staffing levels on campus for administrative, professional exempt, faculty, and classified staff. Develop a succession plan for executive leadership; document/preserve budget and financial processes.

Provide Financial Support
Provide financial resources for YVC strategic planning objectives/strategies.  Pursue financial support via alumni, donations, partnerships, and additional sources of funding.

Cultivate Grant Resources
Cultivate grant resources that match YVC’s institutional and students’ needs, maintain a balance between institution-funded and grant-funded positions, and review return on investment for grant-funded positions/efforts when grant funds end.

Promote Health, Safety, and Well-Being
Continue to promote health, safety, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff in the college environment.

Establish Long-Term Plans
Establish long-term maintenance/disposal/replacement plan for equipment and current building features (technology, facilities, desks, chairs, instruction, etc.) for both grant and institutional funded items.  Provide budget for replacement.  Dispose/recycle items in an environmentally safe manner.

Reduce Financial Barriers
Alleviate financial challenges due to blocks on student accounts and encourage low/no-cost digital textbooks or open education resources. Explore use of Foundation funds or other sources to pay small financial issues (blocks due to amounts owed) so students can continue.

Continue and Expand Environmental Impact Efforts
Continue to pursue green, efficient buildings and technology in new construction and renovations, electric vehicles and charging stations, and native plants/trees (water reduction/less grass).

Pursue a robust, well-communicated recycling program for students and staff.  Reduce paper usage by using electronic documents (documents available on student portal).  Make available student kiosks in supervised areas (e.g., registration, key instructional support areas) to help them with e-documents, such as e-add/drop.

Work with public transportation officials to improve students’ access.