Transform NC builds metrics and tools to further support continuous improvement

I’m pleased to announce that our integrated planning process, Transform NC, has come to a successful conclusion through the development of recommendations and tools that will further strengthen our culture of continuous improvement at Niagara College.

It is through this culture of continuous improvement that we will advance our strategic priorities and objectives, advance our students toward success and the achievement of their dreams and goals, and advance our role in the community and beyond.

Transform NC was announced in October 2013 by President Dan Patterson as a new, integrated planning process to develop a system for evaluating our programs and services, identify areas of strength for investment and enhancement, and highlight areas and processes in need of improvement.

Although the project has concluded, work continues to determine how to best integrate the metrics and tools into the College’s overall quality assurance framework and continuous improvement efforts. The findings confirm that we are on the right track and they will help inform our strategic planning process, which will begin later this fall.

Our goal was to make Transform NC an effective and manageable process that was transparent, collaborative and maximized the benefit to the College. To do this, we employed a two-tiered approach: Tier 1 was a relatively quick assessment of all programs and services, using a balanced scorecard developed by a 23-member steering committee that included representatives from all employee groups and students, and Tier 2 was a detailed analysis of the high priority areas identified in Tier 1.

In Tier 1, we developed a manageable set of key measurements that span the student life cycle – from recruitment to graduation – that will be used to monitor the health of our academic programs, along with “Lean” metrics that will gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of our services. “Lean” is an approach that helps to ensure that we’re using the resources we have as effectively as we can, by identifying unnecessary or ineffective parts of a process and adding value to students and other users of services.

These frameworks were used to categorize our programs and services as areas to maintain, enhance/invest, or revise/reallocate, and they’ll be a key part of our process for continuous improvement moving forward.

Programs and services in the enhance and revise categories were subject to a “deep dive” in Tier 2. This second phase was conducted from April to August 2015, and each area under review examined additional information, consulted with other departments that may be impacted by changes, and developed recommendations. The resulting 30 recommendations were reviewed by the Transform NC Evaluation Team and submitted to the Executive Team in late August.

Moving forward, the approval, timing, and resourcing for the Transform NC recommendations outlined in the final report will be determined by the vice presidents and the unit administrators involved in Tier 2 and Lean reviews. The recommendations are intended to enhance and align with current priorities in the respective areas. Recommendations that require additional resources will be presented to the Executive Team for consideration alongside other strategic and planning initiatives across the College.

In addition to these recommendations, the Transform NC process led to the development of additional tools, including:

  • Program dashboards to monitor key factors such as applicant and enrolment trends, employer demand, student and graduate satisfaction and student success. In addition to supporting continuous improvement, the dashboard will help to streamline the program review process and standardize reports for Program Advisory Committees;
  • The adoption of Lean methodology for measuring and evaluating College services; and
  • The development of frameworks for evaluating access and apprenticeship programs and services.

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to Transform NC’s success: the steering committee, including students; the evaluation team; deans, directors and managers who participated in the evaluation process; Planning and Institutional Research staff; and everyone who attended past town hall meetings and provided feedback throughout the process. A special thank you to Katerina Gonzalez, Manager, Planning and Institutional Research, for her leadership, passion, and dedication to the project.

Transform NC information, timelines and updates are available on the Transform NC website. Tier 1 and 2 methodologies, results and final report are located on the College’s internal portal:

  1. Login to Blackboard
  2. Go to “My Blackboard”
  3. Choose “My Organizations”
  4. Choose “Transform NC”

Town Hall Meetings: November 24, 2015

The results of Transform NC will be discussed at upcoming Town Hall Meetings at the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses on November 24. The Welland Campus meeting takes place from noon to 1 p.m. in the AHI Auditorium, and the NOTL meeting takes place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Yerich Auditorium.


Teresa Quinlin, Vice President, Business Services