Message from Dan Patterson: 2013-2014 KPI results

Dan PattersonEarlier today, the results of the annual Key Performance Indicator (KPI) survey were released.

I’m happy to report that our results are very good: we remain above the provincial average in some key areas of the survey, and we’ve seen increases in our graduate employment rate and graduation rate. Most importantly, they continue to show that Niagara College students are finding jobs after graduation, and that employers are satisfied with the graduates they hire. This underscores the value of applied education, and clearly shows that we’re providing our graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workplace.

The KPI survey is important – it measures key aspects of our performance as a college – from student, graduate and employer satisfaction, to employment and graduation rates, and program quality.

We’ve seen a decrease in student satisfaction – which is one of our strongest areas. Our overall student satisfaction rating has fallen from 85.4 percent last year, to 81.7 percent in this year’s survey.

It’s important to put this result in perspective. Our student satisfaction rating of 81.7 percent remains well above the provincial average of 76.3 percent (only six of 24 colleges exceeded 80 percent); we’re among the top tier of colleges in Ontario – which is important as we face the challenges that come with steady growth. But as you know, we’ve always set our sights higher, and with our commitment to continuous improvement and the plans we have already put in place, we aim to regain our number-one ranking in student satisfaction.

One of Niagara College’s key strengths is our people – our hardworking faculty and staff whose engagement of students and strong commitment to their satisfaction and success is reflected in the fact that we achieved the number-one ranking in student satisfaction in Ontario for eight out of nine years – a remarkable achievement.

What makes Niagara College unique is our collective desire and your dedication to provide unparalleled student experience and satisfaction. We know there is always room to improve and adapt, which is why we made student experience and satisfaction one of the three key priorities in our 2013-2016 Strategic Plan, and set clear goals for enhancing student services over the next two years.

We’re fortunate to be in a solid financial position as we face these changes – we’ll soon present another balanced budget to our Board of Governors for approval. We’ve also made significant progress in our major integrated planning initiative, Transform NC, which is designed to help us continuously improve and adapt to these changes and challenges. The shifts we’ve seen in this year’s KPI results are a strong reminder that the status quo isn’t an option if we are to continue to grow, adapt and succeed.

Our overall student satisfaction rating is an average of four capstone questions that measure satisfaction with facilities, student services, learning experiences and programs. The most significant decrease for us this year is in the services area – a clear reflection of the challenges related to growth. This is an issue we’ve identified, and is an important consideration in our strategic planning.

Among the goals identified in our strategic plan is an integrated delivery of our administrative services – including student accounts, registration, and financial aid – to make our services more convenient and easier to navigate for students. This will include improving customer services through online service delivery, enhancing self-service options for students, and extending the availability of services.

Some changes to online services have already been made, including the introduction of a dedicated applicant portal that makes information readily available to new students. For the 2014/15 academic year we will be introducing a new electronic case management system which will greatly improve coordination of service delivery across our various service areas.

Over the past year we have made a great investment in academic advisement at the College (two new part-time and one full-time advisor) and will continue to invest more for the upcoming Fall semester.

We’re also in the final planning stages of a major expansion of our main campuses – a project that we’ll officially announce later this spring – which will enhance the student experience and support the integrated student services model.  All of these initiatives are being carried out with a view toward providing our students with unparalleled satisfaction and success.

To view the full results of the KPI survey, visit niagaracollege.ca/kpi.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing hard work and commitment to our students’ satisfaction and success, and encourage you to embrace the opportunity to be part of the exciting change that’s happening at Niagara College.

Dan.

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