Research and Planning Helpful Links

Research and Planning Glossary Terms

a. Academic Year/Fiscal Year – Summer, Fall, Spring Terms

b. Accrediting Bodies - Organizations (or agencies) that establish operating standards for educational or professional institutions and programs, determine the extent to which the standards are met, and publicly announce their findings.  SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) is the VGCC’s institutional accreditation body.

c. Analyzing – Breaking the concept into parts and understand how each part is related to one another.

d. Assessment - The act of gathering and using your data/evidence for the purpose of improvement.

a. Assessment Method – A way of providing evidence of the achievement or status of a goal, strategy, or student learning outcome.   It is, how you will determine the success/failure of this strategy. A statement indicating what a participant (usually students, could be staff, faculty) will know, think, or be able to do as a result of an event, activity, program, ect. 

e. Benchmark – A known quality that is used as a standard with which other things can be compared. What is the current number or percentage?

f. Campus Labs – Ed Tech Company in Buffalo, NY, provides a leading platform and service provider for assessment in higher education. Campus Labs is the only specialized, comprehensive assessment program that combines data collection, reporting, organization, and campus-wide integration.

b. College Goals - Choose the Vanguard Vision Goal that relates to your strategy. The goals are listed on the tree menu under "Vance-Granville Community College" (Begin with 1.1).

c. Cohort - A specific group of students established for tracking purposes

d. Completer - A student who receives a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award. In order to be considered a completer, the degree/award must actually be conferred.

e. Contact Hour - A unit of measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students. Also referred to as clock hour.

f. Course Success – Successfully completing a course with a “C” or better.

g. Credit Hour - A unit of measure representing the equivalent of an hour (50 minutes) of instruction per week over the entire term. It is applied toward the total number of credit hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.

h. Criteria – A rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.

i. Evaluation – To compare actual (evidence/data) to intended outcomes and judge the significance of the findings; for the purpose of making recommendations for changes and improvement.

j. FTE – A student is calculated based on the number of contact hours and/or credit hours

k. Goal – An end result/outcome. 

Goals should provide a framework for determining the more specific educational objectives of a program, and should be consistent with the mission of the program and the mission of the institution.  A single goal may have many specific subordinate learning strategies/objectives.

l. Indicators – A trend or fact used to measure a specific item such as a goal or strategy.

m. Measurement – Method to gauge achievement of intended outcomes (examples: tests, surveys)

n. Planning/Program Strategy Description – The strategy description should be specific and answer the following questions:

1. What do you want to accomplish?
2. How do you plan to accomplish it?
3. Where? (campus, agency, high school)
4. Who is going to do the work?(department)
5. When will it be done? (term, year, month)

o. Reporting Year – Fall, Spring, Summer

p. Results – Evidence; what happened?  Remember, if you do not document your results, it never happened…

q. Retention Rate – A measure of the rate at which students persist in their educational program at an institution, expressed as a percentage.

r. SLO - accumulated knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students develop during a course of study.

s. Strategic Plan – A tool that provides guidance in fulfilling the college’s Mission and Goals with maximum efficiency and impact.

t. Student Learning Outcome - Examines cognitive skills that students develop through department interactions measurable, transferable skill development.

u. SWOT – Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat

v. Target – Specific number, percentage, and/or statement of desired level or timing attainment of intended outcomes of expected growth.  Example:  “100% of Faculty and Staff will complete their SWOT by June 30”.