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March 22, 2012 Board Book

March 22, 2012 Board Book

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Published by Press Newsroom

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Published by: Press Newsroom on Mar 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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March 15, 2012Dear Trustees,As we move closer to spring and a much needed break for our students and faculty, I can say that
it’s b
een a busy past month. I have several things to report to you, but first an update to ourStrategic Plan.
NIC Strategic PlanTheme III: College Communications and Climate
The past several months have allowed the college time to engage in several activities thatsupport communication and climate throughout the organization. A few of these activities areoutlined in the following sections.Goal 1: Improve organizational and interdepartmental communication
Training: Over the past several months, several training opportunities were provided toemployees and managers. While much of the training is geared towards supervisors,many of the courses had individuals who were not supervisors, but were developing
themselves in preparation for future supervisory positions. The course “CrucialConversations” was offered in January which explored situations common to challenges
faced in the workplace and how to work through them. Leadership Academy was offeredin the fall (2011) which also has a large component specific to communication. Finally,another group of supervisors or upcoming supervisors attended and completed theManagement Institute in the spring (2012). These ongoing training opportunities allow usto educate managers, supervisors and employees and provide them with essential toolsthey need to be successful.
Employee Opinion Survey: Following our schedule to distribute the employee opinionsurvey every 18 months, a new round of the survey will be offered in March 2012. Thesurvey is geared to assess employee opinions regarding aspects of the workplace,leadership, the organization, etc.. As in the past, it is anticipated that the results of thissurvey will provide key information that allows the administration to target key areas ofimprovement over the coming months and years.
Upcoming customer service training: A key initiative identified last summer was the needto improve customer service throughout the organization. The administration decided tohold off on providing this customer service until the long range visioning and planningwas completed. This allows us to find the right customer service training that aligns withour mission, vision and values. A portion of the one-time allotment was designated lastyear for this training and we will be scheduling it for the fall semester. We anticipate thepositive impact of this training at all levels of the organization as we assist employeeswith providing exceptional customer service to students, employees, and members ofthe community.Goal 2: Further develop opportunities for professional development
Employee: In February 2012, the college hosted another very successful Employee Dayas a way to promote professional development for all employees throughout the college.This is a day where the college closes in order to allow employees in almost all areas to
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come together, learn from one another, garner new ideas, and collaborate in ways toinspire personal growth, learning and development. This year included a quality keynotepresenter followed by workshops in the morning. Several divisions took advantage of theafternoon to meet together as a team and engage in group-specific developmentactivities specific to their needs. The feedback is being collected at this time and we
expect similar results to last year’s exceptionally positive feedback.
Training: As an overlap to the description in the previous section, several training andprofessional development courses and experiences were offered over the past severalmonths. Additional training is planned including areas specific to customer service,diversity awareness, management and supervision, and others.
New talent management software tools: As part of the one-time money allotted this pastfall, HR purchased a comprehensive talent management system which will allow us toimprove our management of performance, training and development, tracking ofcertifications and degrees, onboarding (new employees), and more. We anticipate thecapability of this new system to allow us to enhance training opportunities and furtherencourage professional development throughout the organization. We have been limitedin the past in our capabilities within HR due to personnel and systems constraints andlimitations. We expect this to allow us to expand our capabilities and improve theprovision and management of professional development opportunities to employeesthroughout the organization.
Proposal to enhance professional development funding: HR is working to develop aproposal to significantly increase funds available for professional development to facultyand staff. The college currently allots a modest sum to individuals through professionalimprovement plan (PIP) funds. While the budgeted funds are appreciated by both facultyand staff, there are not enough funds to provide sufficient opportunities to employeesthroughout the organization. In light of the recent cancellation of tuition waivers atUniversity of Idaho and the anticipated cancellation of waivers at other institutions, thecollege is no longer able to provide resources to our employees to continue with theireducational advancement.The full proposal will accompany the budget request for board review and approval. Itwill provide a detailed outline regarding proposed increases in funding in order to covertargeted professional development, education (degree attainment), staff sabbaticals, andmore. We believe this is the next step to provide our employees with ongoingdevelopment opportunities needed to keep NIC competitive and the leader in ourcommunity.Goal 3: Attract and retain high quality employees
Retention…Achievements and current challenges: As in the past, our retention levels of 
staff and faculty are exceptional. North Idaho College has proven itself as a destinationemployer where employees come and stay. The positive achievement continues to beour ability to attract and retain great talent at all levels throughout the organization. Atthe same time, our challenge centers on the ability of the college to retain top executivetalent. Some turnover is to be expected, especially at the executive level with highlytalented and upwardly mobile individuals in key positions. However, the overlapping
turnover of several members of President’s Cabinet raises concern. While each situation
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is unique by itself, including two planned retirements, the simultaneous turnover isconcerning to individuals inside and outside of the organization. The expected turnover
cycles of today’s employment market do not create hope that we will attract and retain
highly qualified people for extended periods of time in key executive positions; however,we must take into consideration ways to better prepare for turnover and viablereplacements. The next bullet will address this.
Future need
Focus on internal succession planning and development: Previous pointsaddressed the need for ongoing professional development for the general good of theorganization (both now and in the future). In several cases, however, this developmentcan and should be targeted to find individuals who can succeed upper managers andexecutives as turnover takes place. On the one hand, it is good to bring in a mix ofoutside talent to generate new ideas with fresh perspectives. On the other hand, thecollege has incredible up and coming talent throughout the organization, and if we are toretain them long-term, we need to provide them with promotional opportunities. The prosto internal promotional succession (e.g., less time to ramp up in new position, betterunderstanding of the organization, more qualified in several aspects) outweigh theconcerns that might arise from such a focus (e.g., suggestions of favoritism asindividuals are promoted over others in the organization).
Strategic strengthening is needed: NIC has much strength as an organization. Thereare so many great attributes that attract employees to NIC, yet we sometimes fail tocapitalize on them as we manage our culture. As NIC engages in the strategic planningportion of the strategy process, we advocate for the primary focus of promoting thatwhich is good. For example, as an organization, NIC exists in one of the most beautifulareas in the world. We promote positive relationships, encourage professionaldevelopment, and seek to deliver great education.Finally, we have plans for ongoing activities to engage and promote communication and apositive culture within the college through the remainder of the current fiscal year andthroughout the next year.
Other events happening on campus:
Cardinal Connections: 
What is the spark that makes people move, create, and live life to the fullest? The week ofMarch 13, Cardinal Connections presented The Spark: Connecting with Creativity with the goalof helping the North Idaho College and local communities find what sparks some of us toconnect with our own creativity.This event included the following presentations:
Steve Jobs (as presented by Journalism instructor Geoff Carr) stopped by to tell the story ofhow creativity inspired him.
Bill Jhung, director of North Idaho College Idaho Small Business Development Center,moderated a panel discussion regarding innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship inbusiness.
Pat Lippert, Philosophy instructor, presented Genius and the Heart of the Matter: All Life is
Artistic. This is based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s
Eat, Pray, Love 
. We need to show up forlife every day.

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