- Integrating pathways into hiring and evaluation practices
PRACTITIONER, PRESIDENT, AND PARTNER PERSPECTIVES
Dan Phelan, President, Jackson College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
As we were thinking about what we needed to do for pathways, it really came back to culture. And it really, that journey started seven, eight years ago where we had to begin with our own employees. I realized that not everybody working at our institution was focused on the same objective. So we all had to get clearer about that. And in some cases, not everybody survived that journey with us in a movement to Total Commitment to Student Success, or TCS Squared.
We fundamentally changed the way that we chose people to work at Jackson College. We changed our onboarding process. For example, now we established a set of 13 beliefs. In addition to mission and vision values of our institution, we also added 13 beliefs that describe the kind of institution we aspire to be, the needs that people want when they come to work for an employer, that our jobs are about service and about student success. This is not a place where you get rich. This is about a calling to work in the service of other people, plain and simple. And the beliefs really support that.
We fundamentally changed the way we brought people aboard. So multiple hiring levels, multiple phases of evaluation. Every employee, full time and part time, at Jackson College is reviewed and interviewed lastly by the Leadership Council of the college, myself included, and all the vice presidents. And we see ourselves as the keeper of this culture, of total commitment to student success. And we evaluate them fully before they ever come aboard. And we bring them back after six months and after 12 months and after a year saying, “Are you still committed to the work of this college? Are you committed to service? Are you committed to Total Commitment to Student Success?” But we went even further because what gets measured gets done. So every evaluation of every employee includes their commitment to our beliefs and commitment to the service of students.
Charlene Dukes, President, Prince George's Community College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
Well, I think one of the challenges is, like many institutions, people come and go. So you always have to make sure that we’re helping new people who come into the institution, new professionals, understand that this is what our work is. So what we actually did is we changed our job position descriptions at the college so that we have an opening paragraph in every position description about our work around student success, our work with Achieving the Dream, and our work with the guided pathways project.
So we’re asking people to come on, to come to us either with an understanding of these issues or a commitment to understand them. We talk about our values, what it is that we want to achieve at the college, before we even get into “and what are the requirements for this particular position.” Because up front, we want you to know what’s important for us. And then during the onboarding process, we specifically talk about the pathways project and what each of those persons sitting around that table has the potential to contribute to the project based upon their responsibilities at the institution.
Rebekah Woods, Provost, Jackson College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
Every institution has mission, vision, values, but we’ve gone that extra step to where we have what we call beliefs. Thirteen statement of beliefs. It’s mirrored after Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. He talks about institutions, organizations are successful not just when they talk about what they do but when they talk about why they do what they do and how they do their work. So those 13 statements talk about the focus of our work, why we do what we do and how we do our work, and then the number one belief is students are our first priority.
So we ensure that we are hiring employees, they go through a very rigorous hiring process. We have at least three tiers of interviews, and that last level of interview is with our Leadership Council, and that is a culture interview in essence. So it’s focused on, “Do these individuals mirror these 13 belief statements?” And then we have built in those 13 belief statements as part of the employee evaluation for all of our employees, faculty, staff, and administration. And we’re looking at whether on a daily basis our employees are living out those 13 beliefs. Again, with number one being the focus of our students. That’s our focus, that’s our priority. And we have a performance merit pay process that also in essence rewards employees that are demonstrating those beliefs on a daily basis.