How can I express interest in receiving Technical Assistance?
An institutional CEO can send a short Letter of Interest (LOI) for a Partnership Resource Team to provide technical assistance. The LOI specifies the areas of focus on which the institution wants the PRT to concentrate. The format is on the IEPI website: http://iepi.cccco.edu/administrators/prtinterest. If you are interested in receiving technical assistance through a PRT, let your CEO know and indicate the area(s) in which you believe your institution would benefit from such assistance.
What is the process for selecting and scheduling Partnership Resource Team visits?
We expect to be able to make Partnership Resource Teams available to all California Community Colleges at some point during the first five years of IEPI, should they express interest in receiving them.
- We schedule the visits based on institutional need and readiness, and on the calendars of institutional personnel and PRT members.
- The evaluation of need and readiness draws on information provided by the institutions on their areas of focus, institutional effectiveness indicators, the timing of upcoming accreditation visits, and other factors.
- A member of the IEPI Executive Committee also might call the institutional CEO for additional clarification to ensure that we’re not missing any important issues.
After this initial review, institutions scheduled for visits will be asked to provide a one- or two-page treatment of their areas of focus that is somewhat more detailed than the LOI, to help determine scheduling and prepare for the initial visit. If any of the areas of focus include issues that fall within the purview of the 10+1 Faculty Academic and Professional Matters, the CEO will work with the local academic senate in producing the treatment, and the senate president will signify acceptance of the treatment before submission to the IEPI Executive Committee. The IEPI Executive Committee develops a recommendation for the roster of each PRT for approval by the CCCCO and the client CEO.
What role does the college receiving the visit have in selecting team members?
The Project Director puts together teams based on matching the expertise of volunteers in the pool with the areas of focus of the institutions. Team composition is driven by the needs of each institution and not by representation of associations/organizations/CCCCO. The initial team composition is reviewed with the client CEO to ensure that there are no unintended conflicts with team assignments. The CEO should check with faculty and administrative leaders to help ensure that conflicts of interest are avoided. The IEPI Executive Committee and the CCCCO also approve the final membership of each PRT.
How do we get our seed money, and what can we use it for?
Your Innovation and Effectiveness Plan, which you will develop with the assistance of your PRT, should include a list of any additional resources (with dollar amounts) you need to begin implementing the plan. That list will support your brief application for seed money, which you can use to expedite progress on any objective included in your Plan. IEPI staff will process the request as quickly as possible to expedite your receipt of the funds.
Seed grant guidelines for IEPI PRTs:
- Anything in the Institution’s Innovation & Effectiveness Plan (I&EP) can be supported with Seed Grant Funds.
- Indirect costs are not allowable for IE Grants.
- Fringe benefits are only allowable for newly hired employees.
How will IEPI work with other organizations (ASCCC, RP Group, CCLC) that have mechanisms in place to provide colleges with technical assistance, to ensure consistency of information and responses to issues?
IEPI works to complement the technical assistance already available from statewide organizations. IEPI brings additional resources to fund technical assistance visits as well as seed grants to fund improvement efforts.
How is the Partnership Resource Team assistance different from what is provided by consultants?
First and foremost, the Initiative is funded to bring resources to local institutions. Those identified as needing assistance will not have to pay for the technical assistance provided by IEPI. In addition to cost differences, IEPI draws heavily on community college personnel with the required expertise and familiarity with the system to assist institutions. Using this broad array of knowledge and skills, IEPI will provide technical assistance on a variety of issues, since Institutional Effectiveness is broad and covers just about any topic one could imagine.
What can institutions expect from the Partnership Resource Teams providing technical assistance?
Institutions can expect teams to work to understand the issues, help the institution develop solutions, and then assist the institution with implementing solutions with a focus on continuous improvement. The teams will not simply meet with each institution once, deliver a report on what it should do, and walk away. Rather, the teams will be responsible for working with the institutions and providing support to them as they develop their capacity and improve.
What other IEPI support will be available to colleges/districts/centers who utilize a Partnership Resource Team?
IEPI is planning to make available to colleges/districts/centers who utilize a Partnership Resource Team the ability to participate in a “community of practice.” This opportunity is voluntary. The community of practice will promote sharing ideas across institutions and provide dedicated planning time for each institution to create a thorough and robust action plan to increase institutional effectiveness. Each institution in the community of practice will send a “leadership team” to revisit the IEPI Innovation and Effectiveness Plan or undertake another strategic planning activity in a facilitated one-to-two-day experience offsite. The initial academy/institute will typically occur three months to one year after the PRT’s follow-up visit.
What does IEPI request from each institution that has received PRT visits?
The Project Director asks each client CEO, primarily through the point persons whom she or he designates, to do the following:
- Provide logistical assistance in scheduling the visits, and ensure that the appropriate institutional personnel participate in each visit.
- Inform the institutional community about the nature and purposes of the PRT, and of each visit.
- Provide crucial documents that will illuminate the areas of focus.
- Develop the more detailed treatment of the areas of focus, as described above.
- Communicate as needed in timely fashion with the PRT Lead, to help ensure that the institution's technical assistance needs are met, and that each visit goes smoothly.
IEPI asks each institution visited to “report out” their lessons learned at statewide venues, such as the RP Group Student Success Conference; Academic Senate Plenary; CCLC Annual Conference; and the ACCCA Conference. All necessary registration and travel expenses for such presentations are reimbursed by IEPI.
Does IEPI provide Partnership Resource Teams to districts and centers?
Yes. District-level leadership and administration is critical to deploying resources and personnel in support of IEPI goals. We have set up processes for Partnership Resource Teams to serve multi-college districts whose CEOs have submitted district-level Letters of Interest. Each such district that receives PRT services may also request up to $200,000 in seed money to expedite implementation of its own Innovation and Effectiveness Plan. Our intent is to complement PRTs that are being sent to colleges, while addressing the unique needs of multi-college districts, as we work to advance institutional effectiveness and student success.
Centers, too, may submit LOIs, receive PRT visits, and request seed-money grants to expedite implementation of their Innovation and Effectiveness Plans.
If my institution is having compliance issues, why would/should we contact the IEPI for assistance?
IEPI will assist local institutions in advancing their institutional effectiveness, which could include accreditation or audit issues. This will be an opportunity to identify the most efficient and effective path for coming into sustainable compliance, and implement model practices before sanctions might otherwise be imposed. Given the goals of the initiative, IEPI will treat information collected through the initiative with sensitivity. However, institutions can also choose to address compliance issues on their own.
How do I volunteer to serve on a Partnership Resource Team?
Periodically the statewide Academic Senate issues a call for faculty volunteers. IEPI seeks non-faculty volunteers through presentations, the statewide associations/organizations represented on the Advisory Committee, and the IEPI website. In all cases, volunteers are asked to complete a brief online survey of their areas of expertise. If you would like to serve on a PRT, please complete the survey applicable to you. You must complete the whole survey to be added to the provisional PRT pool.
The Academic Senate consults with local Senate presidents before moving volunteers to the approved pool and transferring the data to IEPI. The IEPI Project Director consults with each non-faculty volunteer’s home CEO or designee to ensure that he or she has no concerns about the volunteer’s service before moving each volunteer to the approved pool.
If you have already completed the survey, there is no need for you to do so again, unless your contact information, position, or areas of expertise have changed. However, as the survey questionnaire is updated with new areas of expertise, IEPI may request that you complete a supplemental survey containing the new fields.
Tentative PRTs for specific institutions are drawn from the combined approved pool based on a careful match between the institution’s areas of focus and the volunteers’ areas of expertise. Each final PRT is approved by the IEPI Executive Committee, the CCCCO, and the receiving institution’s CEO. If you are selected for a PRT, the IEPI Project Director will notify you by email at the address you submitted in the survey, to provide the necessary paperwork, arrange training, and begin the process of scheduling the first two visits to fit both team members’ schedules and the receiving institution’s preferred date options. (Part of that paperwork is a Participation Certification Form, which must be signed by the appropriate local administrator authorizing your service on a specific PRT, and then submitted to IEPI well before the initial visit.)
PRT members may be asked to share their experience with others at PRT training workshops or at presentations to statewide organizations and conferences.
Experts who have already participated on PRTs report that it has been a rewarding and useful experience, and the need is great, so we encourage you to volunteer!
What is a Mini-PRT?
A Mini-PRT, as the term implies, is a smaller version of a Partnership Resource Team (PRT) that provides interested institutions with technical assistance on a comparatively narrow set of issues. The Mini-PRT process is a simplified and accelerated version of the full PRT process, as follows:
- Mini-PRT members are drawn from the PRT pool of volunteer experts, who are identified through or appointed by statewide professional organizations, the CCCCO, and others. Team composition for each client institution is approved by the applicable CEO and the CCCCO.
- Prospective Mini-PRT members who have not already served on a PRT receive training to ensure that they adhere to the IEPI approach to technical assistance. Mini-PRTs will employ the positive, colleagues-helping-colleagues IEPI approach, with options for action consistent with sound practice.
- Institutions express interest in receiving Mini-PRT services related to a specific Area of Focus through a formal Letter of Interest from the CEO.
- Those institutions that are approved receive typically one on-site visit from a small team of experts (typically two to three) whose expertise matches the Area of Focus. Team preparations for the visit vary depending on the Area of Focus, but typically include the following steps:
o Review a small set of crucial documents related to the Area of Focus.
o Participate in a phone conference with client-institution personnel to gather additional information.
o Develop a set of comments and questions as needed for interviews during the visit, to call attention to successes, progress, quality, and innovation, and to elicit more information about challenges.
o As appropriate, develop a presentation, workshop contents, a preliminary Menu of Options for the client institution to consider as it drafts its Innovation and Effectiveness Plan (I&EP), and/or other activities or documents designed to assist the institution.
o The team gathers further information on institutional needs and practices.
o The team then helps the institution draft its I&EP, which lays out the steps it will follow to address its Area of Focus.
o The I&EP may include a request for a Mini-PRT grant of up to $75,000, which must be used to expedite implementation of the objectives and action steps in the I&EP. Funds may not be used for indirect costs, nor for fringe benefits of existing employees.
- Immediately after the visit, the receiving institution completes its draft I&EP. The institution receives feedback on the draft, finalizes it, and completes the application and agreement forms for the grant. The grant is issued within 30 days of receipt of the forms, and funds must be spent within 12 months.
- The institution implements the I&EP. If further guidance from the Mini-PRT is needed at this point, it is provided most often by phone or teleconference, but may be provided on-site if appropriate and feasible.
- The institution provides brief progress reports periodically to IEPI, and a final report at the end of the 12-month period.
- Both the client institution and the Mini-PRT members participate in the evaluation of the Mini-PRT process.
- Institutions identified as needing Mini-PRT technical assistance will not have to pay for the assistance provided by IEPI.
- All travel expenses of Mini-PRT members are reimbursed. If their local policies permit, members may receive a stipend of $500 for each actual visit day as well.
What are some areas of focus suitable for Mini-PRT assistance?
Institutions may express interest in receiving Mini-PRT assistance for any relatively narrow areas of focus related to institutional effectiveness. Among the possibilities are the following:
- Prior to the beginning of full PRT assistance, helping define the issues on which the full PRT will focus, and/or helping the institution organize and prepare for the full PRT visit
- After the institution has received full PRT assistance, further advice and guidance on one of its original areas of focus
- Improving systems and practices in campus communications
- Identifying and beginning implementation of a sound approach for evaluating or choosing among options for technology solutions, placement practices, or other discrete aspects of institutional operations
- After participation in an IEPI workshop on a given topic, helping the institution’s team develop an action plan to answer the “Now what?” question.
Note that if an Area of Focus turns out to be larger or more complex than Mini-PRTs are designed to help address, IEPI may suggest the full PRT process instead.
Will the Mini-PRT come in and resolve the challenges related to the institution’s Area of Focus?
No. The client institution is responsible for resolving the challenges itself. The Mini-PRT, like the PRT, is intended to provide advice and guidance on the steps that the institution should take toward that resolution.
Must the institution have received full PRT assistance in order to receive Mini-PRT assistance?
Not necessarily, though we expect that many institutions already familiar with the IEPI approach to technical assistance will express interest in receiving Mini-PRT assistance after completing their full PRT cycle.
May the institution receive full PRT assistance after receiving Mini-PRT assistance?
Yes. In fact, the Mini-PRT may suggest full PRT assistance as an option for consideration.
May the institution request a specific person with specialized expertise to serve on the Mini-PRT?
Yes, and IEPI will try to accommodate the request. However, that person will still need to be added to the PRT volunteer pool, will serve as a volunteer, and will receive training in the IEPI approach to technical assistance.