EMSI CASE STUDY (See the full archive)
The academic master planning process can often be complex and unwieldy for community colleges. Many voices need to be heard, and colleges’ philosophies and ideals must be balanced by economic realities and regional needs.
But when objective data—both labor market and internal college data—are used as a benchmark and to assess the college’s programs, academic master plans come together much more smoothly.
That’s one of the takeaways from College Brain Trust, one of the premier community college consultant groups in the nation and EMSI’s partner in a recent academic master plan for MiraCosta Community College District in the San Diego area.
In order for planning to be data-driven, we need solid data that we can depend on. And one of the advantages of working with EMSI is that they provide an objective analysis of local data.” — Eva Conrad Consultant, College Brain Trust
MiraCosta’s master plan included an educational plan, for which EMSI provided demographic trends and analysis of programs from an employment perspective. These data were essential to projecting program growth and subsequently contributed to decisions in the facilities plan portion of this Comprehensive Master Plan. The facilities plan was prepared by HMC Architects.
“In true collegial fashion, the college community participated in a multi-year process of educational program review and facilities planning derived from forecasted student enrollment, local employment projections and future economic growth of the region,” MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Dr. Francisco C. Rodriguez wrote in the foreword to the institution’s master plan.
The employment projections for MiraCosta’s master plan—as well as data and analysis pertaining to the region’s population, workforce needs, earnings, and educational attainment—were provided by EMSI, in conjunction with CBT. The EMSI consulting team also prepared an analysis of the supply of graduates compared to the number of current and projected jobs in the region for each of MiraCosta’s career technical programs.
EMSI’s ability to parse employment, demographic, and educational data at the ZIP code level—rather than by county or metro area—proved valuable throughout the project. MiraCosta College is located in a densely populated region in North San Diego County, making granular data important to get a handle on the college’s service area.
“The data are crucial,” said Eva Conrad, a CBT consultant and former president of Moorpark College. “Data are a necessary part of the development of the overall institutional goals. Accreditation requires that planning be data-driven. In order for planning to be data-driven, we need solid data that we can depend on. And one of the advantages of working with EMSI is that they provide an objective analysis of local data.”