Institutional Effectiveness Summary Report 2001

5000 Building

Florence-Darlington Technical College

Serving Florence, Darlington, and Marion Counties of South Carolina

The 2001 Institutional Effectiveness summary report for Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) includes the following required Institutional Effectiveness reports and assessment elements:

REQUIRED INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS REPORTS 2001 Majors and Concentrations on FDTC Reporting Schedule for 2001:
Library Resources Full or Interim Reports:
Advising Procedures Business Programs
Results of Professional Exams Nursing Programs
Programs Eligible for Accreditation Physical Sciences N/A
Alumni Survey -Satisfaction Library Arts  N/A
Alumni Survey -Placement Data Visual & Performing Arts N/A
Majors and Concentrations Majors and Concentrations:
  Human Services
For Future Reporting: Dental Hygiene
Two to Four Year Transfers Nursing  ADN&PN
Student Development & Services Small Business Mgmt
General Education Accounting
  Automated Office
  Health Care Secretary
  Office Systems Technology
  Computer Technology


In addition to the reports and elements listed above, the Minority Student and Faculty Access and Equity assessment will be reported by the SC Commission on Higher Education.  The following elements of Institutional Effectiveness reporting are not currently applicable to the Technical College Sector: Program Changes that have Occurred as a Result of External Program Evaluation, Success of Students in Developmental Courses, Success of Entering Students in Meeting College or University Admissions Prerequisites, Academic Performance of Student Athletes, and Students Participating in Sponsored Research.


Florence-Darlington Technical College is a post-secondary, public, two-year institution serving Florence, Darlington and Marion Counties whose primary mission is to deliver an affordable, comprehensive technical education.  The college has an open admissions policy and annually enrolls approximately 8,500 to 10,000 credit students and 12,000 to 18,000 continuing education students.  Through technical, general and continuing education programs, the college responds to the educational, economic and cultural needs of a diverse traditional and non-traditional adult population. The College’s mission statement was approved by the Florence-Darlington County Commission in May 2001.

As a vital institution in the community, the college fosters educational and economic growth opportunities that quantitatively and qualitatively contribute to cultural life and economic development of the area it serves. It offers comprehensive technical education, college transfer programs, specialized training for business and industry, continuing education, transitional studies, and student development services.  The instruction provided at the college is designed to prepare individuals for careers, advancement, and growth in health services, human services, business, engineering, public services, and other fields.  In addition to the knowledge specific to their chosen program of study, graduates of the college are expected to have mastered competencies in written and oral communication, information processing, mathematics, problem solving, and interpersonal skills.

Institutional Effectiveness And Planning

At FDTC, strategic planning, operational planning, and institutional effectiveness design are combined into one annual master plan and as a vehicle for institution-wide evaluation.  Using this process, the college conducts a strategic planning retreat each year in the spring involving all college personnel in the planning process.  Focus groups of  faculty, administrators, and classified staff led by a peer facilitator meet to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, major opportunities, and major challenges of the College.  The college also develops a multi-point plan of institutional goals that serve as the backbone of the institutional effectiveness plan for the period.

The individual divisions of the college conduct their planning sessions in April - May when they evaluate current operational objectives and institutional effectiveness initiatives.  They then use the results to develop annual objectives for the new year.

All academic departments follow a planning and evaluation cycle that is supervised by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The planning and evaluation cycle is systematic, interrelated, and appropriate to the institution.  Each educational program follows a Curriculum Assessment Guide that contains all program evaluation information for that program.  The guide includes the program’s general purpose, establishes annual goals and objectives, and provides a methodology for periodically assessing student outcomes.  The Curriculum Assessment Guide includes a standardized form, the Institutional Effectiveness Record that is used by each academic department to guide its planning and evaluation efforts.  Institutional Effectiveness records require a purpose statement that supports the College’s mission, goal statements from the period under review, means of assessing those goals, results of the assessment, and the proposed use of assessment results for the improvement of educational programs, services, and operations.  These records are used to develop and revise curriculum offerings and instructional techniques.  Through the Institutional Effectiveness Records of all academic departments, the college defines its expected results and describes its methods for analyzing those results.  Combined, these records constitute the College’s Institutional Effectiveness Report.

All FDTC non-academic departments utilize an Assessment Guide in conjunction with the Institutional Effectiveness Record to review and document programming.  This standard form allows for a consistent method of data collection and analysis and becomes a vital component of all college planning and assessment efforts.  The budget planning and the strategic and operational planning, based on Institutional Effectiveness, are conducted from May - June each year.  The budget process consists of open budget hearings with the Institutional Effectiveness Record being used to support departmental budget requests.

Florence-Darlington Technical College utilizes the DACUM (Develop a Curriculum) process to assist in program review.  The DACUM reviews are conducted according to a predetermined three-year cycle for each curriculum.

In addition to the Institutional Effectiveness Records and the DACUM process, all programs at Florence-Darlington Technical College utilize Program Evaluation data in their annual evaluations.  This data set contains responses from surveys of graduates of the previous academic year and their current employers of record. This process is annually coordinated by the SC State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education and called the Program Evaluation Report.

Full and Interim Reports

Advising Procedures

FDTC is committed to providing students purposeful academic direction and practical, as well as discerning, guidance aimed at assisting the student in choosing a career path in their best interest.  Student development, growth, and maturity are the aims of the advising program, and advisors are trained to assist students in meeting the College's and life's requirements and challenges.  Advisors take personal interest in students and assist them toward choosing a program that will support them toward their personal goals in life.

All faculty receive training on student advising immediately upon entering into employment at the College.  The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs publishes and distributes an annually updated Faculty Handbook and Academic Advising GuideThe Faculty Handbook and Academic Advising Guide includes a copy of the College’s Advising Procedure 40-6 - Faculty Administration which specifies advisors’ responsibilities, and provides clear directions.  The Academic Advising portion of the handbook covers:  Advisors Responsibilities, Admissions Information and Student Placement, the ADA and our institution, the College’s Early Alert Advising Process, and advising students in transformational situations such as Transitional Studies and Transfer and Co-op Programs.

FDTC's Faculty Senate meetings regularly include pertinent topics and training regarding the current issues and institutional requirements of Academic Advising policies and procedures. During the 2000-2001 academic year, a task force of faculty, staff, and administrators worked together to publish the combined Faculty Handbook and Academic Advising Guide.  They edited the Faculty Handbook together with the separate publication of the Academic Advising Guide, to eliminate unnecessary duplication of information and to provide one quick reference on academic and advising policy and procedures.  This manual was published on the FDTC local area network for easy and quick access.

The advising process at FDTC is both directive and sustaining.  It focuses not only on guiding the student on what course to take, but also, on providing the student some understanding on why they should take particular curriculum choices.

Students are assigned to an advisor as they enter the college and chose their major.  The advisor is expected to maintain current files on the assigned student, unless and until the student is allowed to change programs and is appointed another advisor. The contents of student files include information pertinent to the students’ academic life at the College, student information received from outside the institution, and those records developed internally to guide the student in marking their progress through their academic experience at FDTC.

A student’s file will include elements such as all transcripts, change of curriculum forms, their personal profile and personal record, advisor-advisee contact logs, long range program plans, progress checklist/graduation certification checklist, and other records deemed appropriate by the department head or advisor.  A student’s records are maintained by the initial advisor until the department head of the new department contacts that advisor and formally accepts the student to the new department and assigns them a new advisor.  This practice affirms responsible handling of student records, ensures integrity in the advising process, and gives the students the confidence that their records are being maintained professionally and in their best interest.

Students are required to see their advisor each semester to review the expectations of their chosen curriculum, discuss prerequisites for the program, and plan a schedule of classes for the semester.  Also advisors and advisees will discuss the student’s career goals, present and future course load, grades, outside workload, absence policy, GPA expectations, and other issues pertinent to the student as necessary.  Also advisors are responsible to tell students of changes in the registration and records maintenance processes and other academic policies and procedures, and as they effect the student.

Additionally, advisors are trained to be aware of current legal issues in today’s society and understand how they may impact students’ rights and the academic policies of the institution.

The FDTC Academic Advising process is regularly reviewed and evaluated in response to the changing requirements of today’s academic environment and subsequent student needs.  In the process of identifying and addressing student needs, the college expects to take advantage of the current technological advances in academics to increase Academic Advising administrative and procedural policies in favor of student services.  FDTC is currently implementing Datatel student database software and other network and web based tools.  In the process, the college is reinventing and addressing innovations in all aspects of academic services and administration.

Advisors are evaluated in accordance with CHE Performance Funding Indicator #2E.1 and advising is incorporated within their annual Faculty Performance Management System review.  Additionally, students evaluate advisors on the College’s annual graduate exit survey.

Library Resources

The Mission of the Florence-Darlington Technical College Wellman, Inc. Library (Library) is to serve and to improve the educational needs of the students, faculty, staff, and members of the community by providing them with print, non-print and electronic resource materials.  The measure and extent of the resources provide support for the College's transfer, technical education, and continuing education programs and are for use by individuals of the community interested in personal or professional growth and development.

The professional and proficient Wellman Library Staff, manage the Library's growing collection of print, non-print and electronic resources and provide individualized support and training to students and patrons to help them maximize their knowledge of the facilities and resources.  The staff provides periodic training on resource utilization and availability to the College's faculty and staff to ensure that they will know the extent of the resources and be able to teach students research skills appropriate to twenty-first century workplace standards.

Currently, the Library offers access to a number of types of services and resources, either in the Wellman Library itself, or from remote locations via the FDTC website.  Those types of resources include printed material, a virtual reference desk, e-journals, electronic databases, e-books, and electronic reserves as well as access to additional campus information and services, and the web. The Wellman Library's strategy for future service is to continue to acquire materials appropriate to the needs of the FDTC student body, administration, and community, and to evaluate and renew services available through the Library to ensure they meet the ever changing challenges of training for employment in the information age.

During the past year the Library has continued to expand its materials and resources to meet the needs of the FDTC community.  It revised it's web page to allow for easier access to resources, and, through expanded service on the website, two hundred forty-eight people used remote access to Wellman Library.  The Library also acquired 25,000 electronic book titles for on campus and established access and e-mail reference assistance to remote patrons.  The Wellman Library participated in a statewide Technical College purchasing consortium to maximize the efficacy and economic advantages in making strategic decisions.  The staff completed an agreement with Francis Marion University to link the two libraries and to provide automated services to search, reserve and retrieve materials simultaneously from both campuses.   Additionally, the Library purchased career resources to support students' workplace development  needs and prepared 6000 volumes to be moved to FDTC's new Health Science Campus which will be open and be ready to serve students for the Fall 2001 semester.

In the near future, the Library expects to continue to pursue its goals of providing additional services and increasing it's print and non-print holdings.  To ensure that students' needs are being recognized and met, the Library surveys students biennially.  They explore the students’ opinions on such topics as:  why and how they use the facility; what is their level of knowledge regarding the use of library offerings; and what is the level of professionalism of the staff.  As well, they query students on specific services that they expect they will need in the future, and on whether staff has provided appropriate and helpful service teaching them the technical skills required to gain access to the  library resources. Library services are also evaluated annually by FDTC graduates on their exit survey.  Additionally, the staff conducts training to faculty who also evaluate the facility, resource level, and service of the Library, and the Library is a vital part of the current campus-wide plan to increase the use of technology in the classroom and to integrate technology deeper into the curriculum.

This year, the Library has been evaluated with regard to its contribution to these efforts, and instructors have been incorporating the use of library resources into their classrooms.  In this regard, Wellman Library services also are evaluated indirectly, because the facilities and processes of the library are evaluated in the course evaluation and by the instructors being trained in the use of materials and methods leading to the increase technology use in the classroom. Library services are also evaluated by FDTC graduates on their exit survey.  Results from all of these sources are appraised and cycled into institutional effectiveness processes of the Library. They use the data to revise goals and processes, and services to increase access and user friendliness in the Library.

Next year, the Wellman Library will pursue participation in a statewide virtual library (PASCAL) to increase FDTC's access to collections from all South Carolina public and private institutions. This association will also provide financial benefits to the college through a newly established purchasing consortia, the Library expects to purchase additional access to online databases, develop inter-library loan services, add and delete print and non-print resources as required, and strengthen storage and archival facilities.

Full Reports  2001

Business Programs

The mission of the Business Technologies department is to provide curriculum instruction through which FDTC students may master the technical, business, communication and interpersonal skills required by local employers.  Certificate, diploma and degree programs are developed through the DACUM curriculum development process and offered in response to the employment needs of the college service area, the State of South Carolina and beyond.

Accounting, Office Systems Technology, Automated Office, Computer Technology, Marketing, Small Business and Health Care Secretary all use a complement of assessment tools to measure student competencies and progress toward departmental academic goals, and to evaluate  how the individual program meets the mission of the College.  The instruments are comprised  of, but not limited to, the State Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education's Program Evaluation survey of graduates, the development of appropriate comprehensive curricula reflected in class syllabi, expected outcomes and core competency requirements, and the use of  capstone experiences and evaluation by program advisory boards.  The appropriate departments also completed their annual Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) review.

The Accounting Department strives to prepare graduates with the necessary accounting skills to reach their full potential in accounting, small business management, and marketing careers.  In accordance with its goals, 100% of the graduates contacted in FDTC's Program Evaluation survey  were employed in a position related to their program of study. Additionally, 100% of the current graduating students taking ACC 240 demonstrated a 70% competency level or greater.  In response to student needs, the Department has improved its instructional  software and upgraded the ACC 240 course to include its use.  The Department also expects to  develop and enhance its Internet courses to have the entire Accounting program on line by mid year 2002. Finally, the Department’s annual ACBSP Accreditation Report was approved by the Two Year Commission.

The Automated Office Department  (AO) provides students with the essential skills to enter the job market as clerical workers.  This year’s AO graduates all met the Department’s goals for  competency levels covering Microsoft Word.  Further, the graduates in the AO curriculum demonstrated success in keying competencies related to real world requirements. The requests and notification of openings for office assistants in FDTC’s service area far exceeds the number of graduates from this curriculum, providing evidence of the need for additional students. All AO graduates surveyed in the Program Evaluation were employed in positions related to their program of study. Additional recruiting will continue in high schools and career centers in the Florence-Darlington Tech College service area to encourage students to enter this curriculum.

The Office Systems Technology Department (OST) provides training in secretarial office procedures, and additional curricula through which the students master the technical, business, communication and interpersonal skills required by area employers.  In accordance with its goals, 80% of the graduates have taken OST 167 and 100% of these graduates have demonstrated a competency of 70% or greater.  Furthermore, 100% of the OST graduates surveyed through the Program Evaluation process, a were employed in a job relating to their program of study.  Finally, of the graduates that have taken the OST 211, 100% met the standard for timed testing that measures speed and accuracy.  After a review by the Vice President and the Associate VP for Academic Affairs, it was determined that the programs’ expected standards are appropriate and meet the expectations of area employers.

The Health Care Secretary curriculum is designed to prepare students for a variety of entry-level positions in hospitals, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, and other health-related organizations.  More than 90% of students enrolled in OST 115, demonstrated an 80% or greater competency level on assessments of medical terminology and medical abbreviations.  These results exceeded the goal established for this competency.  In addition, of the graduates who were contacted during the Program Evaluation survey, 100% of them were holding jobs related to their program of study.  Furthermore, 100% of the students enrolled in OST 152 were able to complete medical source documents from raw data and then key the source data into the computer with a minimum of 80% accuracy, which exceeded the goal established for this attribute. Finally, more than 90% of students enrolled in OST 115, demonstrated an 80% or greater competency level on the anatomy component of the curriculum. This exceeded the goal established for this competency.  A number of strategies and recommendations have been made to improve the curriculum and student success in the curriculum.  The Department is encouraging peer tutoring, access to audiovisual and supplementary texts on medical terminology and additional pre-enrollment advising.

The Computer Technology Department faculty continues to develop new courses to meet the needs of students' and service area employers' for these highly competitive skills.  Some of the  new courses are: Web Page Publishing, Visual Basic Programming, Internet Programming, and Computer Systems Management.  Also, in order to provide students with the increasingly better instruction, the faculty has researched and evaluated new delivery methods and learning techniques.  As a result of  observing  innovative techniques and improved delivery systems, departmental instructors believe they have improved course content and are better able to advise students as to their academic and employment options.

The Marketing Department prepares graduates for positions leading to middle management employment in marketing, advertising, sales, and retailing.  The Department has reported that, in accordance with its goals, 100% of the Marketing Department’s graduates who were contacted during the annual Program Evaluation Survey are employed in positions related to their program of study or are currently enrolled in other college level programs.  Furthermore,  100% of the Department’s 2000-2001 graduates have demonstrated at least a 70% competency in their ability to research, prepare and report on a marketing/advertising plan for a business as required in their MKT 240 capstone course.  This demonstrates that the graduates can apply their learned competencies.  Lastly, the Department’s annual ACBSP Accreditation Report was approved by the Two Year Commission confirming that they have met additional goals.

The Small Business Management Department (SBM) focuses on management with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and small business management.  The SBM Department reports that 100% of its graduates contacted during the annual Program Evaluation survey were employed in positions related to their program of study.  Also, the program is now delivering its capstone course BUS 268, completely online.  Of the students that took the BUS 268 online during the period being examined, 78% demonstrated a greater than 70% competency level for the skills required by the course.  The remaining two students received incomplete grades.  Further, to meet student demands for flexibility and skill upgrades on demand, the SBM associate degree is now offered completely online for Internet delivery.  An  e-commerce certificate program will be added to the program in the coming academic year to further enhance the students' academic options.

Associate Degree Nursing and Practical Nursing

The 2000-2001 academic year was one of challenge and innovation for the FDTC Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) and Practical Nursing (PN) programs. This year was the first year of implementation of the new curriculum designed to provide the basic practical nurse knowledge and skills in the first three semesters and to build more complex thinking and skills in the final two semesters of the program for an Associate Degree Nurse. With this curriculum, students will qualify for application to take the PN exam after three semesters and then qualify for the RN exam after five successful semesters.

The faculty and administration of this ladder step program developed and administered several extensive assessment strategies and additional specifically targeted evaluation tools to pursue program institutional effectiveness goals.

As a result of a longitudinal study of attrition rates of nursing students over a number of years, department faculty and administration implemented a 12-point strategy to decrease attrition throughout the program.  It includes elements to improve students’ critical thinking skills in academic and clinical courses, test-taking skills, and study and time management skills.  Strategies to develop additional meetings between students, faculty and administration to encourage open discussion on attrition and the curriculum strengths and weaknesses have been put in place as a result of the department’s retention study.

The Nursing Department has developed a multi-point plan to strengthen the nursing students' National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) scores.  It includes revising curriculum elements to focus on student retention of cumulative knowledge, additional use of discrete predictor testing functions including Mosby Assesstest and the National League of Nursing  (NLN) test, and organizing the faculty to provide a one-day comprehensive review for each senior class at the beginning of the semester to sustain the base of knowledge the students will need to carry forward.

In addition to analyzing academic and class information on all Nursing students for the past five years, Nursing faculty and administration have reviewed standardized test data, as well as placement data, and admissions data for the same period.  Further, they have examined survey data from alumni, graduates,  the Nursing Advisory Committee and the surveys completed by the agencies where FDTC students conduct their clinicals.

This comprehensive review of pertinent data has led the Nursing Department faculty and administration to effect changes in the previous admissions strategies and curriculum composition.

The Nursing Department has worked with the Admissions Testing Committee to develop means to attract and admit students who will be more likely to succeed in the curriculum. The Department has used predictive test data, actual nursing course grades and test item analysis and determined to increase their grading scale requirements in the math, anatomy, physiology, microbiology and nursing courses.  Additionally, it was determined that assignments requiring students to develop critical thinking skills will bear a greater weight in the curriculum assessment than they have in the past.

As they implement the new curriculum and subsequent changes, the Department has put practices into place to provide greater academic support for the students.  The Nursing faculty has received supplemental training in creating and evaluating curriculum materials and testing instruments in order to provide appropriate student counseling and re-mediation within the program.  They have also restructured course delivery methods to reflect a variety of approaches to accommodate students of various learning styles.  Further, Nursing faculty is now required to provide written counseling for students in specified situations, including individualized plans for improvement as required.

In revising the curriculum, the Department has made structural program changes as well as advising policy changes to provide additional opportunities for students to improve their academic skills and program success.  Nursing class materials, assignments and tutorials were redesigned to include critical thinking exercises and NCLEX practice questions.  At the onset of the new curriculum implementation, students were invited to faculty meetings to give voice to their curriculum concerns.  And the Nursing Department head met with faculty and students to discuss new curriculum progress.  Subsequently, action has been taken to improve course instruction.

New students are now encouraged to, or are required to take College 103 which emphasizes acquiring personal organizational habits and study skills.  The director of the College's ASAP or Perkins Grant Tutorial Center is now invited early each semester to speak to students regarding good study skills.  Additionally, the Nursing Department staff is referring students to the Perkins Center for tutoring and/or test taking strategies following new criteria they have established for early recognition and resolution of students' academic difficulties.  Also, Nursing Department staff are providing a succession of extra office hours for individual or small group tutoring for students to review their individual Mosby Assesstest results, the NCLEX predictor test, before graduation.

In the next institutional effectiveness cycle, the Nursing Department will examine and report on the efficacy of the newly installed curriculum and academic standards and advising  policies on program attrition, student academic accomplishments, and on the results of standardized test achievements.

Additional Majors & Concentrations on the FDTC Reporting Cycle


The Human and Public Services (HUS) Program prepares Human Services, Early Childhood Development and Criminal Justice students for employment.  Upon the completion of the chosen course of study, graduates are expected to demonstrate competencies and knowledge for placement within the professional community, employment, and on-going education.  To better provide for the needs of the students and community employers, the HUS program has added fourteen new field placement sites during the period being examined. The ECD program added three new lab sites, and the CRJ program added five new internships. In addition, the HUS Department purchased additional instructional videos to upgrade the departmental resource library and accommodate the students' diversity of learning styles.

This past year Psychology 201 and Sociology 101 were offered at local high schools.  The CRJ faculty has developed and is currently offering six additional Internet courses.  The program continues to meet the needs of local agencies through curriculum revisions and updates, new instructional methodologies, online courses, and by providing qualified graduates.

The Dental Hygiene curriculum fosters intellectual, personal, and professional growth by combining basic and clinical science, related course work, and interpersonal relations.  All of the students graduating in the period being examined successfully completed clinical requirements and passed the National Board for Dental Hygiene Examination.  Supplemental  review sessions are scheduled, and additional instruction is provided as students prepare to take the licensure exam.

A redesigned Clinical Competency Exam to evaluate clinical progress was established in the summer semester of 2000.  As of summer 2001, students are required to obtain a passing grade (77 or above) on each Competency exam in order to complete clinical course requirements. 100% of the graduates report being adequately prepared for entry level job duties, and all 2000 graduates have obtained full or part-time employment.

Diploma Programs-No FDTC Diploma Programs were on cycle to be reviewed for 2000-2001.