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CNM Continues to Implement 2020-2024 Strategic Plan Despite COVID-19 Changes

Thanks to smart planning and some quick adaptations, all seven objectives are still being met
CNM Continues to Implement 2020-2024 Strategic Plan Despite COVID-19 Changes
The Strategic Plan KPIs.

Jul 09, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the seven teams in charge of implementing CNM’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan had to pivot quickly. Now, after several months of work, the teams are marching forward to ensure all the strategic directions of the plan are still being carried out. 

“The work hasn’t stopped by any means, it’s just adapted to the current environment,” says Kristen Ferris, the Director of Accreditation and Strategic Planning in the Office of Data Strategy. 

As a reminder, there are three strategic directions in the plan: Student Success, Community Success, and Organizational Excellence and Innovation. Each direction has several key objectives. Some of those objectives, such as “Lead in access, retention, and graduation among all student populations,” which falls under Student Success, remain unchanged. 

Kristen says CNM’s first-time, full-time student graduation rate is strong thanks to the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. But as part of the new strategic objective, the college is working to strengthen graduation rates for other student populations including veterans and part-time students. Graduation rates need to grow, she says, whether classes are held in-person or online.

“We’re doing everything with an eye toward equity for all students,” Kristen says.

The objective under Community Success that aims to “Develop leaders and meet the education and workforce needs of New Mexico” will change in part because of COVID-19. That team is still working on a broad plan, but part of their objective centered around helping students find internships and apprenticeships across a variety of industries. Now, they’re concentrating more on helping students find internships that can be done remotely, like those in IT.

The objective under Student Success that aims to “Deliver an exceptional student experience” is also adapting. Student experience is fundamental, so that team looked at what was needed to keep students excited and engaged in online classes. One area they’re concentrating on is communication and they’ve already purchased a new communication tool that they hope will keep engagement high.

"We want to ensure students still feel welcomed and supported, even if they’re not in an in-person environment,” Kristen says. 

To measure the success of the strategic directions and objectives, there are 11 key performance indicators (KPIs) that the teams report on annually to the CNM board. One example KPI that will help track the effectiveness of the Student Success strategic direction is “Student Persistence,” which measures the percentage of students each term who are either still enrolled one year later, or have graduated before then. Another KPI called “Employee Experience,” which measures the percentage of our employees who report being "Satisfied" or "Very Satisfied" with their CNM experience, will help the teams working under the Organizational Excellence and Innovation strategic direction.

Kristen says that CNM regularly ranks in the top third of community colleges when it comes to these KPIs. But the point of the Strategic Plan is to grow and improve, not remain the same.

“The target is to get into the 90th percentile,” she says. “And to do that we not only have to compare ourselves nationally, but also compare ourselves to ourselves and find ways to improve across the board.”

Read more about the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan.