Thunderbirds Thrive: Strategic Plan 2020-2025


updated 7/22/2019Mesa Community College followed a five-step process for strategic planning that prioritized deep understanding of the current reality and developing actionable plans for improvement. This process spanned 15 months and was completed with input from a wide variety of stakeholder groups. The process was led by the Strategic Planning Committee, the College Leadership Team, and consulting partners. The first product of this process was the creation and Spring 2020 adoption of MCC's new Mission, Vision, and Values statements. While work on this strategic plan dates back to 2020, the first version of the finalized document was released in March 2021. The latest update to the strategic plan was released in May 2022.

May 2022 Strategic Plan Update

This 2022 Strategic Plan update contains two revisions:

1. We added sub-WIG 2.4, focused on increasing student retention rates: By the end of 2023, increase student term-to-term retention by 5% (fall-to-spring from 65% to 70% and fall-to-fall from 48% to 53%), with equity across all racial groups. The addition of this goal was supported by the Guided Pathways to Success Council, the College Leadership Team, and the President’s Cabinet. The pandemic contributed to a substantive enrollment decline. A retention goal addresses both the need to increase enrollment while also increasing student momentum toward successful completion.

2. Student success data in the plan was updated to match a new data methodology. In 2021, the district office changed the source of the Governing Board Metrics report from the Voluntary Framework for Accountability (VFA) to the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP). The primary difference between the two methodologies is the PDP includes first-time, transfer-in students in the new-to-college cohorts. While this change provides a more robust and inclusive entering student cohort, it also required us to update MCC’s strategic plan metrics, including our baseline data, to match the new PDP data. To address changes to baseline percentages, we also adjusted our goals to match; for example, if a baseline percentage increased by three percentage points from 11% to 14%, we also increased the college’s goal by the same three percentage points.

MCC Strategic Plan 2020-2025

MCC's full strategic plan is available as a PDF. Key highlights from the plan are listed below.

MCC Strategic Plan May 2022 Update

Letter from College Leadership

Mesa Community College’s Mission, Vision, Values, and Strategic Plan are built on the vital foundation of social justice through bold commitment and informed pursuit of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We acknowledge the privileged in our community, our nation, and our world have historically benefitted from systems and structures that have reproduced inequities. And we recognize MCC’s own role in perpetuating some of those inequities. As an educational institution, we aspire to achieve a new reality in which structures, systems, and policies provide opportunities that support all people.

We are grateful to the many faculty, staff, and students who have endeavored to address inequities at our college, too often without the recognition or results their efforts deserved.

As an institution of higher learning, MCC strives to educate students to be informed in their choices, respectful of other viewpoints, sound in their abilities to think critically, and instilled with a sense of belonging to live and lead in a global community. As we orient our work to ensure that all of our actions are geared toward the transformative potential of education in people’s lives, we aspire to leverage teaching and learning so all who come to MCC are nurtured to achieve their full potential.

We at MCC move forward intentionally and fearlessly creating a college where all feel welcomed and receive the support needed to thrive.

-MCC College Leadership Team

    MCC’s Strategic Directions

    The Thunderbirds Thrive: 2020-2025 Strategic Plan sets the college's course towards three Strategic Directions. Each Strategic Direction is an aspirational statement about an ideal future state of the college, and each direction has an associated Wildly Important Goal (WIG), Sub-Wildly Important Goals (Sub-WIGs), key improvement strategies, and key measures of success. The Strategic Directions are numbered to assist in referencing them, not to imply a hierarchy.

    • Strategic Direction 1: MCC is an Agent for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
    • Strategic Direction 2: MCC improves student experiences and outcomes through Guided Pathways.
    • Strategic Direction 3: MCC is a great place to work.

    MCC Strategic Direction 1: MCC is an agent for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    We commit to dismantling structural barriers to equity by investing in equity-focused policies, practices, and behaviors that work to support all students and employees. We will call attention to patterns of inequity in student and employee outcomes. We take personal and institutional responsibility for the success of all our students and employees. We continuously reassess and adjust our own behavior, processes, and practices to be more equitable, fair, and just.

    Wildly Important Goal (WIG) 1: By 2025, MCC will attain an equitable two-year completion and transfer rate of at least 19% for new-to-MCC students across all racial groups.

    Sub-Wildly Important Goals (Sub-WIGs)

    1.1: Close Opportunity Gaps in Course Success - By Fall 2023, close opportunity gaps in course success across all racial groups while increasing MCC’s overall course success rate from 74% to 80% per semester.

    1.2: Recruit and Retain a Diverse Workforce - By 2025, increase the diversity of our workforce by 5%.

    1.3: Foster an Inclusive and Equitable Campus Climate - The goal for this sub-WIG will be revised in AY2022-23. The prior goal of a new campus climate assessment was discontinued as the district office is planning a climate assessment.

    Key Improvement Strategies

    The work of this Strategic Direction is guided by MCC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. This council supports the college mission of creating an inclusive and vibrant learning community where everyone is supported to achieve success by:

    • providing strategic oversight, guidance, and accountability along with processes and resources for DEI initiatives and goals;
    • centralizing DEI efforts and communication with our internal and external college communities;
    • supporting and sustaining a system of inclusion and equity for ALL students and employees; and
    • guiding ongoing student and professional development as related to DEI.

    The DEI Council was formed in Summer 2020 and has formed work teams to prioritize work and take action towards the three sub-wildly important goals listed above.

    Success Measures

    Each of our Wildly Important Goals and Sub-WIGs must be measured to ensure accountability and help us stay on track as we progress in our strategic directions. We will monitor the progress we make towards our goals.

    MCC Strategic Direction 2: MCC improves student experiences and outcomes through Guided Pathways.

    MCC’s mission of creating an inclusive and vibrant learning community where everyone is supported to achieve success requires us to cultivate an exceptional student experience that ensures all students are welcomed into the Thunderbird family and supported on their pathway to success. The college’s ongoing transformation into a Guided Pathways college is foundational to this Strategic Direction and provides the framework for improving both the student experience and student outcomes, with equity for all students.

    We will implement the Guided Pathways framework to ensure that students from all backgrounds and circumstances are seen, celebrated, and supported for academic and career success. We acknowledge the gaps in student equity that exist at MCC and we will work to help all students succeed with an equity-minded focus. We will actively assess and improve our campus environment and interactions with students to ensure that they are free of bias, inclusive and rooted in kindness. Our faculty are leaders in their fields, offering students world-class teaching and engaging in continuous improvement through critical inquiry and student outcomes assessment.

    Wildly Important Goal (WIG) 2: By 2025, MCC will increase the overall two-year graduation and transfer rate of new-to-MCC students from 14% to 19%.

    Sub-Wildly Important Goals (Sub-WIGs)

    2.1: Increase first-year college-level English and math completion - By the end of 2025, with equity across racial groups, increase the percentage of new-to-MCC students who complete college-level English and math in their first year from 35% to 41%.

    2.2: Increase first-year student credit momentum - By the end of 2023, with equity across racial groups, increase the percentage new-to-MCC students who meet credit momentum thresholds in their first year (30+ credits for full-time students and 15+ for part-time students) from 17% to 20%.

    2.3: Improve the student experience - By 2025, increase the percentage of students who report that their college experience was better than expected from 54% to 66%.

    2.4: Increase student retention - By the end of 2023, increase student term-to-term retention by 5% (fall-to-spring from 65% to 70% and fall-to-fall from 48% to 53%), with equity across all racial groups.

    Key Improvement Strategies

    Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) is an evidence-based, comprehensive redesign that helps students identify their educational and career goals, determine their needs, and then chart a clear, coherent pathway to timely goal completion. It provides a holistic learning experience that promotes self-fulfillment and includes carefully sequenced courses, predictable schedules, recognizable milestones, and ongoing integrated support services.

    The work of this Strategic Direction is guided by MCC’s GPS Council. In Summer 2020, the Guided Pathways Council led a group of over 60 MCC faculty and staff in several road mapping sessions to prioritize our Guided Pathways work. The current top three priorities of Guided Pathways are:

    1. Students receive the right support when needed for success.
    2. Students easily navigate the tools, processes, locations, and language at MCC.
    3. Students experience an equitable and inclusive environment.

    Success Measures

    Each of our Wildly Important Goals and Sub-WIGs must be measured to ensure accountability and help us stay on track as we progress in our strategic directions. We will monitor the progress we make towards our goals.

    MCC Strategic Direction 3: MCC is a great place to work.

    MCC strives to be known as a great place work with employees who are satisfied, engaged, and feel a sense of Thunderbird pride. The college culture will be intentionally cultivated, ensuring that employee voices are heard, differing perspectives are valued and that all interactions are rooted in respect and kindness. Living our values in this dimension calls us to commit to cultivating a talent pool that is reflective of our student population and the communities we serve, modeling inclusivity and equity in decision-making and communication. As a great place work, MCC will recruit, retain, and develop the most qualified individuals in their fields.

    MCC employees will have the tools, resources, and support they need to be successful. Ensuring operational effectiveness frees our employees to focus on the relationships and collaboration that are vital to student success. To do this, we must focus on building effective systems and procedures that are free of barriers, are transparent, and are equitable in their design and implementation.

    Wildly Important Goal (WIG) 3: By Fall 2025, increase the percentage of MCC employees who rate MCC as a great place to work from 74% to 85%.

    Sub-Wildly Important Goals (Sub-WIGs)

    Sub-WIGs 1.2 (recruit and retain a diverse workforce) and 1.3 (foster an inclusive and equitable campus climate) from Strategic Direction 1 also support this WIG. The need for any additional sub-WIGs will be evaluated in AY2022-23.

    Implementing our Strategic Plan with 4DX

    MCC has long embraced the use of continuous quality improvement processes (such as the MCC informed improvement process pioneered by faculty and staff during our 2005- 2015 accreditation cycle) in an effort to set and reach our goals in a data-informed way. This is reflected in MCC’s core values of leadership, integrity, and continuous improvement. So, inherent in our work to achieve this plan’s goals is our commitment to continuous improvement and performance excellence that manifest in college efforts involving integrated planning and budgeting, student outcomes assessment, shared governance, and the day-to-day work of dedicated MCC faculty and staff.

    As such, it is important to note that many college initiatives, action plans, improvement efforts, and standard college operations are not explicitly listed in this strategic plan. This plan is not an all-encompassing compilation of everything the college does; rather, it is a highlight of our most important goals at this point in time. The core work of the college continues in alignment with this plan and does not need to be restated here. For example, MCC is currently working to obtain accreditor approval to offer 4-year Bachelor’s degrees. This large-scale college initiative is not explicitly identified in this plan, but it clearly aligns with our Strategic Directions to be an agent for diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as improving student experiences and outcomes.

    Our implementation of this strategic plan is different, though, in that MCC will specifically use the Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) as our key framework and toolset to reach our Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). To describe 4DX in a nutshell, the college will select specific goals from this plan in which to apply our 4DX toolset, meaning that all departments and employees will be asked to align a portion of their weekly work towards reaching the selected 4DX WIGs. The 4DX framework also ensures that goals are measurable with a specific time frame attached so that progress can be tracked. In essence, 4DX empowers all MCC employees to see how they contribute to reach our college’s goals. To support our implementation, college leadership (from department managers and chairs to deans to the college president) received 4DX training in 2021-22 in order to start applying 4DX tools to our work in 2022-23.

    Alignment with Maricopa County Community College District Strategic Planning

    MCC is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). While each college has a unique and recognizable role within its own community, the 10 colleges also have a shared foundation in the vision and mission of the District, which was revised in 2023.

    MCCCD Vision

    Excellence in education for a better world.

    MCCCD Mission

    The Maricopa Community Colleges ignite talent, transform lives, and enrich communities through teaching, learning, and service.

    Alignment of MCC’s 2020-2025 Strategic Directions with MCCCD’s 2023-2026 Strategic Priorities can be found in this document.