PCC Administrators Pleased with Results from PACE Study

Rob Goldberg | February 12th, 2021

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College administrators received the results of a study conducted during the fall semester and were pleased to discover the college’s campus climate has become increasingly more positive over the past five years.

During Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Dr. Brian Miller, PCC Executive Director of Planning and Research, summarized the results of Pitt’s most recent Personal Assessment of the College Environment (PACE) survey. He said the college’s mean score of 3.99 in 2020 was higher than the scores it received in 2018 (3.79) and 2015 (3.82).

That was welcome news to PCC President Lawrence Rouse, who said Pitt bettered its scores in every area measured by the survey.

“The PACE study is an important instrument for gauging how employees view their job responsibilities, work relationships and the college’s goals and values,” Rouse said. “The results provide leadership at the college with valuable insight that can be used to modify approaches that make PCC stronger, and they give members of the community a clear understanding of the college’s character and what it stands for.”

Miller said the 2020 PACE study was conducted by N.C. State University’s National Initiative for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness (NILIE) and included several demographic items and open-ended questions. The survey consisted of 46 questions in which employees rated their level of satisfaction with various aspects of their PCC work experiences on a Likert scale of 1-5, with ‘1’ being “very dissatisfied” and ‘5’ meaning “very satisfied.”

“The questions fall within four climate factors: institutional structure, student focus, supervisory relations and teamwork,” Miller said. “When results from those domains are combined, they create a picture of employee satisfaction with college leadership, goals and policies, institutional strengths, and areas for improvement.”

PCC offered the online survey to all full-time faculty and staff in October and November. Miller said 234 employees (48 percent) took part in the study, which was “higher-than-normal” and sufficient for providing reliable results.

“These are very good results, and the scores were consistent and positive from administrators, faculty and staff,” he said.

When compared to the PACE survey conducted at PCC in 2018, Miller said the college improved its teamwork score from 3.93 to 4.11 and its student focus mark from 4.03 to 4.17. PCC’s supervisory relations score rose from 3.92 in 2018 to 4.20 in 2020, he said, and its institutional structure result jumped from 3.47 to 3.63.

“As we prepare to celebrate our 60th Anniversary in March, it’s reassuring to know PCC employees believe in what the college is doing to meet the educational needs of Pitt County and the region and how we are going about doing that work,” Rouse said.

In addition to measuring PCC against its previous survey results, Miller says the 2020 PACE study compared Pitt’s scores with those from all community colleges in NILIE’s database between 2015-20. He said the college bettered those norms in every domain.

In the institutional structure category, which focuses on a college’s mission, leadership, spirit of cooperation, structural organization, decision-making and communication, Miller said PCC scored 3.63. The NILIE norm, he said, is 3.50.

Within the student focus domain, which examines the centrality of students to the actions of the institution as well as the extent to which students are prepared for post-institution endeavors, PCC scored 4.17. That was better than the NILIE norm of 4.06.

In measuring the spirit of cooperation within work teams and effective coordination within teams as part of the teamwork domain, PCC had a score of 4.11, a result that was higher than the NILIE norm of 3.91.

Miller said PCC’s “areas of excellence” included employees feeling their jobs were relevant to the college’s mission, Pitt’s success with preparing students for careers and further learning, professional development opportunities for employees, and supervisory relations. He noted that the 4.20 score in supervisory relations was the highest ever recorded at PCC and bettered the NILIE norm of 3.87.

Some of the areas where PCC can make improvement involved clarifying administrative process, fostering cooperation between departments, and encouraging employee performance.

“I was very satisfied with these areas for positive change,” Rouse said. “Sure, there is work to do, but we have a lot to build on. In other words, we have what we need within us to keep PCC moving forward.”

The full 2020 NILIE report is available on PCC’s official website, along with the 2015 and 2018 study results. They can be found by entering “climate study” in the site’s search field.

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