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Monroe County Community Colleges Strategic Plan and Personal Analysis

Ashley Daniels
Siena Heights University
Dr. Loughran


Monroe County Community Colleges Strategic Plan and Personal Analysis

What makes a business successful? This is the million dollar question every business
owner would like the magic answer to. In reality, many factors fit together like a puzzle to create
a thriving business. Strategy is the solution to the puzzle. Strategy is key to setting goal-directed
actions to gain and sustain superior performance relative to any competitors (Rothaermel, 2015).
A business must develop the mission and vision that will drive the business creating a likeminded culture that all stakeholders partake in. The mission and vision will create the foundation
on which the business values itself. The firm will then have to do a PESTEL analysis to consider
all external factors that could impinge upon the business. The PESTEL analysis will be discussed
in depth further into this paper. Having a strong grasp on external factors will allow the business
to create a competitive advantage in its market. The competitive advantage leads to superior firm
performance (Rothaermel, 2015). Once these strategies are put into action it is important to
continue monitoring and evaluating the plan. What is working? What needs to be changed? A
SWOT analysis, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and the cash flow are effective measuring
tools to make sure performance is where it needs to be. This paper will discuss Monroe County
Community Colleges (MCCC) strategic plan to success and conclude with a personal analysis. It
will lay out how MCCC has followed each step to create a thriving community college for over
52 years.
Background of MCCC
Established in 1964, Monroe County Community College is a public, two-year institution
supported by tax monies from Monroe County, educational funds from the state of Michigan, and
student tuition. They have a millage that is one of the best of the 28 community colleges in
Michigan. The main campus is centrally located in Monroe County with easy access to Detroit


and Toledo, Ohio. Their Whitman Center is the south extension center in Bedford Township near
the Michigan-Ohio border, which offers a wide selection of courses. (Monroecc.edu, 2014).
MCCC has six academic divisions including Applied Science and Engineering Technology,
Business, Health Sciences, Humanities/Social Sciences, Science/Mathematics, and Corporate
and Community Services. Through these divisions, the college offers occupational credit
programs in technical business and health fields; freshman- and sophomore-level courses and
programs in the liberal arts, sciences and pre-professional fields for students who plan to transfer
to four-year colleges and universities; and a wide range of short-term, non-credit educational and
enrichment opportunities (Monroeccc.edu, 2014).
Mission and Vision
As mentioned earlier, the mission and vision of MCCC is the foundation, or building
blocks, of the college. The college takes pride in its value. The mission and vision are typically
used by organizations to describe why the entity exists, what it is striving to accomplish, what it
stands for, and how it plans to achieve its objectives (Cady, Wheeler, DeWolf, & Brodke, 2011).
MCCCs mission explains that Monroe County Community College enriches and transforms
lives by providing opportunity and excellence in higher education (Monroeccc.edu, 2014). Their
vision statement states that Monroe County Community College enriches and transforms lives by
providing opportunity and excellence in higher education. It also provides training and retraining
opportunities for business and industry, professional and personal enrichment programs, and
other events and activities to promote the educational, economic, social and cultural wellbeing of
the county and its citizens. Four-year and postgraduate degrees are available right on the MCCC
campus through Siena Heights University and Eastern Michigan University (Monroeccc.edu,


Every business tries to come up with the best summarization of what their firm can do for
the consumer or stakeholder. These statements are a huge selling point for people. In todays day
in age, people hold great importance in making sure their personal values align with what they
choose to invest their time, money, and self in. The vision and mission statements are many times
a consumers first impression of the business. Ultimately, culture and values are critical factors in
implementing strategic success (Anderson & Jamison, 2015).
PESTEL Analysis
Internal factors are closely monitored inside a business. It is easier for leadership to see
how the internal operations are flowing, than to know what is happening externally. External
factors must be taken in to account because many times there is nothing that can be done to stop
external factors from happening. Being knowledgeable about what is happening outside of the
firm can help to buffer any major environmental changes that could happen. The PESTEL model
was created to categorize and analyze an important set of external forces (Rothaermel, 2015). Six
segments make up this model: political, economical, sociocultural, technological, ecological,
and legal.
MCCC, being a community college that primarily thrives according to number of
students enrolled and state funding, has to pay close attention to external factor. The political and
legal factors for MCCC are closely related. Their biggest factor is that the President of the
college is pushing for free community college. Free community college is one of the topics that
is currently discussed by the Presidential candidates that are running for office in November.
Free community college would completely change the way the college functions. Another legal
aspect is the accreditation process. Accreditation certifies that the school is providing an
adequate level of quality education. MCCC is accredited through the Higher Learning


Commission. Their nursing and respiratory therapy programs are also accredited. The legality
portion of the accreditation, is that it allows the school to offer financial aid to students. Without
this accreditation, they cannot offer aid to students financially. No aid creates a huge issue as to
how students will then pay for their education. With no aid, the school is going to have a tough
case for competitive advantage amongst nearby community colleges.
The economical factor that has made some waves in the past couple years at MCCC is
their failed millage attempt. A millage request is tied to property taxes. That means 1 mill is
equivalent to $1 in taxes per $1,000 in taxable value (flaggerline.com, 2016). In 2014 and 2015,
a millage was on the ballot in Monroe County and neither passed. MCCC is currently working to
promote the millage request that will be on November ballot. Dr. Randy Daniels is the Vice
President of Student Services at MCCC. He stated that this time the millage will be a lower
amount and will span over a fixed period of time (R. Daniels, personal communication, April 20,
2016). MCCCs President, Kojo Quarty, says MCCC has seen property tax and state revenues
fall over time (K. Quartey, personal communication, April 20, 2016). During that same time,
student tuition and fees have risen. The millage request is designed to keep MCCCs tuition
affordable and its educational quality high. If the millage is passed, it has been calculated to
generate 5.5 million dollars (Monroeccc.edu, 2014).
Sociocultural factors are playing into businesses now more than ever. Diversity and
inclusion are major buzz words in todays world. A fundamental commitment to inclusive
excellence embedded throughout higher education institutions is critical to the health and
functioning of colleges and universities (Worthington, Stanley, & Lewis, 2014). Dr. Randy
Daniels believes that MCCC falls behind when it comes to diversity. Diversity is something that
Dr. Quartey works to achieve on a daily basis. With his home country being Africa, it is evident


how little diversification he witnesses in Monroe County. MCCC makes sure to take part in the
monthly cultural awareness topics. Alone in the month of April, MCCC hosted multiple events in
recognition of Celebrate Diversity, Arab-American Month. Some topics included
misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims, Jewish and Arab relations, and discussion about not
all Muslims being Arabs and vice versa. All of these events were part of the Culture and Current
Affairs Speakers Series that MCCC sponsors.
The technological barriers are a significant issue for MCCC. They have an aging
infrastructure with fiber optic cables that are in need of replacement. An entirely new technology
system is needed for the school, but the cost factor for new network technology is astronomical.
Dr. Daniels states that the way that the college was first built and set up has made it more
expensive to fix than it would be to completely replace. They learned just how difficult this
would be when they set the plans to put in a new HVAC system. Walls actually have to be taken
down and re-built to get proper access to many of MCCCs control rooms.
Ecological factors have been more of a positive than a negative for MCCC. One of their
many partnerships is with DTE Energy. Together they used a large part of MCCCs vacant
property to build a solar panel. In addition to MCCC having a large amount of vacant acres, it
leaves the possibility open for the college to grow and build if need be. The college is also in the
process of having a geothermal unit put in by a company called Ameresco. Diane Mills of
Ameresco predicts $5.8 million in energy savings over 20 years with the geothermal system
(Thompson, 2015). This will be a huge cost savings to the college as their heating and cooling
units are 20 years past their life span.


SWOT Analysis and Competitive Advantage

- Cost
-Small Classrooms


-More 4-year partnerships

-Increased enrollment
-Increased retention

-Decreasing population
-Decrease in state funding
-Increased competition within
50 mile radius
-Aging infrastructure


- Math program
-Limited programs
-No on campus living
-No athletics

A SWOT analysis allows leadership to evaluate a firms current situation and future
prospects by simultaneously considering internal and external factors (Rothaermel, 2015). The
external forces were listed previously in the PESTEL analysis. The SWOT analysis focuses more
on the internal factors within a firm. MCCC has many strong strengths listed in the analysis.
These strengths make up the competitive advantages for the institute. Cost and location are a


selling point for MCCC. The school is located halfway between Detroit and Toledo. Highway 75
makes for easy access from the two major cities. Transferability is another advantage of
attending MCCC. The college has two-year associate degrees, certifications, and licensure
programs. Students will complete a macro agreement of general education requirements along
with the requirements for their program. The combination of these classes sets students up for
easy transfer options to four-year universities.
The weaknesses listed, tend to be some of the most discussed topics by the students. The
math program is one of their biggest complaints. MCCC did a math redesign because the
performance in the classes were so low. The redesign implemented, utilizes the Emporium
model, which removes traditional lecture from the class and traditionally uses large computer
laboratories to house the courses (Monroeccc.edu, 2014). Students do not like that they are not
being taught by lecture and have to do their math via computer. Dr. Daniels makes note that even
though the students complain about the redesign, the math scores are better than ever. Two other
weaknesses are that the college has no on-campus living or athletics. There was not much
discussion on these two downfalls.
Opportunities are addressed to build upon and continue to keep a competitive advantage.
MCCCs opportunities listed above in the chart are creating more four-year partnerships and
increased enrollment and retention. MCCCs only thriving four-year partnership is with Siena
Heights University. The have an articulation with Eastern Michigan University as well, but the
four-year partner has pulled themselves off campus twice in the last six years. The alliance with
Siena Heights University will be discussed later in this paper. Increased enrollment and retention
should be a desired opportunity for all schools. Enrollment is vital for colleges to keep a positive
cash flow. Without students, there is no community college. A college is nothing without its


students. Enrollment management is key to creating best practices for retention and new student
Critical Thinking
MCCC has been a part of my life for many years. My father has worked there since I was
five years old. I have been able to get a strong grasp on the mission and vision of MCCC on
many different levels. I volunteered for many different events before becoming a student,
participated in the dual-enrollment program my Junior and Senior year of high school, received
my Associate Degree in 2008, and now I work for Siena Heights University at MCCC.
Throughout my many years with the MCCC community, I am able to understand why the
strategic plan in place exists today. Our strategic management class has given me the tools to
critically think through the schools PESTEL and SWOT analysis. I have come to realize how
important healthy partnerships and a competitive advantage is.
A competitive advantage is especially important for higher education. There are schools
all over throughout the United States that offer many of the same degrees and certifications.
What makes MCCC different than the next community college a student comes across? Most
schools now offer online education allowing students to take classes from any state and at any
time. This allows students of any age to have a job, life, and family and complete their education.
This is very non-traditional concept, but it is becoming extremely popular all around the world.
One major issue that is detrimental to MCCC is the fact that students cannot complete an entire
program online. This is due to there being no lab science courses offered online. Students cannot
obtain a degree without the general education requirement of a lab science. This is a huge
downfall that is holding MCCC from an overall competitive advantage.


MCCCs does a great job when it comes to partnerships. They have four very strong
alliances that keep MCCC flourishing.




DTE Energy

$1 million gift towards new Career Technology

Helped to facilitate six new technology
program/certifications that are thriving
Constructed a 500-killowat SolarCurrents
installation on the MCCC campus with a
$45,000 grant

La-Z-Boy, Inc.

In 2004, its foundation donated $2 million

toward the construction of the La-Z-Boy Center,
a business training and performing arts facility
Donated $500,000 towards the Career
Technology Building

Monroe County Middle


Collaboration between MCCC, Monroe County

ISD, and Promedica Monroe Hospital
Allows 9th grade high school students to obtain
their high school diploma along with 60 credit
hours or an Assocaite Degree in a Health Science
related field

Present on MCCC campus since 1990

3+1 program
Bring professors to teach on MCCC campus
Sponsor all MCCC events

Siena Heights

All four partnerships are mutually beneficial. DTE Energy has many employees that teach for
MCCCs technology programs and certifications. DTE then is guaranteed a pool of welleducated students to employ. This continues a cycle of prospective students looking to get into a
great company. La-Z-Boy has an entire center on campus named after the company. This was
because of the large sum of money the company donated to build the business training and
performing arts center. This facility brings in events from all over the county. Ranging from
business conferences and trainings to local school band and performing art shows. Just this
March, the La-Z-Boy Center housed the rally for Republican Presidential candidate, John
Kasich. This brought hundreds of people to MCCCs campus. The partnership with the Middle
College is appealing. The local schools pay the college to house their students. The ninth grade
students then complete their high school diploma along with 60 hours of credit, or an Associate



Degree. This is becoming extremely popular for high school students because it allows them to
get into a four-year university much earlier in their life or quickly into a career. Middle College
schools bridge the high school and college experience for underserved youth leading to increased
access to and success in college (MCNC.us, 2016). The last partnership mentioned above is
Siena Heights University (SHU). Working with both schools, I have been able to see how
beneficial this 26-year relationship is to both parties. SHU has an agreement with MCCC that
allows students to take up to 90 credit hours at MCCC at their extremely low cost and only have
to attend and pay SHU for one year or 30 credit hours. This is not only economical for the
student, but they can also complete their entire degree without stepping foot off of the MCCC
campus. SHU brings their professors to MCCC to teach their Junior and Senior level classes. The
three plus one program allows MCCC to retain more students and makes direct referrals to our
office. Since SHU is able to do classroom visits to recruit more students and utilize all of
MCCCs resources, SHU makes it a priority to sponsor all events in some way at MCCC. These
alliances positively impact MCCCs competitive advantage.
There will always be new challenges and opportunities in business. It is the strategic plan
set in place that will determine whether the business will rise above or fall in times of change.
Using a balanced scorecard can help to answer questions such as: How do consumers view us?
How do we create value? What core competencies do we need? How do stakeholders view us?.
This scorecard will allow leadership to assess past performance, identify areas for improvement,
and position the company for future growth (Rothaermel, 2015). Keeping the mission and vision
in mind will make sure the business stays true to its value. Using the PESTEL and SWOT



analysis will guarantee that the business is keeping a competitive advantage. Setting a strategy in
place will ensure a firm to achieve superior performance.




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