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Fire Technology
2018-2019 Program Review


1) Unit Profile


1.1) Briefly describe the program-level planning unit. What is the unit's purpose and function?

The Fire Technology program-level planning unit consists of one full-time coordinator, who is a retired fire chief with 30 years of experience in the fire service who is also the Department Chair. We have a cadre of adjunct faculty instructors who are subject matter experts (SME), and all have years of experience serving in the fire service in various leadership roles and ranks. The Fire Technology Program also manages Instructional Service Agreements (ISA) with local and regional fire agencies who utilize their cadre of instructors to deliver approved curriculum from our catalog of courses. All of our ISA instructors must meet minimum standards required to serve as a contract instructor. The Fire Technology unit’s purpose and function is multi-faceted. Firefighting is a public safety profession that requires special knowledge of safety, rescue, emergency medical operations, and hazardous materials. Our program focuses on preparing students for a career in the fire service, and offering educational opportunities for those already working in the fire service to enhance their education for advancement, pay incentive or personal growth. Courses include those required for transfer to four-year colleges, those required to meet minimum qualification standards for employment, and certification courses developed by the California State Fire Marshal State Fire Training Division. Students are encouraged to obtain a two-year degree and then transfer to obtain a baccalaureate degree. The Fire Technology program also delivers curriculum through Instructional Service Agreements (ISA) with partner agencies. We have/had contracts with the following agencies; Sacramento Fire Department, UC Davis Fire Department, Sacramento Metro Fire, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), California Fire and Rescue Training Authority (CFRTA). We work closely with these agencies to infuse our course catalog with the curriculum that meets the needs of the agency’s training division. Our current curriculum of 152 courses includes (14) fourteen courses in our degree or transfer program, and (138) one hundred thirty-eight courses requested by our partner ISA agencies. The courses requested by our ISA partners are primarily courses that meet state or federal mandates and the curriculum is authored by the certifying agency. Maintaining a course catalog of this size is a challenge as the curriculum is frequently revised by the authorizing agencies and we must react to these changes to maintain a viable course catalog. A key function of our Fire Technology Program is to design and implement a pathway to employment for our students. The fire service hiring process is unique to the individual agency that is recruiting. Each agency may have differing minimum qualifications required for candidates, however there are some commonalities. Most fire agencies in California require college-level Fire Technology units (ranging from 12 units to an advanced degree), Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic license, Firefighter I Academy completion, Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT), and written exam. The minimum qualifications allow candidates to apply; however, it is unlikely that a candidate is offered position having only completed the minimum qualifications. Competition for a career in the fire service is fierce and a recent poll (2017) of 2600 firefighter applicants reveled 50% held an associate or bachelor degree, 31% had some college units, and 17% with a high school diploma. Once a student has met the minimum qualifications to begin applying for job opportunities the hiring process can range from 1-3 years for well qualified applicants. Employment opportunities may be found in areas such as Firefighter-EMT, firefighter-paramedic, fire investigation, fire prevention, hazardous materials, and public education. As the program coordinator I work with our students (and support our instructors) to guide them through our academic program as well as the hiring process. I frequently email students job opportunities, training classes, volunteer and community service events and encourage the students to participate in our newly established Fire Technology Club. Our club meets every two weeks and we focus on networking, job preparation training, resume building, guest speakers, off campus visits to local fire stations, and community service activities.

1.2) How does the unit contribute to achievement of the mission of American River College?

The Fire Technology Program places students “first” by offering core and elective curriculum that is transferrable to other colleges and universities, meets minimum qualifications for a career in the fire service, and is taught by professors who have a combined 145 years of experience in the fire service. Our courses equip students with occupational based curriculum that is standardized across all community colleges in the state. We also offer curriculum that is designed for those who are currently working in the Fire Service which meets California State Fire Marshal Training Division standards. I have been working with the American River College counselors to develop a recognizable pathway that coordinates the educational needs and the minimum job qualifications to enable our student to obtain employment in the fire service. These pathways can be in opposition without mindful-coordination. The formation of the Fire Technology Club promotes a culture of innovation, and entrepreneurship, which enhances the relationship between students. Our club connects students to employers, leaders in the fire service, community service opportunities and develops their interview and job skills. The club’s student leaders along with the faculty advisor, are insuring that the club is inclusive to all American River College students and that we adhere to our mission statement of “meeting regularly and providing opportunities for students to develop connections, learn new skills, seek guidance and enhance knowledge needed to obtain a career in the fire service.”

2) Assessment and Analysis


The program review process asks units to reflect on the progress they've made towards achieving the goals they identified in each of the Annual Unit Plans they submitted since their last Program Review. Follow this link to access your previous EMP submissions. For assistance accessing the EMP system, please contact Mary Goodall at GoodalM@arc.losrios.edu or (916) 484-4535.

2.1) Consider the progress that has been made towards the unit's objectives over the last six years. Based on how the unit intended to measure progress towards achieving these objectives, did the unit's prior planned action steps (last six years of annual unit plans) result in the intended effect or the goal(s) being achieved?

The Fire Technology Program overall has made progress towards achieving our goals and objectives but there is always room for improvement. Many internal and external factors, (state and regional economy, job markets, internal and external stakeholders, fire advisory board, curriculum committee, partner fire agencies, etc.) have influence over the level of success in reaching our intended goals. Our goals/objectives include; • Increase program enrollment • Comprehensive, responsive and effective curriculum (catalog consists of 152 courses) • Outreach, recruitment and retention of students • Strengthen relationship with fire service employers • Develop partnerships for student internships and job opportunities • Increase online/distance education courses • Provide support and outreach to under-represented and non-traditional students • Provide continuing educational/training opportunities for our cadre of instructors • Develop Fire Technology Club to enhance student experience • Serve the needs of our Fire Advisory Board • Maintain active membership and involvement in California Fire Technology Director’s Association and other related organizations. • Maintain status as an Accredited Regional Training Program as defined by the California State Fire Marshal, Training Division • Provide articulation agreements with high schools and post-secondary institutions. • Provide equipment and technology to meet the needs of our students • Provide/maintain Instructional Service Agreements (ISA’s) fire agencies with local fire agencies The Fire Technology Program is staffed with one (1) full-time coordinator. The program’s first and only coordinator retired in June 2017 and the position was vacant until February 2018. The program’s has a broad list of goal and objectives; however, the effectiveness of the program is challenged by limited staffing. The eight (8) month vacancy in the department and the lack of a transition plan had an impact on our progress towards our goals and objectives, however, the program has made advances in most categories. The following highlights the progress of the planned actions steps made towards our intended goals. • Increase Enrollment Action Step(s): Revitalize the Fire Technology program through online and in-house course offerings, motivational and professional instructors, increased marketing, outreach to high schools, and, website and course catalog updates. Intended effect met? Not yet,Headcount enrollment decline has slowed, but the FT program enrollment needs to increase. Our enrollment has steadily declined from the peak in 2013; However, the rate of decline has slowed each year and suggests an increase may be coming. • Curriculum Action Step(s): Maintain curriculum and course accountability, seek new curriculum to remain relevant, add courses in different formats to meet the needs of our students and stakeholders. Intended effect met? Yes, current curriculum is relevant and accurate. New courses have been added as requested by our stakeholders. Our curriculum (which serves our ARC FT students and our Instructional Service Agreement (ISA’s) partner agencies) was significantly impacted by changes made by the Division of State Fire Training as well as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These changes required significant edits, deletions and the addition of new courses. It was necessary to hire a contract employee to assist in updating over 100+ courses in just over 12 months. This extensive curriculum workload had a significant impact on the FT program and the curriculum committee. The program recently obtained “Strong Workforce” funding to enhance our curriculum. This funding is directed towards a course specifically needed to obtain employment in the fire service. This course meets minimum job qualifications required by most fire agencies in California and is a direct pathway to a career in the fire service. • Outreach, recruitment and retention of students Action Step(s): Develop new and enhance our existing marketing channels to recruit new students, meet the needs of existing students and retain our current students throughout the program. Intended effect met? On-going, working with stakeholders to enhance our program, new marketing collateral was developed and is being actively distributed. We have contacted local high schools in our region and provide career-day presentations and developed new “branding” collateral which is sent to local high schools introducing our program. Our web page and course catalog has been updated. All fire technology bulletin boards have been redesigned and include job opportunities, training sessions, along with community service venues. We are currently working with 3Fold Communications to develop a market video to recruit students into our program. • Strengthen relationship with fire service employers Action Step(s): Develop new partnerships and foster relationships with stakeholders. Seek opportunities to partner with fire service agencies to enhance our program. Intended effect met? Yes, old relationships have been reestablished and new partnerships are in development. Reinvested time with local, regional, and, statewide fire agencies and stakeholders. We have enhanced our relationship with our regional fire service agencies and have hosted a train-the- trainer course for a newly obtained Flammable Liquid and Gas (FLAG) trailer purchased by PGE which is hosted by ARC and used by regional fire agencies. • Develop partnerships for student internships and job opportunities Action Step(s): Strengthen and develop links with fire agencies to establish student internships and job opportunities. Seek partnerships for our students to become, interns, reserves or start an apprenticeship program. Intended effect met? Ongoing. We have partnered with Sacramento Fire Reserves and have several ARC students in the reserve program. This is an area that needs to be further developed. Conversations have been initiated but limited action taken at this time. More effort and continued dialogue is needed. • Increase online/distance education courses Action Step(s): Develop cohort of distance learning courses. Intended effect met? Yes, all of our core courses (6) and three (3) of our elective courses are available in online format. We have increased our distance education offerings to include all of our six (6) core courses and three (3) of our elective courses. Most of our instructors have received Canvas online-instructor training. The enrollments in our online courses has been very strong. • Provide support, recruitment, and, outreach to under-represented and non-traditional students Action Step(s): Continue efforts to recruit, retain and support under-represented and nontraditional students into the fire technology program Intended effect met? Ongoing, When our demographics are compared to the fire service (nationally and locally) our enrollment is higher in most underrepresented categories ( i.e. Female 16% ARC FT compared to 4% fire service nationally and 5.4% locally, Hispanic 27.5% ARC FT compared to 12% local fire service, nationally not available, Black 7.3% ARC FT compared to 6.6% nationally and 3% locally) We have ongoing outreach to local high schools and have enhanced our marketing materials. We developed a Fire Technology Club to support our students in their job preparation and our cadre of instructors advise all students of the support resources (academic and financial) available at ARC. Our newly designed bulletin boards include information and flyers on job opportunities, career training and educational opportunities some of which are developed to recruit under-represented populations in the fire service. • Provide continuing educational/training opportunities for our cadre of instructors Action Step(s): Provide training and professional development opportunities for our cadre of instructors. Intended effect met? Ongoing, all of our instructors are part-time adjuncts and most are retired from the fire service. Many of our instructors have attended Canvas online training and some seek professional development on their own. Our instructors receive performance evaluations and meet with the coordinator and the Dean frequently to discuss their instructional needs and the student’s needs. Our instructors have received training on Canvas and are offered refresher training when available. All of our instructors have many years of experience in the Fire Service and are considered subject-matter experts in the fire service. Adjunct faculty are frequently provided links to resources, books etc. to enhance their instructional skills. (e.g. Supporting Men of Color in the Community College, Universal Designs for Learning etc.) • Develop Fire Technology Club to enhance student experience Action Step(s): Create, recruit and develop a student-led Fire Technology Club. Intended effect met? Yes, club is active and increasing in membership. In the spring of 2018 the ARC Fire Club was formed with the mission to “provide opportunities to develop connections, learn new skills, seek guidance and enhance knowledge needed to obtain a career in the fire service”. The club currently meets twice a month and has a total of (33) thirty-three active members. • Serve the needs of our Fire Advisory Board Action Step(s): Schedule bi-annual meetings with the Fire Advisory board. Encourage all local fire agencies to send representatives. Intended effect met? Yes, meetings are ongoing and new members have been participating. The fire technology coordinator formally meets with the Fire Advisory board bi-annually. Informally, the coordinator meets with individual agencies throughout the year and maintains a relationship with the fire service stakeholders in our region. These meetings allow the FT coordinator to connect with the fire service stakeholders and evaluate the effectiveness of our program(s) for career firefighters. • Maintain active membership and involvement in California Fire Technology Director’s Association (CFTDA) and other related organizations. Action Step(s): Increase involvement in professional organizations related to fire service education. Intended effect met? Yes, actively participating in CFTDA and have reestablished relationships with California State Fire Marshal Division of Training. In 2018 the FT Coordinator joined the CFTDA as a member and has attended all quarterly meetings. This association represents all California Community College Fire Technology Directors. The information sharing is invaluable and this association is recognized as a leader in fire technology education by California State Fire Training. The FT coordinator meets with State Fire Training staff on a regular basis and attends regional workforce conferences related to the fire service. • Maintain status as an Accredited Regional Training Program (ARTP) as defined by the California State Fire Marshal, Training Division Action Step(s): Meet standards required by California State Fire Training to maintain our ARTP status. Intended effect met? Yes, ongoing monitoring of our program to insure adherence to required standards of accreditation. In 2017 ARC received its re-accreditation from the State Fire Marshal Division of Training. This is a five (5) year accreditation which authorizes ARC to teach State Fire Training curriculum. This accreditation is an ongoing process and requires regular maintenance to meet required standards. • Provide articulation agreements with high schools and post-secondary institutions. Action Step(s): Work with local high schools to develop a fire technology articulation pathway into the fire service education. Provide articulation to California State University Sacramento (CSUS) from ARC’s Fire technology program. Intended effect met? No, some agreements are in place or under consideration with local high schools, but more effort in this area is needed. Existing agreement with CSUS needs to be reviewed. Initial conversations have started with some local high schools but continued efforts are needed. Articulation to California State University Sacramento is in place, however, it needs to be revisited, clearly defined, and presented to counselors. • Provide equipment and technology to meet the needs of our students Action Step(s): Purchase new or replacement equipment/technology as needed to meet the needs of our students and instructional staff. Intended effect met? Yes, ongoing monitoring and replacement schedule is needed. Specialized rescue-based instructional equipment was purchased in 2018 to assist our student’s educational experience. This equipment had previously been borrowed from a neighboring fire agency. • Provide/maintain Instructional Service Agreements (ISA’s) with local fire agencies Action Step(s): Maintain and develop ISA’s with local fire agencies at the direction of the Dean. Intended effect met? Yes, agreements are in-place and monitored. New ISA’s are considered on case-by-case basis. ARC’s Fire Technology program currently maintains ISA’s with three (3) fire agencies. These agencies partner with ARC to deliver curriculum to students in varying methods. We remain open to other opportunities to enhance these agreements.

In the following program-level metrics, a green-yellow-red light icon provides a quick sense of how a particular data set's values relate to an established threshold (click '+' for details).

The following data sets may be useful in promoting and informing departmental dialogue, planning, decision making, and resource allocation.

The two data sets show 5 years of fall or spring duplicated enrollment, disaggregated by gender and ethnicity. Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool will soon provide considerably more sophisticated ways of viewing and analyzing your planning unit's headcount and enrollment trends.

Green
current fall/spring semester enrollment is equal to or exceeds the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.
Yellow
current fall/spring semester enrollment reflects a decline of less than 10% from the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.
Red
current fall/spring semester enrollment reflects a decline of 10% or more from the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.

The two data sets show 5 years of fall or spring productivity (WSCH per FTEF: the enrollment activity for which we receive funding divided by the cost of instruction). Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool will soon provide considerably more sophisticated ways of viewing and analyzing your planning unit's productivity trends.

Green
current fall/spring semester productivity is equal to or exceeds the prior year's fall/spring productivity.
Yellow
current fall/spring semester productivity reflects a decline of less than 10% from the prior year's fall/spring productivity.
Red
current fall/spring semester productivity reflects a decline of 10% or more from the prior year's fall/spring productivity.

Shows green-yellow-red indicators for each race/ethnicity to reflect the extent to which any given group's three year average grade metrics are disproportionately impacted, as defined by the State Chancellor's Office (click the report link for details). Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool can provide some additional insights in this area, including representativeness, grades and awards by gender and race/ethnicity.

Green
No measurable DI — All courses’ rates exceed the disproportionate impact threshold for a given racial/ethnic group by at least three percentage points.
Yellow (formerly, “- - “ in previous versions or cycles)
Insufficient data available — Monitoring recommended. DI may or may not or exist for one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, but too little data is available to be certain (cell sizes < 10).
Light-Red (formerly yellow in previous versions or cycles)
Potential DI—Monitoring or Action recommended. The rate of one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, is near (by less than 3 points) the DI threshold.
Red
Clear DI—Action recommended. The rate of one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, is at or below the DI threshold.

Department Set Standards

Shows course success rates (# of A, B, C, Cr, and P grades expressed as a % of total grade notations) compared to lower and upper thresholds. Thresholds are derived using a 95% confidence interval (click the report link for details). The lower threshold is referred to as the Department Set Standard. The upper threshold is referred to as the Stretch Goal.

Green
Most recent academic year exceeds the upper threshold
Yellow
Most recent academic year falls between the lower and upper threshold
Red
Most recent academic year falls below the lower threshold
Email Standard Data Set link

In addition to reflecting on the metrics shown above, it may prove useful to analyze other program-level data to assess the effectiveness of your unit. For instructional units, ARC’s Data on demand system can be used to provide program and course level information regarding equitable outcomes, such as program access or enrollment, successful course completion, and degree or certificate achievement (up to 30+ demographic or course filters are available).

You might also consider pursuing other lines of inquiry appropriate to your unit type (instructional, student support, institutional/administrative support). Refer to the Program Review Inquiry Guide for specific lines of inquiry.

2.2) What were the findings? Please identify program strengths, opportunities, challenges, equity gaps, influencing factors (e.g., program environment), data limitations, areas for further research, and/or other items of interest.

The Fire Technology program is dedicated to providing high quality training and educational programs for entry level and advanced level in-service instructional courses for those in paid and volunteer fire agencies. Our courses are categorized under the designations; FT, Fire and FFS. The FT courses are primarily degree/certificate applicable and include transferrable coursework to four-year colleges. These courses meet most fire agencies’ minimum qualifications for employment in our region and throughout California. The courses with the FIRE or FFS designators are courses that are typically offered off-campus through an affiliate agency typically delivered through an Instructional Service Agreements (ISA’s). These courses have special enrollment limitations, prerequisites, require a different registration process, and may not be routinely offered. These courses include California State Fire Training certificate courses managed by the California State Fire Marshal. These course are not degree applicable, non-transferrable and the students are primarily employed in the fire service in a local agency. Most of these courses are pass/no-pass or credit only courses. This program review is focused on ONLY on the FT course designators, as they more accurately reflect an American River College student who attends college to obtain a degree, an entry-level job in the fire service or current firefighters seeking a promotion or educational incentive pay. Enrollment: Current headcount enrollment is 178 and duplicated headcount is 374. American River College’s (ARC’s) headcount enrollment peaked in 2017-2018 at 50,117, it has had year to year changes since 2013 of -0.5% (14/15), +6.0% (15/16), -0.7%, (16/17) and + 4.9% (17/18). Current headcount enrollment is 50,117 and duplicated headcount is 174,683. The Fire Technology (FT) headcount enrollment peaked in 2013-2014 at 387, it has had year to year changes since 2013 of -35% ( 14-15) , -15% (15-16), -11% (16-17), and -4.3% (17-18). Demographic Enrollment: (Based on data from 2013-2018) • Gender Distribution Comparison: The majority of the students (80%) in the FT program are male. Since 2013-2014 the Fire Technology (FT) courses have had a decline in our percentage of female students from 19% to 16% (in 17-18). This decline is still well above the national average of female firefighters working in the fire service at 4.9% * and 5.4% locally in the (SFD) Sacramento Fire Department. Our program has historically maintained an 80% ratio of male students from 2013-2018. The estimated percentage of male firefighters in the fire service is 95.1%* nationally and 94.6% locally at SFD. The fire industry is still predominately male based. * Data from DATA USA 2016 • Ethnicity Distribution Comparison: The majority of students (49.4%) in the FT program are White followed by Hispanic (27.5%). American River College’s (ARC’s) headcount of African-American students dropped 4.4% from 11%-7.6% and the Fire Technology (FT) count dropped 0.7% from 8 %-7.3% during the same period. (30-9 students) ARC’s headcount of Asian students remained consistent at 9.0 % and the FT program count decreased slightly from 3% - 2.8%. (11-5 students) ARC’s headcount of Filipino students remained consistent at 2% and the FT program count decreased from 3% to 1.7%. (10-3 students) ARC’s headcount of Hispanic students increased from 19% to 23.1% while the percentage of Hispanic students in the FT program increased from 22% in 2013 to 27.5% in 2018. (84-49 students) ARC’s headcount of Multi-Race students remained between 5-6% while the FT program count is currently 7.3% after fluctuating between 5-9% from 2013-2018. (25-13 students) ARC’s headcount and FT program’s Pacific Islander students are identical at 1% with insignificant changes during this period. (Very low student count is this category, 4-2 students) ARC’S headcount of White students decreased 7 % from 2013 while the FT program has decreased 6.6% from our peak in 2015. (203-88 students) ARC’s headcount of Native American students remained between 0.8-0.6% since 2013 while the FT program count is 1.1% (very low student count, 2 students) ARC’s “Other Non-White” student count and the FT program count are unremarkable at 1%- 0.5% (very low student count, 3-0 students) ARC’s headcount of “Unknown” students is currently 8.8% fluctuating between 10%-4.8% while the FT program is at 1.7% (15-1 students) • Age Group Distribution Comparison: The majority of FT students (64%) are between 18-24 years of age. ARC’s headcount of students under 18 years of age is 1% and the FT program has had no more than 1 students in this age group since 2013. ARC’s headcount of students 18-20 years of age is currently 17% ranging from 19%-17% and the FT program is currently at 30% ranging from 31%-26%. ARC’s headcount of students 21-24 years of age is currently 21% ranging from 24%-21% and the FT program is currently at 34% ranging from 36%-31%. ARC’s headcount of students 25-29 years of age is currently 19% ranging from 20%-17% and the FT program is currently at 20% ranging from 25%-20%. ARC’s headcount of students 30-39 years of age is currently 20% ranging from 21%-19% and the FT program is currently at 11% ranging from 10%-11%. ARC’s headcount of students 40+- years of age is currently 16% ranging from 19%-16% and the FT program is currently at 4% ranging from 5%-2%. • Fire Technology Success Rates ARC’s success rate is currently 77% ranging from 77%-71% and the FT program is currently 73% ranging from 73%-56%. The overall success rate of FT students is 73% an increase of 17% since our lowest rate of 56% in 2014-2015. • Fire Technology Success Rate by Ethnicity The ARC students with the highest success rate are White students 79% followed by Hispanic/Latino students at 75%. The FT students with the highest success rate are Asian students 80% followed by White students at 77%. The ARC students with the lowest success rate (62%) are African American. The FT students with the lowest success rate are African American students 48% followed by Hispanic students at 67%. • Strengths Our enrollment headcount is stabilizing after having significant decreases over the past few years. This pattern indicates the decrease in enrollment is slowing and may end. A robust online (distance education) course catalog has been met with positive enrollment headcounts. All six of our core courses and three elective courses are formatted for online presentation. The combination of online and on-ground courses seem to be the appropriate blend of offerings based on student's needs and course curriculum. The overall success rate of FT students is 73% an increase of 17% since our lowest rate of 56% in 2014-2015. The program’s ethnic and gender diversity statistics are higher in most categories than what is represented in our local fire agency. The FT program ethnicity comparison; Hispanic 27.5%, Asian 2.8%, African American 7.3%, Male 80% and Female 16%. (Sacramento Fire Department; Hispanic 11%, Asian 5%, African American 4%, and 94.6% Male and 5.4% Female) As the fire service looks to employ underrepresented demographics in their workforce, American River College Fire Technology program is poised to offer candidates for employment. The FT program has partnered with the Sacramento Fire Department’s Fire Reserve program to enroll qualified students into the Reserve Firefighter Program while taking a course through ARC. This partnership should increase the likelihood of our ARC FT students entering the workforce in a local fire agency. • Opportunities There are certainly opportunities to increase program enrollment through marketing, outreach and by capturing and sharing our success as our student’s enter into the workforce in the fire service. The FT program needs to collaborate with the main campus to identify the root cause of disproportionately impacted low student success rates and when possible implement changes, specifically for our African American and Hispanic students. While this is not an isolated issue with our program, we need to seek alternative methods to enhance our student’s success. The Formation of the Fire Technology Club has been a success and is well received by our students. The ARC Fire Tech Club helps our students interact with each other and provides informal training and job placement assistance. The club meets twice a month and hosts guest speakers, field trips and community service opportunities designed to help the student's network and increase their marketability. We are currently working to create a marketing video to showcase our program at American River College (ARC). Once the video is completed we will market this video into our community to reach those who may consider attending ARC to obtain a career in the fire service. • Challenges The FT program is staffed with one (1) program coordinator who is also the chair of the department. The program’s growth is limited to the amount of workload that one individual can achieve. This program has been staffed at this capacity since its inception, which has created a limiting effect on the program. Requests for increased staffing have not been approved. Increasing enrollment and student success for underrepresented demographics continues to be a challenge for our program. Our course curriculum lacks one specific course that is required as a minimum qualification (MQ) for most fire agencies in the state of California. We only offer this course through our Instructional Service Agreement (ISA's) partner agencies and this can be challenging for our students to attend. This course is primarily a hands-on (lab) course (500 hours) and requires significant equipment, staffing and an appropriate facility. Most student's attending ARC for Fire Technology complete this course at another community college (primarily Sierra College). Our program does not provide an easily obtained pathway to employment due to the difficulty in obtaining this course. This has a negative effect on our program as FT student's leave our program (or don't attend) in order to obtain this important course. Students who rely on public transportation may have difficulty in attending Sierra College to complete this course and may drop out of the program. • Equity Gaps The success rate of our African American students (48%) and our Hispanic students (62%) identifies an obvious gap as compared to other students. This is not just a Fire Technology program issue but an American River College issue at large.

3) Reflection and Dialog


3.1) Discuss how the findings relate to the unit's effectiveness. What did your unit learn from the analysis and how might the relevant findings inform future action?

The findings seem to align with the FT Program’s effectiveness, the FT unit seems to be recovering from a consistent enrollment decline since 2013. The program has needed a revitalization for some time and the enhancements (marketing, outreach, distance learning, new adjunct instructor(s), Fire Technology Club, curriculum updates) made in the last year seem to have a slowing effect on the enrollment decline. The headcount enrollment in 17-18 is the first year since 2013 that the decline in enrollment has not been in double digits. There is a productivity gap that exists between the program staffing (1 employee) and the effectiveness of the program. The program’s effectiveness is limited to the capacity that one coordinator can achieve during a work day or calendar year. The availability of online (distance) learning offerings (nine (9) courses in Canvas) combined with our on-ground courses seems to be popular with our students. I feel that the FT program is starting to trend in a positive direction, but more time is needed to evaluate the effects of the recent program enhancements. The percentage of female students (16%) in the program is very encouraging and well above the national (4.9%) and local (5.4%) estimates of career female firefighters employed in the fire service. This suggests a welcoming program and perhaps a societal change in a historically male dominated profession. The success rate of our female students is 70%, which is 4% below the male students. The findings also show a steady progression in our overall student success increasing 17% from our lowest rate in 2014. (73% in 2017-2018) This is encouraging and shows the effectiveness of our program in the recent years. One of the areas that was identified in the analysis is the need to improve the success rate of our African-American students (48%) and Hispanic students (67%). While this rate is low in the FT program it is also low at ARC’s main campus suggesting a systemic issue. Future action(s) include highlighting student assistance programs in our syllabus, (Beacon Program, CAST, DSPS, LD Program, LRC, Tutorial Center, and Writing Center) and encouraging our instructors to be responsive at the first signs of an issue with a student’s performance. Instructors should remain focused on Student Centered Learning and employ Universal Design for Learning (UDL) techniques when possible. The creation of the Fire Technology Club is intended to enhance student's experience. In the spring of 2018 the ARC Fire Club was formed with the mission to “provide opportunities to develop connections, learn new skills, seek guidance and enhance knowledge needed to obtain a career in the fire service”. The club currently meets twice a month and has a total of (33) thirty-three active members. The Fire Technology Club offers an opportunity for all students to develop a connection with other students and instructors, to become more engaged in their educational career track and to obtain help if needed from the Fire Tech Club Faculty Advisor.

3.2) What is the unit's ideal future and why is it desirable to ARC? How will the unit's aspirations support accomplishment of the mission, improve institutional effectiveness, and/or increase academic quality?

The ideal future of the Fire Technology (FT) program is to become a recognized leader in the Sacramento Valley for all students seeking a career in the fire service. ARC's program would simultaneously provide a clear recognizable pathway to, through and beyond ARC, and prepare students with the skills needed to find employment in their chosen career. The FT program needs to connect with primary and secondary education students to develop and foster a relationship(s) ensuring all students, including the underserved and under-represented, have a chance to develop and fulfill their dreams of becoming a firefighter. Establishing relationships with local high schools and helping them create an articulation or ROP program with ARC as a partner is beneficial to our program’s future success. The FT program also serves another category of students, those already employed in the fire service. Current (in-service) firefighters are provided specialized courses (FIRE & FFS designators) needed for continuing education (CE), promotion, educational incentive or those seeking a FT degree. We offer these courses through an Instructional Service Agreements (ISA) with local affiliated fire agencies. Our ideal future includes offering the courses needed by our partner agencies while seeking mutually beneficial opportunities to enhance our program and our student’s success in job acquisition. As a Career Technical Educational (CTE) program we need to offer a full complement of courses that are identified by the Fire Service as minimum qualifications (MQ’s) required for employment. Ideally, ARC FT students who complete our cohort of classes should be eligible to transfer to a baccalaureate program AND also meet eligibility requirements for firefighter positions throughout the region and state. We need to collaborate with our local fire agencies to create partnerships for apprenticeship or internship programs to enhance the career track for our students. The ideal future of ARC’s Fire Technology program would include a Company Officer Degree program which has been proposed by the California Fire Technology Director's Association and is currently under review at the Chancellors office. Additionally we will revised and update our current certificate opportunities. All of the abovementioned closely aligns and supports ARC’s mission to place students first, create an academically rich inclusive environment and serve the greater Sacramento Region. Our ideal future focuses on our student’s success in advancement of their education and career goals. As ARC develops into a leading institution for fire service training our students will become the beneficiaries of our success.

4) Strategic Enhancement


4.1) Identify/define one or more program-level objectives which enhance the unit's effectiveness. What does your unit intend to do to work towards its ideal future? How will success be measured?

Program Objective: Expand instructional programs to increase/retain enrollment. The strategic goal of the Public Safety Training Center is to provide career technical education which prepares our students for an advanced degree and also provides training that leads directly to employment. ARC FT students reflect the ethnic and diverse demographics that fire agencies are seeking. The Fire Technology program currently meets the educational needs to transfer to a California State University; however, our current Fire Technology program is lacking one essential pathway to employment, a non-affiliate Firefighter I Academy. Most fire agencies have minimum qualifications (MQ’s) required for job applicants. While these MQ’s vary among agencies there are some standards that exist among most, if not all agencies. These entry level minimum qualifications include; college units (degree preferred), Emergency Medical Technician license or Paramedic license, and a Firefighter 1 certificate. American River College offers all of these courses on campus, or at our Public Safety Training Center, with the exception of the Firefighter 1 Academy. The Firefighter 1 Academy course is not directly offered at American River College (ARC), but is (occasionally) offered through our affiliate agencies via our Instructional Service Agreements. This creates a challenge for our students as they do not have a comprehensive career pathway. Our students are forced to complete the Firefighter 1 course at another community college (Sierra College most often) in order to become a qualified job applicant. Most California Community Colleges (with Fire Technology programs) offer the Firefighter 1 Academy course directly at their college. While this may be a long term goal, the start-up costs associated with a Firefighter 1 course can be significant, along with the challenge of finding a training facility. An alternative method to hosting this course at ARC is to seek a partner(s) agency to host a Firefighter 1 Academy in conjunction with ARC. We have had preliminary discussions with our regional fire agencies, which have been favorable and potential partner agencies has been identified and discussions are underway. The local fire agencies in the Sacramento region consistently seek diversity and under-represented demographics to enhance their staff of firefighters. The fire technology students at American River College represent the demographics of the local community and the diversity of our students is in alignment with the needs of many of the local fire agencies surrounding American River College and our region. The ability to offer the Firefighter 1 course completes the pathway that directly fulfills a job requirement of most fire agencies. There is a direct link between the proposed Firefighter 1 Academy course and the labor market for entry level firefighters. The successful launch of this course will have a positive impact on our student enrollment and retention. On October 25, 2018 the FT program was awarded a Strong Workforce grant to assist in achieving this objective. The opportunity to partner with a fire agency to support ARC fire technology students is enhanced by the availability to contribute funding towards developing this partnership. Funding used to develop this instruction program will increase/retain our enrollment, enhance our Fire Technology Program and provide a direct pathway for our students to obtain a career in the fire service. An additional benefit of partnering with local fire agencies is the opportunity they have to recruit and retain students directly upon completion of the Firefighter 1 Academy. Fire Agencies can place our students into their reserve or intern programs or hire them directly, at their discretion. If successful in obtaining this objective, the measure of success will be increased enrollment, increased Certificates of Achievement and increased students entering the job market by meeting all of the minimum qualifications needed to apply.

4.2) How will the unit's intended enhancements support ARC's commitment to social justice and equity?

Our enhancements support ARC’s commitment to social justice and equity in a number of ways. We have enhanced our marketing efforts to reach-out into our community high schools with newly designed marketing collateral and also attend “college or career days” as a priority. The Fire Technology (FT) program website site has been updated and we are in the midst of enrollment campaign partnering with 3Fold Communications to create a marketing video highlighting our Fire Technology Program along with other career technology education programs offered at the Los Rios Community College District. The formation of our Fire Technology Club is another example of our efforts to engage all of our students and to help mentor them into a career in the fire service through networking, community service and interacting with local and regional fire agencies. Our students are connecting with the Sacramento Fire Department and serving as a reserve firefighter while taking the Firefighter 1 Academy course through an Instructional Service Agreement we have in place. This affords our students an opportunity to work directly with local firefighters and provides them with a great opportunity to seek employment in that same agency. The Fire Technology program was awarded a Strong Workforce grant to enhance our program through course development. We are seeking an opportunity to partner with a local fire agency to deliver a Firefighter I Academy course that our program is currently lacking. The course has a direct link to a career in the fire service. The opportunity to partner with a fire agency to support ARC’s fire technology students is enhanced by the availability to contribute funding towards this partnership. Development of this course will increase/retain our enrollment, enhance our Fire Technology Program and provide a direct pathway for our students to obtain a career in the fire service. An additional benefit of partnering with local fire agencies is the opportunity they have to recruit and retain students directly upon completion of the Firefighter 1 Academy. Fire agencies can place our students into their reserve or intern programs or hire then directly, at their discretion. The FT program has identified disproportionately impacted groups within our program (and within specific courses) which will aid us in narrowing our focus. The data “mined” for our program review specifies courses where we can support instructors in their efforts to reach out and connect with our students who may need some extra help. Seeking opportunities to eliminate this disproportionate impact via support and services designed to help students in their learning development is an essential goal of our program. Additionally, we continue to add online courses to our program to help students who have transportation or employment issues which can create challenges attending on-campus courses.