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Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery

And Application of Knowledge

Criterion Four Statement

The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.

Criterion Four Components

  1. The organization demonstrates, through the actions of its board, administrators, students, faculty, and staff, that it values a life of learning.
  2. The organization demonstrates that acquisition of a breadth of knowledge and skills and the exercise of intellectual inquiry are integral to its educational programs.
  3. The organization assesses the usefulness of its curricula to students who will live and work in a global, diverse, and technological society.
  4. The organization provides support to ensure that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly.

Institutional Priorities

The Program Review and Institutional Planning [PRIP] process supports students. DACC’s 2005-2006 Institutional Priorities are:

Institutional Priority 1:

  • Improve student attainment by increasing persistence, transition, and graduation rates in Academic Year (AY) 2004-2005 by AY 2008-2009

Institutional Priority 2:

  • DACC, as a branch of NMSU, will be separately accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools by Spring 2008.

Institutional Priority 3:

  • Develop, implement, and maintain an assessment of student learning process.

Institutional Priority 4:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive marketing/customer service plan to better integrate college-wide efforts and promote a consistent image and message for both internal and external audiences.

Institutional Priority 5: 

  • Improve coordination and enhance support for DACC distance learning efforts.

DACC’s broad range of programs and offerings are depicted in the 2005-2006 DACC Catalog and programmatic material and brochures.   Each program focuses on preparing students for the workplace or to transfer to a four-year institution.  Students are also provided the opportunity to update/upgrade their skills for a changing workplace by taking selected credit-bearing courses or specialized customized training courses.

Curricular activities

Instructional Priorities
DACC has articulated six instructional priorities that all DACC graduates will meet.   These priorities demonstrate DACC’s commitment to preparing students for professional and civic lives. They are:

  • Communication (oral, written, presentation, teamwork/leadership skills)
  • Critical Thinking
  • Literacy (Computer, Information, etc.) and Numeracy
  • Ethics (Work/Personal) – to include lifelong learning
  • Competency-based Learning/Technical Competency in Area of Study
  • Civic Responsibility/Service Learning

Student Learning Outcomes
A taskforce created student learning outcomes based on these instructional priorties.  They are:

Students will be able to:
Communication gather and synthesize information and communicate effectively
Ethics and civic responsibility practice ethical behavior while contributing to a diverse global community
Numeracy understand numbers, the relationship among them, and draw conclusions from numerical information
Critical thinking define a problem and arrive at an effective outcome
Competency-based skills demonstrate technical skills in an area of study and in the use of computers


Program Review
DACC has a process for reviewing the relevance and currency of its curricula.  Programs participate in a two-year self-study cycle of program review.  This process is described in detail under eligibility requirement 12 (for samples of program review and planning documents, see exhibit 5.2).

Co-curricular activities

Students at DACC have many opportunities to participate in a number of co-curricular activities that help prepare them for social responsibilities (see exhibit 5.1), namely:

Student government
The Associated Students of Doña Ana Community College (ASDACC) is DACC’s student government organization.  ASDACC officers are involved in the planning and promotion of campus activities and the improvement of college services.  The Executive Council is responsible for carrying out all ASDACC business and serves as a liaison between the students, faculty, staff, administration, and the community.  The senators serve as liaisons between ASDACC, individual clubs, and the general student population.  They also assist with the allocation of funds of the ASDACC budget to individual clubs.