Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology Program Review/Planning Document May 6th, Section 1.

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1 Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology Program Review/Planning Document May 6th, 2008 Section 1. Mission and Goals The Mission of OTC Ozarks Technical Community College's primary mission is to provide accessible, high quality, affordable technical and general education that is responsive to the educational needs of the community and its diverse constituencies. 1. What is the mission of the program? The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning program mission is to provide quality, accessible, and occupationally oriented courses to the greater Springfield community as related to the mission of the college and the Technology Division. The root of this mission is to provide students with knowledge and hands-on skills that will prepare them for employment in the HVAC industry at entry level or higher. Types of employment could include installing, servicing, repairing, and selling, commercial and residential heating, refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. 2. How does the program s mission support the overall mission of the college? Our program s mission supports the mission of the college by providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully enter the HVAC industry. This in turn provides employers in our community with the skilled labor needed for them to be successful. 3. What are the primary goals of the program? To provide the highest quality HVAC technical training that we can. To incorporate as much hands-on training into the program as possible. To produce highly qualified individuals for the HVAC industry workforce. To constantly evaluate the needs of the community relative to the HVAC industry. To seek feedback and advisement from former students, advisory committee members and employers regarding the strengths and weakness of this program. To constantly evaluate our program and make adjustments to ensure that we have the equipment and curriculum to meet industry needs. 4. What are the intended student outcomes? The intended outcome is for students to have the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully gain and maintain employment in the HVAC industry. The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Program prepares students for several possible career paths within the HVAC industry. Some of the career options are: Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Installation Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Service Technician Commercial Refrigeration Installation Commercial Refrigeration Service Technician 1

2 Commercial Air Conditioning Installation Commercial Air Conditioning Service Technician Maintenance Technicians (Industrial, Commercial, Residential-Apartment) Sales (HVAC equipment and supplies) Estimator Sheet-metal worker 5. What are the key quality indicators (KQI) for the program? KQIs should be specific and measurable. The percent of students demonstrating mastery of core competencies. Feedback from employers of HRA students. Feedback from former students. High success rate in Skills USA competition. Stable program enrollment. Rising program enrollment. Many employers contacting program instructors looking for employees. Increasing number of students completing AAS Degree. (Many HRA students obtain HVAC employment before completion of degree requirements). Section II. Admission, Placement and Entry 1. Is admission to the program selective and based on criteria specified in writing? The HRA Program does not have selective admission criteria. The only entrance requirements are OTC s college-wide entrance requirements. 2. If the program utilizes selection criteria, where are the criteria published for student information and how have the criteria been related to student success in the program? The HRA Program has open enrollment. 3. Is enrollment in any course dependent upon student performance on an assessment or placement test? The HRA Program does not require students to take assessment or placement tests to enroll in HRA specific courses. OTC requires students to score at a certain performance level on entrance testing before allowing them to enroll in college level general education courses. The HRA Program requires students to complete HRA 102 Basic Refrigeration Theory and Applications, and HRA 103 Basic Electricity, or receive instructor permission, before enrolling in upper level courses. 2

3 4. How have the results on these assessment/ placement tests been demonstrated to be related to student success? The HRA Program does not require assessment/placement testing to enroll in HRA specific courses. The general education branch and administration of OTC have determined that for students to be successful in the general education requirements for the AAS Degree, they must score high enough on placement tests before they are allowed to enroll in college level general education courses. Section III. Curriculum, Advising, and Assessment 1. How are students explicitly informed of the program s goals/competencies? Program goals and course sequences are described in the college catalog and the OTC website. The syllabi for HRA courses describe the goals, objectives, and competencies for each course. A syllabus is given to every student at the beginning of each course. The syllabi are also posted on blackboard. 2. Please outline the program s practice of student advisement. Students in the HRA Program are given a class matrix that shows the semester, days and times that each course will be offered for the next two years. Prior to registration for the next semester, students are advised in their current classes as to the recommended sequence and course offerings for the next semester. Students are informed that the college catalog and website provide a list of required courses for the certificate and degree, and a recommended sequence for ease of completion. Changes are being implemented in the advising process that will require students to meet with their designated advisor before enrolling in future courses. The HRA instructors have not completed the advisor training session so we are uncertain of the full extent of advisement changes. 3. How is advising effectiveness assessed, what has been found, and what changes have been made based on the assessments? There is not a formal method of assessing the advisement process. Since the HRA program instructors started giving all students the class matrix that lists the semester, time and days that courses are offered, there are less inquiries from students regarding the courses to take next. 4. How does the program assess student academic progress? The HRA Program assesses student academic progress in the following ways: Written testing for classroom assessment Hands-on performance observation and testing for lab activities Final examination for each course Capstone course for students completing the AAS Degree EPA Refrigerant Certification-license to purchase and use refrigerants Industry Competency exams for students completing the AAS Degree 3

4 5. What evidence does the program have to support assertions related to the assessment of student learning? Written test results, instructor observation of hand-on performance, and final examination results are the assessment methods for individual courses. Capstone results which include hand-on performance assessment, written and oral communication, industry competency exams, and most students pass all sections of the EPA Certification exam the first time. 6. How are assessment results used to improve student learning? While using the assessments mentioned in the previous questions, if the instructors find that several students are weak in a particular skill or knowledge area, adjustments are made to correct this deficiency. These adjustments could include classroom techniques, lab activities or both if necessary. Sometimes additional lab equipment is needed to improve student comprehension. Students evaluate their instructors and courses through a course evaluation. This feedback is beneficial customer service data that can help instructors see if presentation methods or course content needs adjusting. 7. Are course syllabi available for all courses? If not, please explain. Yes. All students are given a course syllabus at the beginning of each course. 8. Are syllabi for all courses available via Blackboard? If not, please explain. Yes. 9. Are course competencies outlined in every course syllabus? If not, why? Yes. 10. How does the program ensure that content of each course is up-to-date, at the appropriate level and provides the opportunity for the necessary knowledge or competency development? The HRA Program Advisory Committee is used to validate the content and relevance of material in each course. At each Advisory Committee meeting, the competencies for one course are reviewed. The instructors are responsible for implementing the recommendations presented by the Advisory Committee. The recommendations may include the removal or addition of course content, new course development, and the recommendation of lab equipment needed to provide adequate hands-on activities to meet the desired competency level. Feedback from students who have completed the program and are employed in the HVAC field is also used to evaluate the relevance of the material covered in each course. 4

5 11. Are required courses available in the appropriate sequence for day, evening and weekend students? On what evidence is the response based? HRA courses are scheduled so that full-time students taking primarily daytime classes should be able to finish the AAS Degree in two years, if they follow the recommended catalog sequence. All HRA courses are offered during the evening on a rotating basis so that students who can only take one or two classes a semester would be able to complete the degree, but in a longer timeframe. No courses are currently offered on weekends. Students completing the Associate degree in two years is evidence that courses are offered in a sequence that will allow them to complete the program in a reasonable time frame. 12. What factors govern course scheduling in the program? Enrollment trends are used to determine the number of sections of a course to offer. The desire to accommodate secondary students requires daytime schedule limitations. Recommended course sequence is critical in the scheduling process. Lab space and the equipment requirements vary for each course and are major factors in scheduling. Some courses are only offered in the spring because the lab equipment needed for the course is constantly being used by a different class in the fall semester. Classes are scheduled so that two different classes are not using the same area of the lab at the same time. The ability to find and retain quality adjunct instructors could affect future scheduling. 12. What serious impediments exist to prevent timely progress toward a degree? If students do not follow the recommended course sequence it may take longer to complete the degree. If students do not realize that all courses cannot be offered every semester and in every time slot. Many of our students are working and going to school. This sometimes prevents them from being able to take a class when it is offered. If a course is canceled due to low enrollment, students who were enrolled might have to wait another semester or possibly another year to take the course. Finding and retaining quality adjunct instructors is one of the greatest challenges for the HRA Program. 13. Describe how appropriate technologies are incorporated into program coursework. All HRA courses include varying amounts of hands-on activities on actual HVAC systems. These systems include heat-pumps, central heating and air conditioning systems, ice machines, rooftop units, freezers and a variety of other training systems. The Program Advisory Committee and instructors determine what technologies are needed or no longer needed. Some courses require students to use computer technologies for research and troubleshooting. Some examples of this would include Simutech, a computer troubleshooting program, or RightSuite computer heatload calculation program. Instructors frequently use computers and multimedia equipment to enhance the learning process. 5

6 14. Describe methods currently being utilized to assess student achievement at various levels, such as within individual courses and at the department level. Written tests and assignments are used to assess classroom learning. Lab activities and lab performance observations are used for skill level evaluation. Final exams are used as the assessment at the end of a course. The Capstone course is used to evaluated retained knowledge and skills obtained from many different coursed before students are awarded degrees. Competency testing in the Capstone course also serves as a department level evaluation. A high percentage of students pass all or a portion of the EPA Refrigerant Certification Exam and obtain federal license to purchase and use refrigerants. 15. How are your program s competencies measured in the Capstone Course? The Capstone course requires students to troubleshoot problems in a variety of different pieces of lab equipment. In order to be good at troubleshooting systems, the student needs to have critical thinking skills as well as a thorough understanding of electrical systems, refrigerant systems, air distribution systems, and sequence of operation for many different types of systems. These individual knowledge areas and critical thinking skills are obtained from mastering the competencies from many individual courses. If the students can troubleshoot and repair these systems with very little help from the instructors, they have successfully applied the required competencies. Students in the Capstone course are also required to do a research project and complete a report. Students must also take industry competency exams in Electrical Systems and another HVAC area of their choice. 16. How has the department used the feedback from this course to improve the department? This course helps to identify knowledge areas where students are weak or strong. This feedback helps instructors to identify these areas. Further evaluation will help instructors determine if weak areas need more class/lab time or possible different teaching methods. As students progress through the courses covering specific types of equipment (residential heating and air conditioning or commercial refrigeration systems) they usually develop a preference for working with a certain type of equipment. If an individual student is weak in one area while others are not, this could indicate that the student has identified certain types of equipment that they prefer to work on more than other types and therefore have focused more time and attention on understanding the equipment they prefer. Most HVAC technicians specialize in one area of the HVAC field. 17. When students graduate from the program, do they receive certification, registry, or licenses? If so, please identify by whom these are awarded and what is the program s record of success? Students in the HRA Program can obtain a Certificate, an Associate Degree, or simply take a few classes if that is what they desire. Students successfully completing the requirements for the Certificate, receive a Certificate of Completion. Students successfully completing the requirements for the Associate Degree receive a degree. Students completing the degree or certificate would have taken a test to obtain a Federal EPA Refrigerant License. Most employers require potential employees to have this license. Approximately 65% of students pass all sections of this exam the first time they take it. A significantly higher percentage of students pass at least one section of the exam. The test we use was created by (ARI) Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, and Video General Incorporated grades the tests 6

7 and sends out the licenses and certificates. Students completing the requirements for the degree are required to take two industry competency exams online (there are more than two available and some student elect to take more). These exams have been required since the Capstone course was developed three years ago. These exams were created by HVAC Excellence, which also is our program accrediting association. Approximately 70% of these exams are passed the first time they are taken. Students can retest if they do not pass the first time. 18. How do program graduates fare in the job market? Please describe the evidence used to arrive at conclusions. According to the 180 day Graduate Follow-up Report for 2006, 67% of Post-Secondary Graduates had HVAC related employment. AAS Degree completers reported an average salary of $34, % of Secondary Graduates had related employment with a reported average salary of $24,960. Many HRA student gain related employment prior to obtaining a degree or certificate. Section IV: Previous Departmental Reviews/Accreditation 1. Has the department previously undergone a five year review by OTC? If so, when? The HRA Program completed the process to obtain HVAC Excellence Accreditation in the spring of This accreditation documentation was used for the five year program review on May 21, What recommendations were made in the previous review? 1. Faculty should continually evaluate their assessment of competencies. 2. Outcome objectives should be specific and measurable and should relate to the college program mission. 3. Examine internal professional development opportunities (retreats, workshops) that would integrate full-time and adjunct faculty. 3. Describe how previous recommendations have been addressed. 1. The Advisory Committee and Instructors serves as guides to identify needed course competencies and make necessary adjustments. The Instructors constantly try to identify better ways for students to master the competencies for each course. A Capstone course has been developed to assess student retention of knowledge and skills from previous course work. All AAS Degree seeking students must pass the Capstone course. This Capstone course also requires student to take an HVAC Electrical competency exam and another HVAC competency exam of their choice. 2. The HRA program mission directly relates to the college s mission by providing high quality, affordable, and industry recognized training in the HVAC field. This training provides students with the skills necessary to gain entry level employment in the HVAC Industry. The best indicators of success are graduates reporting HVAC employment and the HRA program s past record in Skills USA competitions. To the best of our knowledge OTC does not track students who obtain HVAC employment without completing the AAS degree. 7

8 The Capstone course provides the tool to measure student mastery of the competencies from all other HRA course work. This course requires students to individually solve problems, evaluate performance, provide written documentation of their equipment assessment, and orally communicate all of this to the instructor. 3. All full-time faculty are required to complete a certain number of hours of professional development. All full-time faculty typically exceed the minimum hours required. The HRA program includes in the budgeting process, funding to send at least one full-time instructor to an HVAC industry related conference or training program each academic year. The fulltime instructors share the tools they have developed for student learning, with the adjunct staff and encourage adjuncts to share items they have developed. It is difficult to arrange professional development activities that include all HRA staff due to the fact that adjunct instructors have full-time careers away from OTC, and that it is difficult to find and retain quality, dedicated adjunct instructor. The full-time instructors and program division chair spend a significant amount of time working with adjunct instructors to help them improve their teaching methods and tools. 4. Is the program subject to accreditation or certification by state, regional or national agencies? If yes, answer questions 5, 6, and 7. If no, skip to Section V. OTC requires the HRA program to maintain an industry recognized accreditation. Students have the opportunity to take the EPA Refrigerant Usage and Handling Exam. Upon passing, students receive a national EPA license to purchase and use refrigerants. 5. What is the name of the agency, what is the type of recognition and how long does it last? HVAC Excellence is the national accrediting body that the HRA Program has chosen. This national organization accredits technical schools teaching heating, air conditioning and refrigeration. The OTC HRA program has been accredited for a period of six years. Six years is the longest period of accreditation that a program can obtain. The next accreditation process will take place in spring of What was the date of the last site visit? Spring What recommendations came from the last evaluation by the external agency and what actions have and/or will be taken? HVAC Excellence recommended that DOT signage be placed outside the lab door indicating that flammable gas was present in the lab. Signage was put in place. They wanted us to develop a work order form that a customer would sign when they dropped off something to work on. A Form was developed, submitted to them and approved. 8

9 Section V: Advisory Committee 1. Does the program have an active advisory committee and what are the dates of the most recent three advisory committee meetings? Yes. We have a committee meeting scheduled for 5/14/2008. Previous three dates: 10/25/2007, 4/18/2007, 10/26/ Provide examples of how the advisory committee has impacted the program. 1. The HRA Advisory Committee Members sometimes serve as judges for Skills USA competitions. 2. The Advisory Committee reviews our course content and competencies (usually 1 course per meeting). 3. A few years ago the HRA Instructors expressed the need for an Air Distribution Systems course, HRA 180. The input from the Advisory Committee was strongly in favor of this course and they determined the content to be covered. 4. Our Advisory Committee is made of representatives from many different areas of the HVAC industry. The HRA Program therefore receives input on the needs of the various areas within our industry, which helps to guide the future of the HRA Program. Section VI: Departmental Planning 1. Are the program s facilities adequate to achieve the academic goals listed in Section I? If not, what is needed and why? The HRA Program has been fortunate to have the lab space and funding for equipment to enable the program to grow. Enrollment has increased in recent years and with the weak economy, this trend should continue. The HRA Program added a new course in 2006, Air Distribution Systems. This course is offered in Spring 2008, with three sections full or close to full. Due to the extensive quantity of individual student lab activities in this course, more space is needed. In order to accommodate more equipment for advanced courses, additional space would be needed. Most of the above equipment could be purchased with enhancement grant funds if the program continues to get approval for these funds. The HRA Program annual budget will need to increase in order to maintain additional equipment and purchase additional supplies and materials to accommodate increased enrollment. 2. Are sufficient resources, authority, and flexibility available for the program to accomplish its goals? The resources available to the program have been very good. The HRA Program Instructors feel that when there has been a justifiable need, the flexibility, resources and authority have been available or made available. The authority to make major program changes does not come from within the HRA Program, but from the program Advisory Committee and OTC Administration. 9

10 3. What are the top three priorities for the unit over the next five years and what is the approximate cost of each? How are these priorities reflected in long-range planning and program action plans? 1. Maintain a high quality, state-of-the-art HVAC training facility. Equipment costs vary but the HRA program has obtained $12,000 to $20,000 yearly through enhancement grant over the last several years to replace equipment and add to our current inventory. 2. Get more lab equipment for advanced HRA courses. Cost would vary greatly based on quantity, equipment size, and brand. 3. Increase available lab space. Future program growth will require additional lab space. One idea that has been briefly discussed is to enclose the outdoor lab area that we currently have, in order to provide more space that could be used all year. Another idea is to dismantle the house simulators in one lab to provide more usable floor space. 4. Is there a demonstrable need for the program and/or a viable market for program graduates and certificate recipients? On what evidence is the answer based? The outlook for HRA program graduates is good. US Department of Labor statistics discussed at the recent HVAC Excellence Educator s Conference, estimate a large number of older individuals in the HVAC industry will be retiring over the next several years. In addition, growth of the HVAC industry is expected to remain strong. With the economy being weak at the present time, new home construction has slowed. This usually drives up the number of home owners replacing or repairing their existing systems. Employers continue to contact the HVAC instructors and OTC Career Employment Services, searching for HVAC employees 5. What changes in program courses or structure are planned based on future occupational opportunities? We currently are not planning to add any new courses or make any major changes to the program s structure. We will monitor enrollment trends to see if additional course sections are needed. With the increasing cost of energy, there will become more emphasis on measuring system efficiency and higher efficiency systems. If enhancement grant continues to be our primary source of funding for new equipment, hopefully we can purchase more high efficiency systems in the future. 6. How will the assessment of student learning be conducted and how will the results contribute to the program s goals and annual planning cycle? The assessment of student learning is accomplished through written testing, instructor observation and assessment of hand-on activities, employer feedback and the Capstone course. The program s goals include trying to constantly improving the learning process and provide the highest quality training. We do this through improving assessment and improving our lab facilities (quantity, quality, and diversity of equipment). This in turn helps the instructors by providing more teaching tools. The equipment and supplies needed to provide students with a proficient competency level are a major factor in the annual planning and budgeting process. We try to replace equipment on a regular basis to maintain an up-to-date lab facility. We also try to make budget adjustments annually due to enrollment numbers and recent significant increases in the cost of supplies. 10

11 7. List and comment on the major strengths of the program. 1. High quality training at a reasonable cost. 2. High quality, modern lab equipment for student hands-on experience. 3. Proven track record with students competing in Skills USA competitions. 4. Flexibility for students to pursue a degree, certificate, or take just few classes if desired. 5. Dedicated full-time instructors with many years of combined field and teaching experience. 6. Advisory Committee Members representing the broad spectrum of career avenues in the HVAC industry. 8. List and comment on the program s major challenges and areas in need improvement. 1. Finding and retaining dedicated, quality adjunct instructors. Another full-time instructor would be the best possible solution. 2. Due to increasing enrollment, more lab space and equipment is needed. 3. Some advanced courses do not contain sufficient hands-on lab activities due to lab space and the cost of equipment needed for hands-on activities. Course evaluations from students often address this issue. 4. Improve the involvement of our Advisory Committee. 9. What are the program s goals for the next five years? 1. Continue to evaluate the courses offered and their content, through the Advisory Committee, in order to meet the needs of employers and students. 2. Maintain a high quality, well equipped HVAC training facility by continually updating the curriculum and lab equipment. 3. Increase enrollment. 4. Increase the amount of lab equipment for advanced courses. 5. Maintain an active Advisory Committee. 11

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