FIRE SCIENCE PROGRAM

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1 FIRE SCIENCE PROGRAM Academic Program Review The Office of Instruction The Office of Institutional Planning, Research, and Assessment

2 FIRE SCIENCE PROGRAM Academic Program Review Committee Chair: Doug Wood Robert O. Salmon, Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer Barbara Wing, Dean of Instruction and Curriculum Dr. John W. Quinley, Director of Institutional Planning, Research, and Assessment

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page I. Overview and Scope of this Review 1 The Approach 1 The Committee 1 II. Program Profile 1 A. Fire Science Program Mission and Purpose 1 B. Program Goals 1 C. Community Benefits 2 D. Centrality to the College Mission 2 E. Program Content 2 F. Course Outlines and Syllabi 3 G. Facilities and Equipment 3 H. The Budget 4 I. Efficiency 4 J. Program Faculty and Staff 5 K. Innovations, New Programs, Courses and State and National Efforts 6 L. Additional Findings from the Review Committee 6 III. The Students 7 A. Statistics on Students and Classes 7 B. Job Demand and Placement Rate in the Workforce 7 IV. Recommendations 9

4 FIRE SCIENCE PROGRAM REVIEW I. Overview and Scope of this Review The Approach This review was initiated in the fall semester of Fire Science employers and student completers of the various Fire Science sequences of courses responded to surveys for this review. The program budget, full-time student equivalent and headcount, course information, and other statistics were assessed. The findings of these assessments are included in this report. Additionally, evidence was gathered to verify indications that core competencies taught in the Fire Science program match those required by the profession. All Fire Science program equipment, facilities and instructors were examined and evaluated for their adequacy in meeting the demands of the curriculum. The Committee A committee comprised of three Fire Science educators and program managers from other colleges around the United States was consulted with a goal to gain perspectives on the quality of the program. This group completed an in-depth evaluation of the program and the college systems that support it. The group was in the process of completing this evaluation as a part of the site visit to accredit the program. All three are qualified evaluators of the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. The program became accredited as a result of the evaluation. II. Program Profile A. Fire Science Program Mission And Purpose 1. This program is designed to provide high quality cost effective, professional/technical education and training to prepare students for entry level or higher employment opportunities in the Fire Science field. Completers in the various levels of training in this program will be prepared to meet the demands in the workplace with a foundation in emergency response and fire prevention and suppression. B. Program Goals Provide high quality accessible training opportunities for students expertise in the field. Deliver learner-centered education with life long learning options. Instill competencies, which lead to certification and employment. Encourage and prepare students to seek opportunities for advancement in the field. Provide advanced course work and continuing education programs. Fire Science Page 1

5 Provide outreach programs for communities in the entire county. C. Community Benefits 1. There are numerous agencies in Yavapai County and the northern region of Arizona that employ and utilize the skills of Fire Science professionals completing Yavapai College programs. The most prominent of these are fire departments, ambulance services, and hospitals. The courses and programs are in demand in virtually every community. Without the Yavapai College program, many communities would have no local access to Fire Science training programs. D. Centrality to the College Mission 1. The Fire Science program meets the criteria listed in the Yavapai College Board of Governors Community Benefits Statements and is supportive of the mission and strategic initiatives of Yavapai College. The program is a competency based occupational program. It prepares students for entry into the workforce and provides additional programs leading to advanced levels of certification. Many of the students are employed by agencies requiring those higher levels of ability for continued employment, compensation incentives and promotion. E. Program Content 1. Firefighter I & II Certification - This program is certified by and delivered through auspices of the State Fire Marshal s office. Completion of this program prepares and qualifies the student to test for certification by the Arizona State Fire Marshal s Office. 2. Emergency Medical Technician Basic Certificate provides fundamental knowledge about emergency medical procedures and techniques. These include artificial respiration, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, control of bleeding, splinting, vehicle extrication and light rescue, plus ten hours of hospital training and observation. Successful completion of EMS-131 qualifies the student to take the Department of Health Services State Certification examination for EMT-Basic. 3. Basic Firefighter Certificate - Provides fundamental knowledge of fire fighting procedures and techniques. Students completing this certificate program will be prepared for employment at the entry level or as entry-level volunteers. 4. Advanced Firefighter Certificate - Provides training in the areas of advanced fire fighting procedures and techniques. Students completing this certificate program will be prepared for advanced assignments or promotion. Fire Science Page 2

6 5. AAS Fire Science - The Fire Science Degree program is an interdisciplinary program of study, which prepares the student for a broad range of employment opportunities including Firefighter, Hazardous Materials Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Marshal/Inspector, Fire Investigator and Fire Service Supervisor/Manager. F. Course Outlines and Syllabi 1. All course outlines and syllabi in the Fire Science program are reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. The faculty and program manager ensure that they meet all college standards, the requirements set forth by the Arizona State Fire Marshal s Office (ASFMO), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the National Department of Transportation (NDOT) and various other regulatory and certifying agencies. 2. During the past five years, the program has included curriculum revisions specified by the Arizona State Fire Marshal s Office and implemented some mandated admission and completion requirements of the various certifying agencies. 3. Yavapai College faculty and staff collaborated with officials from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and the Arizona State Fire Marshal s office in attaining accreditation for the Fire Marshal s Firefighter I & II certification program offered through the college. G. Facilities and Equipment 1. Courses are conducted across the district in various types of facilities. On the Prescott Campus the nursing lab and classroom are utilized during evenings, weekends and other off times. To offer a daytime class during the regular semester under current conditions would be almost impossible. Some classes are conducted on the Verde Campus, but again only on evenings and weekends. Otherwise and to a great extent, classes are conducted in fire stations, community centers, schools and other community facilities. 2. The current facilities are minimally adequate and require innovative scheduling with other departments and significant sharing of space to accomplish goals. Space on the Prescott Campus is shared with other departments. This situation regularly causes scheduling conflicts between the departments, as well as concerns for the type of activity occurring in the space. Fire Science Page 3

7 3. This issue will be partially dealt with through the Board of Governor s critical needs appropriations. A new building is being constructed in Prescott Valley, which will house the main portion of the program, while serving as the platform for extending services to the rest of the college district. 4. The college has formed a partnership with the Verde Valley Fire Chiefs Association to improve the facilities located in the Verde Valley. H. The Budget 1. The result of the changes required by federal and state agencies in the program is an increase in the cost of equipment and additional compensation requirements for staff and instructors. This need has been met by using dollars from other areas in the Public Services department, when possible, not by increasing the Fire Science budget itself. The demand for additional staff and the increase in the hourly pay rate have had the largest impact on the budget. Approximately 15 new part time hourly personnel had to be hired to meet the requirement. On average, one employee in this category costs the college approximately $600 per year. This amount will grow as more sections are offered in coming years. The impact on the equipment budget has been somewhat smaller averaging about $2000 to $3000 per year. Again the need has been met in the same way the staffing needs were met. There is an indication that there will continue to be dollars available in the current budget to cover the needs. 2. The faculty and staff of the program constantly seek and find innovative methods for gaining additional funds for the students scholarships and fees. This is made possible through partnerships with state and local officials and local emergency services organizations. I. Efficiency 1. There are several factors that together effect the efficiency of this program. In addition to the ongoing cost of facilities and equipment, the Arizona Department of Health Services and Arizona State Fire Marshal s Office limit the enrollment of all certification courses across the state. This situation is mandated by federal regulations of the NDOT and NFPA to maintain what they consider to be an appropriate teacher to student ratio. As this statement implies, the program is required to employ additional staff to complete the certification courses. These regulations were implemented in the academic year along with new student admission requirements. Fire Science Page 4

8 2. The admission requirements for EMT-B now require students to pass a ninth grade reading level exam, be CPR certified, and have proof of several medical screening procedures before enrolling. There was some negative impact on the enrollment in the program initially. However, enrollment in the program continues to increase. J. Program Faculty and Staff 1. The program staff consists of the Division Chair for Public Services Education and Training, his administrative assistant and the faculty, whom will be described later in this section. The division chair is responsible to the Executive Dean for the Community Campus for all budgetary and administrative issues. The division chair interacts with other faculty and staff members to ensure the overall quality of the program and the student outcomes. 2. The program has one full-time faculty member who is responsible for coordinating the every day operation of the delivery of instruction and coordination with state and federal agencies in carrying out the student certification process. This full-time faculty member served as the program coordinator as well as instructing in the program for two years prior to being hired full-time. He began his career as a firefighter 22 years ago, and prior to joining the college he held the position of Fire Chief with one of the Verde Valley fire departments. In addition, he is a certified paramedic and prior flight paramedic, which gives him a deep and wide view of the entire Fire Science and EMS field. He holds an A.A.S. with honors in Fire Science, conferred by Yavapai College, which concluded with the completion of the Validation of Alternative Learning Professional Portfolio course. 3. In addition to the one full-time faculty member, the program employs several adjunct faculty members in various locations around the county. At any one time, there may be as many as eight adjunct faculty members teaching courses. All of the adjuncts must meet college certification requirements, as well as those of the Arizona State Fire Marshal s Office and the Arizona Department of Emergency Services. In most cases, these individuals are fire service professionals, including fire department Captains, Battalion Chiefs, and Fire Chiefs serving with local fire departments, who teach these classes in their off-duty time. Fire Science Page 5

9 4. Surveys of current students reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with instruction and program aspects, including quality of instruction (100%), availability of instructors (93%), helpfulness of instructional support staff (93%), classrooms (93%), and labs (83%). The percentage of students marking a very good or good for instruction is 31 percent and 35 percent respectively. Instructional support in Fire Science ranged from 36 percent to 31 percent while the range for classrooms and labs ranged from 24 percent to 41 percent. K. Innovations, New Programs, Courses and State and National Efforts 1. Faculty and staff members work regularly with local and state and national organizations in upgrading and improving the programs. Most recently the AAS program was the sixth program internationally to receive accreditation by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress in recognition of the high standards of quality espoused by the college and the program. 2. The Fire Science program in the Verde Valley is working with the newly established Vocational School District and the local fire departments to develop a high school career-tracking program that will provide job/career preparation for students seeking careers in the fire service. L. Additional Findings from the Review Committee The committee appointed to participate in the completion of this review made the following observations and statements: 1. It is very difficult to schedule classes on the Verde Campus during weeknights, and it is also difficult to schedule some of the classes off campus due to equipment storage issues. 2. The Sedona Fire District, Verde Rural Fire District and Montezuma-Rimrock Fire District have adequate facilities for conducting off-campus courses. A 2001 survey of 10-year data sets shows that 59 percent of Fire Science courses and 73 percent of EMS courses in the Verde Valley are instructed in off-campus facilities. There is anticipation among professionals in the field that the college will be adding facilities that are adequate to meet more needs. 3. Included in this report is evidence to support an increase in the supply budget. Increasing requirements in the number of instructors along with steadily increasing enrollment are the overriding issues. Other issues include additions to the curriculum of portions requiring additional equipment and the inflation of the cost of the same. Fire Science Page 6

10 4. Recently in the Verde Valley some Native American students have experienced difficulty in meeting the minimum education level recommended for the course. Instructors have compensated for this deficit by providing tutoring sessions. Other steps have also been taken, such as creating a basic skills program for the individuals concerned, presenting GED programs and designing a reading program for them, which will lead to improvement in the area. 5. A straw poll indicated some desire in the area for a degree program in the Emergency Medical Services field. A request for a feasibility study has been received and is being considered. III. The Students A. Statistics on Students and Classes 1. According to college records, the age of the students in this program range from 17 to 59+ years, with the majority being 17 to 24 years old. The students are 84 percent male and 16 percent female, and are 78 percent white, non- Hispanics. Eighty-seven percent of the students reside in Yavapai County and 83 percent attend classes on a part-time basis. 2. Thirty-five percent of the students attend classes in the Verde area, 65 percent in the Prescott area and in other community facilities. It should be noted that the Verde Campus has experienced a 44 percent increase in enrollment in the Fire Science program during the last three years, with an overall district-wide increase of 31 percent. 3. The number of unduplicated students enrolled in Fire Science courses during fall semesters ranged from 55 in 1999 to 92 in From academic years to , there were 71 classes offered. The average attendance was 17 students per class for a total enrollment of 1,183 student registrations. The semester FTSE earned for those students was Of the former students surveyed, 90 percent indicated that their goal in the program was either completely (60%), or partially (30%) achieved. B. Job Demand and Placement Rate in the Workforce 1. Examples of the types of jobs requiring the competencies taught in this program are as follows: Firefighters (Volunteer, Reserve, Career) Fire Department Company Officers (Lieutenants, Captains) Fire Department Chief Officers (Battalion, Assistant, Deputy, Fire Chief) Fire Science Page 7

11 Fire Inspectors and Fire Marshal s Fire Prevention Specialists and Public Education Officers Fire Service Instructors Fire Protection System Engineers and Installers Hazardous Materials Operators and Technicians Technical Rescue Specialists Medical First Responders and Emergency Medical Technicians 2. The demand for emergency services professionals is high both locally and across the nation. Individuals possessing these skills are in demand in ambulance companies, fire departments, police departments, hospitals and health care provider organizations. 3. This program provides basic training for students who are about to enter the workforce and advancement education for those who are already employed in the field. The placement rate in the workforce is high. Of the current students surveyed, 64 percent are working full-time and 32 percent are working parttime. Of the respondents, 4 percent are earning between $10,000 and $19,000 annually, 13 percent between $20,000 and $29,999, 46 percent between $30,000 and $49,999, and 33 percent are earning $50,000 or more. 4. Ninety percent of former students surveyed are working full-time in the Fire Science field. 5. One hundred percent of the former students surveyed indicated overall satisfaction with the instruction they received at Yavapai College in preparation for their current job, with 60 percent very satisfied and 40 percent satisfied. One hundred percent of students would recommend the Fire Science courses to family and friends, 80 percent without reservations. 6. According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the statewide demand for individuals trained in the Fire Science field will increase by 162 positions per year between now and the year The statewide demand for firefighters will increase by 315 per year. These numbers take into account the increase in new positions and annual replacement through attrition. 7. A survey of employers of Fire Science completers in Yavapai County was conducted. Of those surveyed, 92 percent said they would hire another YC Fire Science program completer, 75 percent without reservation, 8 percent were not sure and no one said they would not hire a YC completer. 8. Employers rated work related areas of personal skills, ability to learn on the job, critical thinking skills, oral/listening skills, interpersonal skills, technical skills, and productivity a percent rating of good or very good, ranging from 73 percent to 100 percent. Written communication skills and computation skills Fire Science Page 8

12 with ratings of good or very good, ranging from 50 to 60 percent. Forty-two percent of employers rated written communication skills as fair with one respondent poor. None of the employers rated computations skills as very good; 40 percent rated computation skills as fair and 21 percent indicated that it was either not applicable or they don t know. 9. One employer wrote; Students tend to be weak in written communication skills. These skills are critical where proper documentation is one of the most important elements in presenting ourselves as professionals and also in reducing vicarious liability litigation. IV. Recommendations The program is serving the college and community needs and should be continued. Maintain the current management and placement of the program in the college structure. Move the faculty, staff and offices into the new Prescott Valley and Verde Valley facilities when they are completed since they have been designed to accommodate the majority of training and course work in the Fire Science program. Increase the program budget by 15 percent to reflect its growth in operating expenditures and capital equipment needs, as reflected in budget planning submittals. In the past these needs have been met by transferring dollars from other programs in the Public Services department. (This recommendation has been satisfied in the 01/02 budget year by transferring permanent funds from another department within the Public Services Department.) Support program staff in planning and designing new facilities to meet the rising student enrollment and increasing program requirements. Processes to identify and enhance written and computation skills within the curriculum are being initiated. In addition to adding prerequisites to some courses, a Nelson Denny testing process is being implemented. Students will be assessed in this method and advised or assisted as appropriate in ways of improving their skills. Some students will be provided with tutors and Resource Center opportunities, while others will be given the opportunity to participate in peer groups with individuals who have developed higher educational skill levels. Fire Science Page 9

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