WWRC's Employment Resource/Media Center provides instructional media, media production, and online services for primary use by its residential and day students and to support faculty professional development, planning, and instruction. The Employment Resource/Media Center is located in the Harold E. Watson Activities Building, co-located with Recreation Services, to allow ease of access by staff, students, and visitors across the campus both inside and outside of instructional hours. WWRC has a Written Plan for Media Services, maintained by the designated Media Center Coordinator, which contains all required accreditation elements of Standard 5 and meets the comprehensive needs of a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) living and learning environment.
Instructional equipment and supplies are adequately funded, maintained, inventoried, and surplused per relevant Commonwealth of Virginia regulations and established WWRC policies and procedures. Instructional equipment is predominantly decentralized with mini-resource centers in each vocational training program. However, the centralized Employment Resource/Media Center maintains additional equipment available for "check-out", as needed. WWRC maintains a Written Plan for Equipment Procurement, Maintenance, Replacement and Surplus, with COE-required elements.
Instructional supplies are primarily maintained as student learning "curriculum projects" within the Vocational Training Department Stock Clerk Training Program; through this process, students learn to inventory and issue instructional supplies as part of their training curriculum.
A. Media Services
WWRC has a Written Plan for Media Services which is appropriate for its training programs and workforce-driven curriculum focus, as well as the broader application of a comprehensive rehabilitation center serving individuals with multiple, complex disabilities within a larger Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) context. WWRC's Written Plan for Media Services includes: scope and availability of services; description of current educational materials; staffing identification and accountability; user orientation content and processes; facility and technical infrastructure; budgetary parameters; and use of annual evaluations for continuous quality improvement of Employment Resource and Media Services.
There are ample and relevant instructional materials housed in the Employment Resource/Media Center and throughout campus. The Vocational Training Department Media Center Coordinator routinely surveys student and faculty to assess and respond to identified learning resource needs. Learning resource needs may also be identified through Occupational Advisory Committee meetings based on employer recommendations to meet industry requirements and job skill demands. Recently, a WWRC Foundation grant was able to supplement the Employment Resource/Media Center budget to purchase some updated textbooks, trade manuals, periodicals, and literacy resources based upon the results of user surveys and in consultation with Training Program Instructors.
Facilities throughout WWRC are adequate, although many areas are currently in various phases of renovation. The Employment Resource/Media Center has been temporarily downsized to accommodate a massive, upcoming renovation to the Harold E. Watson Activities Building. This renovation is tentatively scheduled to begin in Winter 2017/18 to be completed in Summer, 2019. Ultimately, WWRC is looking forward to an expanded footprint, with state-of-the-art space and technologies for its Employment Resource/Media Center.
As WWRC is a comprehensive rehabilitation center, assistive technology has an active presence on campus. Students may be referred, through their assigned multi-disciplinary Rehabilitation Team, for an Assistive Technology (AT) Evaluation which would likely result in recommendations for hardware and software to provide access to facilities and instruction through AT accommodations. Assistive technology devices and software are housed and utilized throughout campus and are sufficient to assure achievement and desired student outcomes. All media center computers are equipped with Zoom Text and Read and Write Gold to provide access, as needed, to computer- based learning and recreational reading resources.
The Employment Resource/Media Center is staffed by a part-time Media Center Coordinator and a part-time Job Seeking Skills Instructor. Student aides are employed to extend media center availability on evenings and weekends. The Media Center Coordinator takes an active role in New Student Orientation and provides weekly orientation to new students on campus as to resources available in the media center and the expectations associated with utilizing media center resources.
WWRC's Employment Resource/Media Center supports the development and implementation of instructional technology plans and other instructional media needs of WWRC's training programs. In addition, the Employment Resource/Media Center strengthens both the students' and instructors' ability to access current career development and job search information specific to the Virginia labor market in a timely, responsive manner. In career exploration and job search, the Employment Resource/Media Center has continued to be highly utilized by students and faculty, and is regularly accessed individually and/or for small group instruction.
WWRC's Written Plan for Media Services contains all required elements of Standard 5. Services are adequate and appropriate to support all students and faculty. A current inventory of media resources available for check-out is maintained through a web-based computer software program known as Insignia Software. Necessary repair and maintenance of media equipment and supplies is completed through WWRC's standard operating policies and procedures and is funded through the cost code center assigned to the Employment Resource/Media Center. Media services, facilities, and materials are available and accessible during regular school hours as well as extended hours during evenings and weekends. Hours and events are posted monthly.
Overall strengths of WWRC's Employment Resource/Media Center as identified by the Standard 5 Accreditation Self-Study Committee include:
B. Instructional Equipment
Inventory of instructional equipment is the responsibility of the faculty who "owns" it based on location and usage. Computer hardware inventory is maintained through WWRC's Information Services Department in accordance with the Commonwealth of Virginia's Information Technology Resource Management (ITRM) Asset Management Guidelines.
Funds are budgeted to provide instructional equipment at a level that assures quality occupational education. The Director, Career and Workforce Development Division (CWDD), is responsible for management and oversight of all cost centers assigned to Vocational Training Services, which includes that of its learning resources. On an annual basis, instructors and support staff are required to submit a proposal to project resource and equipment needed for the upcoming year. These program needs are considered in the budget development process, in addition to general costs for (un)anticipated equipment repair and maintenance or replacement of current equipment.
WWRC's instructional programs offer equipment that is as close to industry standards as possible, with information on these standards derived through its partnerships with various Occupational Advisory Committees and through job site visits. Occupational Advisory Committees review curriculum tasks, per training program, at least twice annually, which includes skill acquisition and mastery of identified equipment, thus facilitating WWRC's knowledge of updated industry standards and the equipment needed to provide appropriate industry-based instruction.
WWRC's Administrative Governance Manual specifies its procedures for maintaining equipment and for replacing or disposing of obsolete equipment, which are compliant with relevant Commonwealth of Virginia regulations, policies, and procedures. All instructional equipment meets appropriate safety standards. Shop safety is an integral component of each instructional program, as evidenced in each training area curricula and requirements for graduation, The WWRC Office of Safety and Risk Management conducts and/or coordinates routine (un)announced safety reviews and evaluations. Modifications to the training environment and/or programs are made accordingly.
An internal Strengths-Weaknesses- Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) session held as part of the COE Self-Study process identified the following strengths relative to Standard 5, Subsection B on Instructional Equipment:
C. Instructional Supplies
Adequate instructional supplies are available to support instructional programs offered through WWRC, as evidenced by teacher satisfaction (e.g. no complaints) with requested needs. Instructional supplies utilized by WWRC's training programs are purchased, inventoried, and delivered through the Stock Clerk Training Program, thus serving as an ongoing curriculum project for students enrolled in that area. Procedures related to use of curriculum projects are contained in the departmental Operations Manual.
Adequate funds are budgeted to provide supplies at a level that assures quality of occupational education, as evidenced by teacher satisfaction (e.g. no complaints). Funds are budgeted per anticipated instructional need, at the beginning of each fiscal year, and monitored closely by the Career and Workforce Development Division Director. Emergency equipment repairs and/or replacements are anticipated and included in the relevant cost center budget. As the Stock Clerk Training Program is open daily during regularly scheduled instructional days, access to needed books, tools, equipment, and other supplies is sufficient, as evidenced by teacher satisfaction (e.g. no complaints).
First aid supplies are readily available and accessible through campus Student Health as well as through the Personal Care Aide and Nurse Aid Training Programs. Emergency "buckets" and first aid supplies are provided to each training area by Safety and Risk Management.
All instructional supplies meet appropriate safety standards. Shop safety is an integral component of each instructional program, as evidenced in training program curricula. Requirements for graduation and task competency levels related to safety are reviewed, at least annually, by Occupational Advisory Committees.
An internal Strengths-Weaknesses- Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) session held as part of the COE Self-Study process identified the following strengths relative to Standard 5, Subsection C on Instructional Supplies:
Challenges and Proposed Solutions
WWRC's Employment Resource/Media Center is challenged by several issues related to growth. Over the past several years, issues included a growing student census serving students with multiple functional limitations, budgetary limitations, staffing parameters, and a recent reduction in space due to upcoming renovations planned for the Harold E. Watson Activities Building. Within the past six (6) months, part of the space assigned for operations of the Employment Resource/Media Center was reallocated to provide office space for Recreation Services staff to prepare for building renovations. The benefits far outweigh current space constraints, but interim operations will continue to require inter-departmental, collaborative problem-solving and creativity. Upon completion of Phase II of the renovation, the Employment Resource/Media Center will enjoy a larger, modern footprint in the Harold E. Watson Activities Building. WWRC Facility Services has provided secure storage for furniture and books/resources during this transitional phase of renovation. They have also constructed a wall to allow the Employment Resource/Media Center to remain a quiet place of study, while simultaneously providing needed office space for Recreation Staff.
The WWRC Foundation recently provided a $2,000 grant which provided enhanced resources despite budgetary limitations and allowed for the purchase up-to-date resources based upon student and faculty surveys of wants and needs.
There are some programmatic constraints realized as the Media Center Coordinator's position is a 30 hour/week, part-time position. In May, 2017, this position was vacated due to a resignation and an existing part-time staff member was reassigned to the Media Center for continuity of services. As opportunities arise through increased (and/or grant-funded) resources, consideration may be given to creation of a full-time Employment Resource/Media Center Coordinator position that might bring more stability to the position and would allow enhanced programs and services to support instructional training programs and student learning/employment objectives aligned with the WWRC mission.
The Standard 5 COE Accreditation Self-Study Committee finds WWRC in compliance with Standard 5 objectives and criteria.
Evidence of compliance with COE Standard 5 will be verified through staff interviews, student interactions, team member observations and review of Self-Study materials, and file/document/record audits, as indicated.
Additional Self-Study Exhibits
The following key contacts and supporting documentation for Standard 5 are provided to supplement hyperlinks integrated within this narrative.
Brittany McCauley, Media Center Coordinator
Harold E. Watson Recreation Building
Jale Ramsey, Education & Workforce Supports Supervisor
R.N. Anderson Training Building
Dr. Sharon Mullen, Principal, Education & Workforce Supports
Chip Stratton, Safety & Risk Management Director
Birdsall-Hoover Medical/Administration Building