About HCC

About Strategic Planning

Kristine Ricker Choleva

Director, Planning, Curriculum & Assessment

Academic Affairs

Marieb 223

413.552.2284 (Tel)

Strategic Plan

Graphic of hexagon and arrow

download the strategic plan pdf here


Educate. Inspire. Connect.


Holyoke Community College aspires to be a college of academic excellence known for helping students overcome barriers to success.


Holyoke Community College commits to delivering a transformational student experience characterized by:

  • A student-ready environment with connections that draw people, services, and resources together to address students’ needs and ensure their success;
  • An affordable, relevant education designed to ensure equitable student outcomes, resulting in career and transfer opportunities that enable all students to thrive;
  • An approach to educating the whole person that consistently meets students where they are and engages them in real-world learning experiences; and
  • A vibrant, diverse, and inclusive college community that enriches the learning experience, delivers unwavering encouragement, and builds lifelong connections.

Faculty and staff of Holyoke Community College commit to support this transformative experience through:

  • Accessible, guided, and intuitive services that support and inspire students and their families;
  • Culturally responsive practices that promote equity within and beyond the classroom;
  • Technology, data, and predictive analytics that enable HCC to deliver personalized, proactive, and responsive programs and service; and
  • An agile and supportive culture that recognizes the importance of professional development to build knowledge, skills, and a deep understanding of our students.


Kindness, inclusion, and trust are the foundations of the work that we do together. Innovation and collaboration enable us to explore and implement the ideas that will shape our future.

Innovation: We empower each other to explore, share, and actualize our ideas to continuously improve the HCC experience for all. We do this with creativity and agility by keeping an open mind, taking risks, evaluating outcomes, and learning from mistakes.

Collaboration: We work as a community to develop and achieve common goals through an open exchange of ideas. We do this by encouraging wide-ranging participation, intentional communication, and the pursuit of diverse perspectives and expertise.

Kindness: We approach all interactions with empathy and in consideration of one another’s needs. We act with the highest levels of professionalism, respect, and civility as we seek common ground and strive for mutual understanding.

Inclusion: We provide a fair and welcoming environment where all voices are heard and meaningfully included to contribute to the growth and success of HCC. We take intentional action, challenge our assumptions, foster belonging, and respect the uniqueness of individuals and diverse groups.

Trust: We assume the best in others, prioritize transparency, and communicate with honesty, clarity, and consistency. We do this thoughtfully by including all stakeholders in the decision-making process and following through with our commitments.

Graphic of four photos and the numbers 1-4


Enhance and expand innovative teaching and learning practices that result in a quality education for all.

1.1 Increase fall course completion rate from 77% to 81% by 2026. (Disaggregate for full time, part time, adult students, BIPOC, first generation.)

  • Assess the effectiveness of the HCC website with a particular emphasis on how information about student support services is delivered.
  • Develop an easily accessible, one-click "information hub" that will allow faculty and staff to connect students with support services.
  • Redesign, strengthen, and expand supplemental instruction in gateway and high risk high enrolled courses.
  • Develop, implement, support, and assess a LMS migration plan for a move to Canvas for fall 2023.
  • Scale up and remove barriers to academic engagements that qualify as high impact practices including service learning, learning communities, honors, and internships.

1.2 Increase fall-to-fall retention rates of first-time degree seeking students from 53% to 57% by 2026. (Disaggregate for full time, part time, adult students, BIPOC, first generation.)

  • Advance, expand, and assess OER initiatives that lead to significant cost savings for students, with a specific focus on culturally relevant materials. Redesign the academic probation outreach and support process in order to build stronger connections and help students improve academic standing. Provide up front financial support options.
  • Expand SAMP programming to increase GPA and retention for women, nonbinary, and transgender students.
  • Build systems to market and support Itsy Bitsy Child Watch and related supports for student parents.
  • Expand and market THRIVE services and Homestead Market.

1.3 Increase the 150% graduation rate of first-time degree seeking students from 17% to 21% by 2026. (Disaggregate for full time, part time, adult students, BIPOC, first generation.)

  • Develop an AY 2023 education and training plan for Navigate users.
  • Systemize advising that ensures that all new, readmit, and transfer degree or certificate-seeking students will have an academic plan created in Navigate prior to completing their first semester with 15 credits.
  • Redesign new student accepted, orientation, and program days to increase student contact from first point of entry to the college with program chairs and coordinators.
  • Scaffold/redesign certificate programs (interdisciplinary pathways) within parent associate degree programs and align academic programs with workforce development.

1.4 Assess the impact of a program of equity-focused professional development offered to all faculty and staff by 2026.

  • Research micro-credentialing options for faculty and staff, compile and conduct focus groups to get community feedback.
  • Create a year-long academic calendar of professional development events.
  • Develop comprehensive onboarding and offboarding programs for all HCC employees.
  • Develop a comprehensive, multi-modality, equity-focused professional development program offered to all faculty and staff.
  • Develop an assessment and data-tracking system for participants in all professional development through the Center for Excellence.
  • Create a plan for active learning spaces and related professional development for faculty.


Collaborate with the communities we serve to increase equity.

2.1 Decrease the fall course completion gap between BIPOC and white students from 10 points to 6 points by 2026.

  • Develop a system for identifying the basic needs (childcare, housing, food insecurity, learning support, etc.) of our BIPOC students for support and referral purposes.
  • Provide faculty with the knowledge and skills necessary to support BIPOC students by integrating service use into the classroom (library, writing center, math lab, tutoring center, etc.).
  • Develop and operationalize a process for ensuring all student-facing print materials are available in Spanish.

2.2 Decrease the retention rate gap between BIPOC and white students from 13 points to 9 points by 2026.

  • Redesign the ALANA program.
  • Expand the use of progress reports/early alerts to new student populations and with a particular emphasis on BIPOC students.
  • Assess programming aimed to increase retention rates for women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC students.

2.3 Decrease the graduation gap between BIPOC and white students from 11 points to 7 points by 2026.

  • Latinx students, supported by El Centro, will receive wrap-around support and holistic services designed to keep them on track to timely graduation.
  • Create a centralized system for tracking participation in student activities.

2.4 Decrease the gap between BIPOC and white students transferring to four-year institutions from 11 points to 7 points by 2026.

  • Increase support for transfer and the Pathways program with a focus on removing barriers and providing targeted outreach to BIPOC students.

2.5 Increase Hispanic Fall FTE from 660 to 772 by 2026.

  • In collaboration with community partners, further develop recruiting efforts specifically targeted at the Hispanic population.


Align program outcomes with workforce demands and student needs for employment and transfer.

3.1 Increase the percentage of students who transfer to four-year institutions from 19% to 23% by 2026. (Disaggregate for full time, part time, adult students, BIPOC, first generation.)

  • Create a comprehensive inventory of transfer programs that includes the analysis of data relative to all disaggregated groups. Create a strategic plan for transfer that includes the review of transfer programs with all academic departments and SMART goals for the increase of direct transfer rates.

3.2 Increase enrollment in non-credit programming from 2,700 to 3,500 by 2026. (Disaggregate for adult students, BIPOC, first generation.)

  • Create a system for the collection of Business and Community Services Division data in order to identify baselines and track expansion in existing skills training programs.
  • Develop new non-credit programs in order to increase alignment with regional industry.
  • Create new occupational training options for Spanish speakers.\
  • Expand online and hybrid training options.

3.3 Increase the percentage of HCC non-credit students matriculating into credit programming by 2026. (Disaggregate for adult students, BIPOC, first generation.)

  • Create a data collection system for tracking non-credit completion to credit enrollment numbers.
  • Expand noncredit to credit for prior learning/prior learning assessment options.
  • Explore and develop stackable pathways from noncredit to degree/certificate programs.

3.4 Increase the number of students who become employed upon graduation/completion by 2026. (Disaggregate for adult students, BIPOC, first generation.)

  • Explore opportunities for utilizing noncredit grant reporting.
  • Utilize Handshake and other career tools to expand career readiness and job placement.
  • Develop an implementation strategy for obtaining and utilizing Lightcast and MassHire employment data.
  • Explore collaboration between the Institutional Research and Alumni Relations to track alumni employment.
  • Track calendar-year non-credit completers' employment data.


Create a sustainable model for long-term financial stability and growth.

4.1 Increase total annual credit hours from 65,500 to 67,465 by 2026.

  • Continue a systematic process of ongoing website improvements focused on increased student and family accessibility.
  • Continue to expand opportunities for course scheduling and modality innovation including remote, hyflex, evening, weekend, and summer courses. Implement and assess the planned enrollment and admissions initiatives. Coordinate marketing and strategic communication activities with relevant areas to positively impact enrollment.

4.2 Increase total annual revenue in charitable contributions, including estate commitments, to the HCC Foundation from $1.75 million to $8.5 million by 2026. (Disaggregate by individual, corporate, private grants.)

  • Develop a system for the creation of major gift prospect portfolios for the Leadership Gift Officer, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and President in order to facilitate successful moves management.
  • Develop a process for the alignment of corporate, foundation, and government letters of inquiry and grant submissions to the Strategic Plan of the college.
  • Optimize database information to provide more accurate and complete information on alumni and prospects.
  • Launch faculty/staff and retiree campaign that includes opportunities for payroll deduction and planned gift options.
  • Launch a micro-philanthropy campaign that engages the community in specific fundraising opportunities across campus.

4.3 Increase the total annual number of unique donors making gifts to the HCC Foundation by 50% by 2026.

  • Increase the use of impact campaigns in order to retain current donors. Collaborate with Institutional Research to create a process for obtaining accurate contact information from soon-to-be graduates.

4.4 Increase total annual revenue outside of student tuition and fees from $9,442,000 to $9,725,260 by 2026. (Disaggregate by earmarks/funding not associated with annual state appropriations, state and federal grants, other.)

  • Prepare a list of potential state and federal earmark requests by January every year.
  • Collaborate with the 14 other community colleges to come up with a shortlist of state appropriation requests that Massachusetts Associations of Community Colleges could pursue in January of every year.
  • Increase faculty and staff engagement in the process of applying for federal grants.
  • Explore and report to the cabinet on opportunities for new revenue sources including, but not limited to, rental revenue.

4.5 Increase the implementation of Process Reimagine and Redesign projects from 4 to 10 by 2026.

  • Operationalize a system for Process Reimagine and Redesign projects, including identifying and prioritizing prospective projects, facilitating the implementation of new projects, and assessing the impact of completed projects.

Please click here to view an archived version of the HCC 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.

About Strategic Planning

Kristine Ricker Choleva

Director, Planning, Curriculum & Assessment

Academic Affairs

Marieb 223

413.552.2284 (Tel)