Do we dare hope that spring is here?
I have had a busy week – traveled to Colorado for our granddaughter’s first birthday and to receive appliances in our new home. Can’t believe that it was time for both! Furthermore I have been out this week after having a medical procedure – hoping to be back next week.
It is also hard to believe that the College has finished four years in Achieving the Dream. Our own Teresa Huether, who has led the College ATD effort with such enthusiasm and style, has announced her retirement later this spring. Congrats to Teresa on a fabulous STLCC career and gratitude for her consistent focus in the success of our students. I have asked Teresa to be a guest blogger this week and share her ATD perspective:
The dream began at the Touhill in August of 2010! Every STLCC employee was invited to hear Dr. Kay McClenney speak about Achieving the Dream! The college had committed to be the first Missouri community college to be part of this nationwide student success movement and Dr. McClenney shared what that would mean for the students, the faculty and the staff! We were asked to “Dream BIG!” and the members of the Collegewide Student Success Team, the members of the campus based Student Success Teams, as well as the members of the four strategy teams took that to heart!
In the planning year, many courageous conversations over STLCC student success data took place. Hundreds of STLCC employees were engaged and offered their input as to how STLCC could better serve our students.
As a result of those conversations, four strategies were chosen. Over the next three years, teams made up of faculty and staff from across the district created and implemented those strategies. Those teams did indeed Dream BIG! Thousands of students have been positively impacted by these strategies.
Last week, Dr. McClenney came to STLCC for her last coaching session. On Wednesday at the FP campus, leaders from each of the strategies presented the work and results of their strategy not only to Kay, but also to a room filled to capacity of interested faculty and staff.
Kim Fitzgerald spoke about the mandatory New Student Registration Workshop (NSRW). Not only did she note that almost 14,000 students have participated in NSRW since its implementation in the fall of 2012, but also that students have found the experience helpful in creating class schedules that support academic success! With pride she spoke about the NSRW team that meets on a monthly basis and is continuously improving the New Student Registration Workshop experience for our students!
Florissant Valley’s own Dwayne Morgan presented next. Under his leadership, the college now offers a uniform orientation experience at every location called “Orientation Live! Arrive and Thrive!” Since its inception four semesters ago, almost 6,000 students have participated in this student led and interactive event! Again, the feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive! Four years ago, an orientation experience existed on only two campuses. Now a consistent delivery of what it takes to be a successful STLCC student happens at all of our locations!
Dennis White – another member of the FV campus – shared with those present the work of the Smart Start team. Beginning with the creation of the course by a forward thinking group of faculty and staff members, he outlined the making and maintaining of STR:050 – Smart Start Student Success – which included its beginning, the faculty training, its implementation, its impact (over 6,000 students have taken the course) as well as its assessment (students overwhelmingly love this course) and continuous quality improvement! He ended his presentation with information about STR:100 – Smart Start College Success – a course for college ready students that will be offered for the first time this fall.
Teresa Huether (yes – another FV affiliate!) quickly spoke about the First Four Weeks (F4W) – an initiative that was created by the CTL coordinators in the summer of 2011 in response to the faculty’s desire for an ATD program that could include ALL faculty members! Since the fall of 2011, more than 600 unique faculty members have committed to at least four of the 26 tried and true student success strategies that make up F4W. She mentioned that work has begun on a student version of F4W created by and for students!
The morning ended with updates on where the college stands with Developmental Education (DE) redesign. Members of the MoHealthWins team (Dianne Lee, Debbie Char, and Christine Padberg) spoke about the success of the Adult Learning Academy (ALA) in delivering modularized and contextualized DE to its participants in a very speedy manner! Some participants completing semester long coursework in as little as two weeks! Vice President Tracy Hall spoke about the modularization of mathematics across the district as well as the success of Math Boot Camp. Vice President Ruby Curry (ANOTHER FV leader!) shared the work of the English Departments across the college in offering the ACE program – the linking of Eng:030 with Eng:101. ACE has been successful on a small scale. Discussions on how it can be brought to scale are ensuing.
An ATD report was made available to everyone who came to the session. Some of the compelling data included in the report are:
1) All new, First Time In College (FTIC) students successfully completed with a grade of C or better nearly 50,000 credit hours of course work at a rate of 62 percent in fall 2013, up from 56 percent who successfully completed over 56,000 credit hours of course work in fall 2011. Withdrawal rates dropped from 16 percent to 11 percent during that same time.
2) Minority students successfully completed course work (grade of C or better) at a rate of 55 percent in fall 2013, compared to 49 percent in fall 2011. Withdrawal rates dropped from 18 percent to 12 percent for minority students during that same time.
3) Students enrolled in Smart Start in fall 2013 successfully completed courses (grade of C or better) at a rate of 55 percent, compared to a 50 percent completion rate for those who would have been required to enroll in fall 2011 had the course been available at that time. Withdrawal rates dropped from 18 percent to 12 percent for students enrolled in Smart Start.
4) Fall to spring retention rates for all new, FTIC students has increased from 70 percent in 2010-11, prior to strategy implementation, to 73 percent for fall to spring 2012-13. Fall to fall retention rates for the 2013 cohort are not yet available, although fall to fall rates for the 2012 cohort increased by 3 percent.
5) Fall to spring retention rates for minority students in the FTIC cohort has increased from 66 percent in 2010-11 to 67 percent in 2012-13, although the rate is still below the retention rate for the previous three cohorts (2008, 2009, and 2010). Fall to fall retention rates increased 3 percent for the 2012 cohort.
6) Fall to spring retention rates for Pell recipients in the FTIC cohort has increased from 70 percent in 2011 to 74 percent in 2013. Fall to fall rates increased 4 percent for the 2012 cohort.
On Thursday night, Vice Chancellor Dare thanked the Board of Trustees for directing STLCC to apply to be an Achieving the Dream school. Dr. McClenney then shared with them the work of the ATD strategy teams and the positive outcomes. The Board was impressed with the ATD work and accomplishments.
Last Friday, Dr. McClenney held an hour long open forum on the FV campus. She fielded questions about ATD and student success and shared her vision of community colleges across the country. That vision includes streamlining the DE process by more accurately placing students to begin with and by offering contextualized DE content in an accelerated delivery method. Her other vision is that community colleges be organized by academic pathways that include stackable credentials and easy on an off “ramps.” Students would immediately choose a pathway like STEM or Healthcare when they apply. While in that pathway, all of their courses would be focused on the careers within that pathway and academic support would be part of the experience.
In closing, STLCC’s commitment to Achieving the Dream bore much fruit! Consistent successful college wide practices have been put in place. Thousands of students have been positively impacted. And much has been learned about looking at data continuous quality improvement, and never losing touch with the focus of our work – the student experience.
On a personal note, it has been my pleasure to be part of Achieving the Dream! This experience has allowed me to work with many amazing colleagues across the college. Thanks to everyone who comes to work every day doing their best for our students! STLCC really does expand minds and changes lives.