Continuing the Conversation on Student Success
Two activities this week remind us of the great academic successes our students earn, but also what we can do as a college community to boost that achievement even more.
On Tuesday, we will honor 20 Students of Distinction—Southwestern College’s highest honor for students. Then on Friday, we will hold Part III of our Student Success Implementation planning sessions.
At the SODA awards, we will honor students who will be going on to study astrophysics, emergency medicine, electrical engineering and journalism. We have other SODA winners who will be starting their own businesses or continuing their education so they can return to Southwestern as a faculty member.
They are indeed some of our best and brightest. And they were helped on their journey to success by caring faculty and staff who shared proven strategies for improved student achievement.
For much of the spring semester, a core group of administrators, faculty and staff have been working to identify these strategies and determine ways for us to share with more students across our campus and centers.
The three strategies that rose to the top for quicker implementation and biggest impact on student achievement were:
• Degree Audit
• Analyzing completion rates by program and identifying obstacles to completion, e.g. not petitioning for a certificate
• First-year experience
To truly impact student achievement and increase graduation rates, the hiring of full-time, experienced faculty will need to be a priority. Studies have shown that full-time faculty have a more positive impact on graduation rates (Jacoby, 2005). Students have spoken as well, saying full-time faculty are available for extended student learning and advising and are more connected to the college (Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2007).
We must, however, consider the impact of the years of decreased funding on our ability to hire. New revenues (center status, anticipated COLA and restoration funding) have addressed some of our budget concerns, but we still have a structural deficit.
Despite those economic challenges, we’ve held some funds to hire full-time faculty. We are in recruitment now for two positions from the FHP emergency list. We are continuing to review the faculty hiring priority list and expect to hire more in the near future. Continue to look in my column for the next update.
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Last updated: 5/13/2013 9:06:55 AM