Month: June 2016

Students Matter: How Organizational Culture Drives Student Success — League of Innovation Summit

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Students Matter: How Organizational Culture Drives Student Success — League of Innovation Summit</
Students Matter: How Organizational Culture Drives Student Success 

This session focuses on a culture transformation effort at Lone Star College. The presenters will introduce organizational culture as an underlying influence throughout the college and engage participants in a deeper discussion about culture transformation as an avenue to student success.

Debbra Esparza, Executive Director
Alicia Friday, Director
Melissa Hinshaw, Manager, Organizational Development, Lone Star College System, TX

How Organizational Culture Affects Student Success

Describe the culture at your college, and really write as many things about it as you can.
Student success is the major thrust at Wake Tech Community College. To that end, we have student organizations, numerous independent learning centers with free tutoring and it’s many different locations. Several open computer labs, free tutoring, faculty advising to work with our students. Office hour coverage seven days a week and evenings. Advising holds to help us know and help the students get along their degree in a timely manner. Our faculty has an open door policy. We have opportunities and job pushing out via email and Twitter feed as well as remind.com. We have hands-on classes as well as expansion and enrichment classes. Our Compututor and 24/7 blackboard assistance for students in need. We have an IT help-line. We have capstone courses and capstone presentations that psych our students for self-promotion and getting ready for interviews. Our faculty each do a yearly benchmarking activities and applied benchmarking grants to improve our process. We have the E-learning initiative which students must complete prior to being able to enroll in our online classes — which helps assure we have completions. We have epic functionality being undertaken by faculty and full section 508 compliance in all classes. A 30-hour professional development requirement for all teachers ensures we stay on top of our game, and we have starfish, we have college algebra MOOK and many other things that I can’t think of.

Culture changes

The important thing about changing your culture is first to establish the values that you want, and then a way to evaluate those values. Is there a disconnect between the disciplinary culture and the college culture that is the students? Do the teachers feel and act one way and the students feel and act another?

What are the positives the change brings to culture

It’s easy to fall into altruisc statements about what we do and what the value of it is, but most of us actually say “what’s in it for me?”. What is student success? Is it grades, is it transfers, is it completions, is it success or failure? And, what exactly is a failure?

Cultural beliefs are used to create the attributes for new faculty. Start with your core values: include benchmarking. Dr. Scott is a man of action and he leads with initiative and then stands behind those initiatives. Are higher-ups wanting to assist what I do? Rachel Ruise at Austin community college notes that within their institution, compensation is based on completions. A question comes up: Are teachers giving completions to keep compensation high while overall quality is driving low? It’s a legitimate question.

How will this change impact student success? How does a healthy college hold improved student success and completions? Epic implementation at wake Tech is set to be 100% by spring of 2017. A question came up: “Where/what will the headline be five years from now about your institution?” many people had a great joke over the fact that I suggested that might be in the middle of the second Trump administration and then where would we be?

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Quality, Inquiry, and Accountability in Pathways to Student Success — League of Innovation Symposium

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Quality, Inquiry, and Accountability in Pathways to Student Success 

Symposium: Quality, Inquiry, and Accountability 

Jo-Carol Fabianke, Vice Chancellor for Academic Success, Alamo Colleges, TX 
Rachel Ruiz, Dean, Student Services, Riverside Campus, Austin Community College, TX 

Moderator 

Allatia Harris, Vice Chancellor, Strategic Initiatives, Community Relations, and Diversity, San Jacinto College District, TX

No Greater Odds — League for Innovation Opening Session

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No Greater Odds — League for Innovation Opening Session  

This session began with a Welcome Address from  Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges. She introduced us to James McCoy, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at the College of Southern Nevada , and Executive Producer of No Greater Odds. She also introduced Charlene Gibson, Communication Instructor at College of Southern Nevada and Associate Producer, of No Greater Odds.

Keynote Presentation 

No Greater Odds Documentary Screening and Panel 

The documentary, No Greater Odds, follows the inspirational stories of five community college students. Their stories of complicated family issues, financial difficulties and other personal obstacles are the stories of millions of students who attend community college in the hopes of bettering their lives and futures through higher education. By sharing these stories of struggle and triumph, these students will understand that the way their story ends depends on how it begins – because for them, there are No Greater Odds. Highlighting the mission of access and student success of community colleges everywhere, No Greater Odds underscores the unique and integral role of these higher education institutions.

She requested the we join her for a special screening of the acclaimed documentary, No Greater Odds, which follows the inspirational stories of five community college students. Their stories – of complicated family issues, financial difficulties and other personal obstacles – are the stories of millions of students who attend community college in the hopes of bettering their lives and futures through higher education. By sharing these stories of struggle and triumph, these students understand that the way their story ends depends on how it begins – because for them, there are No Greater Odds.  Highlighting the mission of access and student success of community colleges everywhere, No Greater Odds underscores the unique and integral role of these higher education institutions.

Movie Screening

If you’re interested, view the trailer and share your story at http://nogreaterodds.com.

Panel Discussion

Immediately following the special screening of No Greater Odds, we got to meet members of the cast of the film to provide a more intimate look at each of the students’ inspiring stories featured in this powerful documentary. The No Greater Odds movement and how the film was created was discussed in greater detail, and the cast and producers answered questions about this film.

Panel Members

  1. James McCoy, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs, and Executive Producer, College of Southern Nevada
  2. Charlene Gibson, Communication Instructor and Associate Producer, College of Southern Nevada

Cast Members: 

  1. Barbara Ayarza
  2. Carlos Holguin
  3. Jaklin Guyumjyan
  4. Monique Makhlouf
  5. Tyrone Foster, College of Southern Nevada. (He was unfortunately called away for a family emergency)

Thoughts on the Session

Determination is not enough. For many students, just being determined is not enough to succeed, as family problems, monetary issues, and lack of resources can quickly stop them from succeeding. This movie was a great example of how individual attention can lead to success in the college space, however sometimes that’s not something every college can bring to bear. Student success is so vital to our mission at community colleges, but Want is not all it will take to succeed.

One of the interesting things they discussed was the use of TRIO, a federal program for students. I’m not familiar with this program or how it might be utilized at our school. Looks like I have some work to do.

Some students have no computers at home, and so the labs at school can really help. Many students are overwhelmed and underprepared, and that’s an issue that must be taken into account early in the process, or at least as early as possible.

League of Innovation Learning Summit – My thoughts of Arrival

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The 2016 Learning Summit is being held at the Omni Montelucia in Paradise Valley, Arizona, June 12-15 and is hosted by the Maricopa County Community College District. I arrived this morning with my fellow Wake Technical Community College faculty members, Carla Osborne, Instructor of Advertising and Graphic Design, and Angela Becquette, Dean of Computer Technologies.

The Learning Summit is a working retreat for college teams to connect with colleagues and to share experiences, discuss issues, and explore strategies for overcoming obstacles and meeting challenges related to learning. The 2016 Learning Summit theme is Student Success and Completion. 

I hope to examine effective practices in the five topic areas that are the focus of the program, Specifically:

  • Student Learning Outcomes
  • Student Engagement
  • Faculty and Staff Engagement
  • Organizational Culture
  • Quality, Inquiry, and Accountability

By the way, if you’re interested, download a copy of the Learning Summit draft program.

SUMMIT FORMAT

After an opening plenary session on the first evening, the summit will devote a half-day to each topic over the course of the conference. An interactive Symposium will kick off each half-day session, and be followed by a set of concurrent Forums and Roundtables led by community college educators and scholars. Summit participants such as myself will be engaged as full partners in the Summit since plenary and concurrent sessions are designed to be interactive. That will be fairly exciting.

Each half-day session should end with Conversations about Learning, time designated for college teams to meet and discuss what they have learned and how it may apply to their institutions. Since I’m here with a small team, this will really be a fantastic opportunity to look at how we’re running with models of student success and engagement, but to take a good, long, look at what we can do to improve.

This is going to be fun.