From the provost: CCSSE High-Impact Practices Institute; Capital Academies

An ACC team recently attended the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) 2015 High-Impact Practices Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Participating with me were President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes, Virginia Fraire, vice president for student services; Soon Merz, vice president of effectiveness and accountability; Stephanie Hawley, associate vice president of college access programs; Missi Patterson, assistant dean of faculty development; and Mary Gilmer, supervisor of supplemental instruction.

The guest speaker for the conference was Davis Jenkins, senior research associate for the Community College Research Center (CCRC), Teachers College, Columbia University. Together with fellow CCRC researchers, Jenkins has written a new book, “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success.”

Jenkins highlighted the work of several colleges, including Miami-Dade College, the City Colleges of Chicago, and CUNY’s New Community College, that have all undertaken the work of clustering programs into broad groups around which the colleges have redesigned student in-take processes, academic advising and support services, student success courses, co-curricular activities, and more. The goal is to provide students quicker access to programs of study that are of particular interest and relevance for their career goals.

As part of the ACC team’s assignment, an “action plan” was created by which we will approach the topic of academic and career clusters.

As part of the ACC team’s assignment, an “action plan” was created by which we will approach the topic of academic and career clusters. Preliminary plans are to spend a year in communication and collaboration with faculty and staff in planning for how such a redesign might work at ACC. Faculty and staff will be invited to apply or nominate others for appointment to a Futures Institute in fall 2015 during which time they will study and research the topic, visit other colleges or attend related conferences, report to the student success coordinating committee, and then work with deans and department chairs to plan program details.

Meeting with Alamo College/Capital Academies

Both ACC and the Alamo Colleges District received planning grants from Educate Texas to work on STEM degree acceleration for Central Texas. Teams from the two colleges recently met in San Marcos to share ideas for possible collaboration, particularly in working with business and industry.

Along with myself, those attending from ACC were Dr. Rhodes, Mike Midgley, vice president for instruction; Mary Harris, associate vice president for academic planning and development; and Melissa Biegert, director of Early College High School.

Both ACC and the Alamo Colleges District received planning grants from Educate Texas to work on STEM degree acceleration for Central Texas.

Alamo’s local partners include five San Antonio school districts, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas A & M University-San Antonio, as well as the Alamo Workforce Solutions. ACC is working with Austin ISD, the University of Texas at Austin, and Capital Area Workforce Solutions.

We are looking at the Alamo Academies to inform development and implementation of an ACC program entitled Capital Academies. The first Capital Academy will be an Information Technology Academy, planned for opening in fall 2015 and housed at the Highland Campus. ACC is recruiting students from Austin, Del Valle, and Manor school districts and hopes to sign some 120 students who will spend half the day at their home high schools and the other half at the Highland Campus. The students will earn dual credit and learn fundamentals of programming and networking, determining which of those paths to pursue for academic as well as industry certifications and degrees.

Achieving the Dream visit

ACC hosted Dr. Kay McClenney and Dr. Brad Phillips, ACC’s Achieving the Dream coaches, for an intensive set of meetings April 2-3. ACC participants included myself, Dr. Rhodes; Mike Midgley; Virginia Fraire; Soon Merz; Mary Harris; Stephanie Hawley; Richard Armenta, associate vice president of student success; Susan Thomason, director for instructional development services; and Rennison Lalgee, president of the faculty senate.

The group entertained presentations and discussions on the following topics:

  • Review of ACC’s aligned plans (Strategic Plan, Academic Master Plan, Administrative Services Plan) and the master plan priorities for 2015-2016.
  • Highlights from the 2015 CCSSE High Impact Practices Institute – creation of a Futures Institute to broaden faculty and staff involvement in planning for use of cluster pathways to improve ACC processes for student in-take, scheduling, orientation, advising, registration, early alert, career planning, and co-curriculum activities – all with the bottom line goals of improved student persistence and completion.
  • Review of ACC student success data trends; discussion confirming our “baseline data” against which we want to measure progress.
  • ACC’s new student success course (EDUC 1300) – Gaye Lynn Scott, dean for social & behavioral Sciences; Tobin Quereau, professor of student development.
  • Faculty development for teaching the student success course, featuring Susan Delker from Community College of Baltimore County on April 16.
  • Revamping of ACC’s “college experience” – Virginia Fraire, Mike Midgley. Continued discussion of move toward use of cluster pathways for improving students’ college experience. Dr. Tonjua Williams of St. Petersburg College will present a webinar on the topic on April 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • ACC’s college experience map – Susan Thomason.
  • ACC math initiatives – David Fonken, dean of math and natural sciences; Constance Elko, chair of the mathematics department; and Joey Offer, Math PLUS director.
  • ACC reading and writing Initiatives – Hazel Ward, dean of communications; Lyman Grant, dean of arts and humanities; Delores Segura, Mary Leonard, Julie Wauchope – reading; Laura Ore and Stacey Stover – writing; Shannon Bailey, Susan Thomas – ESOL
  • Puente Project – Richard Armenta; transfer focus group recommendations – Stephanie Hawley; diversity and equity action committee. This discussion ended the visit with an honest discussion about the importance of this topic and an agreement on plans by which to move forward.

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