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Posts Tagged ‘College Experience’

Achieving the DreamThis week, St. Petersburg College officials co-hosted a webinar entitled When Legislation Changes the Game: The New Playbook for Responding to Remedial Need for fellow Achieving the Dream (ATD) institutions.

Part of the ATD’s Technology Solutions Webinar series, the 45-minute presentation featured Jesse Coraggio, SPC’s Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Academic Services; Joseph Leopold, SPC’s Director of Learning Resources and Christa Ehmann Powers, Vice President & Chief Academic Officer for Pearson’s online tutoring service Smarthinking.

During the webinar, Coraggio shared how leaders at SPC got ahead of the 2014 Florida law that overhauled developmental education and now exempts most younger students from taking college prep courses although they may need them. To promote student success, SPC devised a new approach to identifying students’ remedial needs, advising students on their options, and integrating campus-based support and online services, such as Smarthinking.

Students exempt from developmental education are placed in flexible placement tracks, which allows college advisors to recommend courses based on predictive models using mainly high school and/or military records.

“We wanted to build a system to give students as much information as possible and wanted to make sure everyone had a good idea of what this legislation was about, and how we were approaching it,” Coraggio said. “We were able to accomplish a lot in a very short period of time by making sure we were focused on helping our students as the legislation became enacted.”

In 2011, with help from a state grant, SPC began offering free modular courses or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), aimed at preparing students for college-level reading, writing and math courses. It then began focusing on integrating five high-impact practices that would become known as the College Experience, which has proven invaluable to student success. SPC employees monitor the results of these five measures each week in an effort to provide the best support to students.

So far, SPC students have increased their use of out-of-classroom support at Learning Centers by 47 percent and Smarthinking by 16 percent. SPC students who seek out-of-class support at least ten times in a semester have an 80 percent chance of completing the course with a “C” or better.

While most students receive tutoring services in person at SPC campuses, 10 percent use Smarthinking, which provides critical support for students who may not be on a campus.

“Providing students with adequate out-of-class supports is important for any college, but it’s especially critical in an environment where students have the ability to forego developmental education that they might truly need,” Leopold said. “It’s also important that these supports are available in delivery formats that work for students. Our Virtual Learning Commons offers a simple, streamlined way to connect students to out-of-class support they need and is available both on grounds and online.”

For Fall 2014, 70.5 percent of the students who took courses that college advisors recommended were successful compared to a success rate of 55 perecent among students who did not take the recommended courses.

fall14-successrates

Coraggio cautioned that it’s often difficult to “convince students they need to remain in remedial education despite all the information we provide them. At the end of the day we see the lower success rates and we just need to find a way to help these students be successful.”

For its ongoing work on student success, in 2012 SPC joined the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network. It is considered the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. Currently more than 200 colleges from 36 states are among its members.

In September, Achieving the Dream named SPC a Leader College. This is a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps. SPC was the only college in Florida selected to receive the designation this year.

Check out the entire webinar

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St. Petersburg College is one of 17 colleges nationwide to be honored by University Business magazine in its Winter 2015 Models of Excellence recognition program. Sponsored by Higher One, a leading provider of financial services to U.S. colleges, the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus.

“St. Petersburg College’s use of real-time data, through its College Experience initiative, to boost student achievement is very impressive,” said University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “Including the entire college community in these efforts to help students succeed has clearly made a positive impact.”

Tonjua Williams

Tonjua Williams

St. Petersburg College initiated the College Experience in 2012 as a way to increase the percentage of students who successfully complete core, or gateway, courses. A review of the college’s records at that time revealed that only two-thirds of the student body was earning a grade or C or better in those courses; the remaining third received a D or F. Among African-American and Latino males, the percentage was even lower, said Tonjua Williams, senior vice president for student services at St. Petersburg College.

Committed to improving student success, St. Petersburg identified five key areas known to impact success rates and incorporated them into the College Experience:

  • Out-of-class academic support
  • Integrated career and academic advising
  • Early alerts to assist struggling students
  • A custom learning plan
  • New student orientation called “Smart Start.”

Once the College Experience launched, campus leaders, advising and learning resources staff, faculty, and academic leaders began tracking student movement and actions like career decisions, class attendance, levels of engagement, tutoring sessions, meetings with faculty, and other appointments. Using the college’s Pulse Business Intelligence system, officials and employees analyze and report on the data each week to review student performance and strategize how to take action where needed. These measures provide early observation of how students are progressing and allow college personnel to intervene early on, and make adjustments in student success efforts.

“We regroup each week to review leading measures in all five initiatives,” Williams said. “Sharing the data each week allows staff to work together to connect the dots for student success.”

In the first two years of the program, overall success rates rose more than 5 percent, Williams said.

SPC President William Law

SPC President William Law

“Our College Experience initiative at St. Petersburg College continues to garner notice nationally, and I am exceptionally proud of the hard work our staff has invested to help students succeed,” said SPC President Bill Law. “This honor builds on the work we’ve done to implement meaningful support systems to help students successfully earn degrees and certifications more quickly so they can find gainful employment and boost their earnings. We know these systematic steps change students’ lives and benefit our community in countless ways.”

“These honorees demonstrate insight into their student populations, as well as the ability to innovate in creative ways,” said Andrew Crawford, senior vice president of campus services & operations at Higher One. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”

Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success. The program is sponsored by Higher One, which provides financial aid refund services to SPC students.

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St. Petersburg College has been selected as one of only 30 community colleges in the nation to participate in a three-year intensive Pathways Project, led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Supported by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pathways Project will help build capacity for community colleges to design and implement high-quality, structured academic and career pathways for all students, aligned for both university transfer and jobs with value in the labor market.

“The development of our Academic and Career Pathways Program has been a priority initiative at St. Petersburg College over the last few years, and we are honored to be recognized as a leader in this area,” said SPC President Bill Law. “This designation builds on the work we’ve done to implement meaningful support systems to help students successfully earn degrees and certifications more quickly – while mitigating debt burdens – so they can find gainful employment and boost their earnings. We know these systematic steps change students’ lives and benefit our community in countless ways.”

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Pathways Project, led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)

This fall, SPC successfully launched 184 academic and career pathways within 95 certificate, associate and bachelor degree programs that were developed to provide students with a logical sequence of courses offerings and embedded programmatic certificates and industry recognized certifications.

The purpose is to provide students with a clear and concise roadmap to graduation, while allowing them to earn stackable credentials along the way that can increase their earning potential. While the pathways provide students guidance on the most effective sequencing and number of classes to take each semester – as well as clarity regarding which semester courses are offered – students still have a great deal of flexibility in their choices.

The pathways include comprehensive wraparound support services and a robust integration of curriculum designed with input from with local industry leaders to ensure students are workforce ready at graduation.

“We have taken the guesswork out of course selection to ensure that students can achieve academic milestones more quickly, so they can get into the workforce or move up in their careers sooner,” said Jesse Coraggio, SPC’s Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services. “Pathways are going to revolutionize the way students progress along their academic journeys, and allow them to gain credentials along the way that will help them earn more in their respective fields.”

St. Petersburg College is one of only four colleges in the state to be selected for the program. The others include Broward College, Indian River State College and Tallahassee Community College.

Building on emerging research and experience in the field, the project reflects AACC’s commitments to follow through on recommendations set forth in the 2012 report of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, Reclaiming the American Dream, and the 2014 implementation guide, Empowering Community Colleges to Build the Nation’s Future.

Since 2012, St. Petersburg College has focused on improving student success by using intensive and collegewide analysis of student data. SPC created the College Experience, an ambitious series of five core student success interventions that were simultaneously executed based on the belief that in order to truly identify and address barriers to student achievement, the college must employ a holistic and comprehensive strategy. Among those efforts, career counseling and academic planning were integrated to provide students clear educational paths that lead to employment. SPC’s Academic and Career Pathways Program is the culmination of those efforts.

College Experience support services and interventions have resulted in successfully increasing student achievement across the board, and in particular for First-Time-In-College (FTIC) students and African American and Hispanic males. This kind of analysis allows for SPC to better understand student performance over time – analyzing how students are performing and why, and which students are falling behind and when – to focus efforts where large-scale gains can be attained.

As part of the AACC Pathways Project, SPC will collaborate with institutions that have complementary goals and student success-centered practices that could be scaled or replicated. As part of the project, SPC will work with Pathways Project colleges to determine:

  • how students experience and understand program pathways, and the career and further education opportunities to which they lead
  • how prescriptive should colleges be regarding students’ program-related decisions
  • what supports help students choose and enter a program of study efficiently
  • the costs to redesign colleges’ new student intake processes to help students better choose and enter a program of study

“I truly believe SPC’s Academic and Career Pathways Program is a ‘game-changer’ for our students,” Law said. “So, we are particularly excited to share what we’ve learned, have the opportunity to learn from others, and collaborate with colleges and partnering institutions to help develop a sustainable model for educational institutions across the nation.”

Six institutes will be held over the course of the three-year program. A team of five SPC representatives will attend the first of the AACC institutes in San Antonio, Texas in February, 2016.

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Achieving the DreamAchieving the Dream today announced St. Petersburg College (SPC) earned Leader College distinction – a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps. St. Petersburg College has shown how data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole. SPC was the only college in Florida selected to receive the designation this year.

“It is a wonderful honor for St. Petersburg College to be selected by Achieving the Dream as a Leader College,” said St. Petersburg College President Bill Law. “The commitment – and success – that we have seen on behalf of our students reflects the real excellence of our faculty and staff. Making sure that all students can achieve their academic goals is our commitment.  When accomplishments such as ours are recognized, everyone feels good.”

The college was recognized for its efforts to narrow achievement gaps and improve student success rates. From Fall 2011 to Fall 2013, SPC saw course success rates (identified as an A, B or C grade) for First-Time-In-College (FTIC) African American students in all enrolled courses increase by 8 percentage points, while Hispanic students increased 9.1 percentage points. Additionally, St. Petersburg College saw increases in student persistence rates, particularly among minority FTIC students.

The college attributes those increases to its “College Experience,” a collegewide initiative comprised of five core student support measures: new student orientation; integrated academic and career advising; student learning plans; early alerts and student coaching system; and out of classroom supports. The initiative is bolstered through SPC’s business intelligence system, “Pulse BI,” and its robust dashboards. “Pulse BI,” which was designed in-house, allows faculty, staff and college leaders to monitor student data in real-time to make evidence-based decisions.

“Becoming a Leader College is very powerful and affirms the exceptional work and commitment of faculty and staff to their students’ success,” said Achieving the Dream Vice President for Community College Relations Cindy Lenhart. “St. Petersburg College is using evidence to make informed decisions that lead to significant institutional change.”

The 2015 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are:

Bakersfield College

(Bakersfield, CA)

Kingsborough Community College

(Brooklyn, NY)

Bellingham Technical College

(Bellingham, WA)

Lorain County Community College

(Elyria, OH)

Century College

(White Bear Lake, MN)

Muskegon Community College

(Muskegon, MI)

College of Southern Nevada

(North Las Vegas, NV)

North Lake College

(Irving, TX)

Columbus State Community College

(Columbus, OH)

Paris Junior College

(Paris, TX)

Cumberland County College

(Vineland, NJ)

Southwestern Oregon Community College

(Coos Bay, OR)

Delta College

(University Center, MI)

St. Clair County Community College

(Port Huron, MI)

Gaston College

(Dallas, NC)

St. Petersburg College

(St. Petersburg, FL)

Grand Rapids Community College
(Grand Rapids, MI)
West Los Angeles College

(Culver City, CA)

Jefferson Community & Technical College (Louisville, KY)

The 2015 Leader Colleges are making strides in the national movement to increase student completion and close achievement gaps, demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Approach. With the guidance of Achieving the Dream Coaches, colleges not only systemically change the way they operate, but also implement key student supports that align with their overall policies and institutional systems, such as college readiness programs, mandatory new student orientation, student-success courses, developmental course redesign, curriculum redesign, and intensive, individualized advising.

Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status.

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Student success rates continue to climb at St. Petersburg College, particularly among First-Time-in-College minority students.

Since 2012, SPC has focused on improving student success rates, defined as earning a grade of A, B or C in a course. Rates for FTIC students taking summer classes have jumped 7.6 percent since 2012, a positive sign since, traditionally, these students have struggled academically and dropped their classes more often than other students.

Gains among FTIC African-American males were particularly strong, rising 23.3 percent since Summer 2012. FTIC Hispanic males saw gains of 17.5 percent.

“These results are a testament to all the hard work that has been put into improving ‘The College Experience’ for our students,” said Jesse Coraggio, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants. “The term-to-term comparisons continue to show impressive course success gains for all students while at the same time narrowing the ‘achievement gap’.”

SPC launched The College Experience in Fall 2012 to keep the college focused on giving students the support they need to earn the degree or certificate that will change their lives. The College Experience includes five tools: out-of-class support, integrated career and academic advising, an online learning plan that specifies courses, new student orientation and early alerts, which identify struggling students early on so they stay enrolled in the courses.

Overall success rates among all students also improved, climbing 2.3 percent to 80.8 percent.

Registration at SPC continues for the fall semester, which begins Aug. 18.

 
summer-success14

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Tampa Bay Times coverage

Bay News 9’s coverage

To help strengthen the skills of Tampa Bay’s future workforce, St. Petersburg College will award $520,000 in scholarships through a National Science Foundation grant to academically talented and financially disadvantaged students who pursue degrees in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.

The initiative will support students as they earn a degree and find employment in STEM fields. The grant will target women and minorities, who have been historically underrepresented in those areas. The program, called Tampa Bay SEEDS (Scholarships for Education & Employment Development in STEM) will also help fill a crucial gap in skilled workers in the Tampa Bay area, Florida and the United States.

“This grant demonstrates SPC’s deep commitment to accessible, learner-centered instruction and STEM education,” said President Bill Law. “The program will ensure a diverse applicant pool for potential STEM scholars at our college. It is very exciting for me personally because the project harmonizes with a student success initiative called The College Experience.”

Through the grant, students will engage in The College Experience by using integrated academic and career advising, tutoring centers, a project-specific orientation and career mentoring. Over the five-year grant, 80 students will be selected to take an employment-centered curriculum that includes job shadowing and internships. Students will work with newly created Campus Faculty Champions, who will give each student a “road map to graduation.” Using this road map, students will identify academic goals, determine which academic support services they need and investigate STEM careers.

“St. Petersburg College is to be commended on its efforts to help students achieve success through a higher education in STEM,” wrote Abdul Lateef, chief executive officer for local manufacturing firm Plasma-Therm, in a letter of support for the project. “This one project could have a lasting impact on the Tampa Bay region and help prepare future workers for high-demand careers in STEM.”

At the state level, Florida will need 120,000 new STEM workers by 2018, according to the Florida Department for Economic Opportunity. In addition, Enterprise Florida estimates that 15 out of the 20 fastest growing job fields in the state will require a STEM education.

Locally, a study commissioned in 2011 by the Tampa Bay Partnership projects that job growth in the high technology electronics and instruments industry and marine and environmental industries will grow by 10% by 2020, resulting in 22,000 new jobs. This report also notes there are 19 billion-dollar corporate headquarters in the Tampa Bay area, with four being Fortune 500 companies. Recently, several national technology companies have located facilities in the area and need an educated workforce with STEM skills.

“We are keenly aware of the worrisome shortage of new graduates entering the workforce in the STEM fields,” said Ed Peachey, president and CEO of CareerSource Pinellas. “We are pleased that as students in the Tampa Bay region look to transition to an institution of higher learning, they will find an abundance of STEM training and degree opportunities at St. Petersburg College. For years, SPC has demonstrated its commitment to STEM and to helping attract a diverse group of students.”

SPC will bring its prior experience with STEM scholarship programs to bear, since it has ten years’ experience with similar National Science Foundation grants and initiatives. For example, from 2007 to 2011, Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) were awarded to 152 students, exceeding the project’s goal of 100.

The $6,500 individual scholarships will be available beginning Spring 2015.

STEM-enrollment

STEM-grant-recipients

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In a column for the June/July issue of the Community College Journal, SPC President Bill Law offers best practices on how colleges can improve student performance and retention. Touting the experience and results from implementing the “game-changing” The College Experience: Student Success at SPC, Law credits students, faculty and staff for making it work.

Check out details, reports and videos about The College Experience: Student Success on our new website at www.spcollege.edu/collegeexperience.
Or visit the site created for students at www.collegeexperience.com

“Eighteen months into this effort, I couldn’t be prouder of what our students, faculty and staff have accomplished together by being intensely focused on our goals and working together across the organization to analyze what works while making continuous adjustments for improvement,” said Law, in the journal’s Lessons in Leadership section. “It is clear that the day-to-day, boots-on-the-ground, ‘try it, fix it, live it’ approach is working for our students.”

ccj coverLaw’s efforts to improve student success and retention were prompted by a common malady at community colleges: Far too few students finishing their courses with a C or better and low student success rates in the 10 most highly enrolled courses, considered the gateway to an associate degree. SPC’s dismal success rates among minorities mirrored those at state and national levels, and Law found them unacceptable.

In 2012, he instituted The College Experience: Student Success to keep the college focused on giving students the support they need to earn the degree or certificate that will change their lives. Those efforts are paying off, as SPC students, particularly minority males, have improved their academic performance and are returning from one semester to the next to complete their degree.

The Community College Journal is a publication of the American Association of Community Colleges, the primary advocacy organization for community colleges at the national level. AACC supports and promotes its member colleges through policy initiatives, innovative programs, research and information and strategic outreach to business and industry and the national news media.

Read the article.

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