Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Supporting Student Success

Similar to the Student Intake Design Team, the Student Support Design Team took their charter very seriously - to "research and explore ideas to make thoughtful and daring recommendations to significantly improve the student support system." The group went above and beyond in their efforts to research best practices at other institutions. The notion of "student support" can encompass a broad range of services and attributes of the College in providing the overall student experience. The Team did a great job of further defining their task and clarifying their focus to provide a set of important and meaningful recommendations that included:
  • Implement institution wide changes to Developmental Education.
  • Establish an Office for the First Year Experience.
  • In the Master Plan, include the construction of a multi use “Learning Commons”, centralizing all student supports.
  • Develop a strategy to create a culture of service learning and volunteerism.
  • Expand the services and staff of Institutional Assessment, Grants and Institutional Research, and Information Technology to collect information allowing data driven decision making.
  • The college should implement systems to promote student and academic department interactions aimed at building community. Each academic department should implement specific ongoing activities to foster and encourage student and faculty engagement that will promote a sense of shared academic experience, commitment to academic excellence, and belonging.

Some of these recommendations are already being incorporated into the updated strategic plan (coordination of developmental education) or the review of the organizational structure (capacity in the assessment, grants, and IT functions). As the College pursues the update of the Campus Master Plan, conversations surrounding facility needs related to academic and student support will be central to that effort. Other recommendations like establishing an Office of the First-Year Experience, service learning, and academic department connections will require some deliberation to find the right window for implementation.

Improving our student support system requires a strategic look and includes few "quick fixes". While some things can be addressed in the short-term, the emphasis with these and other design team recommendations will be to make the initial changes that will create capacity for even greater changes in the future. Thank you to all of the members of the Student Support Design Team for their efforts in completing their charter and providing the College with useful and insightful recommendations. A complete list of the Team's recommendations can be found at http://www.mvcc.edu/fcltystaff/involvement/support.cfm. Please review them and share any reactions or reflections with me at presblog@mvcc.edu.