VCCS New Horizons 2018

VCCS New Horizons 2018

Share what's happening with New Horizons!

Excellence in Education Awards Student Success Best Practice Summaries

The New Horizons Excellence in Education (EIE) Awards acknowledge the enhancement of student success through academic engagement and innovation within the VCCS. For the 2017 Awards, each college submitted their Student Success Best Practice for a total of 23 projects. Summaries of each project can be found below.


College:

Blue Ridge Community College

Best Practice Name:

SAP Student Success Project: Achieving Success in College

Best Practice Summary:

The SAP Student Success Project: Achieving Success in College was developed in response to the high number of students being placed on financial aid suspension at the end of each academic semester. Placement on financial aid suspension means loss of financial aid for the next semester. BRCC was losing on average 300 students per semester as they didn’t have a plan B to pay for courses out-of-pocket. BRCC did not have intentional, intrusive interventions in place to assist these students. The initiative’s primary objective was to improve the retention of students on financial aid suspension through the use of intrusive advising interventions. These interventions include completion of a 10 module success workshop, a face-to-face meeting with a Success Advisor, and the development of a learning contract which is submitted with the suspension appeal. This project was initiated in summer 2015 and continues to be implemented following each semester. Collected data indicates the following favorable outcomes including : a decrease in the number of students on financial aid suspension each semester; an increase in semester GPAs when students meet with a Success Advisor one or more times during the semester; and higher than average retention rates among SAP students from one semester to the next. Data comparisons for data collected from summer 2015 to present reveal continuous improvement in each of the outcomes listed above.


College:

Central Virginia Community College

Best Practice Name:

Re-writing the Future: Student Success through CVCC’s Writing Center and Peer Tutoring Program

Best Practice Summary:

CVCC’s Writing Center and Peer Tutoring Program emerged during the development of our Quality Enhancement Plan, which identified the need for an increase in tutoring services for developmental English students. Research and data analysis led to the creation of The Writing Center, a peer tutoring program, and a requirement that developmental English students participate in two tutoring sessions per semester. During the first year of the center’s operation, CVCC saw an increase in developmental English students’ success rates – from 62% in 2014-15 to 77% in 2015-16. Student satisfaction survey results demonstrated 51% of students had four or more appointments with 100% indicating they would continue to use the center. Creating a separate comprehensive Writing Center that offers tutoring, workshops, and resources benefits all students. Designating a visible, welcoming location, hiring a Writing Center Director, tutors, and support staff, and ongoing tutor training enabled our success.


College:

Danville Community College

Best Practice Name:

Nursing NCLEX Success Plan

Best Practice Summary:

The first three years of DCC’s nursing program was disappointing in terms of retention, graduation, and NCLEX pass rates. In order to ameliorate student success, nursing faculty, the division dean, and the Foundation director generated the Nursing Success Plan that includes a proactive academic component supported by financial backing from the College’s Foundation. The plan has proved successful! The second year retention rate is currently 96% and the NCLEX pass rate for the last two years has been 100%!


College:

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College

Best Practice Name:

Write Now for the Road Ahead at DSLCC

Best Practice Summary:

The Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Write Now for the Road Ahead student success initiative aims to improve student writing skills in order to better accomplish its mission, prepare students for successful careers and educational pursuits, and enhance student effort in the classroom. This student success initiative was implemented to improve student writing through multiple interventions, namely the implementation of a college writing center, an electronic portfolio, and an increased emphasis on writing across disciplines that includes shared expectations of student writing.


College:

Eastern Shore Community College

Best Practice Name:

Scheduling Student Success: Take 13 & Take 7

Best Practice Summary:

Eastern Shore Community College, the smallest college within the VCCS, chose to address the challenge of access to credentialed faculty and declining enrollments by creating a schedule to meet student needs that would also help them to progress in their program of study.

Take 13 & Take 7 enabled us to offer students the opportunity to earn 13 credit hours in one semester, during two 8 week sessions. The caveat was that students only needed to attend class one day per week. For many Shore residents who need to work, commute long distances and who are balancing family life as well, we were designing a manageable college life. Take 7 allowed us to offer students who completed the FAFSA late the opportunity to start college during the middle of the fall semester rather than delaying to the spring.

Outcome data revealed that students in the Saturday classes completed at a significantly higher rate (65%), enrolled full-time with the college, and earned 13 credits. They outperformed other non-Take 13 students with respect to completion of coursework as well, and enrolled in more credits toward degree completion. While this is our first year working with the project, we are extremely pleased with the success thus far.


College:

Germanna Community College

Best Practice Name:

Success Coaching for Developmental Education Students

Best Practice Summary:

Data from SCHEV, IPEDS, and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) show that students from underserved populations and students placing into developmental coursework are the highest risk groups for not completing a college degree. After investigating national and state models to determine the best approach to assist these students, Germanna created seven Student Success Coach positions in 2014 to provide support to students from orientation to graduation. The target population for the initiative is students enrolled in developmental classes since a disproportionate number of underserved students place into developmental coursework. Using a case management approach, Success Coaches closely track student progress and provide assistance when needed. After two years of program implementation, students in the target population complete ENF and MTE classes at a higher rate than prior to the coaching program. A large part of the program’s success is due to collaboration with developmental math and English faculty.


College:

Reynolds Community College

Best Practice Name:

HERO: Holistic and Engaging Reynolds Orientation

Best Practice Summary:

Reynolds identified the need for a comprehensive orientation that built upon existing orientation programming (SOAR, on campus orientation, and CDL 001, online orientation). HERO (Holistic, Engaging Reynolds Orientation) is a comprehensive orientation process that engages both on-campus and online learners through technologies that are accessible, adaptable to institutional and programmatic changes, and applicable to a community college student populations. HERO merged SOAR and CDL 001 under a common umbrella by employing Go2Orientation. This new online orientation platform allows all Reynolds students to seamlessly access the combined orientation activities with one log-in and gain the skills they need for academic preparation and success. Since its launch for fall 2016 enrollees, the HERO program has shown an increase in student participation in orientation programming (SOAR participation increased by 8% and CDL 001 completion increased by 47%).


College:

John Tyler Community College

Best Practice Name:

Enhanced Advising: Communicating for Success

Best Practice Summary:

Our student success work includes the layering of advising through useful print materials and face-to-face advising to get students where they need to be. We initiated a redesign of the catalog, the academics website, advising forms that allow tailored advice for students, and a required faculty advising component in SDV 100. Advising Centers are engaging with students through a pilot implementation of Skype distance advisement. An initiative implemented in Summer 2015 involves faculty advisors assisting with student registration, freeing up advising center to counsel students, reducing wait-time, and improving faculty comfort with SIS. A significant outcome is 2015-16 FTIC retention increase of 6% (from 49 to 55%). Our faculty report higher advising traffic and richer conversations because of tools, like Advising Sheets, that they can use together. Improving faculty-student interactions means our students better understand their pathways and complete them more effectively, which has increased our graduate numbers.


College:

Lord Fairfax Community College

Best Practice Name:

Dual Enrollment: An Exceptional Career Pathway

Best Practice Summary:

LFCC tackled the problem of HB1184 for Dual Enrollment, coupled with requests from secondary partners. Strategies and implementation included designing high school specific implementation plans, intentional advising, and creating a database record in Access to track student progress after 4 credits. Graduates have increased from 7 in 2013 to 122 in 2016. In addition, students are completing not only the Certificate in General Education but other career studies certificates and degrees. Future plans include the development of additional career pathways.


College:

Mountain Empire Community College

Best Practice Name:

Center for Student Outreach and Success: Individualized Service to Empower Success

Best Practice Summary:

Mountain Empire Community College identified three areas for improvement in relation to access and progress for students. The first was a need for a comprehensive (one-stop-shop) to assist new students through admission/enrollment processes, the second was a more coordinated approach between departments to prepare middle and high school students for post-secondary education, and the last focused on student retention and success. Thus, the Center for Student Outreach and Success (SOS) was developed to provide access as well as retain and advocate for students at MECC. The College Success Coaches, High School Career Coaches, and Student Advocate came together in a central location to provide resources and guidance to students. From January 2016 through November 2016, over 1600 students were served in the Center and 60 students were referred by High School Coaches to the Success Coach Program. The center continues to provide individualized service to empower students towards success.


College:

New River Community College

Best Practice Name:

Intentional Engagement Model of Student Success

Best Practice Summary:

Over 70% of NRCC students are low-income or first-generation and too few complete their programs of study in a timely fashion, if at all. Recognizing the impossibility of improving these trends significantly by focusing on small subpopulations, NRCC supports all students with an intentional engagement model that socializes them to believe that they belong and can succeed in college. The model is characterized by:

  • A custom-designed technology platform that pulls actionable data into one place where referrals can be created and managed in real time;
  • Connection Specialists who act as guides to all NRCC students beginning at the newly required New Student Orientation, and
  • An Engagement Community for each student made up of instructors, advisors, Connection Specialist, tutors and other staff who work with that student.

Since this new model was implemented in Fall 2015, course withdrawal rates have decreased by 25%. Fall-to-fall retention rates have increased by 24%.


College:

Northern Virginia Community College

Best Practice Name:

GPS for Success and Start Strong Initiatives

Best Practice Summary:

NOVA’s QEP (GPS for Success) was implemented for first time to college recent high school graduates and provides them with a case manager-academic advisor who teaches them the importance and skill of academic planning.

Start Strong Policy Mandates were implemented for FALL 2014 semester and supplement the success of GPS for Success students by making necessary components of it mandatory. These mandates were intended to address areas affecting student success at NOVA that were established through Achieving the Dream policy discussions and identified best practices. The mandates were accompanied by registration holds, preventing registration for students who haven’t yet complied with the mandates.

These two initiatives have synergistically united all levels of the College in the advocacy for student success and enhanced student success outcomes. These include the understanding the benefits of advising, which has positively influenced metrics such as increased enrollment in developmental coursework and improved retention statistics.


College:

Paul D. Camp Community College

Best Practice Name:

Students Transitioning Through Education Programs Successfully (S.T.E.P.S.): A Research-Based, Evidence-Driven Model for Effectively Serving Underserved Students

Best Practice Summary:

Students Transitioning through Education Programs Successfully (S.T.E.P.S.) at Paul D. Camp Community College (PDCCC) was developed in September 2012, in response to the Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS), Chancellor’s College Success Coach Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to increase the number of underserved students that graduate, transfer, or earn non-credit credentials. Researchers attribute low retention rates among underserved students to lack of academic preparedness, limited financial resources, family obligations, and/or social incongruence. Coaches utilize research-based, evidence-driven strategies to achieve program results and the goals of Achieve 2015 and Complete 2021. Data reveal significant outcomes as follows: (a) 70% of students maintained a 2.0 or above GPA; (b) 134 degrees, diplomas, certificates, or other credentials earned; (c) over $235,000 in scholarships awarded; and (d) 3-year average retention rates for Fall to Spring (77.86%) and Fall to Fall (49.46%) that consistently exceed the VCCS and PDCCC by 7% to 18%.


College:

Patrick Henry Community College

Best Practice Name:

Showcasing the New PHCC Student Experience

Best Practice Summary:

Resulting from institutional data shared with all stakeholders at Patrick Henry Community College’s annual data summit, the College decided to focus efforts toward gains relative to student entry, retention, progress, completion, employment, and transfer. A data review of the college’s SAILS pilot study focused on early intervention in developmental education and gateway math and English courses showed initial promise in closing the data gaps. Based on stakeholder feedback, the college decided to expand and deploy the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (IPASS) process (utilizing SAILS Early Alert) into all credit-bearing courses taught at the institution. A strategy was developed to implement SAILS early alert interventions in all courses, and SAILS early alerts and interventions are now utilized in every course offered at PHCC. In order to measure the impact and evaluate the effectiveness of the IPASS intervention (SAILS), the college measures fall-to-fall retention for all students in all courses. In the first year of full implementation, the college gained an increase of 8% in fall to fall student retention over the previous year. Impressively, the completion/transfer rate increased by 46%. Early data indicates that SAILS Early Alert/IPASS has made a major positive impact on annual retention rates. Thus, this initiative is deeply embedded in the college’s strategic plan.


College:

Piedmont Virginia Community College

Best Practice Name:

SDV 100: Where Student Success Begins at PVCC

Best Practice Summary:

The SDV 100-College Success Skills course is a unique offering that promotes student success by integrating meta majors, intake and proactive advising, and career services advising. Historically, completion rates in PVCC’s SDV courses were low. This low completion rate impacted the college’s overall retention rates. The course was changed to a graded format with a standard textbook and syllabus, and the content of the course was focused on specific learners (adults and recent high school graduates). More recently, the content of the SDV course was focused around disciplines to make the content more relevant and contextualized to PVCC’s educational programs. In an effort to increase student success, the content of the SDV course is now contextualized around PVCC’s five Meta Majors, and the course includes a career capstone project. The SDV courses is required in the first semester, making it an integral component of PVCC’s intake and proactive advising process.


College:

Rappahannock Community College

Best Practice Name:

SOAR with Student Success

Best Practice Summary:

Based on the information that was presented at the Student Success Leadership Institute (SSLI), the Rappahannock Community College SSLI team identified the website and marketing materials as areas where the momentum loss prevention framework could be utilized to streamline how information about the college was presented, and reduce barriers to student success. After conducting a series of focus groups with students, the printed SOAR magazine and website were redesigned using this feedback. The focus groups helped highlight that the attributes that drew students to the college and used them to create a unique RCC brand and celebrated in the college marketing materials. The new site was designed to make it faster for visitors to find what they are looking for, anticipate what questions they may have about how to begin the on-boarding process, as well as questions they may have about specific meta-majors and programs of studies.


College:

Southside Virginia Community College

Best Practice Name:

“Make It Happen” Program

Best Practice Summary:

Make It Happen

African-American Males in Higher Education

A Southside Virginia Community College Retention and Recruitment Program

Historically, African-American male students have been significantly less successful than their female and white counterparts relative to retention and graduation rates. Southside Virginia Community College initiated MAKE IT HAPPEN in the Fall of 1998 in an effort to enhance the academic success of these students. This comprehensive program provides meaningful activities for participants and establishes an institutional climate supportive of the success of African-American males.

Academic support activities are an essential component of MAKE IT HAPPEN. Academic Support Seminars provide information and training on note taking and study skills, test taking strategies, time management, and overcoming test anxiety. Peer tutors, under the direction of program staff, are used to provide academic support in subject areas determined by student need. Attempts are made to identify tutors who have succeeded at overcoming barriers similar to those confronting program participants.

MAKE IT HAPPEN is designed to:

  • Ensure the availability of academic support services in subject areas determined by individual student needs
  • Ensure meaningful contact between program participants and college faculty and staff
  • Promote academic achievement as evidenced by a GPA of 2.0 or better, continued enrollment through three semesters, and graduation and/or transfer

College:

Southwest Virginia Community College

Best Practice Name:

SWCC & FACA: Student Success Is Our Business.

Best Practice Summary:

SWCC embarked upon guided pathways after attending the Virginia Student Success Leadership Institute in 2015. For the initial efforts, goals were set to clean up program and system information to clarify information for students and advisors. In Summer 2016, the Financial Aid Course Audit (FACA) tool was promoted by the VCCS and SWCC chose to implement for the Fall 2016 term. The guided pathways work allowed SWCC to proactively assist students in clarifying their program and course selection in order to comply with financial aid guidelines, and also contributed to increased enrollment. SWCC initially processed 1100 enrolled students through the FACA tool with 374 ineligible courses. With incredible teamwork from across campus, SWCC reduced the number of awarded students with ineligible courses by 20% in 20 days. Approximately 600 students were served at a One-Stop table bookstore initiative over 10 days while FTEs increased by 47% over the implementation timeline.


College:

Tidewater Community College

Best Practice Name:

Accelerated Degree Program

Best Practice Summary:

TCC’s Accelerated Degree Program was developed as a completion by design, academic pathway program using the General Studies degree. Participants are able to earn an associate’s degree in one year. The program addresses some of the challenges faced by community college students: low graduation rates, timely degree completion, and effective academic advising. The program also serves as an alternative option for students who are considering faster, accelerated programs through for-profit institutions.

An initial cohort of 16 students was selected from an applicant pool of new high school graduates as well as adult learners. A series of meetings were held between key implementation campus team members (Academic Deans, Counseling, First Year Success, Veteran Affairs, Financial Aid, Admissions, and Enrollment). During these meetings, the curricular pathway, class schedule, timeline, and faculty roster were developed.

The program’s outcomes are measured by academic performance, retention, cohort size, and transfer to four-year institutions.


College:

Thomas Nelson Community College

Best Practice Name:

Advising: Plan now. Succeed now.

Best Practice Summary:

Thomas Nelson Community College intends to improve student success through a deliberate and effective advising process that integrates the expertise of teaching faculty and professional advisors. To this end, the College has developed Advising: Plan Now. Succeed Now., a new model for advising that was selected after review of institutional data on the student experience. Through this initiative, students will explore career interests early and will be assigned to professional advisors and faculty mentors that are specific to their academic division.

Assessment of the plan will be based on student achievement relative to three primary learning outcomes about goal-setting and decision-making, as well as the extent to which retention and completion rates for the College’s students improve. The College has set targets for each of these outcomes, and actual performance relative to those targets will be used to evaluate the success of the plan and inform any needed improvements.


College:

Virginia Highlands Community College

Best Practice Name:

Improving Outcomes for Student Success

Best Practice Summary:

In 2011, the Virginia Appalachian Tricollege Nursing Program’s (VATNP) first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate dropped below state and accreditation standards. A review of assessment data associated with end of program student learning outcomes suggested a relationship between standardized progressive testing and NCLEX-RN success. Faculty developed a student success plan associated with progressive testing related to high risk courses. The plan included practice testing, remediation, proctored testing, and retesting and was implemented as a graded course activity described in the course syllabi of each course. Data from progressive testing results was compared with individual NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate and program completion for over 750 students over a five year period. The first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN increased from 79% in 2011 to 93% in 2015.


College:

Virginia Western Community College

Best Practice Name:

Navigating Guided Pathways with Program Advisors

Best Practice Summary:

Virginia Western identified that students were unclear where to seek advising help and that the advising center was inundated with students that it could serve appropriately. As a result of focus groups and surveys, three program advisors were established in the three different academic schools to help support faculty advising and provide additional advising for returning program-placed students. These positions were included as permanent positions in the budget. In the 2016 CCESSE survey, 32% of students now note their program advisor as their best source of academic advising and the 2016 survey showed a 12.6% decrease in students reporting that they received their best source of advising help through family or friends. Program advisors average seeing 140 students per month and clear 1400 SAILS flags a semester; retention rates for students in these groups has risen to 54.5%. The path to achieving this best practice is to provide accessible advising.


College:

Wytheville Community College

Best Practice Name:

Access Success: Creating Guided Pathways to Student Success

Best Practice Summary:

By incorporating professional development, change management, and a shared vision, Wytheville Community College (WCC) created a guided pathways web tool that enables students to explore career options and choose a program of study. WCC faculty have mapped all of the college’s programs of study, and program offerings are clustered into seven meta-majors. Each meta-major includes not only information about academic requirements for each program of study, but also current data regarding industry need, labor market statistics, salary ranges, and area job openings. Prospective students are able to explore various program opportunities and determine the amount of time needed to complete program requirements so that they may ultimately achieve their career goals. The web tool is easy to navigate and has been designed for use on regular and mobile devices. Since its launch last fall, the tool is now a permanent and prominent featured link on WCC’s website homepage and is being widely used by prospective students, college advisors, and high school guidance counselors to help students make well-informed decisions about their education and career pathways.