Weekly Update – February 7, 2010

on February 7, 2010 in Weekly Update

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  Hope you will enjoy the game with family and friends!

This week I spent the majority of my time, along with approximately 15 other faculty and administrators from San Jacinto College, at the Achieving the Dream 2010 Strategy Institute.   The Achieving the Dream Initiative (AtD) is entering its sixth year with more than 100 institutions in 22 states participating.  AtD is committed to a long-term, continuous improvement process that is entirely focused on the success of students.  AtD is dedicated to addressing the challenges of developmental education and helping them move to credit courses. AtD is committed to creating equity and closing achievement gaps. All AtD colleges have distinguished themselves because of their willingness to examine student outcome data and, just as importantly, to have courageous conversations about areas in which improvement is needed.

San Jacinto College became an Achieving the Dream College in 2006. Since that time we have worked with a coach and data facilitator and have involved groups of faculty, staff, and administrators through our core and data teams. We have tried and funded several interventions focused on student success, but last year we realized that we were not making a great enough impact because the projects were not being scaled to address large populations of students. Our next conversations were focused on making a greater impact.  From those discussions emerged the mandatory orientation that was put in place last fall for all first time in college (FTIC) students; approximately 5,300 students participated.  We are gathering data from the fall completion and success rates and will hold focus groups with students to gain an understanding of what worked and what didn’t.  Additionally, the Just One More and SJC Data and You campaigns are related to our desire to engage more people throughout the College on the student success agenda and AtD initiative.

Based on discussions among the SJC representatives at the Strategy Institute, it is apparent that we have not done a thorough job of explaining how all of the pieces come together. There is confusion over AtD versus our discussions around student success. Let me try to explain how they are connected.  When the College became an AtD college, it was clear that we didn’t want AtD to be an add-on project; rather, we wanted it to become a part of the institution. We talked about AtD initially, but then we began talking about our student success agenda.  For many of us deeply involved in AtD, the transition was clear.  Ultimately, AtD and student success mean the same. But for those not as intimately involved, it may have been unclear.

The bottom line is that AtD and our student success agenda are the same.  If you would like to know more about the national Achieving the Dream initiative, go to www.achievingthedream.org.

Please watch your emails this week.  You will be receiving information regarding our College Community Day on February 16th.  All full-time employees will meet at Central Campus at 8:15 a.m. for registration and breakfast.  The information you will receive this week will tell you the exact registration location (it will be alphabetically by last name). We will kick-off at 9:00 a.m. Dr. Byron McClenney, Dr. Brad Phillips, and I will facilitate the morning presentations. Following lunch, we will have small group meetings regarding the morning discussions and the development of the strategic plan. Your input will help guide the strategies that will be put in place to accomplish the strategic goals established by the Board of Trustees.  Finally, we will gather as a large group for reporting and for outlining next steps. I know this process seems somewhat unusual, but your input is important to the development of the College’s strategic plan.  It cannot be “my” plan; rather, it must be “our” plan.  Once again, watch your email this week for more details.

Have a great week and remember what each of us can and do to have an impact on our students!



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