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Articles: Student Success

Liberal Arts programs need certain elements of hands-on training to better equip their students for specific trades, careers or professions. At the same time, Tech Ed programs could benefit from the inclusion of instructional elements designed to produce more virtuous, knowledgeable and articulate graduates. If Liberal Arts programs of study could be made a little more like Tech Ed, perhaps graduates would find it easier to obtain suitable employment.

The road to employment—Ivy Tech’s Machine Tool Technology program, developed by employers in need of skilled workers, offers certificate, technical certificate and associate degree options ranging from 18 to 60 credit hours.

From construction workers and machinists to occupational therapists and fire fighters, skilled laborers are in high demand—and shortages of employees are making it difficult for companies to fill jobs. Community colleges are well-positioned to train workers to fill these skills gaps.

TRAINING FOR EMT JOBS—At Rowan College at Burlington County’s TEC Building, employees of the paramedics company Virtua can put their tuition reimbursement benefits to use. RCBC is growing and improving its Health Sciences programs in partnership with the company.

There is no one-size-fits-all partnership between the community college and industry. Arrangements can range from brief partnerships that fill immediate hiring needs to long-term strategic relationships that provide ongoing training and development for current and future employees.

The Industry Workforce Needs Coalition, a national network of businesses striving to increase the number of skilled workers, outlines three separate levels of industry-aligned partnerships:

Skill-building—Former coal industry workers may find them-selves at the University of Wyoming researching how to use water byproducts from oil and gas wells.

Universities are creating scholarships and entrepreneurial opportunities to help the unemployed and underemployed gain footing in an ever-greening economy.

Students who arrive at college with a declared major don’t necessarily graduate in a timely manner, and taking the time to explore different academic routes doesn’t always add time to a student’s college career, according to recent research from EAB.

To help new students make the most educated choice, Georgia State University analyzes student performance to guide them in choosing a major that fits for their academic strengths and financial situation.

Various campus communities have different expectations of the career center. (Click to enlarge)

1. Encourage drop-ins.

During “career cafés” at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan campus in New Jersey, students can stop in for coffee and cookies, enjoy some music and chat with career counselors.

“With this generation, something pops into their head and they want to deal with it right then and there,” says Donna J. Robertson, university director of career development for the three-campus institution.

Looking the part: Students at Missouri University of Science & Technology need not venture off campus or even pay anything to find their first professional attire. After a résumé review in the career center, they can jaunt across the hall to the suit closet and emerge career-ready.

Raising awareness of traditional and newer career-preparation services, which thanks to technology can often be delivered remotely, is essential. Career centers are proving, too, that they can create innovative programming to entice participation. Here are several successful approaches worth adopting.

What do you see as the biggest mistake colleges and universities make when implementing student success technology?

“Retention technology can identify potential at-risk students, but then you need success coaches in place to effectively engage students. Helping coaches understand data and apply it proactively instead of reactively will empower them to reach out long before red flags surface.”

—Steve Pappageorge, chief product officer and senior vice president, Helix Education

Achieving smooth deployment of a new student success system can be challenging, say administrators who have tackled the challenge. (Gettyimages.com: Godruma • Nidwlw • Aarrows)

Early alert systems. Transfer credit assessment tools. Adaptive technologies. Apps to push student reminders. Career assessment software. Colleges and universities nationwide use these and many other success technologies to help students improve grades, increase involvement and persist to graduation with as little debt as possible.

Former Ivy Tech president Tom Snyder's Snyder’s book, "The Community College Solution," portrays community colleges as the true pathway to the American dream.

Former Ivy Tech president Tom Snyder's Snyder’s book, The Community College Solution, portrays community colleges as the true pathway to the American dream. But more important, it is a pathway not burdened by overwhelming debt.

Mike Krause lead Tennessee's Drive to 55 initiative to increase the percentage of state residents with a postsecondary degree or certificate.

Mike Krause has been appointed executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission by Gov. Bill Haslam.

Krause now spearheads the state’s Focus On College and Student Success (FOCUS) Act. Krause served as executive director of Drive to 55, the state’s initiative to increase the percentage of state residents with a postsecondary degree or certificate. He also managed the launch of the Tennessee Promise scholarship and mentoring program.

President Diana Natalicio’s “access and excellence” formula powers the University of Texas at El Paso's mission. Access means working with local schools to develop talented students of limited resources. On the excellence side, a robust research environment provides the financial and academic fuel.

Stories of student success filled the air a few cobblestoned blocks from the NACUBO annual meeting headquarters in Montreal this July, as administrators from six institutions formally accepted Models of Excellence awards. CASHNet, the dinner’s host, sponsors UB’s Models of Excellence program.

Strengthening the community: An entire residence hall at Onondaga Community College is now dedicated to about a dozen themed living/learning communities—proving you need not be at a four-year institution to experience the living/learning experience.

A dozen or so living-learning communities at Onondaga Community College are designed around themes such as wellness, criminal justice and STEM. About 30 percent of students who live on campus will be a part of such of community this school year.

Almost all U.S. colleges and universities now award certificates, digital badges and other forms of microcredentials. Driving this fast-growing trend are workforce millennials who want to learn, for instance, how to operate an Amazon delivery drone or repair a self-driving car without having to earn another degree.

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