At a recent faculty and staff meeting, I challenged our employees to develop a mindset of continuous improvement. This method provides a system and structure for individual professional development and job enrichment. Continuous improvement is not only important for people but for our institution as well. This is how Achieving the Dream (ATD) helps Stanly Community College (SCC).
Achieving the Dream is a comprehensive reform movement whose goal is to help our students successfully complete their program of study, thereby achieving their dream of a college education and economic opportunity.
Over the past several years, ATD has helped SCC continuously improve how we help our students become successful.
- First, we instituted a new Developmental Math class to help accelerate learning and reduce the amount of time students spend in developmental math courses.
- Next, we implemented a Multiple Measures of Placement Policy as a way to help students overcome English and Math barriers. Due to this implementation, completion and success rates of the different student subgroups has subsequently improved.
- Finally, SCC developed a unique approach to the Multiple Measures Module called, "Let's Go Racing!" It is a method to boost success rates in first year college Math and English courses.
Recently, a team from SCC traveled to San Francisco to attend the national Achieving the Dream conference where nearly 270 community colleges shared successes and failures and learned about some of the transformational initiatives. One of the initiatives we incorporated from this conference is the Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool or ICAT. This is an online tool for SCC’s faculty and staff to help us assess our strengths and areas for improvement in the seven key dimensions. These dimensions are:
- Leadership & Vision
- Data & Technology
- Teaching & Learning
- Engagement & Communication
- Strategy & Planning
- Policies & Practices
Following the administration of the ICAT, we will work with ATD coaches to analyze aggregate and various data. This will give valuable insight into our strengths and areas for improvement and will generate ideas on how to build and strengthen our processes across the seven capacity areas mentioned earlier.
The results will give us an excellent structure to develop action plans as we move forward with our student success work. For more information on this initiative, contact Ms. Carmen Elliott Nunalee, J.D., Vice President of Strategic Planning and Compliance, at 704-991-0249.
Dr. John Enamait
Stanly Community College