COM recertified as Achieving the Dream Leader College
Nearly one half of all students seeking higher education choose a community college, but when life intervenes, fewer than half finish what they start.
College of the Mainland has been recertified as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, part of a national initiative to change those statistics and ensure all students can reach their goals.
In the past three years of being an Achieving the Dream Leader College, COM has improved the success of students in several areas,including the number of students continuing from fall to spring and the number of those successfully completing developmental (remedial) English.
Developmental education English success rates increased between 2009 and 2013 from 58.7 to 66 percent. Fall-to-spring persistence rates rose from 71.6 percent in 2010-11 to 72.6 percent in 2013-14, which is up from a baseline measure of 65.3 (the baseline persistence rate when COM joined the Achieving the Dream initiative in 2006).
“Achieving the Dream has always been targeted at improving the success rate of students traditionally disadvantaged: first-generation, minority or low-income students,” said Vice President for Instruction Dr. Pam Millsap. “We look at what will serve the students well. We looked at successful completion rates in developmental classes and that sparked various interventions.”
The college launched a number of initiatives on campus to increase student persistence including using students’ photos on class rosters so professors could call each student by name early in the semester. It also increased offerings of Psychology for Success classes, which guide students in the study and life skills needed to excel.
To assist students not yet ready for college-level classes, COM also shortened the pathway through developmental classes. The college combined three English and three reading developmental classes into just two integrated classes. It began offering eight-week in addition to 16-week courses so students could finish both levels in a single semester.
The college also is offering alternatives to college algebra for those in non-math-related majors.
“Students have options. We will have three math pathways: college algebra and statistics this year, and we’ll add quantitative reasoning next year,” said Millsap. “The options allow students to choose the path that best fits their major.”
In order to qualify as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, COM submitted data demonstrating three successive years of improvement on specific indicators.
An Achieving the Dream Leader College since 2011, COM plans further interventions to help all students achieve their educational goals. There are now six student success council committees aimed at removing barriers for students including providing more financial aid, increasing ease of admissions, providing support services and offering advising and career planning.
“We are excited to recognize your commitment to improving student success and equity, and demonstrating measurable gains on important student success metrics over a three-year period,” wrote Lauren Lewis, Communications Manager of Achieving the Dream. “Leader Colleges embody the goal of Achieving the Dream: lasting change that helps more students achieve their goals.”