Student Enrichment and Success Initiatives at GBC
Complete College America and the National Governor's Association Complete to Compete
As noted on the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) website, Nevada is one of 24 states who has committed, through a pact with Complete College America, to increase the number of students completing college with a certificate or degree. Under this pact, Nevada agreed to: 1) establish annual state and campus-specific degree and credential completion goals through 2020; 2) develop and implement aggressive state and campus level action plans for meeting the state's college completion goals; and 3) collect and report common measures of progress. The pact with Complete College America aligns directly with The National Governors' Association Initiative, Complete to Compete.
As a member institution of NSHE, Great Basin College is taking these national and state-level initiatives seriously. "GBC has always focused on student success and facilitating student progress toward their educational goals, whether that be a certificate or degree, enhanced job skills, or personal enrichment. These state and national initiatives provide additional focus on preparing an educated workforce for the benefit of communities, the state of Nevada, and beyond," stated President Lynn Mahlberg. The projects outlined below are a direct result of GBC's committment to students.
Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant (C3TG)
GBC is participating in this three-year project grant along with a consortium of Nevada's community colleges. The overall goal is to increase student success and retention in select, short-term training programs. At GBC, those programs are the AAS in Diesel Technology and the AAS in Electrical Systems Technology. If funded, GBC will implement pilot projects to: 1) embed mathematical instruction within the diesel and electrical courses so that students are functioning at the math 116 level when they graduate from the programs; 2) further develop a summer bridge program in mathematics for students requiring remediation (see below); and 3) fund a retention specialist to support students in achieving their educational goals. Right now, the Department of Labor is in final negotiations on the project.
Dream It Do It
This campaign was developed by the National Association of Manufacturers to address manufacturing's outdated image and current shortage of qualified job applicants. Great Basin College has been involved since September 2011 when it was introduced to a group of community stake holders. Since that time, local Chairperson Bret Murphy, Dean of Applied Science at GBC, has conducted several meetings and has worked closely with local businesses to assess manufacturing and mining needs.
The project has included the development of a Skills Certification Assessment Map which identified existing training programs and established a baseline for local technical training opportunities. Next, the Elko County Economic Diversification Authority will survey businesses to identify current and future workforce skills needs so that industry needs and training opportunities can be better aligned. Finally, students will be recruited into these technical training programs and the Dream It Do It campaign will help leverage funds for recruitment purposes.
Don't Wait Graduate! Campaign
GBC is participating in a state-wide campaign to encourage former students to re-enroll and complete their remaining classes in order to graduate. Pat Collins, Director of GBC's Career and Advising Center, is our re-entry concierge, and says "I'm here on hand to assist prospective students in this process, although all former students are encourged to return to school." This campaign focuses on those who have completed at least 30 credits toward a certificate or associates degree or who have completed 90 or more credits toward a bachelors degree, who have at least a 2.0 grade point average and who were not enrolled during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Student Retention Efforts
Early Alert Program at GBC: "This is really a continuation of a student retention program we've had in place for several semesters now," states Julie Byrnes, Director of the office of Enrollment Management. "The implementation of new student information software in fall 2011 allows us to better identify students that may need assistance." In MyGBC, instructors can identify students that are at risk of not completing their course by clicking on the Early Alert icon next to the student's name and completing a brief questionnaire. The confidential information is submitted electronically to Julie and the student is then assigned to a Retention Counselor on staff or a student Peer Mentor/Success Coach. The student is then contacted and offered information and referrals for services such as tutoring, counseling, or advisement. This spring, the success of the program will be assessed and identified improvements will be put into place for next fall.
Other Retention efforts: Last summer, the Enrollment Management office focused on 12 students who self-identified as withdrawing from GBC and indicated that they wanted to be contacted. The Enrollment Management/Retention Office made three attempts to contact each student: two students had bad contact information and were not contacted; five students were left messages, but never returned the calls - one of them did register for the fall 2011 semester; and of the remaining five students that were contacted, two enrolled, two may re-enroll in the future and one has no plans to enroll at this time. More information can be found here.
Fulfilling the GBC Mission
In 2011, GBC revised the wording of its mission statement to more succinctly state the elements of its mission. Our mission, as approved by the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), is as follows:
Great Basin College enriches people's lives by providing student-centered, post-secondary education to rural Nevada. Educational, cultural, and related economic needs of the multicounty service area are met through programs of university transfer, applied science and technology, business and industry partnerships, developmental education, community service, and student support services in conjunction with certificates and associate and select baccalaureate degrees.
Based on this mission, GBC recognizes three institutional themes: Providing Student Enrichment, Building Partnerships, and Serving Rural Nevada. Three objectives have been developed for each of the Themes, and these will guide GBC in attaining mission fulfillment.
GBC and Elko County School District Partnership: An issue of national concern is the rate at which high school students are not prepared for college-level English and mathematics courses. To address this concern, GBC and Elko County School District are taking a collaborative approach in two main areas. First, teachers from both the college and the high schools have met to review the subjects and course sequences taught to align the expected outcomes at different levels. Then, to help identify early the students not on schedule to graduate from high school with adequate preparation, GBC is making available the Accuplacer Placement test for high school juniors. "By identifying the level of placement in math and English during their junior year, students, parents, and teachers know what must be done in the last year of high school in order for students to reach the performance level needed for college work," states Mike McFarlane, Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Math Refresher Course: GBC currently offers a two-week long math refresher class prior to each semester that covers math 091, 095, and 096 in a single, non-credit tutorial. Many of the enrolled students have been able to raise their Accuplacer scores enough to enroll into a higher level class. "Instructors are considering creating modules so that students can focus on specific math concepts and English is now working to develop a similar remedial English refresher class this spring," stated Linda Uhlenkott, Chair of the English Department.
Summer Bridge Program
A non-credit, summer 2011 class (CMP 090Z) was offered to entering students to prepare them for college level mathematics required for the career and technical programs at GBC. It was designed so that students who successfully passed the course would be able to enroll directly in MATH 116 in fall 2011, avoiding remediation classes MATH 091 and/or MATH 095. Of the 17 students who enrolled, 14 students successfully passed (82%) the summer class. 100% of the CMP 090Z students are enrolled in classes, fall 2011, and 82% are in MATH 116. Seventy-five percent of those who passed CMP 090Z also passed Math 116.
Revised Admission Requirements
In an effort to better determine college readiness, in December, 2011, the Board of Regents approved a revision to its existing policy on community college admissions which will go into effect as of fall 2012. The revised policy states that for admission purposes a student seeking a degree or certificate must be a high school graduate or its equivalent or a qualified international student. Jan King, Director of Admissions and Registration, says "A student who does not initially meet the community college requirements for admission may apply to be admitted as non-degree seeking. Once they demonstrate college readiness, based on placement test scores or completion of college courses,
we'll admit them as a degree-seeking student."
General Education Review
An ad hoc Faculty Senate committee has been created as of spring 2012 in response to both internal and external requests to review General Education.
Partnership for Equity and Policy
The Center for Urban Education (CUE), Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and the Nevada System for Higher Education (NSHE) partnered in 2010-2011 to analyze Nevada student enrollment and completion data using the Benchmarking Equity and Student Success Tool (BESST) developed by CUE. "This tool illustrates the power of breaking down student enrollment data into key milestones, such as earning 24 credits toward a degree or certificate, in order to identify which group of students is more likely to stop out and when they are likely to do that," said Cathy Fulkerson, Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. GBC plans to implement the use of these concepts for internal reporting and management purposes to ensure the success of all GBC students.
Accelerated Degree Programs
Great Basin College has offered accelerated Associate of Applied Science degrees since 1998, and has offered accelerated one-year Certificate of Achievements since 1994 in four technical programs: Diesel Technology, Welding Technology, Industrial Millwright Technology, and Electrical Systems Technology. These programs have been in high demand since the early 1990s when local mining industries expanded their Nevada operations and needed a dramatic increase in skilled employees. Local mining companies were hiring people from across the US but this imported workforce was not as stable as hoped, and some of these employees worked a short time before returning to their home towns. "Local mining companies asked if our technical programs could be changed to an accelerated format and if we could recruit heavily from the local communities. We responded to both requests and the accelerated programs were created," stated Bret Murphy, Dean of Applied Sciences.
To help recruit students into these programs the Maintenance Training Cooperative (MTC) scholarship was created. Students apply for the scholarship by April 1, every year and applicants know their scholarship status by the end of May. Currently, the MTC scholarships are $5,000 and most come with an internship/job, where recipients can earn as much as $15 per hour while working and attending school.
Students interested in attending these programs start in the middle of August and complete their program by the second week in June. Courses within these programs are somewhat unique in that students attend their technical classes in block schedules. A typical block schedule has students attending one technical class, four weeks, five hours per day, four days per week. This schedule allows students to concentrate on one technical subject at a time, and helps them cope with the accelerated schedule. The accelerated programs have been very successful and have allowed many students to realize their career goals, achieving high paying jobs in a very short time period.