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Published on February 9th, 2015 | by editor

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Improving the Student Experience, from Registration to Graduation

Elzbieta Jakubczak - a member of Wright's Transfer Services team and Zulema Hunt, a current student ambassador - are two recent Wright College graduates -- congratulations!

Wright College graduates Elzbieta Jakubczak – a member of Wright’s Transfer Services team – and Zulema Hunt (May 2014).

Student success at City Colleges of Chicago rests on two primary pillars: learning and completion. Students have to learn successfully in their courses, and they have to complete their degree or certificate programs in order to benefit fully from their learning.

Through Reinvention and through the diligent work of faculty and staff, we have made great strides in improving both learning and completion. For the first time in Wright’s history – and for the first time at any City College – more than 1,000 students earned their associate degrees within the fiscal year – 1,031 to be precise, in FY14. This exceeds Wright’s target by 21 percent and represents an increase of 20 percent over the number of degrees awarded in FY13. The number of degrees awarded at Wright has more than doubled since the start of Reinvention.

While completion rates at City Colleges and Wright College are showing significant improvements, much work remains to be done.

As one of its objectives, City Colleges’ ongoing Reinvention effort has focused on the challenges associated with remedial education. Most students entering CCC begin in developmental or foundational studies courses. Most of these students never successfully engage in the credit curriculum. For us to see these students succeed, we will have to try different approaches.

A team of staff from Wright and across CCC are working to re-imagine and improve the CCC student experience.

A team of faculty and staff members from Wright and across City Colleges are working to reimagine and improve the CCC student experience. Pictured here (from left): Glasetta Barksdale, Rasmus Lynnerup, Channel Harris, Aaron Feinstein, Linda Huertas, Sherri Farris, Heather LaBelle, Rich Chandler, Allison Zures, and Joan Lee.

We are now at a point where we have the knowledge, values, infrastructure and support to make this effort our collective priority. As a result, Wright College and the Reinvention team – guided by input from faculty and staff across CCC – are working together to reimagine the community college student experience. This means giving students relevant, structured, and supported paths to succeed in college and helping them every step of the way – from registration to graduation.

We will borrow from best practices. We will accept any and all suggestions and ideas. The effort will ask us to analyze and change many of the policies, processes, and practices in place across the entire college, as well as at the District, to meet the complex needs of our students. It is an ambitious task and one that we shoulder with humility and optimism.

Four broad challenges will guide this effort:

  • How do we develop a new student intake process that: a) helps us understand student goals, constraints, and preferences; b) sets clear expectations; c) is actionable for groups and for individual students?
  • How can we utilize the expertise of our faculty and staff to: a) evaluate our students’ academic and non-academic strengths and needs; b) establish working collaborative relationships with students to provide assistance; and c) create actionable strategies to help students – regardless of their level of academic preparation – navigate their entry into college more successfully?
  • How do we develop and implement a process for students to choose and enter into their academic pathways that is speedy, easy to use, informative, and helpful?
  • How can we create an environment that provides ongoing integrated, individualized student supports, both inside and outside of the classroom?

Over the next few weeks and months, we will be providing updates on the progress of the project and soliciting feedback from the Wright community. We are working on a robust communication plan and a mechanism to solicit participation and guidance. Much more will follow. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments on the project, please email me at wrightpresident@ccc.edu.

With all best wishes,

David
David Potash, President
Wilbur Wright College

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