- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Editor’s Note: As part of this week’s Focus examining Randolph Community College’s areas of focus, today’s article looks at the Presidential Initiatives for student success, quality education and employees.

ASHEBORO — Randolph Community College’s average student varies according to what programs he or she is taking.

For Curriculum Programs, the average student is 25 years of age and seeking an Associate Degree. Part-time students make up 55 percent of enrollment; females account for 63 percent.

RCC’s latest Armadillo Profile also shows that 40 is the average age for Continuing Education Programs, the non-credit offerings. Males account for 66 percent of enrollment in these primarily occupational extension courses.

Two of the five annual Presidential Initiatives focus on students: Quality Education and Student Success. The present initiatives address the college’s core values identified in its strategic plan and are covering three years, from 2014-17, with different strategies each year.

A third area of focus is on RCC employees. (Sunday’s article examined the other two focus areas of community and radical hospitality.)

Dr. Bob Shackleford introduced the initiatives when he became RCC president in 2007. Last week, he identified some of the previous ones that he is especially proud of because of how they have benefited the college and Randolph County community.

Two of these focused on leadership. A Student Leadership Academy was started in 2007; its eighth year-long class graduated in the spring. The President’s Educational Leadership Academy began in 2010 for faculty and staff; its 10th semester-long program also concluded this spring.

Second-year strategies for all five focus areas will be announced by RCC President Dr. Bob Shackleford at the Fall 2015 Convocation for faculty and staff on Aug. 13.

Quality education

The three-year initiative in this area of focus is to “revitalize RCC programs.” The first-year strategy has been to “revitalize the Interior Design program.”

This once was one of the college’s showcase offerings, like its photography program, with a waiting list for students. It evolved around the furniture industry, which has changed over the years along with public perception that interior design is simply home decorating.

Over the past year, new opportunities for high school students have been developed through the Career and College Promise pathway. An Architectural Technology and Design certificate is now available and there are discussions about offering continuing education classes.

The program’s technologies have been updated to include 3-D printing and Facebook is being used to increase social media traffic — the postings averaging 400 views weekly during the year.

There’s collaboration with industry to offer students paid, on-the-job experience during the High Point Furniture Market and a video segment of RCC graduates was filmed during the spring market for publicity purposes.

Reaching out to local and international contacts to enrich student learning, renowned interior designers have agreed to serve on the advisory board and there’s involvement with the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library and its scholarship competition.

Another RCC program will be identified next month for a second-year revitalization strategy.

Student success

“Excel in key measures of student success” is the initiative for this focus area. The first-year strategy has been to “reduce the percent of at-risk students who go on academic probation.”

Demographic and academic data of fall semester 2013 at-risk students was researched to identify trends to help RCC officials detect the students who most at risk during their first semester. These are the students who have GPAs between 2.0 and 2.2. A student is on academic probation when their GPA falls below 2.0. The fall semester 2014 analysis was also completed for comparison.

At a RCC Board of Trustees meeting earlier this year, Dr. J.W. Kelley, vice president for student services, presented information showing that “students under 21, first semester, are most likely not performing well with us. … Hispanics are another population and most of our Hispanic students are under 21.” He said that young students need to be the target group for additional attention.

Measures were taken to implement better ways to help at-risk students access resources. Counselors are assisting in this area by providing information at initial meetings and through the College Student Success class which each new RCC student has been required to take since 2011 — a result of an earlier initiative.

More than 100 early alerts to students resulted in individual counseling sessions on student success skills. The result was that a limited implementation led to a modest decrease in academic probation while fuller implementation is projected to produce even lower academic probation rates.

Other student success efforts in the past have resulted in improved customer service for students. The Welcome Center, which opened in May 2011 on the Asheboro Campus, is an example of helping prospective students when they visit — a one-stop location instead of an individual having to visit several offices.

Employees

“Enhance our positive, dynamic work environment for all employees” is the initiative for this focus area. The first-year strategy has been to “assess and analyze our current RCC work environment.”

RCC surveyed other community colleges’ human resources personnel to determine factors which are most important at their campuses: Compensation was most important, followed by flexibility for work/life balance and then benefits. Faculty teaching load data was also obtained and analyzed from other N.C. community colleges and the 2014 “Great Colleges to Work For” survey report evaluated.

RCC faculty and staff were asked to rank 12 factors related to employee satisfaction. Most important were the work itself, relationships with coworkers and flexibility for work/life balance.

Employee focus groups were held at the Asheboro and satellite campuses and RCC faculty and staff informed about how information was being analyzed.

April meetings were held with division chairs to discuss faculty-related results and with staff association officers to talk about staff-related issues. Follow-up meetings were conducted in June with each group to further explore ideas presented at the focus groups.

The second-year strategy will be presented by Shackleford when he addresses both faculty and staff on Aug. 13.

___

(c)2015 The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C.

Visit The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C. at www.courier-tribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

_____

Topics: t000156678,t000002776,t000049144,t000002899,t000156697,t000027855,t000404589,t000002786,t000041355,t000040453,t000002925,t000040236


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide