Putting the measurable and meaningful attainment of student success at the forefront of everything the College does will not change with the completion of Vision 2015, the College’s five-year strategic plan launched in 2010. If anything, the results achieved in the past five years serve as prologue to a new five-year strategic plan that, when launched in January 2016, will seek to accelerate TCC’s efforts to recruit, retain and graduate students in a timely fashion so they may quickly become self-sufficient contributors to their families, the community and to the greater economy.
While the strategic planning process is underway as of the printing of this publication, there are several priorities already in place that will serve as extensions of Vision 2015 through the coming years.
Earlier this year, TCC’s Achieving The Dream coaches visited with members of the Administration to review TCC’s progress as an ATD Leader College. And with their guidance, TCC developed three Wildly Important Goals—or WIGS—to help fast-track improvements in student retention and completion rates.
In the next 12 months, TCC has pledged to:
- Increase course completion by all degree-seeking first-time-in-college (FTIC) students by 20% over the previous year with a target goal of 82%
- Increase course completion for students on academic probation by 20% over the course completion rate for this group in the previous year
- Increase the fall-to-fall and fall-to-spring retention rates for all degree-seeking FTIC students by 20% for each period over the previous year with a target of 70% for Fall-to-Fall and 87% for Fall-to-Spring
For the purpose of achieving the WIGs, TCC’s Institutional Intelligence and Research team will track the progress of degree-seeking FTIC students as well as non-degree-seeking FTIC students while TCC implements strategies to positively affect the performance of both groups. Each campus has developed and will implement its own approach to accomplishing these goals within 12 months.
Registration & Enrollment
With more than 100,000 students entering TCC’s doors each year, the registration and enrollment process can prove daunting to first-time-in-college students. As part of its commitment to removing every obstacle to student success, TCC is evaluating these and other processes through an Enrollment and Registration Task Force consisting of more than 30 accomplished and talented senior leaders from throughout the District. Their charge is to conduct a comprehensive review of the College’s enrollment and registration processes, procedures and practices for credit and non-credit courses and then identify opportunities for increasing effectiveness and efficiency. Six separate sub-committees within this Task Force are working on everything from a comprehensive review of the Texas and National Career Pathways Framework, to Technology improvements that would support a more seamless student experience, to professional development programs that will support the new processes once they have been developed. This work is very difficult, very critical and very exciting for TCC and the students it serves.
To ensure students are learning what is being taught in their classes, TCC is launching a formal assessment program that will provide valuable data the College can use to make ongoing improvements in student learning and institutional effectiveness.
Last Spring, TCC’s Assessment Team visited with representatives from all six campuses and the Offices of Institutional Intelligence and Research, Institutional Effectiveness, the Quality Enhancement Plan and Instructional and International Initiatives. Through these discussions, themes emerged in assessment efforts that will support faculty, facilitate effective communication, address assessment in support areas and Community and Industry Education, leverage the work of others, use realistic timelines and deadlines and encourage the use of technology and innovation. Next, the team divided into sub-teams and produced six reports based on the Core Competencies and the Blackboard Outcomes Module for collection of assessment samples as outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The team also reviewed previous TCC assessment work and recommended improvements for a revised Assessment Framework. The key takeaway is that the Three Steps of Assessment will help TCC continually improve.
The first step is Goals: What should students be able to do when they complete courses of study? (Goals may also be called “outcomes” or “competencies.”)
Next, Information—How well are students achieving these goals, and what factors influence their learning? (Information may be called “measures” or “evidence.”)
Finally, Action—How can TCC use the information to improve student learning?
With the data collected through TCC’s Assessment Program, the College will be well-equipped to make continued improvements that support student success.
There’s an old saying that says, “All who wander are not really lost.” That saying, however, does not align with what data indicate regarding student success; college students who wander too long, without a clear path, DO get lost and ultimately, they give up before earning their degree or certificate. To help get students on the right path from the beginning of their college journey, TCC’s Student Learning and Student Success Council is developing a Career Pathway approach to student enrollment and ongoing advisement. Many other colleges around the country have used this approach to help students determine the work they want to do, based on their desire and their aptitude, and then plot their academic paths accordingly. For some, this might mean starting with a certificate program and then pursuing stackable credits that enable them to graduate with a certificate and a degree. For others, the path might be different. Students who have a clear destination, and a prescribed path to reach that destination, fare much better than those who do not, so TCC will be working diligently to introduce this new approach next year.