Student Success Initiatives

[image 1]In every team and department at Northwest Vista College, there are always great stories to tell that show faculty and staff going above and beyond.

While it’s hard to capture every story, we hope to periodically share in this space some of the major accomplishments or projects that are taking place. Members of the executive team will write about important topics that they feel NVC employees should be made aware of. 

Let us know about the positive things your area is doing to help students or improve processes by contacting myself or NVC Public Relations.

Debi Gaitan
 [image 2]NVC Vice President for Student Success 

Welcome back from spring beak everyone! I appreciate the opportunity to update our NVC family on a few things that we have going on in Student Success.

Academic Advising

Over the last year NVC has been implementing our new academic advising model. It has been a massive undertaking, but we are beginning to see the positive results of this new approach to guiding students on their academic journey. For 19 years NVC had a first come, first serve, non-caseload advising model with a student to advisor ratio as high as 1200/1. As a result, students waited for hours to meet with an advisor or were turned away due to the lack of advisor availability.

Our new advising approach allows us to provide a caseload model so students have an assigned academic advisor. Our current student to advisor ratio is about 450/1. Our advising team is engaged in intensive, ongoing professional development. They must demonstrate advisor competencies that are required to be a certified academic advisor. It takes about one year to complete the professional development and training that is required to become a certified advisor.

All of our eligible advisors (those that had been at NVC long enough to complete the one-year training program) received the “certified” designation in December 2015. The advising team is currently learning more about advising guides and pathways advising. They are networking with our faculty to develop strong partnerships and a collaborative support system to assist students in meeting their academic goals.

Project Math Paths

Student Success is actively engaged in a phenomenal partnership with our Math faculty as we work together to help students find the best math path that fits their academic career. This partnership was a result of the Title V grant for NVC's Project Math Paths from the U.S. Department of Education.

Mary Zocchi of the Math faculty, coordinates a cadre of Math faculty and Student Success team members (Advising, Enrollment, Veterans Affairs, Business Services, and Financial Aid) that are intrusively involved in getting students in the correct math courses during the first week of classes.

As a result of this partnership (and Mary’s leadership), hundreds of students have been placed on a path to success. Additionally, our Math, English and INRW faculty are engaged in co-supporting our New Student Orientations, FTIC Advising and Post Assessment/Readiness Advising. We are excited about other disciplines jumping on board and finding opportunities to create similar partnerships.

Vista Central

As a result of the Title V grant, we are also working to create a better “front door” experience for our students. We will be moving some of our Student Success services around to create a space that will be called our new “Vista Central.” Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment and provide our first-time visitors with an enthusiastic team of people who want to bring students and their families into the NVC family and give “just-in-time” relevant information. We plan to have a comprehensive support team in Vista Central to include team members from areas, such as Enrollment Services, Academic Advising, VA, Financial Aid, and include faculty. 

Inaugural Student Success Development Day on Program Assessment

Our entire Student Success team participated in the college-wide Assessment Day held on Feb. 26. Part of our day’s agenda gave time for each team to meet to discuss their team purpose, goals and objectives. Over the next several weeks, teams will be closing out their 2015-2016 unit assessments and begin to work on our next cycle of assessment.

Teams are working to improve how we determine our targets, measure our activities, review/analyze our results and determine where we need to improve. We received favorable feedback for how our support services approach assessment from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. With this feedback and our recent training opportunities, we feel confident that we are on a solid assessment path.

On behalf of Student Success, I wish everyone a great spring and look forward to great work ahead as we create opportunities for success…together!