MCC has been awarded the national designation of Leader College from Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree.
The distinction recognizes community colleges across the U.S. that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps.
“Becoming a Leader College is very powerful and affirms the exceptional work and commitment of faculty and staff to their students’ success,” said Cindy Lenhart, the Achieving the Dream Vice President for Community College Relations. “Muskegon Community College is using evidence to make informed decisions that lead to significant institutional change.”
“We are gratified to learn that Muskegon Community College has been named an Achieving the Dream Leader College,” said MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “The hard and smart work by our faculty and staff has improved persistence and retention ranks among our students and will assist our ability to support the talent requirements of our businesses and community for years to come.”
Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The organization has more than 200 participating institutions, 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams located in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
The 2015 Leader Colleges (see complete list below) were chosen for making strides in the national movement to increase student completion and close achievement gaps, demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Approach.
With the guidance of Achieving the Dream Coaches, colleges not only systemically change the way they operate, but also implement key student supports that align with their overall policies and institutional systems, such as college readiness programs, mandatory new student orientation, student-success courses, developmental course redesign, curriculum redesign, and intensive, individualized advising.
“Our focus here is teaching and learning at the college,” said John Selmon, MCC vice president for student services and administration. “Our goal is student success – completing what they start here at the college. Student success occurs when a student achieves his or her academic goals.”
“At MCC, the Achieving the Dream initiative is just one component of our student success agenda. Our ultimate goal is to enhance the student experience, to make sure each student has an academic plan when he or she comes here and to create a pathway to success for each one from the beginning to the end of their time on campus.”
Achieving the Dream is recognizing MCC as one of 19 new Leader Colleges, joining the ranks of 93 nationally, for its high-impact best practices.
- MCC’s New Student Orientation program gives students the information they need to make their transition into college life stress-free. Topics include financial aid, registration, safety, parking and navigating the campus, and college policies. Between Fall 2010 and Winter 2014, participation in New Student Orientation at MCC increased by over 34%. Over that time, the fall-to-winter persistence rate jumped from 77% to 82% for participants compared to a decrease of 73% to 72% for students who did not attend.
- MCC’s Academic Goal Setting and Planning provides students with a road map to meet their personal, educational, and career goals. Counselors help students to identify what they want from their college education and to choose classes that will help them achieve their goals. Academic Advising sessions are helping to close the achievement gap between part-time and full-time students. Part-time students who meet with a counselor persist at rates nearly as high as those of their full-time counterparts.
- The College Success Seminar (CSS 100) at MCC equips students with the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive college environment and reinforces behaviors that promote academic and personal success. Topics include effective note taking, productive study skills, reading and remembering, critical thinking, library skills, basic computer skills, free career and job resource skills, and stress management. Students find that the skills they learn in Developmental Math, Reading, and/or Writing prepare them to succeed in rigorous college-level courses. Between 2010 and 2013, the average first-term grade point average of students who completed CSS 100 increased from 2.74 to 3.09.
- MCC offers free online, small group, walk-in, and one-on-one peer tutoring to help students learn and meet the high expectations of their courses. Tutoring is highly recommended for students who expect to be challenged by a particular course and is required of students in certain courses (Math 040).
- The Fast-Track accelerated math program was introduced at MCC in 2011. Since that time, students who place in the lowest level of developmental math and enroll in the Fast-Track option are more than twice as likely to pass a college-level math course as those who take the non-accelerated path. The Fast Track English program was introduced in 2014. Students who place into English 091 may accelerate into English 101 and scaffold their success in that college-level course by taking a section of English 091 taught by the same instructor. Traditionally, only 18% of students who place into English 091 ever pass English 101, but 65% of Fast Track English students pass 101 in the same semester as 091.
Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status.
The 2015 Leader Colleges are:
Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, CA)
Bellingham Technical College (Bellingham, WA)
Century College (White Bear Lake, MN)
College of Southern Nevada (North Las Vegas, NV)
Columbus State Community College (Columbus, OH)
Cumberland County College (Vineland, NJ)
Delta College (University Center, MI)
Gaston College (Dallas, NC)
Grand Rapids Community College (Grand Rapids, MI)
Jefferson Community & Technical College (Louisville, KY)
Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn, NY)
Lorain County Community College (Elyria, OH)
Muskegon Community College (Muskegon, MI)
North Lake College (Irving, TX)
Paris Junior College (Paris, TX)
St. Clair County Community College (Port Huron, MI)
St. Petersburg College (St. Petersburg, FL)
Southwestern Oregon Community College (Coos Bay, OR)
West Los Angeles College (Culver City, CA)