Special Sessions are open to all conference participants and feature topics specifically developed for the NISOD audience. Special Session presenters are engaging and inspirational national experts who lead discussions about real-world successes, challenges, and other critical issues. Their purpose is to lead conference participants in an in-depth exploration of contemporary topics of particular relevance to community and technical college educators.
The State of College Completion Initiatives at U.S. Community Colleges
Since President Obama introduced his 2020 goal to increase the percentage of citizens with college degrees, completion rates and how to improve them have been at the forefront of higher education institutional agendas. American Association of Collegiate Registrars researchers set out to understand how certain completion initiatives are impacting student completion rates. Survey participants consisted of 97 community colleges and 1,087 students from across the country. The presenters share survey results and conclusions, including how community colleges will continue to embrace change and seek creative, scalable, repeatable, and measurable means to increase college completion rates.
Wendy Kilgore, Director, Research, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers; Veronica R. Garcia, President, Northeast Lakeview College
Student Perspectives on Advising and Implications for Practice
Students and faculty consistently report that advising is the most important student service that colleges offer. Data from the Center for Community College Student Engagement suggest that students who receive more advising—more time with advisors and more in-depth discussions in their sessions—are more engaged. Join us for a look at the Center’s latest national report, Show Me the Way: The Power of Advising in Community Colleges, which helps colleges understand the student experience with academic advising and planning. In addition, learn how Palo Alto College-Alamo Colleges District has structured advising to increase student success.
Linda García, Assistant Director, College Relations, Center for Community College Student Engagement, The University of Texas at Austin; Michael Ximenez, Director, Advising, Palo Alto College-Alamo Colleges District
Course-Based Research: A Social Justice Initiative
Two-year colleges in the United States are leading the way in ensuring all students have access to undergraduate research. They are finding ways to integrate authentic and accessible research into the curriculum by identifying research possibilities in their communities, including environmental issues like safe water, archival research at local historical societies, and collaborations with local business and social service agencies. As a result, students learn how to ask questions, identify problems, use evidence to seek solutions, and develop oral and written communication skills through course-based research. The presenter discusses how embedding research experiences into the curriculum, particularly in first- and second-year courses, opens up undergraduate research for all students and has the potential to ameliorate some education inequities.
Nancy Hensel, President, New American Colleges and Universities
Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges
A partnership between NISOD, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, and Do Good Work Educational Consulting fostered Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges, which identifies and celebrates promising practices at community and technical colleges in recruiting, retaining, and developing diverse faculty, staff, and students. Learn about the annual survey, as well as the promising practices observed among this year’s Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges.
Royel Johnson, Assistant Professor, Education (Higher Education), Penn State University; Terrell Strayhorn, Principal Investigator, Do Good Work Educational Consulting LLC
Student Communication in a Guided Pathways Model: Virtual Solutions to Student Questions
As Austin Community College embarked on its guided pathways initiative, we recognized the need for consolidated and streamlined student services through innovative methods. We set a goal of providing real-time student support through our Student Services Help Desk, which reduced the need for students to visit multiple campuses or departments. The Help Desk uses multiple methods of communication—phone, live chat, and email—and has been integral in introducing and initiating video advising. The Help Desk monitors student service metrics and leads the way with data-based decision making. The Help Desk handled more than 270,000 student calls, emails, and live chats during the 2017 academic year, providing a solution for integrated and efficient student support.
Librado Buentello, Director, Student Services Help Desk; Melissa Curtis, Associate Vice President, Enrollment Management, Austin Community College