November 20, 2015
Northwest Vista College News
NVC Hosts Veterans Day 2015
Northwest Vista College honored Veterans Day on November 11 with an event attended by Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Bruce Leslie and NVC President Dr. Ric Baser gave opening remarks. The event was sponsored by NVC's Vet-to-Vet program, the NVC Veterans Affairs office, NVC Staff Council, and Phi Theta Kappa. The event included NVC employee Luz Hernandez singing the National Anthem, and Math faculty, Vet to Vet advisor and veteran Dennis Gittinger speaking on the meaning of Veterans Day. Dennis shared the instant connection when one vet meets another--a connection that transcends differences in age, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. Vets who have been in combat have a certain credibility with each other that is impossible to duplicate. He shared his perceptions of the vets at NVC: The vets I meet at NVC are truly inspirational. They are in school, which means they are not dwelling on the past, but preparing for the future, working hard to develop the tools necessary to have that better life. Being in school means that they have hope. Isn’t that true of all of our students? Without hope, we are lost. The event concluded with a lunch for the dozens in attendance.
Congressman Castro Visits NVC
U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro came to the campus to recognize Northwest Vista College for receiving a $2.3 million individual federal Title V grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). This five-year grant in the amount of $2,343,984 is for “Project Math Paths,” designed to improve NVC’s three-year graduation rate and math completion by welcoming, advising, placing, and accelerating students through the math core and eliminating developmental math hours.
NVC Math faculty Anna Harwin stated at the event that Project Math Paths is already making strides locally and nationally where there are similar programs. She believes NVC will be able to change the math trajectory in the city. This fall, NVC moved 606 students from long-path high risk courses to lower-risk, shorter path courses. At the event, Representative Castro supported the need for this grant with his own observation that while he was in college, math was one of his least favorite subjects, and can be a setback for many students. "I want to say thank you for Project Math Paths and taking this creative and innovative approach that not only the Gates Foundation thinks is special, but obviously the federal government and the Department of Education."
Five Goals for Project Math Paths include:
1. Implement intrusive advising for all first time in college students through Vista Central - One Stop Shop;
2. Accelerate the developmental math sequence and advise into optimal college level math courses;
3. Maximize student success by dramatically increasing optimal math placement, including Math 1414, college algebra for STEM majors;
4. Reduce time needed and facilitate student enrollment through the creation of Vista Central - One Stop Shop with embedded support services to facilitate the enrollment process, monitor and advise student progress, and;
5. Increase student enrollment, retention and core math completion.
NVC Hosts High Risk Course Charette
On Friday, November 13, faculty from NVC academic disciplines with high risk courses met in a charrette to identify approaches to addressing student success. Certified advisors were also included in the discussions. NVC has high risk classes in Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Communications, English, INRW, Math, Physics, and SDEV and a total of high risk 20 courses in spring 2015.
A charrette is often used in a planning process to provide useful ideas and perspectives from concerned interest groups in a period of intense planning. The faculty teams used the planning time to:
· review data
· identify strategies
· define measures
· set a timeline for implementation
Teams began the review process by examining three years of student success data for each class. The teams were then asked to identify possible solutions and concerns that might be contributing to the lower success rates. Each discipline worked to identify one or two measurable strategies to address success that could be implemented for spring. For example, the physics instructors suggested mandatory supplemental instruction including study groups for Physics 2425 which is close to the 70% benchmark at 68.4% success. Biology instructors want to consider labeling the classes as high risk for student awareness and encouraging students to have completed 15 hours successfully prior to enrollment in the class. English 1301 instructors suggested using a faculty team to incorporate student outreach strategies for all faculty teaching in the spring. Adjunct faculty will be included in this initiative at the spring convocation to ensure universal adoption.
Each discipline will implement their strategies in the spring or in some cases for summer/fall implementation and analyze data for improvements in student success rates. NVC will be conducting a similar event for all faculty in the spring.
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