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Refreshed Strategic Plan: roadmap to future success

By Robert Contreras | Pulse Staff Reporter

MyMap 
Elizabeth Sorola, student at Palo Alto College, takes advantage of MyMap’s benefits.

The Alamo Colleges are dreaming and planning for future success, and district representatives have taken the first step toward this goal.

At the August Board Meeting, the Trustees approved a rejuvenated Strategic Plan. This plan is set to accommodate the students and communities of the Alamo Colleges.

Dr. Bruce H. Leslie, chancellor of the Alamo Colleges, said, “It really frames the work we have to do.”

“It is a plan to focus on those key elements that we believe are critical to our success and our students' success—which means our community's success,” said Leslie.

Educational and community partnerships, operational excellence, and performance excellence are the overall goals within the Strategic Plan. All goals and ambitions are vital to achieving the Alamo Colleges’ ultimate goal: student success.

“Student success is what we are striving to accomplish,” said Leslie.

Student success is a result of a cumulative effort of many faculty, staff, students and community members, as well as innovative strategic methods to help students fulfill their academic goals by earning a certificate or degree.

“We’ve got a pretty deliberate strategy to try to make it easy and straightforward for anybody who has never been to college or has never been to [a] particular campus,” said Leslie.

Enter MyMap, My Monitoring Academic Progress, a new system designed to assist students.

MyMap offers a personalized tool for current and incoming students. Through a series of modules, students are equipped with the information they will need to monitor their progress until they earn their certificate or degree.

Robert Colunga, a Culinary Arts major at St. Philip’s College, said, “I’m glad I took the time to…become comfortable with MyMap.”

“It answered every question I had coming in [to college],” said Colunga.

Emerging over the last five years, MyMap has been a collective effort of a number of community colleges, The Achieving the Dream Foundation, and a state consortium in Texas called Texas Completes.

"It’s a really exciting effort on our part,” said Leslie. “For the last 18 months, that group has been working collectively to…focus on what would be the best practices, the best things we can incorporate into a program, for student success.”

After extensive research and preparation, MyMap was crafted into a tool with many benefits for all Alamo Colleges’ students.

Maria Estrello, a Biology major at Palo Alto College, talked about the absence of MyMap in her passage from high school to college.

“The transition could’ve been smoother,” she said. “Looking back, MyMap would’ve saved me from frantically wandering the halls like a scared little mouse.”

Along with MyMap, the Strategic Plan also includes the goals of continuing efficient fiscal, budgetary and investment practices, as well as supporting an environmental sustainability strategy to make the college district carbon neutral.

The Strategic Plan also embodies the Alamo Colleges’ credo, the Alamo Way, which combines the Achieving the Dream [Foundation] goals that focus on improving student success and the Baldrige Model, an operational strategy, into a synthesis of our operating practices, principles and philosophies, Leslie said.

“We have a moral imperative to be the best we can be,” said Leslie.

Get acquainted with the Alamo Colleges and MyMap yourself at www.alamo.edu/district/mymap/.