Student Experience Project FAQs
In previous Reinvention Updates we’ve introduced the Student Experience work currently underway at Wright College. As the work there progresses, questions about the project have arisen. These FAQs are an effort to further explain the current work and future plans.
What is the Student Experience project and why is it important?
The Student Experience initiative aims to change and greatly improve the community college experience for students. City Colleges of Chicago wants to provide its students with the most efficient, rewarding and supportive path to college and career success.
The Student Experience begins with how we respond to prospective students, register and welcome new students, and work with students as individuals to help them define and achieve their goals. We want the expertise of our faculty and staff and the insights of our four-year college and employer partners – not standardized tests – to guide our students’ paths both inside and outside of the classroom and give them the best opportunity to succeed.
This initiative addresses the need to improve outcomes for our students. Nearly 90 percent of students arrive to City Colleges requiring some type of developmental coursework. Previous initiatives were not sufficiently scaled to drastically change the outcomes for these students. The Student Experience initiative will reconceive student onboarding, placement and supports to help move students into college-level work sooner and improve overall outcomes.
When will the Student Experience project be implemented?
To provide students with the benefits of the Student Experience initiative as soon as possible, the project team will begin to implement the plan in Fall 2015. As the work progresses, the project team will review and assess the project, adjusting the timeline, as needed.
Is there a plan to roll this out to the rest of CCC?
Yes, after implementing the Student Experience Project at Wright College we hope to implement this project model at the other colleges in waves. The second wave of implementation after Wright will be for Spring 2016 and will impact Olive-Harvey and Kennedy-King Colleges. We then hope to implement the model at Harold Washington, Truman, Daley and Malcolm X for Fall 2016. This is a tentative timeline and may be modified if needed.
Who is leading the Student Experience project?
The project is being jointly led by a team of faculty and staff from Wright College and members of City Colleges’ Reinvention team.
What has been faculty involvement in the process?
Faculty has been involved in Reinvention from the very beginning, taking part on taskforces and leading initiatives such as the tenure project. About 100 faculty members have together spent thousands of hours working to devise solutions to City Colleges’ biggest challenges. The Student Experience effort is a continuation of our ongoing Reinvention. Work on the project is being conducted in teams made up mostly of Wright faculty, staff, and administrators, with support from members of City Colleges’ Reinvention team. The Wright team members are providing the expertise in instruction, outreach, student communications, recruiting, and more. Specifically, English and Math faculty are developing curricular models to provide instruction and instructional support that helps to accelerate students into college-level courses sooner. The Reinvention staff members are providing guidance and support with overall project management.
How is this different from AQIP First Year experience?
The First Year Experience (FYE) is part of AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Plan) and while it shares some of the same goals, the current Student Experience Program encompasses a broader scope and is being done on a larger scale. The First Year Experience has only been implemented at Wright and is offered specifically to first year students working to meet the following goals:
- Assist new students in their transition to college
- Introduce new students to the intellectual and academic life of college
- Help new students develop a sense of community and establish academic and personal goals for success
The Student Experience Project will also be working to meet these goals but will focus on moving students along a clear pathway more quickly and ensuring they receive a credential of economic value by improving onboarding, placement and student supports.
How do I voice my feedback/concerns about the Student Experience initiative?
To follow progress, subscribe to the Center for Operational Excellence (COE) blog; Talk2UsCOE.wordpress.com or subscribe to the Wright College blog; www.WrightCollege.net.
Questions, comments, and concerns can always be voiced via the Student Experience mailbox (firstname.lastname@example.org). This mailbox is monitored daily by the project team.
In our next issue…
In our next issue, look for an update on the Mentor Connection year-end retreat. Mentors and mentees from the pilot colleges met at the Field Museum to discuss opportunities available for student advancement. We’ll also share updates on other projects underway across the district.
– Scott Martyn, Associate Vice Chancellor, Strategy
Reinvention Team Member Spotlight
Chanell R. Harris-Smith
Kennedy King College
LevelUp Writing and Reading, FS Writing /Reading, English 098, 100, 101, 102 and 121
Admissions Specialist/Part-time Faculty for 5 years with CCC, Reinvention Team Member since August 2014
Why did you choose to work at CCC?
CCC gave me my first opportunity to teach at the college level when I completed my MFA though I didn’t end up teaching the first class I was offered. After teaching in some SMHEC (Southern Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium) schools, I desired to return to the city and work with students from Chicago. I was a reverse transfer student and found my feet as a college student at Daley College. I suppose part of me wanted to engage in the proverbial “giving back”. A dean, who had been my professor during my undergraduate years, officially hired me in 2009. I remained at OH until 2013. Since 2009, I have taught at HW, DA, OH and KKC.
What has been your experience with Reinvention?
Reinvention has definitely stretched my abilities and perspective. I have learned so much and feel that I have been an integral part of the ever changing process and watched and helped projects grow. As an instructor, it has been so easy to be in a bubble, where I feel all I need to control is inside my classroom. Through my position in Admissions, I was able to learn the process by which a student becomes a student and have been able to share that experience here. We have learned how grueling the enrollment process can be. I now have a hand in making it welcoming and more effective for our students. So, my experience has been highly rewarding.
What are some of the big changes you’ve personally experienced in your time at CCC?
When I started in Admissions, students always wanted to see what classes they needed to take in their program of interest. In the summer of 2013, and beyond, I would give students the printable brochure available on the website. It was several pages of courses but did not factor in Dev Ed classes and if the student had placed into them, they could not see where they fit in the program. The document did not guide the students either. Now, with pathways, all students can see the finish line and exactly how to get there. Semester maps are available online and are a valuable tool for students, admissions specialists and advisors to get students interested and keep them focused. Today, the two documents work together and the student is totally informed.
What are you most excited about seeing changed?
I will be so thrilled to see the onboarding process change so that students feel excited about beginning their education and careers with us. I know that with these changes student perceptions of CCC will change and I will be excited to see that.
What is one thing you still feel really needs to change at CCC?
I think we all need to work on how we view and treat out student body. Our students are highly motivated, resourceful, critical and fearless yet vulnerable. We need to more effectively capture and capitalize on these qualities and help our students be successful. They are ours because they need us. Sometimes we fail at treating them like they are ours.
If you could pick anyone to learn from who would it be?
I would choose to be a mentee of “The Artist Currently Known as Prince”. Prince embodies the perfect blend of the creative and business side. He is as cool as a fan in any situation and apparently has found the fountain of youth. When I saw him in concert last summer, the Superdome went crazy over all of his 30 year old songs. That shows his brilliance, relatability and relevance. We should all strive to make a difference like that in whatever craft we choose.
What do you feel most proud of at CCC?
I am proud that we are a beacon of hope and light for so many students, and that we help to enrich their lives in so many ways. I am proud of KKC, my home campus, for being a gem in a troubled and vulnerable community and for being prize-worthy in the midst of it all. I am proud of the work we do every day, as individuals and a collective unit.