Below are fictional examples of submissions that would likely be strong candidates for consideration. Each example is intended to highlight a common issue, a critical change in practice or policy, improved student success data, and increased benefit to greater numbers of students in need.
Example 1. One suburban campus of a multi-site college had a very active and successful Veteran’s Center. Focus groups with student Veterans indicated that the mentoring component was critical to their success. Most of the veterans said that the one-on-one support helped them feel connected to the college and their goals even when they ran into road blocks. The college determined this might help formerly incarcerated adults who were struggling with completion, demonstrated by a drop-out rate in the first semester of 85%. After three years of working with the county jail administration, a local volunteer group, and implementing campus wide professional development, they have built a mentoring program for formerly incarcerated students that connects them with other successful university students and professionals who are also formerly incarcerated. Last year’s entering formerly incarcerated students completed their first semester courses at 48%.
Example 2. A community college program has always worked to increase college attendance rates across one local city. Students begin the program in the fifth grade, and participate in college field trips, college fairs, and presentations to learn the importance of attending college. After completing the eight-year program, students receive a two-year scholarship to the community college. Many of these students are Hispanic students from low-income households and are the first in their families to go to college. The College has data to support their idea that these students stayed in college and finished their degrees at increased rates. As a result, they have broadened their program to include many other school districts with under-represented students and are working with local employers and 4-year institutions to increase the number of young people that can participate. The data they are now collecting is moving in the same positive direction.
Example 3. A rural community college was reviewing employment data about their graduates a few years ago and found an interesting anomaly: 94% of students who attended The Metal Trade Elective were working full time, in their field, within 3 months of graduation with Mechanical Tech AA. These data were compared to other programs on campus that were between 45 and 68% employment in their fields. All of these Mechanical Tech students had the opportunity to meet professionals in the first required course in their degree program and interview others. Additionally, every one of them were able to complete at least one job shadow across the machining industry. These data prompted this campus to explore and ultimately add career awareness and exploration activities into all the foundational courses within their degree programs.
Example 4. A change to a Math tutoring program that feeds all the students who arrive to be tutored. This type of innovation sought to solve a problem for students living in poverty, whose food insecurity was a barrier to success and demonstrated through data the improved student retention in courses semester to semester. The college then worked with all the College departments and its own culinary program to design a larger academic support structure that incorporated regular meals. This allowed every student on campus enrolled in math or English to receive tutoring and a meal every day. A local food bank and restaurant have become silent partners as well.