SUBCATEGORY FIVE: ACADEMIC STUDENT SUPPORT
Identifying underprepared and at-risk students, and determining their academic support needs (3.D.1)
First-time JCCC students use the Personal Admissions Plan discussed in section 1P4 to map out steps to admission and enrollment. Degree and certificate seeking students who have not taken the ACT, or whose scores require further testing, are directed to Testing Services for assistance preparing for the required placement instrument. Scores on the placement exam allow the College and the student to identify appropriate coursework based on the level of readiness for a college curriculum. The College provides easily accessible online preparation resources for students to help them prepare for the placement exam.
Faculty who become aware of a student having personal, financial, or academic issues and who need assistance, can use the College’s Early Alert program to intercede with the student. Depending on the nature of the concern, a counselor, student engagement ambassador, or academic achievement staff member will contact the student about available support resources.
Additional student populations with unique needs are supported through a variety of mechanisms. For example, the College is designated through the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Principles of Excellence participant and by the U.S. Department of Education as an Eight Keys to Veterans’ Success Site. The Office of Veteran and Military Services provides services, resources, and referrals for all veteran and military students including those who use the Department of Veterans Affairs' educational benefits (3.D.1).
International and Immigrant Student Services provides assistance for international and immigrant students, faculty, staff, and community members. These services include assisting with issues related to immigration status, visa, and passport issues; JCCC documentation requirements; and regulatory advisement, cultural adjustment, and other similar issues (3.D.1).
Deploying academic support services to help students select and successfully complete courses and programs (3.D.2)
The teaching faculty in all program areas are a critical component in providing academic support services. Faculty advise, mentor, and coach students within the disciplines for both transfer and career and technical programs. The recent faculty job description was developed as part of the College's strategic planning initiatives in the 2014–2015 academic year and addresses this support aspect of the faculty role.
The Student Success Center offers assistance and direction to other academic support resources, functioning as a student success area. The Academic Counseling and Advising Services area provides support in the form of academic timelines, placement testing, areas of study, graduation status, degree requirements, transfer options, understanding the course catalog, classes and grades, academic holds, and strategies for student success (3.D.2).
There are Academic Resource Centers available to assist students in key academic areas: the Math Resource Center, the Science Resource Center, the Writing Center, the Language Resource Center, Anatomy Open Lab, and the Academic Achievement Center. Billington Library also provides academic support services through its digital and print collections, quiet and collaborative study areas, research assistance, and interlibrary loan system (3.D.2).
The Educational Technology and Distance Learning Department provides support for both students and faculty in navigating technology issues on campus. Resources include online videos and orientation sessions, navigational tools for taking online and hybrid courses, and training and technical support on using the campus learning management system (3.D.2).
Ensuring faculty are available for student inquiry (3.C.5)
Curricular teaching contact time and faculty office hours are core components of availability for student inquiry in both face-to-face and online environments. The faculty job description and the master agreement both outline the instructors' responsibility regarding prompt and professional communication with students. Additionally, faculty websites and online communities for clubs, extracurricular, and co-curricular activities provide forums where faculty interact with students, as do student club and organization websites and social media with strong faculty involvement.
Determining and addressing the learning support needs (tutoring, advising, library, laboratories, research, etc.) of students and faculty (3.D.1, 3.D.3, 3.D.4, 3.D.5)
For students with disabilities, Access Services addresses support needs. Students requesting accommodations or services are directed to the Access Services offices. Students make an appointment with an Access Services advisor to request and determine appropriate accommodations. Examples of accommodations include note takers and extended test time. Services vary from class to class and are determined on a case-by-case basis and are documented using the Service Request Form (SRF) (3.D.1, 3.D.3). Additionally, captioning for instructional videos is supported at a high-volume level by the Academic Support Division in concert with Access Services. Sign language interpreters are available for classes as well as public performances. Tutors are available in various program areas and academic resource centers, and Tutoring Accommodations are also offered for students with documented need (3.D.1, 3.D.3).
Support services for all students include the Academic Resource Centers, which provide learning support across multiple areas and disciplines. The Academic Achievement Center provides Smart Start mini-orientations, which take new students through a checklist of essential information, and are especially useful for first-generation students. Students may also enroll in courses offered at regular intervals each semester that introduce them to proven Learning Strategies. Billington Library includes video tutorials on how to use online resources and provides faculty with research support (3.D.5).
Both faculty and students are served by the Educational Technologies and Distance Learning department. Staff provide support for students taking online and hybrid courses, as well as support for the College's learning management system, D2L, which is used for most courses regardless of instructional methodology for course materials. The department also provides training and support for faculty in the online environment (3.D.1, 3.D.3, 3.D.5).
Ensuring staff members who provide student academic support services are qualified, trained, and supported (3.C.6)
Many students will work with a success advocate during their career at the College. Success advocates must hold a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field. Additional requirements may include interpersonal communication skills, the ability to maintain the confidentiality of student information, and experience working with diverse student populations. The College's academic counselors are required to hold a bachelor's degree, with a master's degree in an appropriate field preferred (3.C.6).
Many of the College's resource centers are staffed by faculty who are certified under HLC credentialing standards. Each center develops its own minimum academic requirements for staff. The center director interviews candidates to assess both discipline knowledge as well as personal temperament and communication skills. The Academic Achievement Center is College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) certified and tutors in the Writing Center undergo CRLA certification. Tutors in the Math Resource Center are required to have successfully completed Calculus 1 or Statistics and are given continual training—to be certified as tutors for a specific course, they must score a minimum of 90% on certification exams equivalent to the course’s final exam (3.C.6).
The College supports faculty and staff through several venues. Staff and Organizational Development plans two weeks of Professional Development Days each year and provides other resources for employees, including awards, Continuing Education (CE) courses, staff training, and grants and financial support for professional development. The Educational Technology and Distance Learning Department and Video Services Department support faculty and academic support staff with instructional and media technology, which also has an impact on student academic success. The Educational Technology and Distance Learning Department also offers several workshops during semi-annual Professional Development Days, and by individual assistance (3.C.6).
Communicating the availability of academic support services (3.D.2)
The required new student orientation includes several core videos that cover academic support service topics such as computer labs, the library, resource centers, and tutoring. A resource center overview video was also produced for new student orientation sessions (3.D.2).
Faculty in the program areas advise and mentor students about academic support services. The MyJCCC online portal, which is also used for student announcements, highlights support services. The Student Handbook includes information and links to academic support services and other student support services that have academic support components (3.D.2).
Determining goals for retention, persistence and program completion (4.C.1, 4.C.4)
The College uses standard definitions provided by IPEDS and Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) to monitor institutional goals for retention, persistence, and program completion. The President's Cabinet reviews and updates the KBOR Performance Agreement every three years. As part of this process, the President's Cabinet reviews peer data and determines goals for the College. For the purposes of benchmarking against peer institutions, the goal is for the College to perform above the 50th percentile.
Selecting the tools/methods/instruments used to evaluate the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of support services
Student surveys are done by the Academic Resource Centers, including a recent survey conducted by the library (LibQUAL+®), and they track usage metrics through AccuTrack. In addition to unit specific surveys and usage data, the College assesses students' overall experience through the use of the Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) and the Community College Student Survey of Engagement (CCSSE).