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Can Student Success Wait? Summary of Responses - Oct. 2, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

It was great to receive a few hundred messages yesterday in response to my query of what we can do to improve student success during these difficult budget times. Many of you asked for a summary of the responses I received.

I wish I could say this is a comprehensive list, but neither my memory nor e-mail organizational skills will allow me to capture every idea. Further, understand that responses reflect virtually every constituency in our colleges, and not necessarily the position of the League or my personal thoughts. In fact, many of the recommendations conflict with each other, which reflects the diversity of our audience and state. Nevertheless, it's a fantastic discussion, and I hope you are tackling it with your colleagues on your campus.

Student Services
  • Statewide mandatory assessment and improved placement/prerequisites
  • Strongly encourage students to apply for financial aid so "life doesn't get in the way"
  • Restore matriculation funding, even if it means cutting elsewhere
  • Require faculty to take responsibility for counseling and guidance; assign a faculty mentor to every incoming student
  • Implement a "case management" approach, even if it requires reducing the number of students served
  • Find a way to make students actually study
  • Provide incentives (such as meal cards) for students to attend workshops on college success and financial aid
  • Encourage peer tutoring
  • Assign counselors to curriculur cluster areas, allowing relationships with faculty to be built and better course navigation

Instruction and Articulation

  • Significantly limit repeatability in credit basic skills classes and shift repeating students to noncredit or adult ed courses after multiple unsuccessful attempts
  • Implement degree auditing software that can strengthen guidance and better measure student outcomes
  • Use degree auditing software to identify successful pathways/course sequences
  • Implement common-course numbering in all three segments for basic general education
  • Support the CSU-East Bay/CCC Enhanced Transfer Pilot Project, which would tie online course availability, articulation agreements and individual students' E-Transcripts
  • Better and more consistent CCC-CSU articulation agreements and expanded transfer admission guarantees

Funding and Administration

  • Suspend mandates related to 50% law and full-time faculty obligations
  • Consolidate districts and reduce the number of administrators
  • Enact the Accelerated Learning College Proposal
  • Seek external support from large foundations
  • Enhance college foundations and alumni outreach
  • Significantly increase student fees to both raise revenue and increase the "cost" of dropping classes/programs
  • Lower student fees to reduce the amount of students who are working
  • Save money through statewide purchasing of databases and supplies

Enrollment Management

  • Prioritize first-time freshmen and students on a clear path
  • Shift low priority programs to community service/fee-for-service
  • Reduce enrollment to match funding needed for success
  • Recognize state savings from physical eduction
  • Reduce college expenditures on intercollegiate athletics
  • Cap the number of units a student can take without a waiver

If you're like me, in reading through the list, you found items that both excite and repulse you. However, I am certain that there are many areas where common agreement can be found as we work together to ensure our state's future economic vitality by maintaining California's national lead in access and by becoming the national leader in student success.

Thank you for your great feedback, and I welcome any more that you might have.

Scott Lay
President and Chief Executive Officer
Community College League of California
2017 O Street, Sacramento, California 95811
916.444.8641   www.ccleague.org

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Pippa Gibson
Phone: 408.864.8936

Last Updated: 10/2/09