Linda_BeerBy Linda Beer, Dean of Student Affairs

The MnSCU Academic & Student Affairs Leadership Fall Conference provided me the opportunity to hear from Chancellor Rosenstone and Vice Chancellor Knowlton on the vision for MnSCU and higher education in Minnesota. This year’s conference agenda was organized to provide professional development opportunities to support the achievement of strategic framework objectives. The 7 tracks were: Development Education, Analytics/Performance Metrics, Extraordinary Education, Leadership, Workforce Development, Online/Technology, and Completion/Retention.

I took the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions in the Completion/Retention track. As other institutions shared their research, initiatives and strategies it was a great affirmation to learn that SCC has a great start in addressing student retention. To frame these accomplishments, I will share some work that the Student Engagement Committee has undertaken to utilize a resource our team members brought back after attending the Noel Levitz National Student Recruitment and Retention Conference. Specifically we have taken the Noel Levitz top 35 Retention Strategies list, and added SCC’s accomplishments/projects. As our team worked through the list, we feel confident that we have 30 of the 35 strategies in place or under development. Some of the Noel Levitz strategies and SCC accomplishments include:

1. Offer a wide array of student extracurricular activities. Did you know that SCC:

  • Created a new fitness center on the NM campus to support wellness programming and academic curriculum
  • Supports 21+ student organizations
  • Works with active student senates and campus activity boards on each campus
  • Is a recognized member of the Society for Leadership and Success
  • Collaborates with area colleges to co-sponsor activities and events

2. Conduct student satisfaction surveys on a systematic basis. Did you know that SCC:

  • Administers the CCSSE, PSOL and SSI regularly
  • Conducts instructor and course evaluations each semester
  • Facilitates focus groups to gain student feedback, ie: diversity, policy, and budget

3. Require that students on academic probation participate in a success program that includes learning contract. Did you know that SCC:

  • Revised the mandatory AMP Advising (aka AIM Advising) program to include academic warning and suspension students. Contract issigned by student.

4. Provide online and in-person tutorial support…such as stress/time management, substance abuse, and study skills. Did you know that SCC:

  • Supports GPS Lifeplan which provides many of these resources online and via workshops – GPS Lifeplan is also utilized in FYE courses
  • Offers a wide variety of face-to-face Study Skills Programming

5. Establish an office devoted entirely to improvement of the teaching learning process. Did you know that SCC:

  • Recently hired 2 staff to facilitate curriculum development and AQIP/Assessment
  • Supports faculty needs through the eLearning Technologies department

6. Develop an institutional academic advising plan that includes the components that are associated with successful delivery and organization
of advising services. Did you know that SCC:

  • Is in the process of implementing a new advising model based on the world-of-work career clusters that partners faculty and staff

7. Change the attitude in serving students. Did you know that SCC:

  • Launched the ASK ANYONE campaign – extensive marketing of the creation of a positive learning/helping environment, and offering forums and resources for all faculty and staff