by Alana J. Mauger
Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD), a national non-profit organization committed to helping more community college students succeed, has designated Montgomery County Community College as a 2011 Leader College for its commitment to student success and sustained improvement on key student achievement indicators.
According to ATD, Leader Colleges have demonstrated commitment to and progress on the four principles of Achieving the Dream – committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systematic institutional improvement. Leader Colleges have also shown three years of sustained improvement of student success in one or more measures.
“Montgomery County Community College’s participation in Achieving the Dream underscores our commitment to student access and success, which anchors our strategic plan,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President. “Faculty, administrators and staff across disciplines have engaged, hands-on, with our student success work, and our strong use of data enables the College to continually make process improvements that remove unnecessary barriers and provide interventions to at-risk students.”
Specifically, the College was commended by Achieving the Dream for its work to improve student outcomes in developmental courses, its development and launch of a Minority Male Mentoring Program, and for the College’s use of data to make informed decisions about teaching and learning.
The College has made significant adjustments to the way it delivers developmental, or pre-college level, courses – especially developmental math. In 2006, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Barbara Lontz developed a new approach to basic arithmetic, called Concepts of Numbers. The course is organized by concepts rather than topics, and students start with problems and work together to learn the algorithms. Under the new approach, students succeed at 20 percentage points higher than those enrolled in courses that utilize a traditional approach. Concepts of Numbers was brought to scale for fall 2011, with 100 percent of all basic arithmetic sections using the approach.
In 2009, the College first launched its Minority Male Mentoring Program to close the nationally-documented achievement gap for African-American male students. The program assists minority male students to cope with their everyday challenges by connecting volunteer faculty, administrators and staff with students who choose to opt in. With 200 mentees and 57 mentors, early data shows promising results with 92 percent of participants persisting from fall 2009 spring 2010 and 88 percent from spring 2010 to fall 2010.
Earlier this year, Montgomery County Community College was recognized by Achieving the Dream for its strong use of data to impact student success and completion. The award provided seed money for the College to develop a Gatekeeper Course Academy, which provides faculty with resources and support necessary to further examine student performance in 14 targeted gatekeeper courses.
To learn more about the College’s Student Success Initiative, visit http://mc3success.wordpress.com.