Achieving the Dream, Part 4

Bay College – Student Success, Community Success, Culture of Success

This blog is the fourth and final installment in a series that highlights the work of colleges that received an Achieving the Dream grant from the Michigan College Access Network. The grant assists with creating, expanding and sustaining research-based interventions that help more students, particularly low-income students and students of color, persist through degree completion. To view the first blog post in the series, click here; second blog, click here; and third blog, click here.

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Since the beginning of its involvement with the national Achieving the Dream initiative, Bay College President Dr. Laura Coleman has been unquestionably committed to an agenda of student success, and the process of continuous quality improvement. Likewise, the board of trustees has provided regular encouragement and support for the college’s many Achieving the Dream efforts. Bay College benefits from committed leadership, and its greatest accomplishment in this area has been the establishment and sustained impact of the Student Success and Completion Team.

The Student Success and Completion Team is a cross-functional group of Bay College leaders. Throughout the past four years, the team has been extraordinarily influential in growing a culture of continuous quality improvement at Bay College. Without this team’s hard work, passion to improve student success, and willingness to innovate, none of the improvements made at Bay College would be a reality.

Since its involvement with Achieving the Dream, Bay College has made numerous, large-scale institutional improvements. These include:

  • The introduction of supplemental instruction;
  • A first-year experience course to introduce students to principles and methods to be successful in college and in life based on the principles of the On Course textbook;
  • A revamped new-student orientation program that incorporates student participation and feedback through the use of iClickers, which are devices to allow individuals to provide instant feedback;
  • An improved advising model that pairs new students with their faculty advisor during orientation;
  • Increased professional development opportunities for faculty and staff; and
  • Improved transitional studies practices (e.g. mandatory placement and two, new full-time transitional studies faculty).

While these improvements are significant, perhaps the greatest systemic improvement at Bay College is the prioritized student success agenda. Student success has become the driving force behind nearly all of Bay College’s operations. In fact, it is the first entry in the college’s list of institutional priorities – student success, community success, and a culture of success.

Bay College has done an exemplary job of involving a wide variety of people in the college’s Achieving the Dream and continuous quality improvement efforts. At least 50 percent of all administration and faculty are regularly involved with Achieving the Dream in some way; and virtually everyone – employees and students alike – has been impacted by one of the college’s six interventions. This tremendous participation rate is Bay College’s greatest accomplishment in the Broad Engagement category of the Achieving the Dream initiative. The cooperation among faculty, administration, and staff has improved noticeably since Bay College became involved in Achieving the Dream, in addition to greater inclusion of external partners in improvement initiatives. For example, local K-12 teachers and administrators have attended several of Bay College’s professional development sessions. Local community leaders also were active participants in spring 2010, during the development of Bay College’s new purpose, vision, and mission statements.

As an Achieving the Dream leader college, these are just a few examples of the activities that Bay College is proud to engage in.

Guest Author: Cindy Carter, interim dean/executive director of admissions services, Bay College

Posted: May 21, 2015

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